Updated: Jan 22
Back in June we had an evening of daiquiri tastings and it was tons of fun. We named it the big daiquiri challenge chapter 1. We enjoyed it so much, we knew there had to be a second chapter….and probably a third. If you haven’t read it already, click here to read the story on chapter 1.
We kept the format and recipe the same. Rum A vs Rum B, single knockout. The recipe being two rum, one lime, half sweet. We did cheat a bit though by bringing back Rum Bar Overproof, even though it was one of the losers in chapter 1. I was recently given a bottle of Rum Fire and I felt Rum Bar Overproof would be the ultimate opponent.
There was one roster change, Matthew Wise stepped in to replace Hamish, who couldn’t make it unfortunately. Making a reappearance are Mariangela, Andrew Toplack and myself.
This time we didn’t bother to dress up our living room table, like we did before. We figured we’d be “camping” in our kitchen again, so we setup the daiquiri ingredients, all the snacks, a candle or two, a lava lamp (got to create the right mood!) and four chairs in our kitchen, where Andrew went to work as a bartender extraordinaire once again.
As a reminder, the winners from last time were Probitas, Clairin Casimir, Rhum Rhum PMG, Mhoba French Cask, Dr Bird and Foursquare Dominus.
· Rum Bar Overproof, Worthy Park, Jamaica, 63%
· Grander 8, Panama, 54,6%
· Probitas, Hampden/Foursquare, Jamaica/Barbados, 47%
· Dr Bird, Worthy Park, Jamaica, 50%
· Rhum Rhum PMG, Bielle, Marie Galante, 56%
· Mhoba French Cask, Mhoba, South Africa, 65%
· Rum Fire, Hampden, Jamaica, 63%
· Foursquare White, Foursquare, Barbados, 59%
· William George, Jamaica & Trinidad Blend, 43%
· Clairin Casimir, Casimir, Haiti, 50.2%
· Clairin Sajous, Sajous, Haiti, 54,3%
· Dominus, Foursquare, Barbados, 56%
William George vs Probitas
Toplack: It’s ok. Light, thin. I want to taste rum and I’m not tasting much
Mariangela: It’s got some bitterness to it
Ivar: Refreshing, light, decent balance
Matt: Overpowered. Lime juice with a bit of alcohol
Matt: Goes toe to toe with the lime. It’s silky and actually has a finish
Ma: You can taste all 3 components
Iv: It’s got a fruity bite to it, must be the Hampdenness! I can actually taste rum
Top: Very balanced daiquiri. Don’t want to be repetitive, but I can taste rum
This wasn’t much of a contest. The William George made for a nice and refreshing light daiquiri, but everyone of us was craving more rum flavour. Probitas delivered that and more. The Hampden component shines especially. Good stuff, which really should be available in Canada! William George clearly needed a larger rum measure, but we had to stick to the same recipe for all.
Clairin Sajous vs Clairin Casimir
Ma: Love the grassy smell
Top: Best so far. Balanced and can taste the rum so well
Matt: I’m picturing the sugar cane swaying in the wind
Iv: Grassy, fruity sugar cane cocktail
Matt: Reminds me of a cachaca
Ma: It’s a bit salty. I love it!
Iv: My throat is coated with it for a long time. That’s a good thing by the way
Iv: Ham sandwich!
Top: Ham sandwich with spicy chorizo!
Ma: It’s quite spicy
Matt: Doesn’t peak as much
Iv: Not as lime forward as Sajous, which is good for me
Top: Sajous is better balanced
A win for Sajous. Such an incredible and powerful rum for a daiquiri. I was the only one who disagreed when it came to picking a winner. I like more character and less lime, which the Casimir delivers. I can live with this result though as Sajous makes an amazingly flavourful and balanced daiquiri.
Winner: Clairin Sajous
Grander 8 vs Foursquare Dominus
Matt: The sweetness level is up, my teeth are singing
Top: This tastes deeper with low barrel notes but none of the higher ones
Ma: I taste pineapple. It’s extremely sweet
Iv: Ready to call the dentist. Extremely sweet and one dimensional
Matt: I won’t finish it, too sweet
Iv: Despite it being in a daiquiri, it still clearly smells like Foursquare
Ma: This is why I like daiquiris with aged rum! It’s like a dessert daiquiri
Top: No question! Lots of low and high barrel notes
Matt: You get notes from the 2 different casks that have been used
Ma: Can still taste lime and rum
Iv: It’s nutty and complex
Matt: Some amaretto notes and a touch of banana. The green ones that are still on the tree
Top: Costa Rican bananas!
