How to Choose between Bottled Water and Tap Water

In recent years, the mass advertising of bottled water has often left people spoilt for choice when it comes to spending their money on bottled water or simply deciding to drink water from the tap. Water is a necessity which means that you no choice but to drink it. There are times when you may have to choose between bottled water and tap water in your daily life and routine.

The best way to choose between bottled water and tap water is to base the decision on your setting and situation. If you are at home, you can invest in a filter that will filter your tap water. This filter can then be placed in the fridge to give you access to cold and filtered tap water at all times. When you are at home, this is the best place to indulge in tap water because it is free. When you are at home is the best time to drink tap water. If you are going out to college or to work, you can bottle your own tap water and take it with you to help save you money but also to keep you hydrated.

However, bottled water can also be an option if your setting or situation changes. In the event that you are going on a long trip such as a coach trip on a vacation and you stop off at services along the way, you may find that your bottled water that you took out with you from home has ran out. Bottling it in the taps at a service rest room is not recommended due to the fact that you are not familiar with this location and therefore, not familiar with who goes in there and uses the taps and what has touched them. If you are going on a long trip and need a drink, this is the best time to purchase bottled water instead of opting for unfamiliar tap water that you cannot verify.

The decision to drink tap water or purchase bottled water is a regular subject of debate for many people. Always consider the setting, scenario and situation that you are in before making that decision. If you are at home, drink filtered tap water and if you are going to work or education, bottle that tap water and take it with you. However, for elongated trips where you may have to stop at services and you find your water has ran out, consider purchasing bottled water instead of filling up your own bottle at an unverifiable source.

Source:
1. Bottled Water vs Tap Water | IBWA | Bottled Water
2. 10 Secrets For Optimal Health
3. WHY CHOOSE BOTTLED WATER? – Bottled Water Matters

Image Credit
www.ciruswater.com

Great Drinks to Buy for someone you like

The implication of buying a great drink for someone is that it is great from their point of view, not ours. So, when planning to buy a great drink for someone, whether they are a friend, a relative or a lover, we need to identify something that will please or interest them. Certainly it should be something that shows we have put some thought into the purchase. Depending on the circumstances, we can do that either by buying them something different or a bit more special than they would buy for themselves or by buying them exactly what we know they would like.

Different or Special?

When we travel, we have the opportunity to search out unusual local drinks which we can take home for friends and family. Sometimes, this can be very successful. Following this course of action, my partner and I have enjoyed velvety red wines from Georgia, white wine like honey from the Crimea and sweet Tokays from Hungary. Of course, it doesn’t always work out as planned. The bottle of banana liqueur from the Canaries is still sitting at the back of the cupboard. In order for ths approach to work, we need to know the recipient very well and to understand something about their tastes. Even if the drink is not a success, we can be sure that the thought and the gesture will be appreciated.

Suppose we have a friend who is partial to a drop of fizz, but tends to buy the cheaper alternatives himself. We could buy him or her a bottle of the real thing, especially from one of the smaller, select vineyards. Both the gesture and the drink will be appreciated.

More of the Same?

On the other hand, it can be just as successful to re-inforce the tastes of our friends. I know a couple who holidayed in South Africa and came back raving about a particular type of grape. For the next few times that we visited, we made a point of searching out just the right one. The fact that we had made the effort seemed to make the gift even more special to them.

Playing it Safe

There will be occasions when we need to play it safe, when the impression we want to give is one of thoughtfulness rather than experimentation or extravagance. This might be the case when we don’t know the recipient very well and we are trying to make a good impression. Maybe it’s a prospective in-law or a client. In circumstances like that, we are probably safer with a bottle of good quality, medium-priced wine.

If the drink is being bought for someone we are meeting for the first time, such as someone in a bar that we like the look of, there are a number of approaches we can take. We can make a grand gesture sending over a cocktail or glass of champagne. On the other hand, we can send over another glass of whatever they are drinking already at least that way, we know it is something they like. Finally, we can go over ourselves and say we would like to buy them a drink and what would they like? In the long run, they can only say no and if they do, we’ve not wasted our money. If they say yes, there could be other chances to make the grand gesture later on.

