pondering the proof of different spirits the other
day and wondered why Everclear comes in at a whopping 190
proof and 151 rum comes in at 151 proof (DUH) and yet on the
other side of that scale we have things like 3.2 beer which
is around 8 proof while regular beer averages 20 proof. And
to muddy these alcoholic waters even a bit further most of
the world is, or already has, switched from proof to ABV (alcohol
by volume). ABV is roughly half of proof so a 100 proof spirit
would weigh in at 50 ABV. Got it?
understand this mysterious thing called proof we have to sail
back to the 18th century when British sailors were paid partially
with rations of rum. To "prove" they weren't getting
watered down rum they would douse gunpowder with the rum and
see if it would ignite. If it did not, then they knew their
rum contained too much water and was considered "under
proof". Gunpowder would not burn in rum that contained
less than around 57% ABV; therefore, rum that did contain
at least this percentage of alcohol was considered to have
"100 degrees proof". So, thanks to a bunch of drunken
sailors, that is why today 100 proof is 50 ABV.
so that explains that whole proof and ABV thing, but why are
distillers producing such strong and weak booze? My own personal
take on this is fairly straightforward. Here in Ohio, for
example, we can only buy diluted spirits at our neighborhood
Kroger grocery stores. You need to go to a regular liquor
store to buy the full strength stuff. So the vodka is 42 proof
instead of the regular 80 to 100 proof. That allows me to
enjoy more drinks before dinner without actually drinking
more alcohol. So I drink 4 vodkas on the rocks instead of
just two and don't drink more than I really should. My liver
appreciates this little trick and so does my doctor. However,
I do keep some of the real stuff around for special and not
so special occasions.
alcohol content also translates to less calories and it seems
that these days everyone, women and even men are weight conscious.
why there are skinny rums and vodkas and other spirits as
well as light beer. Some of these very low and no alcohol
spirits were produced to keep distillers alive during the
prohibition. Other low alcohol drinks were produced to accommodate
"blue laws" against drinking. These laws prevented
the buying of full strength spirits in certain states and
counties and on certain days like Sundays. The higher proof
stuff not only makes for good, full flavored drinking but
it's also great for cooking since the alcohol cooks out leaving
just the flavor behind. And of course that really high proof
stuff is the only way to go if you just want to get shit faced
falling down drunk.
let's see which category Sugar Island Coconut Rum
falls into. The bottle is clear glass and has a mermaid on
the label and the biggest word on that label is "Sugar".
Could that be a clue? The label also indicates its 42 proof
or 21% Alcohol by Volume. Another clue? Well, here goes. The
nose is certainly a sugar rush chock full of coconut as well.
I can't discern any alcohol or rum just from the nose. It
honestly smells like candy. Ahh, I finally get a hint of rum
on the palate and that is definitely accompanied by the coconut
and that sweetness. It is sweet and smooth with the smoothness
no doubt being contributed from the strength of the rum at
only 42 proof. The finish is very sweet and coconutty and
smooth and long lasting leaving mostly a feeling like I had
just swallowed a spoonful of liquid sugar. This rum is a bit
to flavorful for me to enjoy straight up.
the rocks, it mellows out and settles down a bit but it is
still sugary sweet with a back of coconut follow distantly
by the rum. Now, don't get me wrong these flavors mix nicely
and the coconut really tastes like coconut, but boy is it
sweet. I made a mojito with it and that worked out really,
really well. The tartness of the mojito ingredients balanced
the sweetness of the rum and finally my mouth was happy. If
you can find it, it's selling for just under or around $20.00
per 750ml bottle.
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