Matt: I wouldn’t want this as a daiquiri. Too decadent.
The Grander really didn’t work in a daiquiri. Very sweet and one dimensional. It was probably the worst daiquiri of the night. The Dominus was very nice. Very Foursquare, even in a cocktail. Clear winner. Too decadent for Matt though. :)
Winner: Foursquare Dominus
Rhum Rhum PMG vs Foursquare White
Rhum Rhum PMG
Matt: Gorgeous! Refreshing
Ma: Wow! Tastes vintage
Iv: Fantastic. Cardboard surfing on a bed of limes
Top: This is really good
Iv: First daiquiri I’m finishing
Matt: Sour cream and lots of almonds
Ma: Grassy, weird for Foursquare
Iv: Very dry, kind of one dimensional
Top: Lovely, but there is something missing in the middle
Ma: Turpentine and new leather
Iv: Rhum Rhum PMG
Ma: Foursquare White
Matt: Rhum Rhum PMG
Top: Rhum Rhum PMG
The Rhum Rhum works incredibly well in a daiquiri. It was one of the favourites of the first challenge and it delivered again. It outshined the young Foursquare in most departments. Not in the turpentine and new leather department though, according to Mariangela.
Winner: Rhum Rhum PMG
Mhoba French Cask vs Dr Bird
Top: Still remarkably good. Touches all the notes you want it to touch
Iv: Smells so good. I get chocolate and mint. After eight!!
Ma: Delicious turpentine
Matt: I really like it. Just don’t know if I’d want it as a daiquiri
Iv: Funky mint choco
Top: It’s like a Christmas tree, hitting all the right notes
Top: I know who wins. Dr Bird would beat many, but Mhoba has so much character
Iv: Refreshing fireworks in my mouth, aka sulfur
Matt: Sucking on aluminum. It’s metallic
Ma: Very nice and fruity, but losing the competition by a mile
I was really looking forward to this pairing. In my mind, the Dr Bird was probably the best daiquiri of the first challenge and I thought it would be the same this time. Nothing was further from the truth. Mhoba completely outclassed it. The intense flavour experience it provides makes Dr Bird look like a boring cocktail, even though it would give any of the others a run for their money. It’s another example of how good Mhoba rum is.
Winner: Mhoba French Cask
Rum Bar Overproof vs Rum Fire
Rum Bar Overproof
Top: Perfectly balanced, relatively normal daiquiri. And yet it has that heavy alcohol we love
Iv: Very nice, not super funky
Ma: A little more subtle than Rum Fire. More lime forward
Matt: My favourite daiquiri so far. Flavour, balance and I’m getting extra drunk by it
Iv: More balanced than expected
Top: If you made daiquiris with this all your life, all your customers would be happy. Iv: Agreed!
Top: Great daiquiri. Has more character
Iv: Oh my, much more character
Ma: Coconut daiquiri!
Matt: Too much going on. Great drink but not a typical daiquiri. I prefer Rum Bar
Ma: Very fascinating
Iv: Rum Fire
Ma: Rum Bar
Matt: Rum Bar
Top: Rum Fire
A stalemate! These two Jamaican rums with the same abv are so different in character. It showed in the votes, they are divisive. Rum Bar is a bit more subtle and puts the lime more at the forefront. Rum Fire trumps it in character, which overpowers the lime somewhat. More balance with Rum Bar, more adventure with Rum Fire.
After two rounds it becomes a bit more clear what we are all looking for in a daiquiri. For Mariangela it seems a combination of stronger lime, fruitiness and rum flavour is ideal. Toplack is looking for balance and character. To me it has to be refreshing but I’d take character over balance. I have to be able to taste the rum. Also, less lime is more to me. It was Matt’s first round, but going by first impressions it seems he prefers the more classic daiquiri over a lot of character.
It shows how we are all looking for something slightly different, which makes this exercise even more interesting.
The winners of chapter 2: Probitas, Clairin Sajous, Foursquare Dominus, Rhum Rhum PMG, Mhoba French Cask and a stalemate between Rum Bar Overproof and Rum Fire.
After we finished the tasting I asked everyone for their top 2 daiquiris of the night. These were the tipsy answers:
Ma: Sajous and Mhoba
Iv: Mhoba and Rhum Rhum
Matt: Rum Bar and Rhum Rhum
Top: Sajous and Rhum Rhum…..but Mhoba was spectacular!
Oh what a night….