Not Always Alcohol

So far, we’ve only considered alcoholic drinks, but there are lots of other acceptable alternatives, depending on the circumstances. It is important to buy something that the person will like. My father never drank alcohol throughout his life (apart from the Christmas morning when he took a mouthful of my buck’s fizz by mistake). Whenever he came to visit, I made sure I would buy Bitter Lemon and American Ginger Ale since they were his favorites.

For Christmas or birthday presents, food and drinks have become most acceptable these days. There is a wide selection of specialty coffees that we can mix and match. Any dedicated tea drinker will appreciate a fancy tin of Earl Grey or Lapsang Souchon.

So, to conclude, the better we know someone, the more we will know about their tastes and preferences. If we play to these, we can’t go wrong.

Source:
1. How to Get a Guy to Buy You a Drink: 9 Steps
2. Genetically Modified Apples That Don’t Turn Brown
3. 4 Surefire Ways To Get Someone To Buy You A Drink | Thought …

Image Credit
rack.2.mshcdn.com

Easy Egg Roll Recipe

Making egg rolls at home does not have to be a difficult process and only requires a few ingredients. Egg rolls can be a great appetizer for dinner parties, a side dish, or a snack when lounging around the house or watching the game with friends. The prep work for egg rolls is the most time consuming part of the process but most prep work can be done well in advance. So to get started you will need:

1 head of cabbage
1 lbs of carrots
1 package of bean spouts
2 large onions
2 lbs of ground pork/chicken/turkey/beef (whichever meat you prefer)
3 tablespoons of vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 packages of prepared egg roll wrappers (if only making a small amount halve all amounts and use one package of egg roll wrappers.)
Oil

The cabbage, carrots, and onions can be shredded in a food processor or by hand. If done by hand, sliced cabbage into thin strips with a large chef’s knife, and the carrots and onions can be shredded with a large hole cheese grater. Mix the shredded cabbage, carrots, onion and bean sprouts in a large bowl and toss with vinegar, salt and pepper, then place bowl covered in plastic wrap in the fridge. The mix should sit for at least an hour, but can sit overnight before being prepared.

The marinade for the meat can be purchased already prepared or can be made at home. The typical taste of the meat in restaurant egg rolls is a cherry based teriyaki flavor. There are several brands of teriyaki mix that are cherry based sold in the grocery stores. Or you can use this mixture to make your own.

1 can cherry pie mix
1 bottle teriyaki marinade
1 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tsp liquid hickory smoke (optional)

Mix marinade in a blender until all cherry pieces are pureed. Marinade ground meat for at least an hour, but also does well to marinade overnight. If you do not have a blender substitute a jar of cherry preserves for the can of pie mix. Use two cups of the marinade mixture to marinade meat in. The remainder of mix can be saved by returning it to the store bought teriyaki bottle or placed in an air tight lidded container. Mix will keep for a month and can be used as a marinade for grilling or pan frying other meat.

Once meat mixture has marinaded it should have a pink color to it due to the cherries(except for beef, it will not change color). Fry ground meat until it is mostly cooked and has been smashed, in the pan, to small pieces. Add some of the left over marinade to the pan and reduce the marinade into the meat. Once the marinade has been cooked off and absorbed by the meat remove from pan. There are two ways to drain the meat, either with a small holed strainer or place several paper towels on a large platter or inside a bowl to absorb extra liquid from the meat.

In a deep sided frying pan/wok or a large 6 quart pot pour at least 3 inches of oil, or use a deep fryer, like a Fry Daddy. I prefer to use peanut oil, but canola or vegetable oil will work fine. Do not use olive oil.

While oil is heating, drain the shredded cabbage mixture in a small holed strainer and place in a new bowl.

