Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Tag: Appleton

Review: Appleton Estate Signature Blend Jamaica Rum

Owned by Gruppo Campari, Appleton Estate Signature Blend Jamaica Rum is distilled and blended by Appleton Estate and bottled at 40% ABV.

Price Range: $16-$22 as of 10/2016

Located on an 11,000-acre estate in the Nassau Valley of Jamaica, Appleton began producing rum in 1749. The estate sits atop a limestone formation known as a Cockpit Karst that provides great soils and water for the sugar cane. Appleton, Like other Jamaican rums, makes theirs from a fermented molasses mash. 

Appleton Estate Signature Blend is a blend of 15 different rums, aged between 5 and 10 years in used oak casks. And according to Matt Robold, Appleton gets their once used barrels from Jack Daniel's. Once the blend is created the rum is put into new barrels and allowed to marry for a few months before bottling. Campari recently redesigned the labels for the Appleton Estate lineup while keeping the blends for each bottles the same. The Appleton Estate Signature Blend was once bottled as Appleton Estate V/X.

Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose has bright fruity notes of guava, pineapple and passion fruit balanced against deeper aromas of sweet brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and caramel.

Palate: The palate is sweet and slightly saline like salted caramel with notes of oak and light dry tannins. The mouthfeel has a smooth velvety texture and a little bit of heat.

Finish: The finish is dry though notes of salted caramel, molasses and oak continues to linger on the finish. The sweet and saltiness holds on like a foggy day at the ocean.

Conclusion: Appleton Estate Signature Blend is a great example of a pot distilled Jamaican rum that is smooth and has a bold flavor profile. The fruity esters indicative of a warmer fermentation are well balanced against the barrel notes of vanilla, caramel and oak. While it has a little heat at 40% this actually works well when used for mixing. It's great in a simple rum and coke, cutting through intense sweetness of the soda. One of my favorite uses of the Signature Blend is in my annual Christmas egg nog. The bigger ester profile pairs fantastically with eggs, cream, and nutmeg. Any way you cut it, Appleton Signature Blend is a great rum made even more appealing at its $20 price point. If you are like me and enjoy rums with more flavor than say Bacardi and that isn't over oaked then you need to check this out.

Christmas & Egg Nog

From an old Bacardi Rum advertisement.

Christmas time is here. I know this because around this time of year I develop two strong cravings. The first is to listen to my Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas station on Pandora. The second craving is to make some homemade eggnog. I'm not sure where these come from. It might have something to do with a change in the gravitational field as the Earth orbits the Sun, or maybe not. Whatever the reason, I am looking forward to the eggnog.

I first started making my own eggnog in 2004. I spent Christmas 2003 in Thailand with some friends and while enjoying the local food we talked about how we were missing Christmas dinner. We decided that when we got back we would make our own Christmas dinner and began planing the menu. In the spirit of the meal I decided to find a recipe to make my own eggnog. Looking around the interwebs I found a recipe from Cigar Aficionado' Jack Bettridge. I liked his recipe because it attempted to recreate an 18th century style nog that our Founding Fathers might have drunk.

Here's his recipe:

6 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup spirits (whiskey and brandy work, but rum is traditional), 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 pint half and half cream, 1 pint milk, and Nutmeg.

In a large bowl, beat eggs to a froth. Add sugar and salt, continue beating. Stir in spirits, cream, vanilla and milk. Chill at least three hours (some recipes call for Egg Nog on the rocks, but our forefathers didn't have refrigerators.) Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

I like to use pasture raised eggs because their yokes are richer than regular or even “free range/cage free” eggs. For the spirit I tend towards a good Jamaican rum like Appleton V/X or Reserve because its full flavor stands out amid all the sugar and cream. I also like to use my own vanilla extract, which I make from vanilla pods steeped in a 4-5 oz bottle of vodka. I know some have expressed concern about the raw eggs, but I have been making this recipe for almost 10 years and neither I or any of my friends and family have ever gotten sick from this. I just make sure to buy everything fresh the day of or the day before it is serve.

The most striking thing about this eggnog when you first drink it is how light it is compared to most store bought nog. I'm not sure why all the eggnogs I buy are so thick but this recipe is a nice change. It doesn't leave you feeling overly full which makes it great for holiday parties. I keep coming back to this recipe because it is has been a perfect a night cap after Christmas dinner spent in the warm embrace of family and friends.