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Easily consumable in a bind
Well, you know the feeling! This bar may stock a few good single malt scotches and high end bourbons, but never would you find some of the finer rums in there. It is as if these don't even count for most drinkers, and this needs to change. All they would have would be Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Sailor Jerry, or Kraken. If you were lucky, they may stock Myer's Dark or Matusalem. As with tequila, all good spirits start with blanco or white. Get the basic spirit wrong and there's no hope for it in the aging process. So maybe they would have Don Q Cristal or Cruzan Light.
I rarely drink cocktails at home made with white rum, since I prefer to sip aged rums neat. However, I have been on a mission to find good acceptable budget white rums that I may find in many bars. When I ask the bartender what brands he has, I have been known to respond with, "Thanks, but I will just have a Heineken" (the beer of the Caribbean is brewed in Kingston, Jamaica!).
I have already rated Don Q Cristal and now it is Cruzan Light's turn. It is light years better than anything by Bacardi and has a bit more flavors than Don Q Cristal due to Cruzan's aging process. Cruzan also has a burn on the palate and going down, but not overpowering. I would not sip it neat as I would Plantation 3-Star Artisanal, but this Cruzan Light would make a good budget mixer at less than $10 per bottle. I have no idea what kind of hangover it would produce and am not about to try that test. I doubt that it could beat Don Q Cristal on that point.
The next morning, I did my usual side by side taste test neat against my other leading white rum mixer, Matusalem Platino. The differences are so subtle that the cost differences allow Cruzan Light to win! At half the price of Matusalem Platino and much more flavor than Don Q Cristal, this one was a no-brainer to become my go-to white rum mixer. It also makes a great Cuba Libre and when I order it in a bar, it will be "Cruzan Light and Coke with a lime". Bartenders do not understand the term "Cuba Libre" where I live. Yes, the Matusalem made with the original Cuban formula would make it more authentic, but taste and cost governs here. So, start demanding better quality rums in bars!
I would recommend Cruzan rums in general. They make a great standard in all flavors with some of the best price points in the market. This is a must have for any bar. The light has smooth finish with a hint of vanilla. Mixes well with colas and boat style drinks.Where it is not a premium you can still serve neat and on rocks.
I get very little aroma on this one. A little vanilla on the tongue. Very little burn. Finishes with little after taste. I will likely keep this add a mixer.
After a little more tasting and thought, I decided to update my review. This is a solid mixer. I probably won't drink it straight, but it works wonderfully when mixed. Far superior to the huge brand light rums. Adds a little something extra that I can't really put my finger on.
Here is a "good" basic rum, can be a bit harsh, but generally a good mixer for drinks like monitor or rum punch. We I worked on St. Croix a bottle of Coke cost more than a bottle of Cruzan so we mixed about equal parts.
Yes, there are plenty of outstanding light rums out there, but for the price, Cruzan aged light is great for parties where price and volume are essential. A mellow finish makes it the anti-Bacardi. It is unassuming and allows flavors to blend well without overpowering them. The price point makes it hard to pass up for large parties.
This is a great choice for mixing in any tropical fruit drink, in a Cuba Libre or in a basic mojito, and avoids the naphthalene qualities of most white rums, such as the ubiquitous but horrendous Bacardi "Superior." Any bar or restaurant could do well by making this their well rum. Not really a sipper but it is great in just about any basic tropical cocktail and at a great price. Just a nice all-around inexpensive rum. Try touching this off with a little bit of Mount Gay Black Barrel for a pleasing combination taste, particularly in a mojito.
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