Lay each egg roll wrapper on your work surface. In the center of each egg roll place a line of cabbage mixture and sprinkle some of the cooled meat on top. Leave one inch from the ends of the egg roll wrapper to wrap properly. Then fold the bottom half of the wrapper up over the mixture and tuck it under the mixture. Then fold the ends in and roll the wrapper away from you. It should look like a traditional egg roll at this point. To help keep it’s shape you can run a wet finger along the edge of the top flap to seal it to the body of the egg roll.

If you are using a deep fryer, place the egg rolls fold side down in the basket and place in fryer. If you are using a pan, you may want to use a toothpick to hold the egg roll together and place it in the pan of hot oil. The oil should be at about 375 degrees F. Cook the egg rolls until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a rack with a pan under it to drain or on a paper towel lined pan.

You do not have to cook all the egg rolls at once either. Once you have the egg rolls rolled, before cooking, you can freeze them to cook later. They keep for up to three months in a freezer bag, but should be used by then. Happy Eats!

Source:
1. Best Egg Rolls Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. why learning to cook can save your humanity
3. Easy Egg Rolls Recipe | MyRecipes.com

Image Credit
images.lifesambrosia.com

Drink Reviews three Olives Citrus Vodka

You may have seen Three Olives Vodka in Cosmopolitan, People, Lucky, Glamour, Elle or InStyle magazines or at your local liquor store. Three Olives Vodka is one of the leading English Vodkas on the market. It is made using a three hundred year old recipe and Three Olives Vodka is quadruple distilled and quadruple filtered with charcoal filtering. Three Olives Vodka also comes in 13 different flavors. This review is of the Three Olives Citrus Vodka.

Taste

Three Olives Citrus Vodka is said to be “Ultra Premium. Ultra Citrus,” by its makers and that may be a valid statement. The vodka does taste like a premium vodka, not like one of the ones on the bottom shelves at your liquor stores and the citrus flavor is done very well; not too much, not too little.

The citrus flavor in the Three Olives Citrus Vodka is not overwhelming. The combination of the lemons and the limes makes a nice little citrus flavor that accentuates the taste of the vodka and it does not detract from it.

Three Olives CitrusVodka is rather smooth but it is not a vodka that you would want to drink straight without something to take away from the sharpness of the taste of it.

Three Olives Citrus Vodka is definitely a nice sipping vodka. The citrus flavor takes away from the harshness of the taste of the vodka. This is certainly a great vodka to add ice and a lemon or a lime wedge to and sit and sip. The ice will take a little of the harshness away from the vodka.

Three Olives Vodka markets itself as the perfect martini vodka. Three Olives Citrus Vodka definitely makes a great citrus martini. The subtle but satisfying citrus taste really adds a little something to a regular vodka martini and makes for a nice change in pace.

Price

I found Three Olives Citrus Vodka at my local liquor store for $19.95 for 750 ml, but the price may vary depending on the store that you go to. This price is on par with the mid-range priced vodkas like Skyy. Also, until the end of the year Three Olives Vodka is offering a $9.95 mail-in rebate on some of its vodka flavors, so now might be the time that you should try it, if you are so inclined.

Presentation

Three Olives Vodka’s presentation does not leave much to be desired. The slim, elegant bottle attracts anyone’s eye as they walk down the aisle and you will not be ashamed to show off this vodka in your collection.

Wrap Up

I fully recommend giving this vodka a try if you are a fan of citrus flavors. With its decent price and premium flavor, Three Olives Citrus Vodka would be a great addition to any vodka drinkers rotation. Three Olives Citrus Vodka is a premium tasting vodka at a mid-ranged price.

What They Say

“We combined the taste of tart, juicy lemons and limes with our top-rated, quadruple distilled, quadruple filtered vodka for a mouth-watering taste that refreshes the spirit.”

– From the back of the Three Olives Citrus Vodka bottle

Ratings:

All ratings are given on a scale of 1-5 glasses with 5 glasses being the best and 1 being the worst.

