This party was starting to become my white whale – back in 2012 the Washington Post wrote an article about hosting your own rum tasting party. Everyone is supposed to bring a different bottle of rum so you can taste varying styles and ages. I immediately latched on to the idea and tried to make it happen…4 years later, success! No this is not a difficult party to throw but you do need friends to sign up in advance so you can ensure a proper amount of bottles are represented. You also need to get over the stigma of too many bad Captain and Cokes consumed during college. Most of my friends said they would happily come to a tequila, scotch, whiskey…pretty much anything but rum tasting party. Luckily I came up with a couple brave enough friends and it was a blast. My buddy Devin, who has probably been to 99% off all parties I have hosted, declared it the. best. ever.
So as I said, have everyone you invite plan on bringing a bottle for the party to consume. We ran the gamut from black rum, 12 year old Dominican rum (hands down the crowd favorite), to Mt. Defiance rum made right here in Virginia. I made sure to have plenty of small tasting cups for everyone to sip out of. People really got into the spirit, helped along by a good tropical Spotify playlist. Unfortunately, lots of pineapples had to die for this party to work, not only for the food but also as decoration. The produce manager at Harris Teeter must have thought I was a loon carting off over a dozen pineapples!!! Totally worth it though to finally execute the cute, flowers in the pineapple thing, I have seen a million times on Pinterest.
When throwing a liquor tasting party, you really need to think carefully about your menu. No one wants all of their guests in a drunken stupor before the 1st course is even served! I decided to go with heavy with the appetizers as they would be served while we worked our way through the tastings. Basically I fried everything I could get my hands on. I also made a really light rum punch to drink alongside the tasting (as recommended by the original article).
Oh baby are these good – if deep drying intimidates you try shrimp. You need way less oil, they cook quickly and with the crunchy coconut crust you are going to get that nice crisp texture no matter what.
I randomly found this recipe during some internet searching for Caribbean appetizers. They were so light and crispy and great dipped into some bottled spicy mango sauce. Since you are already heating up the oil for the shrimp might as well fry some more!
Following the tasting and appetizers most people switched to beer or wine and we served a full dinner.
This marinade is SO powerful and delicious. I went with just boneless chicken breasts for the party to make life easier on myself, as opposed to bone in chicken but if you have the time go for it. Best of all it’s delicious room temperature so you can grill the chicken before your guests even arrive.
After all the fried and spicy foods I wanted a nice crisp slaw to balance everything out. This one is nice and colorful and has a sweet hit from the mango.
So delicious along with the spicy jerk chicken you definitely should take the time to serve this fried rice out of the pineapple shells for the party.
Key Lime Puffs
These were my own creation – basically I wanted something really light since it was such a heavy menu. I used Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Cups, filled them with key lime curd, topped with lime zest and a star fruit slice for decoration. I think a plate of tropical fruits would also be the perfect end to this awesome party.
This was definitely worth the wait but I suggest you not and throw a rum tasting party this weekend to celebrate the end of summer. I am already thinking of another next tasting party – any suggestions for what to do next???