As many of you know, we're big fans of the Tonga Hut and we've officially completed the Grog Log. Now that we've finally accomplished that year-long feat, we feel like we've graduated and can now partake in the monthly meetings of the Rum Rhum Club. It would probably have been too much for us to do both at the same time but now we're ready to move on to the big(ger) leagues!
The Rum Rhum Club meets about once a month at the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood for tastings of different spirits. We attended our first meeting on May 1 and didn't really know what to expect beyond getting to sample a few things (and we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was much more than that). We're not afraid to admit that we still have quite a bit to learn when it comes to knowing the different nuances of different types of rums (and all types of alcohol, really) so we were really excited to broaden our knowledge.
When you become a member of the Rum Rhum Club, you receive a passport that gets stamped at each meeting you attend. Some members take notes in their passports but I took mine elsewhere. Any sort of note taking is a great idea just to have for future reference!
For each tasting, the Master of Ceremonies, Forrest Cokely, provides in depth descriptions and notes on all of the different spirits sampled. He has so much information when it comes to each item so it feels a bit like you're in a college class - in a good way! We loved getting all of the notes on each rum we tried and it's clear that we still have a ton to learn! Not only did we get to try each rum on its own, but Marie King also mixed up some well-balanced cocktails to demonstrate how the flavors of each one could really be showcased appropriately.
The theme at our first meeting was "Grab Bag" - really a random variety of brands and types of rum. Here's what we got to try (along with some of my notes):
Tasting 1: Deadhead Rum
We've tasted our share of Deadhead Rum in the past (especially at the Rum & Cigar Symposium at Tiki Oasis last year) but this was our first opportunity to try their new batch since they moved to a larger distillery.
My Notes (tastings are totally subjective and I'm a beginner when it comes to this stuff so bear with me!): oaky, banana, sweet smell - vanilla
Cocktail: Basic Old Fashioned
2 oz. Deadhead Rum
3/4 oz. Demerara Simple Syrup
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
1 dash Agnostura Bitters
Bonus: We got to take home this awesome swag box with items made by Tiki Farm!
Tasting 2: Crusoe organic Silver Rum
My Notes: smells like tequila, tastes a little like it too, tiny bit of floral and citrus taste, not a rum I would sip straight
Silver Crusoe Rum
Grand Poppy Amaro
Tasting 3: Crusoe organic Spiced rum
The Crusoe Spiced Rum we tried was created with all natural flavors, meaning know chemical or concentrated flavors, which makes it very unique for a spiced rum. Some of the spices it contains include: cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, and orange zest. It was noted that this would be good in a Blue Boy (basically a rum Manhattan). It would also be interesting to try in Egg Nog, a Painkiller, a Nutty Chi Chi (maybe), and Hot Buttered Rum.
My Notes: You can really taste the orange & spice (cloves)
Cocktail: Classic Daiquiri with The Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
Tasting 4: Stolen Smoked Rum
STOLEN Smoked Rum was a great find that we tasted from New Zealand's STOLEN Spirits. It was previously labeled as "Coffee & Cigarettes" which is a very apt description of the flavors of this rum. It's been aged in whiskey barrels and infused with coffee beans which is very evident in the flavor. Someone described the taste as "Sunday morning breakfast in Vegas." Another person suggested that it would probably be very good on Kalua pork since it does have a touch of that liquid smoke flavor profile.
My Notes: You can taste the whiskey edge to this one, smells like coffee and smoke, tastes smoky, very interesting and good to sip on
Cocktail: Fancy Cocktail
3 oz. rum
3/4 oz. Demerara Vanilla Syrup
1 dash Mole Bitters
Bonus: Even more swag! Little bottles to bring home. I used my sample to introduce this rum to my whiskey loving friend and she was really into it.
Tasting 5: It's a secret (but it was awesome)
Some of what happens in Rum Rhum Club stays in Rum Rhum Club. Sorry folks!
Overall, we were shocked at how much we learned and tasted in just two hours! We can't wait to attend future meetings!
If you're interested in checking out the Rum Rhum Club, new memberships + attendance of a meeting cost $40 each. Otherwise, each tasting session costs members $20 each. Follow the Rum Rhum Club for updates and future meeting dates on their Facebook page.
The next meeting of the Rum Rhum Club is May 29. We'll unfortunately be out of town but we encourage any local rum aficionados to check it out!