Serving Rum Flights at Home
If you’re like me, you have a lot of friends who don’t yet fully appreciate good rum, and a few who do. Regardless of their experience level, a good rum flight can turn a bourbon drinker into a rum lover and a rum lover into a rum evangelist.
What’s a rum flight? Like any flight of spirits, a rum flight is a selection of rums–often between three to five ~1 ounce samples within a theme set by the bartender. Most tiki bars and some bars that serve top quality cocktails have rum flights on the menu, but how does one put on a quality rum flight at home? Well, that depends on what rum you have in stock of course, but there are a number of themes you can use to help guide your selections. Here are some suggestions for rum flight themes:
- 12 year
- 15 year
- 21+ Over
- El Dorado
- Central America
- French Caribbean
- So many more…
- Solera process
One of the tricks to a rum flight is keeping track of what you’re serving and/or drinking. The solution is simple: place the glasses on a piece of paper and write the names of the rums on the paper next to each glass. To make this easier, you can use a pre-printed sheet with the circles, etc. already printed out like a placemat. The photo above shows the rum flight mat I use at my home bar. You can download a printable pdf copy here.
Besides the theme, the rum and the placemats, you’ll need glassware. There’s no real wrong answer here. I have seen small wine glasses and Glencairn whiskey glasses used. At home, I use small brandy snifters for a single flight. If doing more than one concurrently, I branch out into oversized shot glasses or rocks glasses.
The two other things you’ll need are filtered water and soda crackers such as Saltines for hydration and palate cleansing. Picking out the subtleties among the rums within the flight can be especially difficult for rum newbies–help them out with a palate cleaner in-between rums. You might find that it enhances your experience as well. Finally, avoid spicy foods before a rum tasting, as spicy foods can interfere with your taste receptors for hours after eating.
Another way to reset your sense of smell is to keep a jar of coffee beans handy. If everything starts to smell/taste similar, open the jar and take a deep sniff. Wait a few minutes and return to nosing.
Rum flights can be a really fun way to get your friends into rum, but they’re also fun for us rum lovers with sizable rum collections. As much as I love my rums, I tend to fixate on one or two rums for weeks at a time. Rum flights at home help me to get reacquainted with my rum collection and appreciate the differences among them.
Do you do rum flights at home or at bars? What suggestions do you have to make the experience more enjoyable? Please share your suggestions in the comments section below.
Here’s that downloadable rum flight placemat link one more time:
Rum Flight Mat (2.4 MB pdf )
If the link doesn’t work, right-click (CTRl-Click for Mac) and save the link target to your desktop instead.