I’ll first get this disclaimer out of the way: Dushan Zaric, Jason Kosmas, and Simon Ford are worklife heroes of mine I learned so much from growing up in the bars of New York City. They exemplify statesmen in the world of better drinking. And if their rum sucked I’d be the first one to say so.
Their rum however, is awesome. I’ve personally made a few runs at getting a truly cuban-style rum manufactured by some very talented American distillers but it’s a confoundedly difficult process that is yet to yield a product I’d serve you. The aforementioned principals of the 86 Spirits Co. must’ve known that because they went to the Michael Jordan of rum distilling, Don Pancho Fernandez to bring the cuban carta blanca style of rum to our shores (and hopefully the rest of the world, because it is freaking good).
Don Pancho’s responsible for Ron Zacapa, Zafra, and Plantation Panama amongst a number of other world-class spirits. Caña Brava is a real departure from his other marks. It’s a return to roots. Sr. Fernandez made Cuban rum in Cuba and it shows. There’s a fruit-yeasty undercurrent in the spirit that when hit with lime and sugar explodes with honeyed flavor and a floral but not at all cloying scent. It’s got that Cuban magic.
Now products we can’t legally acquire are often pointlessly fetishized, and that point is well-proven in the world of alcohol. I’ve been introduced to countless products that conjure whispers of awe on the lips of drink geeks, but leave me thinking I could care less if this stuff ever gets distributed in the US. However, the mystique of Cuban rum reflects a superior product that has tangible complexities in tis fit, finish, and flavor. Now that Caña Brava has hit the market, finally everyone can understand the hype without resorting to smuggling.
Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar, General Manager