Triumvirate Rum: Customer Appreciation You Can Sip

TriumvirateRum_byMartinCate.jpg
Martin Cate
(L to R) Smuggler's Cove owner Martin Cate and Masters John Boatwright, Mark Holt, and Ron Roumas
You don't typically expect drinking to offer more rewards than a good time or occasional claim of longevity, but Smuggler's Cove, the neo-tiki bar in Hayes Valley, offers graduates of Rumbustion Society a little more.

Ron Roumas, Mark Holt, and John Boatwright were the first three customers to finish the bar's 200-rum tasting club. The feat earned them a trip to House Spirits Distillery in Portland, Ore., to distill their own Triumvirate Rum, made from 100 percent organic molasses from Barbados and aged for five months in a used whiskey barrel. Triumvirate Rum is making its debut on May 3 at Smuggler's Cove and for a limited retail run at Cask on May 14.

SFoodie caught up with Ron Roumas and Mark Holt to talk about the rum and how you drink 200 of them.

SFoodie: What surprised you guys most from your work distilling the rum?

Ron Roumas: I was surprised most when, at the end of the second day, after filling a paper-wrapped bottle with the distilled spirits, Martin lifted the paper sleeve from the bottle and I first saw the label for Triumvirate Rum. Pretty darn cool!

Mark Holt: I was amazed at how tasty the rum was at 130 proof as it came directly out of the still!  

Do you enjoy the Triumvirate best straight or in a cocktail?

RR: I'm really excited by the flavor profile of Triumvirate straight. I may be biased, but I think it's a damn fine rum. I've only consumed it straight and in a daiquiri.

MH: It is nice neat, but I love it in a classic daiquiri made with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Did the tasting change the kinds of rums you now enjoy?

RR: It most certainly did. I have learned a great appreciation for the smoky Demerara rums. When the Zombie Apocalypse commences and I find myself surrounded by the flesh-rending and gorging multitudes, I will go for a nice cigar and my bottle of El Dorado 15-year. I'll then reach for my favorite rum, El Dorado 25-year, and spend my last moments with that touch of heaven in a glass.

MH: Yes, my preferred rums initially only included the dark, sweeter rums (i.e., Pyrat Cask 1623, Ron Zacapa Solera 23-year, Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva), but as I worked my way through the Rumbustion Society my rum palate expanded to include some of the agricole rums (Rhum J.M., La Favorite Rhum), rums not easily available in the U.S. (Ron Millonario from Peru or the Cachaças from Brazil), and rums from times past. 

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The idea of sampling 200 rums sounds daunting! How do you prepare for such a feat?

MH: Once you start the Rumbustion journey, make sure to eat before arriving at the Cove -- you'll need the food to absorb the rum. Get to the Cove early so you can get a seat at the bar -- you will want to interact with the bartender and drink lots of water throughout the evening. It makes the next morning much more tolerable!  Also, don't be an amateur and overimbibe ... this is a marathon, not a sprint; plus, you want the staff to look forward to your visits and not dread them!

RR: A large body mass index and a small government loan.

Smuggler's Cove, 650 Gough (at McAllister), 869-1900
Cask, 17 Third Street (at Market), 281-6486

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk.
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