In fact, Barbados rum, in the form of Mount Gay dark rum, has become James Bond's new tropical substitute for his iconic martini, as the Daniel Craig "Bond" orders "a Mount Gay rum and soda" while spying in the Caribbean.
Some equate summer with gin & tonic; for others it might be a frozen margarita or sangria. For me, I think "summer," I think "rum." It recalls memories of college beach parties as well as my first-ever rum drink. It was memorable: I was 18, on a hot date with a college boy from Tulane U., spending an exciting New Year's Eve in New Orleans' French Quarter. We dropped by the famous Pat O'Brien's where I was introduced to their signature cocktail....the Hurricane drink.
That began my personal love affair with rum, a spirit made from molasses, which originally was an unwanted by-product of the Caribbean sugar industry. Making two pounds of sugar from the cane yielded one pound of sticky molasses, which colonial planters promptly dumped into the ocean. Plantation slaves are credited with discovering how to turn the molasses into rum in the early 1600s. That first rum was so bitingly potent that some historians credit it with necessitating the birth of the "cocktail" because the locals found it necessary to add fruit juices to make the rum more palatable.
During college years, my drink of choice was rum & Coke. Several spring break vacations in the Bahamas introduced me to other rum drinks like Bahama Mamas. One night in a Nassau club, six college students--all of us on a shoe-string budget--figured that ordering a community bowl of rum-based Planter's Punch would be the frugal solution to linger as long s possible and enjoy the club's floor show without having to buy another drink.
We should have been able to nurse that drink for at least an hour. But when it arrived,--with six straws--everyone was paranoid they wouldn't get their 1/6th fair share, and we proceeded to drain the punch bowl in 15 minutes!
Today, in addition to cocktails, I put rum to good use in culinary creations, loving that rum (like vodka) has become the darling of the adult beverage industry due to the ever-increasing variety of flavors, ranging from coconut and spiced to pineapple and mango.
On my last Caribbean cruise, a bartender at the Princesa Restaurant in San Juan gave us an interesting tutorial on the eight types of rum produced in Puerto Rico. He even explained which rums could be substituted for vodka, gin, whisky, tequila and even scotch.