Pecan Street Rum: The Menage-a-Trois of a Cow, Rum, and Molasses

Pecan Street Rum: The Menage-a-Trois of a Cow, Rum, and Molasses

Uttering the word “rum” and inviting a person to freely associate from there is a fun game. Polynesian girls, cabana boys, pineapples, ocean, sun, beach, sand, coconuts, pirates, British soldiers and so on… these are the words that most often come to mind. The word missing from that list—by a wide margin—is “pecan.” Indeed, nuts in general are seldom associated with rums where the usual suspects tend towards the tropical fruits and perhaps exotic spices.

Yet the pecan is a surprisingly good nut to associate with rum. It is the only naturally occurring nut in North America so mixes nicely with rum, which is the only spirit to originate in the “new world.” In fact, pecans served as the basis for a fermented liquor for the native Americans called powcohircora. More recently, New Orleans emerged as a major pecan market distribution center for pecans across the entire mercantile world in the 19th century. (Thank you to the National Pecan Shellers Association for the above facts.)

Insert Pecan Street Rum. The Spirit of Texas Distillery combines the surprisingly appropriate confluence of pecans with rum fort their first launch in 2010: the aptly named “Pecan Street Rum.” They create their rum from “the finest” molasses and distill it on site in Texas, then give it an aging in a combination of American Oak with a pecan infusion. While aging rum in oak gives it the classic caramel and vanilla flavor notes that come with a good aging, the added flavor notes offered by the infusion of pecans gives the rum an extra dimension that they describe as a “hint of sweetness followed with a sensation of pecans.”

To prove the point, they sent us a bottle to try… and try it we did.

Why does one go off the beaten path to acquire a pecan rum? To answer, it seemed appropriate to compare the Pecan Street to a classic aged rum and a current spiced rum… we presumed that the Pecan Street would offer something beyond the traditional flavors of the former and the pop-culture sensations of the latter. For comparison points, we chose the widely available Cruzan aged rum and the newly released Bacardi Oakheart spiced rum.

As is our custom, we always try the spirit naked and then perhaps dressed up with a dash of water or a little ice. Briefly, the familiar Cruzan aged is “decent” and “good” while the Oakheart caused dissension in the ranks between those who like overly sweet spirits and those who don’t—the Oakheart is heavily sweetened and certainly designed to appeal to the younger, cavity-seeking crowd. The Pecan Street falls in an interesting point defined by this spectrum. We would claim that it is very lightly sweet with a very significant pecan (or some kind of nut) aroma present on the nose and on the finish. A little water most definitely brings out the peculiar pecan characteristics.

Disclaimer: it is rather unlikely, we feel, that anyone who doesn’t like pecans would buy a “pecan flavored rum” any more than they would seek out a pecan pie. We had a few in our ranks who turned up their nose and then admitted to not liking pecans. To these elite we must invoke our universal disclaimer: “You can’t hate something for being what it is.” Rather, do the flavors work? We stipulate that the following remarks are appropriate for those who enjoy pecans in the first place.

So, moving along, is this a sipper? Yes, we feel it can be a sipper… but the profile is one-note. This is like a romance movie heavy on the unrequited love: if you’re in favor of and in the mood for a tear-jerker of a movie (or action in an action movie or blood in a horror movie or whatever), then God bless you and enjoy yourself. But a symphony of flavors this is not. From this standpoint, we felt Pecan Street’s highest and best purpose (outside of a hard-core group of pecan idolaters) was as a complement to other flavors. That is, cocktails!

Happily, their marketing website provides for several recipes—all interestingly focusing on a sweetened-and-citrus posture. We came right out of the gate with their Texas Quencher cocktail:

Texas Quencher

2 oz Pecan Street Rum

1 oz cranberry juice

4 oz 7 Up

1 twist of lime

As is our practice, we tried all three comparative rums in this drink: the Cruzan, the Pecan Street, and the Oakheart. Well, the combination of all the sugar in the Oakheart with the 7-Up turned into something that made even the sweet-toothed among have a fleeting thought of diabetes and sucrose overdose. Yuck. In the Cruzan, it was still very sweet but at least offered a bit of subtlety. We agreed that this was a punch-styled cocktail that would go well in the midafternoon. But with the pecan… well, the citrus and the pecan did not, we feel, mix particularly well. This was interesting because of the 6 recipes offered by the website, 5 of them had a citrus element. We followed the Texas Quencher right up with the Pecan Sunset… similar results. Oakheart was yucky, Cruzan was decent… but something about the citrus and the pecan didn’t feel right.

Let’s get out of the soda-pop world… we moved over to a very classically prepared Daiquiri cocktail:

Daiquiri

½ lime worth of fresh lime juice

Sugar (we used agave syrup)

2 oz rum

Dash of grenadine (we used all natural Stirrings grenadine)

Nothing saves the Oakheart, not even the Hemmingway classic. This is a shooter for someone looking to accent dental bills. Love the Cruzan version… for those who like stiffer drinks in the classical preparation, this is a winner. The acidity does indeed accent the pecan—it was easier to pick out in the cocktail than it was when merely sipped—but the blend was discordant.

Alright, let’s get out of the citrus world. In a fit of inspiration, we moved over to the cream-and-sweet world. We invented a drink on the spot: Unnamed Cocktail.

Unnamed Proof66 Cocktail April 2012 Pecan Inspiration

2 oz rum

1 oz cream

1 oz amaretto

Now we’re on to something! With the cream and sweetness from the amaretto (itself often proclaimed to have an almond flavor) the pecan was unleashed and elevated the drink massively. The pecan version absolutely destroyed the Cruzan version and the Oakheart version was simply (and predictably) vile. Cream, we decided, was a key ingredient when considering the Pecan Street rum. We tried several more dessert iterations trying different combination of berries, cream, and in varying degrees of strength. While our cocktail escapades fared better or worse depending upon the given muse, the common theme was the same: Oakheart: sucky, Cruzan: okay, Pecan Street: effing phenomenal.

So that’s where we are: we feel that the Pecan Street rum has a highly specialized audience: 1) people who like pecans (duh), and 2) cocktails that feature a little sugar and a little cream. Once those variables have been isolated, Pecan Street is a fantastic rum. In just about any cream-based cocktail, Pecan Street Rum is like the high-definition on a regular TV program: simply makes it better in every conceivable way.

This is what we enjoy about the craft-distilling movement: they’re able to experiment with and produce niche products that have a highly specialized appeal. That it is so appropriate to the tradition of North America and the American Southeast in general is an added bonus.


2012-05-06
Published by Proof66.com