Santa Cruz Rum

Received a question from Rowen regarding Santa Cruz Rum Fix:

Yeah—what were they thinking there, exactly, with Santa Cruz rum? Personally, I go with whatever Cruzan I happen to have at the moment except Black Strap and hope for the best. (I figure since St Croix means the same thing, I can’t go too wrong.)
Reply

To which I replied:

erik.ellestad says:
February 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm (Edit)

Well, this recipe is verbatim from early editions of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide. Whatever Jerry Thomas was calling for in the mid-1800s as “Santa Cruz Rum” probably wasn’t anything very close to the more or less dry Cuban style rums the Cruzan company currently flogs.

My guess would be an aged, cask strength, navy style rum. Thus, my use of Scarlet Ibis.

Whatever Rum you use, it needs to have some character, or it will be lost, being served on fine ice with lemon peel, juice, and sugar.

However, to justify my answer, I sent a note to David Wondrich, author of Imbibe!

David,

Have you ever turned up anything regarding 19th Century references to
“Santa Cruz Rum” or what would be an appropriate modern substitute?

Primarily, does this mean St Croix in the Caribbean or Santa Cruz
Island in the Galapagos.

Both have pre-industrial sugar cane production traditions, though it
seems St Croix is the one which moved more industrial with time.

In either case, my instinct is for a nice dark pirate rum, rather than
the dry nearly Cuban style the Cruzan distillery currently makes.

Even the Cruzan Single Barrel doesn’t really stand up in a 19th
Century style Fix or Daisy.

Just curious,

Erik E.

He replied:

Erik–
This has always been a tough one. I’ve never found a straightforward, thorough period comparison between the two (I live in hope). FWIW, my impression is that Jamaica rum and Santa Cruz (from St Croix) were both considered high-quality rums, the jamaican perhaps a hair better, although there were those who disagreed. The Jamaican appears to have been more estery, the Santa Cruz perhaps a little cleaner–although by no means as clean as, say, a current Mount Gay or, of course, Cruzan. Both were well-aged, and often long-aged indeed. I’d use an old Appleton for it.
–D

However, I remembered that early versions of Wm (Cocktail) Boothby’s “World Drinks and How to Mix Them” included recipes for synthesizing both Jamaica and Santa Cruz Rum.

I present them to you:

486 Santa Cruz or Saint Croix Rum.

Add five gallons of Santa Cruz Rum, five pounds of crushed sugar
dissolved in four quarts of water, three ounces of butyric acid, and
two ounces of acetic ether to fifty gallons of pure proof spirit.
Color if necessary with a little burnt sugar.

476 Jamaica Rum.

To forty-five gallons of New England Rum add five gallons of Jamaica
Rum, two ounces of butyric ether, half an ounce of oil of carway cut
with alcohol (ninety-five per cent) and color with sugar coloring.

Another good recipe: To thirty-six gallons of pure spirits add one
gallon of Jamaica rum, three ounces of butyric ether, three ounces of
acetic ether, and half a gallon of sugar syrup. Mix the ethers and
acid with the Jamaica rum and stir it well with the spirit. Color with
burnt sugar.

Interesting, in that Butyric Acid and Butyric Ether are very, very different.

From the wikipedia:

“Ethyl butyrate, also known as ethyl butanoate, or butyric ether, is
an ester with the chemical formula CH3CH2CH2COOCH2CH3. It is soluble
in propylene glycol, paraffin oil, and kerosene. It has a fruity odor,
similar to pineapple….It is commonly used as artificial flavoring
such as pineapple flavoring in alcoholic beverages (e.g. martinis,
daiquiris etc), as a solvent in perfumery products, and as a
plasticizer for cellulose. In addition, ethyl butyrate is often also
added to orange juice, as most associate its odor with that of fresh
orange juice.

“Ethyl butyrate is one of the most common chemicals used in flavors
and fragrances. It can be used in a variety of flavors: orange (most
common), cherry, pineapple, mango, guava, bubblegum, peach, apricot,
fig, and plum. In industrial use, it is also one of the cheapest
chemicals, which only adds to its popularity.”

“Butyric acid (from Greek, meaning “butter”), also known under
the systematic name butanoic acid, is a carboxylic acid with the
structural formula CH3CH2CH2-COOH. Salts and esters of butyric acid
are known as butyrates or butanoates. Butyric acid is found in butter,
Parmesan cheese, and vomit, and as a product of anaerobic fermentation
(including in the colon and as body odor). It has an unpleasant smell
and acrid taste, with a sweetish aftertaste (similar to ether). It can
be detected by mammals with good scent detection abilities (such as
dogs) at 10 ppb, whereas humans can detect it in concentrations above
10 ppm.”

Mmmmm, vomit!