Cost: 4 Glasses ($19.95 for 750 ml)

Value: 5 Glasses

Taste: 4 Glasses

Look: 4 Glasses

Overall: 4.25 Glasses

Pros:

Premium Vodka, midranged price

Smooth Vodka Taste

Citrus flavor not overwhelming; adds to vodka

Very good sipping vodka

Looks Great

Cons:

A little harsh as a shot

Has a slight burn

Source:
1. Three Olives Vodka
2. Foods To Detox For Weight Loss
3. Three Olives Vodka Reviews | Find the Best Products | Influenster

Image Credit
americanpublichousereview.com

Do you have a Recipe for a Hearty Bean and Bacon Soup

In today’s economic climate we are all looking for meals that are nutritious, filling, tasty and that don’t put a strain on the wallet. This hearty soup is one such recipe – don’t be mistaken in thinking that this soup is a just the type you would serve as an appetiser to a meal because it certainly is not that.

This is a soup that is a meal in itself – one portion of this soup contains all the protein, carbohydrates and vegetables that you would need for a meal and it is also very filling.

Perfect for colder autumn or winter nights, this is a real comfort food that tastes delicious, it is also very good for you – what more could you ask for!

HEARTY BEAN AND BACON SOUP

Serves 4 people

INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons olive oil

6 rashers thick lean back bacon, diced

1 onion, chopped finely

2 sticks celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 courgette (zucchini), diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

1 x can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

100g French green beans, trimmed and cut into 1” lengths

600ml vegetable stock

75g very small pasta

1 teaspoon mixed herbs

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

1. In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan heat the oil and fry the bacon for around 5 minutes.

2. Add the onions, garlic, carrot, celery, courgette, sage and bay leaves and cook gently for a further five minutes or until the vegetables have softened.

3. Stir in the tomatoes (including juice), mixed herbs and vegetable stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for a further 10 minutes.

4. Add the drained and rinsed cannelloni beans and cook for further another 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.

5. Divide the mixture in half and puree half in a blender.

6. Add the pasta, French beans and puree to the soup in the saucepan and cook until beans are tender and pasta is cooked.

7. Taste and adjust seasoning.

8. Stir in the chopped parsley and serve.

Served with good crusty bread this is a wholesome and delicious complete meal in a bowl.

Source:
1. Bean with Bacon Soup | The Pioneer Woman
2. Sacred Heart Diet Plan Review
3. Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup – Taste and Tell

Image Credit
crasstalk.com

Do you have a Recipe for French Onion Soup

My first memory of eating a real French Onion Soup was as a 14 year old schoolgirl on my first trip to Paris. The soup was from a restaurant close to the Moulin Rouge and it was a big, steaming bowl of delicious brown soup with bread and cheese in it.

Ever since that first experience French Onion Soup has remained one of my favourite soups, and the thing is it is so very easy and cheap to make and thoroughly delicious.

My recipe is just the way I have adapted it over the years since first tasting that delicious oniony, garlic soup encrusted with cheese covered baguette and I think that it actually very authentic and just like you would get sitting outside a little café in Paris – just without the atmosphere! This soup with the bread and cheese makes a really delicious lunch dish.

I make no excuse for the use of butter in this recipe, although I always try to keep fat content down in my cooking, the butter in this recipe really adds the flavour that you need.

You will need good ovenproof tureens or bowls to cook and serve this delicious soup.

Do try my adaption of the French classic, I’m sure that you will love it – I know that I do!

FRENCH ONION SOUP

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

3 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

100g butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 bay leaves

Sprig of fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped

2 large glasses dry white wine (preferably French)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 clove garlic, peeled and halved

400ml good beef stock

25g plain flour

1 baguette

150g grated cheese (preferably Gruyere)

Freshly chopped parsley to serve.

METHOD

1. Melt the butter in the olive oil in a large saucepan.

2. Add the crushed garlic, onions, salt and pepper, bay leaves and thyme leaves stirring gently. Reduce the heat, cover and allow to slow cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every five minutes, until the onions are soft but not brown.

3. Remove the lid from the pan and continue to cook uncovered for a further 20 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are golden brown and caramelized.

