Cuban Cocktail (No. 1)
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon.
1 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 scant teaspoon Caster Sugar)
1 Glass Bacardi Rum. (2 oz Matusalem Platino)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.
I’ve not really ever figured out exactly the best rum to substitute for pre-prohibition
I have been using Flor de Cana Extra Dry. A friend suggested Matusalem Platino as the closest rum to HC Anejo Blanco available in America.
Flavorwise, the Platino is a very, very light rum. It smells OK and tastes fine on its own; but, once you get it in a cocktail, it is pretty much gone. To me, for all I could detect of rum in this cocktail, I might as well have used vodka.
Anyway, not entirely thrilled with the Matusalem Platino, I sent a few notes around to a few experts asking what they thought about an appropriate substitution would be.
Mr. Jeff Berry responded thusly.
You are absolutely correct to sub Flor De Cana for contemporary Bacardi, especially in 1930s-era recipes! Today’s Bacardi white rum is total garbage — and Bacardi has been deliberately turning it into garbage over the years. Since the early 1960s they’ve been chasing the vodka market — “Bacardi, the mixable one” was their old ad line from back then — by taking all the rum flavor out of their white rum to make it as neutral and tasteless as vodka. This is especially heinous because their original white rum was glorious — I tasted some 1920s Bacardi white two years ago and it was a revelation: rich, floral, distinctive, “rummy.” Finally I understood why anyone ever bothered drinking traditional Daiquiris, which taste like nothing when made with today’s white rums…Havana Club’s white rum is good, if you can get it, but for my money Flor De Cana’s white comes closest to the body and bouquet of pre-WWII white rums.
Largely flavorless rum, or not, the Cuban Cocktail is enjoyable. With 2 oz of rum and less than an half ounce of lemon, it is quite dry. The scant teaspoon of caster sugar is the perfect amount, just sweetening the cocktail enough to temper the sourness of the lemon.
This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.