Matusalem and the Hop Toad
Matusalem Gran Reserva is an old friend. I think we first met many years ago when I was tending bar at the Blue Water Café in Yaletown, but we didn’t become really tight pals until we buddied up at my stint at Lumière. It was one of several rums in my well, and over my tenure we became quite close.
But then Seattle called, and while my dear friend came with me, she seemed to play second fiddle to new, exciting rums such as the Ron Zacapa 23 Year and the Zaya 12 Year, even though they held different places in my repertoire of Sugarcane Companions.
Microsoft’s “ding!” of new email soon changed the situation, asking me if I was willing to try a sample of Matusalem Gran Reserva. “Abso-freekin-lutely!” was the quick (and sane) reply. While I naturally knew this bottle, it had been a long time since we had a good sit down.
And so sure enough, just the other day I got a knock on the door and there she stood, in all of her elegance, not the least put off that we had not spent much time together in the last year (she always did have class). I invited her in, got a glass, and we talked about old times. As the minutes slipped into hours we waxed nostalgic, as if not a minute had passed between us. Every bit as witty and complex as I remembered her, I decided to whip up a cocktail much used in my old Lumière days, the Waldorf-Astoria’s:
1 ½ Matusalem Gran Reserva rum
¾ oz Apricot liqueur (I used Giffard’s Abricot du Roussillon)
½ oz lime juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
While the Gran Reserva is a fine sipping rum, I’ve also found that she plays along well with other ingredients, especially ones like apricot, passion fruit and mango. Because she is an elegant spirit, go easy with citrus, as you don’t want those harsh acids to overtake Matusalem’s subtle nuances of bittersweet caramel, maple and vanilla.
Matusalem blends in perfectly with the apricot and the lime in the Hop Toad. If you can’t get Giffard’s Abricot then I suggest Rotham & Winter’s Orchard Apricot, but a quality apricot brandy/liqueur is a must in this cocktail. Cocktails, as with all things in life, are only as strong as their weakest link, so by ensuring that we are using a premium rum, quality liqueur and fresh lime juice we know that our libation has a good basis from which to start.
Happy mixing, and until next time!