At the 8th Annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum won the title “Best Rum” and was proclaimed a Double Gold Medal Winner. Although I didn’t get to participate in the selection process, I understand why it did so well because I was impressed by the beverage and can recommend it to fellow rum drinkers.
The Alvarez family uses a distillation and blending process, known as the Solera system, which was originally developed in late 1500s Spain for sherry. They began to make rum in Santiago de Cuba in 1872 and became known as a national brand. After Castro’s revolution, the family fled the country. Currently, the company operates in the Dominican Republic.
Because of the lengthy aging process where they blend young and older rums in French oak casks, they took the name Matusalem from the Spanish proverb “Esto es mas viejo que Matusalem,” which translates into “it’s older than Methuselah”. After 15 years, Matusalem Gran Reserva is ready to be served. They also offer Clasico, a 10-year-old blend, and Platino, a three-year-old blend.
Gran Reserva has a nice golden amber color. The bouquet has a very light sweetness, from the combination of molasses and plum. There are also mild hints of vanilla and caramel. In a shot straight out of the bottle, it’s definitely strong at 40% alcohol, but after the initial reaction from the swig, there’s no harsh aftertaste.
I also made myself the most basic rum drink: the Rum and Coke. I poured a shot of Gran Reserva over ice in a lowball glass, gave it a squeeze of lime, and then filled the remainder with RC Cola to create a smooth beverage that tasted so good and refreshing, it could lead one to trouble because you could easily get fooled about how much alcohol you drank.
Two drink recipes that are recommended by the makers of Gran Reserva are:
1 ½ oz. Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum
Juice from half a lime
1 ½ oz. Cointreau
1 ¼ oz. pineapple juice
Using a shaker with ice cubes, pour Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum; add lime juice, pineapple juice, and Cointreau; shake well; strain into chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a lime twist.
1 oz. Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum
¾ oz. lime juice
¼ oz. triple sec
½ oz. Bourbon
Using a shaker with ice cubes, pour Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum; add lime juice, pineapple juice, and Bourbon; shake well; strain into chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a lime twist.
Matusalem Gran Reserva Rum is available wherever fine liquors are sold.