Add a touch of dark rum to your caramel sauce

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I developed a new respect for rum after a visit in 2019 to the Rhumerie de Chamarel in Mauritius. This rum distillery is located in a picturesque valley in the southwest of Mauritius, close to the Terres des Sept Couleurs, a natural geological formation and a tourist attraction. It is one of the few distilleries to cultivate its own sugar cane for brewing rum. Within four hours of harvesting, the first squeezed sugarcane juice is fermented in alcohol to produce rum.

Expert tour guides took us through the fermentation, distillation and aging process, followed by a rum tasting session. The rums we tasted had the complexity and depth of a good single malt, nothing less. We ended up buying a few bottles of their best rum to bring home.

Closer to home, Old Monk is synonymous with rum with a fervent follower. A presence in the market since 1954, a strong flavor to suit the Indian palate and richly spicy Indian cuisine, easy on the pocket, delivering a kick of 42.8% alcohol by volume – these are some of the reasons for its near dominance of the Indian rum market.

I’ve never been a fan of dark rum, its taste always reminds me of cough syrup. Its singular use for me was to add it liberally to Christmas plum cakes. Over the past few years, Two Indies rum, brewed by Amrut Single Malt in Karnataka, has managed to change my mind on this spirit. Many brands of local artisan rum are gaining momentum in India. Made in small batches, their beautiful packaging and unique tasting notes make them a great addition to your bar cabinet or even as a gift – they cost as much as a good bottle of wine.

Rum has light and dark variations, both of which are so different in appearance and taste that they make me wonder how they fall into the same category of spirits. White rum or light rum is native to Spanish speaking countries such as Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia. This is aged in stainless steel barrels to maintain a neutral color throughout the aging process. It is still filtered after aging to keep the color clear.

Dark rum is produced mainly in the Caribbean. Charred oak barrels are used to age dark rum, which has a longer aging period. Caramel is often added to aged brown rum to give it the golden brown color. Dark rum is fuller bodied, with a stronger flavor than white rum. While dark rum can be consumed as is or used in cooking, baking, and desserts, white rum is used in cocktails typically dressed with umbrellas and flowers, such as mai tai, piña colada, daiquiri. and the mojito, promising you an exotic holiday atmosphere. .

Whether in a punch, a hot toddy or a dessert, dark rum is my go-to spirit this holiday season. I’m sharing two favorite recipes that instantly bring joy to Merry Christmas!

Salted Caramel Sauce With Rum

Makes more than one cup

This addicting sauce can be used on vanilla ice cream, brownies, vanilla sponge cakes or to make holiday breakfasts like waffles and pancakes more decadent. The bottles of this sauce make delicious gourmet gifts.

Ingredients

1 cup of sugar (plain white)

5 tablespoons of salted butter (75g)

Half a cup of cream (at room temperature)

Half teaspoon of salt

Half teaspoon of vanilla extract

4 tablespoons of dark rum

Method

Keep all the ingredients on hand while making the Salted Caramel. Take the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add two to three tablespoons of water. Let the sugar melt over medium heat. Do not stir. Once the sugar has melted, reduce the heat and simmer until the color turns dark amber. Add the butter cubes to the caramel and mix well. Be careful at this point as the mixture will bubble and sputter. Walk away from the pot and use a spatula with a long handle (not a spoon) to stir the contents.

Once the butter is well incorporated, take a step back and gently add the cream and salt. The sauce will bubble vigorously again. Mix well and simmer for one minute. Remove the pan from the fire. After about five minutes, stir in the vanilla extract and rum. The sauce will thicken further as it cools. Transfer to a clean glass jar and refrigerate.

The sauce will solidify in the refrigerator. For use on desserts, scoop the required amount into a glass bowl with a clean, dry spoon and microwave for 10-20 seconds. It will keep for three to four months in the refrigerator.

Notes: Do not use a dark colored nonstick skillet as it is difficult to notice the color change of the caramel.

Hot buttered rum

Hot buttered rum (Photo: Nandita Iyer)


Makes 1 serving (increase as needed)

An easy and warm cocktail that smells of spices; teetotaler version included.

Ingredients

2 tsp of salted unsalted butter
1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract
A pinch of ground cinnamon
A pinch of grated nutmeg
A pinch of ground cloves
30 ml or 60 ml dark rum
150 ml of hot water
Cinnamon stick and star anise for garnish

Method

In a glass cup, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and spices with a wooden spoon. Garnish with dark rum and hot water. Mix well. Decorate with a cinnamon stick and serve hot.

Notes: Use a quarter teaspoon of chai masala or pumpkin spice blend instead of using all three spices separately.

Use a scoop or two of dark rum depending on how strong you prefer the drink to be.

A larger batch of the base mix can be made for party serving, adding hot water and rum just before serving.

For a teetotaler version, replace the rum and hot water with 200 ml of brewed Earl Gray tea or heated apple juice.

Double Tested is a bi-monthly column on vegetarian cooking, highlighting a single ingredient prepared in two ways. Nandita Iyer’s latest book is Everyday Superfoods. @saffrontrail

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