Remember a few weeks back when I dubbed the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival the world’s sexiest rum party? Well, the extensive collection of fine rums, the Blood Orange Daiquiri recipe I’l; share in a moment, and the equally fine style-conscious crowd weren’t the only things sizzling at the event. Basically, it was hot…damn hot.
This, of course, only heightened the sexiness as rum fans who had arrived scantily-clad, to begin with, became progressively more-so as the afternoon wore on.
Fine rums, hot bodies, South Beach, a clear blue sky and new friends – I was not complaining.
Still, rum is not exactly a great thirst quencher, especially if you’re sampling neat. After a couple of laps around the circuit of Festival rum bars, I was in need of some serious refreshment. Surprisingly, I found it in the uncommon pairing of the two bottles pictured above.
The squat-looking fellow on the left is Solerno, a blood orange liqueur from Italy that, according to my bartender, had just become available in Florida this past March. The taller bottle on the right is Sailor Jerry, a spiced rum with a serious backstory.
Sailor Jerry was a real guy; his name was Norman Keith Collins. He was also a real sailor, enlisting in the U.S. Navy at age 19. His real claim to fame: he’s the most famous tattoo artist of all time.
Back in the 1920s, the adventurous seaman from Nevada set off for Japan to learn the sacred art of tattooing. He was the first westerner to do so, effectively bringing the practice to the states when he opened Hawaii’s first tattoo parlor in Honolulu’s Chinatown during the 1930s. The customers back then were all hardened sailors like Jerry himself, but as we’ve seen, the tattoo trend has expanded in recent years to encompass just about everybody…and their grandmother too…
If you’re distraught over the tribal ink you recently discovered peeking out over your teenage daughter’s waistline, this is the guy to blame.
Like all good sailors, Jerry had his own personal recipe for spiced rum, discovered long after he died in 1973. A small collection of Philadelphia-based Sailor Jerry devotees dedicated to preserving the legendary tattoo artist’s legacy and designs primarily through fashion joined forces with the Scottish distiller, William Grant & Sons, to give birth to Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum using the long-lost personal recipe.
While it doesn’t match the new Cruzan 9 in my book (nothing does), I’ve always liked Sailor Jerry. It’s pretty strong at 92-proof, but also very smooth. Like Cruzan 9, the rum flavor in Sailor Jerry is not overshadowed by an over-emphasis on spices. Good balance, nice flavor – just not as refined.
- 1-1/2 oz Sailor Jerry
- 3/4 oz Solerno
- 3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
What I didn’t know before sitting down to write this is that Sailor Jerry, though based in Philly, is actually distilled on my home island of St. Croix – no wonder I like this stuff!
On that broiling hot day in Miami, I was loving the combination of Sailor Jerry and Solerno in a wonderfully refreshing cocktail called the Blood Orange Daiquiri. To make one of your own, just combine all the ingredients in your glass, mix and add ice.
I can tell you from experience, this is a great antidote to the squelching summer temps most of us are enduring right now.