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Tony Sachs

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Summertime, And The Drinking Is Easy.. With These 10 New Spirits

Posted: 06/05/2012 1:41 pm

I've never been a big fan of seasonal cocktails. Just because it's post-Memorial Day and pre-Labor Day, you don't have to deal exclusively with three months of mojitos and fruity daiquiris and drinks that taste like alcoholic lemonade. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. But an ice-cold daiquiri can taste great in January, and a glass of really good whiskey can be awesome in July.

The ten spirits (or nine and an asterisk, really) reviewed here, all of them released in the last few months, make for a good mix of summertime no-brainers (a glass of chilled Lillet Rosé, for example, almost screams for a hot and sunny late-afternoon), and brands you normally wouldn't think about drinking on 80-degree evenings (snifter of Crown Royal XR, anyone?). But whatever the season, there are some real winners here that'll taste great whatever the weather. Bottoms up!

Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum
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CAPTAIN MORGAN Black Spiced Rum(47.3% ABV, $20). I've hated Captain Morgan and everything it stands for since I first heard of it back in the late '90s. I've hated their association of rum with pirates, I've hated their ad campaigns ("Comin' Alive When It's After Five" still makes me laugh and cringe at the same time), I hate that it's aimed at the just-legal-enough-to-drink party crowd. When it comes to their rum, I am basically an Old Man Grumpus. But, much as it pains me to say it, I enjoy their new expression, Captain Morgan Black.

It's a high-proof spiced blackstrap rum, dark and rich with molasses flavor and redolent of cloves, cinnamon and vanilla. The cloves come through a tad too much when CM Black is drunk neat, but add an ice cube and the flavors become much better balanced. Its pronounced flavors work well in cocktails, too. Guess I've got a little Captain in me, huh...
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