4. Stir in the plain flour to make a roux, mix well and cook over a low heat for a further 3-4 minutes.

5. Add the wine and stock, stirring well.

6. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

7. Meanwhile cut the baguettes into 1in slices and toast on one side.

8. Preheat the oven to 180C/35OF/Gas 4.

9. Rub the toasted baguette slices with the halved garlic clove.

10. Ladle the soup into four individual soup bowls or tureens. Do not overfill as you will need to leave space for the bread.

11. Place two of the baguette slices into each bowl of soup and liberally sprinkle the grated cheese on top.

12. Carefully place the bowls on a baking tray into the oven at for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

13. Serve immediately sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley.

Voila!

French onion soup that any Parisian would be proud of – Bon Appetite!

Source:
1. Rich and Simple French Onion Soup Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. No-Butter Chicken
3. French Onion Soup Recipe : Tyler Florence : Food Network

Image Credit
cdn-image.foodandwine.com

Cola Artificial Sweetener Diet Cola

Soft drinks have to be one of my biggest down falls. I used to consume on average 10-12 cans of pop in a day. Of course they were diet so iIfigured it was okay. Boy was I wrong. Many people, like myself, tend to think that cola is a harmless, tasty drink. Heck, who wouldn’t think that with all the colorful packaging and commercials that show a young, fit, healthy adult enjoying cola as if it were water!

The power of advertising is ridiculous! Cola contains a syrup, which of course is packed with sugar. Also the sodium content is outrageous! Sodium alone can cause extra water weight and therefore extra pounds. Some diet colas contain aspartame or Splenda. Marketed as a low or no calorie sweetener. Well that may be true, but the ad agency leaves out that Splenda and other artificial sweeteners are nothing more than another cheap way to send our bodies into a spiraling mess!

Our bodies were never intended to take in artificial sweeteners. We just cannot process them the way they should be processed. Therefore they are stored. In turn, adding pounds and inches to our waste!

So next time you are passing that cola isle and see the giant Diet Cola sign, keep walking. Pick up some Diet Tonic Water and add a splash of lemon juice or fresh berries. Or maybe a sparkling water without artificial sweetener. Keep it simple and it will usually treat you well. Any drink with a long list of ingredients is obviously not natural and not the best for the ol’ belly!

Picture it, you are on a low calorie diet so you switch to diet cola. So naturally you think that you can eat more food to replace those empty calories from the cola you used to drink. Now you are drinking more diet cola and eating more. Problem with this is that you are doubling if not tripling your sodium intake. Not so good. You actually gain instead of losing weight? what? How can this be? The answer is in the can.

Steer clear of diet or calorie free sodas, unless all ingredients are %100 natural. Try Truvia sweetener. One of the best natural sweeteners out right now. It is a big switch to make and very difficult to do so. I relapsed several times! It is almost like a cola addiction. It is sad that you can become addicted to a soda, but it is true. Many can’t stop cold turkey due to the caffeine. Caffeine is a drug. It is powerful enough to cause severe caffeine withdrawal headaches.

Stopping may be hard, but well worth it. Once your body has been cola free for 72 hours you actually start to lose that craving for a large cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic! Its hard to believe, but you will get over it. Replace your cola with a healthy juice. if you are looking for no calories, flavor your water. If you are an avid cola drinker and are trying to lose weight, try it. You will be surprised with the results!

Source:
1. Diet drink
2. Subway Diet
3. The Top 38 Diet Sodas—Ranked! | Eat This Not That

Image Credit
image.examiner.com

Dairy Eggs

Easy breakffast or brunch that even your grand children can do. They will be so proud of their contributions for your special brunch.

Mexican Eggs

Beat 6 eggs, add 1 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste

Pour in skillet, cook on medium heat, stir well

Toast 4 English Muffins then spread with butter

On top of English Muffin: Add portion of scrambled egg , some mild salsa, top with your favorite cheese 

Just before serving place muffins on pan in 375 degree oven for a few minutes just to melt the cheese. Watch carefully.

