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Mixers, Water, Ice and Glasses

All of the ingredients in a cocktail contribute to the experience.


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Old 07-20-2008, 10:08 PM   #1
The Scribe
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Default Neat, On the Rocks, or With Water

One of my quests as I wonder through the land of Booze is to understand the whole debate of neat, or on the rocks, or with a splash of water. Here is what I know:

Ice tends to cool things, and, in the process, also adds water to the drink. I have also noticed that cooling tends to reduce sweetness, especially, but flavour in general.

Water tends to dilute the drink, which usually smooths it out. It also allows more elements to come into play. Generally, it also makes the texture of the drink more buttery of oily.

In reviewing spirits, I always start neat, progress to adding water, and finally a small cube of ice. Tonight, I tried Pusser's, and it started out with me saying "Man. I just got a pretty expensive mixing rum!" to adding water and going "This is actually quite good. I don't want to add ice because it can only go downhill." and finally "Wow. With ice this is incredible. This bottle might only last a week or two!"

What are your thoughts?
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:43 PM   #2
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Scribe, for myself, it is a matter of mood and taste. I drink rum in all three catagories. Sometimes neat, or with a few drops of water, or with an ice cube. I never use alot of ice, as the rum will water down too quickly. IMHO, some rums are actually better with a few(5 or 6) drops of water, because they open up. When doing a tasting, I always taste neat first then add drops of water and taste again. And I agree, the ice will tend to "cool" the taste buds a little, but sometimes I just want it a little cold. I will use never more than one lagre ice cube, or two or three tiny ones. I also agree that Pusser's is great with a touch of ice, except for the 15, which is excellent neat, or just with a drop or two.
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:43 PM   #3
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Rum is similiar to beer and wine: chilling the liquid "numbs" your tastebuds, hiding bad flavor. Notice how Bud Light tastes warm (yuchhh!) and if you chill it, you might be able to tolerate it with only a slight grimace. Ice cold you hardly notice it's offensive flavor. Guinness or a great flavored red ale is often drunk warmer, so as not to hide the flavor.

How does one drink a $3 bottle white Zinfandel? Ice cold, thats how.
But don't you dare "hide" the flavor of a good cabernet by chilling it, to bring out the flavor it needs to be nearly room temperature.

Try sometime putting a teaspoon of something noxious (say, a teaspoon of mustard) and compare it to the same experiment after you had your mouth full of ice-cubes --- with ice cubes as a prelude, you could bite down on nearly anything, as I learned in 4th grade, while reading a particular Encyclopedia Brown adventure.

Water dilutes the alcohol level which may allow you to taste non-alcohol flavors in the rum, but too much water dilutes all the flavors nondiscriminately. Ice, (in my opinion and Encyclopedia Browns), simply hides your tastebuds from bad flavors.

Although I'm not an expert as others on this board are, I still drink rum with ice cubes, occasionally water, and often neat. Many times I will drink a single rum in all three ways to experience the change, but usually I find one way I like each rum the best --- and the best quality rums I always enjoy with less chill, and less extra water. The harshest rums find me reaching for the icebox.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:35 AM   #4
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stockdoct, you said it perfectly!

The only things Ill drink chilled are Tequila, vodka, and beer. All three, coincidentally are not my favorite things to drink. Though a cold beer sounds GOOOOD right now!

In respect to rum, Ill add a few dashes of water if the heat and intensity of the rum is masking its true flavors that need to be released with the water.
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:44 AM   #5
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Default Nice or Ice

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Scribe View Post

....In reviewing spirits, I always start neat, progress to adding water, and finally a small cube of ice. Tonight, I tried Pusser's, and it started out with me saying "Man. I just got a pretty expensive mixing rum!" to adding water and going "This is actually quite good. I don't want to add ice because it can only go downhill." and finally "Wow. With ice this is incredible. This bottle might only last a week or two!"

What are your thoughts?....
I had exactly the same experience with the Pussers!

However I find the reverse happens for me with the Angostura 1824...delectable straight up or the tiniest drop of water.....mouldy boot polish with ice..

It truly seems to be each rum to their own..
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:47 PM   #6
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I am not sure that a bit of ice is such a bad thing. I was having the Cruzan Single Barrel last night, and what I realized is that ice pushes back sweetness primarily, and bitterness to a lesser extent, but doesn't push back aromatic flavours nearly as much. This means that you lose all the variations on honey, toffee, caramel, and most of what you get from molasses, as well as a large part of most citrus, but ice does help highlight spice notes and wood notes. This is no bad thing, in my mind, since those spices tend to be a lot more special than sweetness, which I can find in most rums.

Oh, and I forgot to end the original post properly, but here it is now:

"I'd rather be in a boat with a drink on the rocks than in the drink with a boat on the rocks."
Cheers. - S
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:54 AM   #7
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Appleton VX w/ ice? Or w/o ice? What say you?

How about with Coke? Which runs do you prefer?
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:08 AM   #8
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I started out drinking all my sipping rums neat, and some I still do, but for the most part i like just a splash of water. I find it smooths out most rums so you get less of the alcohol burn and more of the subtle flavors. I don't like on the rocks at all. I think if the rum vaporizes in your mouth a bit it brings your sense of smell into the experience more. If the rum is chilled with ice it is not going to vaporize nearly the same way. That's my theory anyway!
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:34 AM   #9
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If I am at home, I use my spirits style tasting glasses. I have some made by Reidel and a knock-off brand that look a little different, which comes in handy if I am comparig two different rums.

They don't hold a lot, like a snifter does. I pour in maybe two - three ounces.

I try to let the rum rest in the glass at keast 10 minutes before I start sipping. When the contents is about 3/4 gone, I usually slip a small piece of ice in that has a moderate impact on the temperature but changes the dilution slowly as it melts.

If it's a lesser aged rum, I might jump the gun and throw the ice in earlier (or just pitch it) ; -)

Most of my rum consumption is in cocktail form. Sipping as per above is mostly about thinking about how a rum might work in a cocktail.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:51 PM   #10
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Check out the rum recipe contest. Occam's Cocktail is right up the lines of this posting thread. It should make everyone happy.
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