THE BARMAN reaches down for the bottle, appearing to look over his shoulder.
This rum is only available for those who ask, he says. Why?
“They call it plane fuel.”
And when you taste it, you’ll soon think that the Grenadine Air Alliance runs exclusively on the stuff.
The brand, made by St Vincent Distillers, Ltd is called Sunset, and the name is simple: “Very Strong Rum.”
It’s the most popular rum in St Vincent and the Grenadines, though it’s usually not consumed straight. By almost any account, this is the strongest rum in the Caribbean and, at 84.5 percent alcohol by volume (that’s 169 proof), it’s hard to argue.
As for the taste? Well, for the uninitiated, it may indeed taste like jet fuel.
For the sugarcane-inclined, those who might have experience with other strong rums like Jamaica’s Rum Fire and J Wray & Nephew, it’s a rather interesting rum. But those rums pale in comparison to the raw power of Very Strong Rum.
Taken neat, it nearly ignites as it hits the palate, so powerful that it feels that it evaporates almost immediately, giving at least the illusion of smoothness.
Vincentians take it in a number of ways (though hardly ever neat): some take it with coke, others with alternating shots of water, others with lime and water.
The barman insists that, taken correctly, one will never suffer a hangover — of course, the science of that statement remains a matter for further academic study.
We recommend with a coke, or with sugarcane syrup and lime juice as a very strong Ti’ Punch.
Or neat, if you need to get somewhere quickly.
Here’s the recipe for the Caribbean’s strongest rum punch, courtesy of St Vincent Distillers:
2 oz Sunset Very Strong Rum
1 oz Sunset Premium Rum
Juice of 1 lime
2 oz orange juice
2 oz pineapple juice
Dash Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Grenadine syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Shake and pour into a glass filled
with ice garnish with pineapple,
orange, lime slices.
Sprinkle nutmeg on top