Homemade Granola

2 cups uncooked rolled oats

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup apple juice

1/4 cup light sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup shredded coconut

mix all ingredients

Spread on 9 x 13 inch cookie sheet

Bake 350 degrees for 2 minutes or until golden brown

after 15 minutes stir granola mixture and return to oven for 5 more minutes

after baking you can add 1/2 cup chopped raisens or dates if you so desire

Cool and store in air tight container. Makes about 3 cups.

This is a really nice topping for your favorite hot cereals

Fruit Cup Delight

Buy 9 oz plastic fruit cups

Fill with Blueberries, Strawberries, Peaches

Top with granola and a spoon of cool whip

Breakfast smoothies can be made to order for your guests so they are fresh and yummy! You can double the recipe for 4 guests

Strawberry Smoothie

10 oz frozen unsweetened strawberries

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup vanilla flavored yogurt

1 teaspoon sugar ( you may add more if you want )

Blend at high spped in blender 

serves 2

Banana Smoothie

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup banana flavored yogurt

1 teaspoon sugar

Blend at high speed in blender

Serves 2

You can have platters filled with:

Crisp fried bacon

Grilled Maple sauages

Bagels and a choice of cream cheese, peanut butter, Jam or Jelly

Invite guests to enjoy your breakfast creations.

Sassy Eggs

White Sauce:

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
set aside

Scramble 10 eggs slightly; set aside

Cook 1/2 lb bacon and drain on paper towels; set aside

Chop and saute 1 small onion; set aside

1 cup of cooked creamed spinach; set aside

1 cup of grated cheddar cheese; set aside

In 1 1/2 quart casserole dish place
Creamed spinach on bottom
Top with onions, bacon, and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese
Add eggs
Top with white sauce, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
Sprinkle with paprika

Bake 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes

Enjoy! Lip smacking delicious!

Source:
1. Are Eggs Considered Dairy Products?
2. South Beach Diet Phase 2: When it isn’t Working
3. PSA: Eggs Are Not Dairy, Despite Being Sold In The Dairy Aisle

Image Credit
www.edmontonjournal.com

Cream Cheese Smoked Salmon Pate

Smoked salmon is often thought of as being a great delicacy – or perhaps more particularly, an expensive one. Depending upon where you live, however, it can now frequently be bought fairly inexpensively in supermarkets, perhaps if only as a special treat.

For this delicious recipe, you will require:

Pate Balls:
4oz low fat cream cheese (block form)
2oz Scottish smoked salmon (semi-finely chopped)
1 tbsp horseradish sauce
1 tsp fresh dill leaves (finely chopped)
1 garlic clove (crushed or grated)

Sauce:
2oz fresh redcurrants
A little water
1 tbsp sugar

Carefully mix all the ingredients for the pate balls together, then wet your hands with cold water and split the mixture into 4 or 6 portions as desired and roll each one carefully into a round ball. Place them on a plate and refrigerate for at least two hours but preferably overnight.

Put the redcurrants and sugar into a pan and add enough cold water to almost cover them. Bring to a boil then simmer very gently for at least fifteen minutes until the berries are broken down. Push the mixture through a sieve and return to the pan, discarding the berry skins and husks. Bring the sauce back up to a simmer and if desired, thicken with a little unsalted butter. Allow the sauce to cool.

Place the salmon balls on to the plates (with a small accompanying salad if desired) and drizzle a measure of sauce around the edge. Serve with warm crusty bread and butter.

Source:
1. Red Salmon Pate Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. Foods Combining Diet
3. Smoked Salmon Spread Recipe : Ina Garten : Food Network

Image Credit
www.melecotte.com

Best Brands of Rum

For most North Americans, rum suffers from a conundrum of its own making. Outside of certain pockets of United States territory around the Gulf of Mexico and in the usual big-city specialty bars and upscale liquor stores, the selection of limited-edition, reserve-quality Caribbean rums dries up north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Part of the issue is logistical: north of Orlando, the climate quickly chills to prohibit the cultivation of the cane sugar necessary to the production of excellent rum. As rum production is relatively time- and labor-intensive, it makes no sense to import raw materials on a large scale to distilleries closer to big American population centers; the finished product keeps better in ships’ holds anyway. Noted rum distilleries do exist in Florida and around New Orleans (a historical hub for the spirit), but these use mostly domestic South Florida cane sugar, produce in relatively small batches, and cater either to savvy local customers or more upscale aficionados.

