Monday, March 29, 2010

Recipe and Rating: Twelve Mile Limit, take 2

About two months ago, I made a cocktail that Rumdood posted on his site in order to provide my take on it. My take turned out to be misguided, for both the venerable Frederic and the Dood himself made comments on my post, declaring my rum choice inferior.

This goes to show how much variability there is in the "rum" category. I had used Appleton Estate White, a fairly decent light Jamaican rum, but apparently it didn't pack the "punch" that the drink needed. I was advised to use a rum stronger in flavor, and so I've gone overboard in this advice by using Neisson Blanc.

Neisson Blanc is rhum agricole, which is basically a type of rum made in the French West Indies fermented from raw sugar cane juice, instead of molasses. The result is usually a high proof fiery mixture which tastes grassy and rubbery instead of smooth and spicy. What's worse, I'm using a blanc rhum agricole, which is "rested" in barrels for only a few months, while even the lightest white rums are usually aged much longer. The resting is used more so that sulfuric compounds can evaporate from the distillate, not for aging. The product of all this is a harsh spirit which tastes entirely of its source material, and is not favored by spirit novices (if the past rum tasting that I hosted with friends is any indication). So here I go, trying the drink again with this very very different r(h)um.

Twelve Mile Limit

1 oz white rum (used Neisson Blanc)
.5 oz brandy (used Salignac VS cognac)
.5 oz rye whiskey (used Old Overholt)
.5 oz grenadine (used 1-2-3 Cocktails brand... all natural with cane sugar)
.5 oz lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

What a difference. When last time I could almost only taste lemon, now I can taste everything. It's as if the lemon juice needed a strong rum to keep it in check, and when done, they both fall to the background. I immediately tasted the cognac, and in the background, the nuttiness of rye. As I said above, rhum agricole is known to be harsh and uninviting, but in this I can only taste its positives; its fire and rubber remain docile as its floral flavors take over. I never thought this one ingredient could change so much, but it did.

Rating: 7/10


  1. "Given all that, Neisson is a brand more harsh than most, if I'm not mistaken." I wouldn't class Neisson Blanc as particularly harsher than most white rhum agricole, in fact I find it pleasanter to drink than either La Favorite or Rhum JM Blanc. It is true, though, that rhum agricoles are a bit of a acquired taste for most novice r(h)um drinkers.

  2. Ah, then I was mistaken. I'll remove that from the post. Thanks!

  3. I was drinking La Favorite last night and thinking about trying it in a 12 Mile Limit.

    I think tonight I'll have to follow-through with that thought.

    This is the great and maddening thing about working with rum cocktails. With so much variation you can spend months working on one recipe trying to find the right rum to make a drink work.

    Your first impression of a cocktail may be negative even when using a "good" rum because it just isn't the "right" rum for the job.

    Actually, this isn't limited to just rum. Try a Sazerac with the wrong whiskey or an Aviation with the wrong gin and you're likely to not find the drink overly appealing either.

    Such experimentation is the "burden" we must bear. ;-)

  4. Gave it a try --- nice and refreshing. Used ED3 year as I didn't have your suggest white rum and used Rittenhouse bonded.

    I wonder if the grenadine dialed back a little would generate a little more from the spirits (which seem to be a little hidden behind the citrus and sweetness)?

  5. Interesting take, Keith. I'm not sure I noticed the grenadine as a shrouding factor for me, when I made it.

  6. a bit of an over use of the word little in my prior post ... that's what happens when you drink and write at the same time.

    i think i'll give this another go but with a rhum agricole (given the small fortune i've spent building up a pretty modest rum collection, i should add one of these to the group) and cognac (vs. the brandy i used). maybe these will bring forth a little something something that my original trial didn't have? still liked the drink even with my subs.