Is rum the next vodka?
Good question. In some ways, the answer is clearly “yes.” Rum as a spirit category was arguably the biggest winner in 2000, with the largest increase in terms of percentage growth (up 8.2%) and case volume (up 1.28 million cases). The growth was evenly spread out, as all the leading rum brands showed healthy gains.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAN WAGNER
Just as the flavored vodka business helps fuel that category’s growth, flavored rums like Bacardi Limon are partly responsible for rum’s acceleration. Even operations that don’t rely on rum-fueled blender drinks, a big category driver, are looking to the new flavors when adding cocktails.
Cindy Renzi, corporate beverage director of New York’s B.R. Guest (operator of Atlantic Grill, Coconut Grill, Ocean Grill, Ruby Foo’s, Park Avalon and others) likes the flavor profile of some flavored rums. “Flavored rums offer the same qualities as flavored vodkas for cocktails, but sometimes vodkas have a more chemical flavor.” While some flavored vodkas retain a chemical tang rather than that of real fruit, she says, Bacardi Limon is one of the flavored rums that offers a real fruit taste.
Renzi already lists such cocktails as the Jade Lotus (Limon, Midori and pineapple juice) at the two Ruby Foo’s, is about to add a Limon-based Apple Martini at Park Avalon, and will also be launching at Park Avalon the Mango Martini, made with Limon, mango and a ginseng-, ginger- and guarana-laced energy drink.
Other operations, like the recent Cheers Award for Beverage Excellence winner Kahunaville, depend on rum to deliver a party atmosphere for them. While Kahunaville serves a variety of tropical-style drinks, a majority listed on their menus is rum-based. Of those, blender drinks make up nearly 75% of sales, primarily from Pi