Part of the issue is cultural: the popular light and spiced varieties of rum offer comparatively inoffensive taste profiles, which would normally be a key selling point for the massive casual-drinker demographic. The strength and complexity of tequilas, whiskeys and even gins turns off the “crossover” drinkers, the folks who tend to prefer beer or wine but might sneak a cocktail or rocks-drink on occasions for celebration. But rum’s smoothness is a double-edged sword—most palettes fail to establish a meaningful distinction between light (un-spiced) rums and vodkas, and for those that do, it’s often the case that even the most complex rums taste sweet and unfinished next to the dry polish of quality vodkas. It may be that casual American drinkers detect something “exotic,” something a bit too sickly-sweet, in the liquor’s aftertaste; it may be that its frequently reinforced association with lecherous pirates, ethnic “others” and Johnny Depp in drag rubs the collective subconscious of the well-heeled the wrong way. Pending a definitive ethnological work, the precise causes of the temperate-belt bourgeoisie’s collective refusal to consume reserve-quality rums on a meaningful scale will remain mysterious.

Whatever the reasons for rum’s failure to penetrate the lucrative North American top-shelf market, the lack of demand for quality—and thus of upward price pressure—has reduced any incentive the Caribbean reservists might have had either to expand their distribution networks northward or to set up satellite distilleries in the U.S. And Canada. But it hasn’t reduced the profit motive for certain Caribbean producers. Rum’s aromatic simplicity and suitability for mixing seems to resonate with younger high-volume drinkers (read: college students), who tend to consume several drinks in single sittings of certain preferred brands of liquor and thus make great customers. Unlike their older counterparts, these young drinkers also tend to prefer sweet or flavored drinks. This has created a perfect fold into which a number of mostly Puerto Rican—due to the island’s status as a preferred trade partner of the United States—distilling companies have stepped. It’s no coincidence that all of the following brands top-selling products are either spiced or flavored. This is a symptom, not a cause, of the peculiar mass-market woe which afflicts the extra-tropical rum business.

Before the list, a few general notes are in order. As is the case with vodka and whiskey, the American rum market can be surprisingly localized, with many brands appearing in circumscribed geographic areas (Rondiaz in the upper Great Lakes, Ronrigo in the northeastern U.S., and so forth). Because they’re made by generic distilleries which strive to produce large batches of multiple spirits, these brands generally don’t make it on “best-of” lists. Likewise, many of the better-quality import brands featured here are large operations which release multiple varieties of rum, sometimes under different labels. This will be noted, where appropriate, and each listing will be comprehensive, but particular weight will be given to two or three superior varieties within each brand. Lastly, and in keeping with the “bigger is better” theme, it’s important to note the following. As in many other consumer products industries in which quality is key and protocols and procedures are closely guarded, even the biggest of the Caribbean distilleries operate on a “keep the best, sell the rest” basis. More than that, North American tastes differ in important ways from those of Latin America and the Caribbean. As such, some of the flavored beverages some of the bigger concerns send northward resemble rum only tenuously. Nonetheless, they are acknowledged varieties of the spirit and and deserve mention.

Admiral Nelson: One hesitates to include this bitter, forgettable spiced dark rum on any list whatsoever, but for sheer value alone it’s worthy of a mention. The name is a riff on the more popular (and pricier) “Captain Morgan” label, and rightfully so: the Admiral is basically the Captain with less artfully-blended spice that fails to fully conceal a chemical aftertaste. But it is a good value, coming in at several dollars cheaper for a comparably-sized bottle, and thus is a favorite of the college crowd. Good—some would say essential, if it’s to be tolerated at all—for mixing. Best bang for the buck: Mercifully, there’s only one variety of the Admiral so far.

Bacardi: The most popular rum brand by sales and probably the most widely-known, Bacardi makes a number of different varieties of the spirit at low-mid price points. Although at this point the concern makes most of its money from its half-dozen or more flavored rums (there are already apple, melon, coconut, raspberry, orange, peach, and lemon, with more in the pipeline), Bacardi can at least pride itself on abstaining from the spiced-rum craze. And the vestiges of what once must have been a noble mission remain in Bacardi’s Gold and 8 Year varieties, two darker, un-spiced rums that offer the intrepid novice a taste of higher quality without the sticker shock. Best bang for the buck: Bacardi 8 Year. Rich and dark, without the harshly sweet aftertaste younger drinkers have come to associate with inferior rums, it can be found on the top shelf of the rum section at larger liquor stores.

Captain Morgan: Where Bacardi targets female twentysomethings with growing disposable incomes with its sickly-sweet flavored concoction, Captain Morgan harnesses its surprisingly potent spices in its quest to open the wallets of their suitors. Its aggressive new “Calling All Captains” ad campaign strokes the egos of male under- and post-graduates, encouraging these volatile youngsters to binge on its single spiced product (one now-discontinued commercial featured a young man preparing for a night of drinking by smell-testing a shirt he’d worn on the previous three nights’ consecutive drunks). The Captain is the Budweiser of rums: palatable but not delicious, affordable but intentionally not cheap, and studiously consistent in taste and composition. To the extent that niches exist in the world of mass-market rums, Captain Morgan seems intent on grabbing a piece—the success of its recently-released “Lime Bite” will be closely watched by others in the industry. Best bang for the buck: Classic Captain Morgan, although new releases coming down the pipe might surprise to the upside.

Castillo: Another of the spiced Puerto Rican majors, Castillo finds itself perennially overshadowed by the Captain. This is too bad. By every objective measure, Castillo is superior. Its spices are more delicately balanced, less bludgeoning, than the Captain or the Admiral; its body and back-taste are richer and smoother; its aftertaste is pleasant and organic; and its burn is survivable. Indeed, it’s probably the only mass-market spiced rum that doesn’t beg a mixer or chaser. For whatever reason, Castillo seems content to fly under the radar, with almost zero advertising visibility in North America. It’s certainly not for lack of business—drinkers who appreciate the difference tend to stick with Castillo when it’s available. Best bang for the buck: Castillo Spiced. Several imitations exist, including a white and some flavored varieties, so be careful and follow the name to the second shelf from the top.

Parrot Bay: Both an “upmarket” answer to Bacardi’s flavored repertoire and a “rum drinker’s” alternative to the diluted frivolousness of the Malibu family, Parrot Bay is working on expanding its line of fruity rum derivatives. Most drinkers agree that as a rum Parrot Bay is overpriced, but enough mid-market consumers are willing to pay a premium for this drier and more delicately-mixed option. The added flavors of this particular brand of spirit—even the sickly-sweet coconut variety—don’t linger on the tongue unpleasantly as in Malibu or certain Bacardi varieties, making for a more “mature” rum drinking experience. Half-full Parrot Bay bottles thus haunt the top shelves of hotel bars, wedding parties and other establishments where timid casual drinkers either don’t care that they’re being ripped off or aren’t paying for their drinks in the first place. Best bang for the buck: Mango. Drinkable but ultimately uninspired and strangely lacking in value, Parrot Bay is best consumed as part of a fruity cocktail.

Sailor Jerry’s: The black sheep scion of the spiced rum family, this under appreciated offering surpasses the more popular spiced brands in flavor, body and drinkability. Jerry has been gaining market share for the past decade; its distinctive packaging and no-advertising cachet make it a hipster favorite. It’s also the best neat rum of the widely-available spiced varieties; most regular Jerry drinkers prefer it straight or on the rocks. A word of caution, though: this rum is a bit stronger than the others and its smoothness can be deceptive. Enjoy carefully. Best bang for the buck: Sailor Jerry’s, period. It’s a bargain compared to the Captain and it tastes better too.

Source:
1. The world's 10 best-selling rum brands – The Spirits Business
2. Imagine a Bread-Free Diet
3. Top 10 Rums | Gayot

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