Rum book review: ‘Rum’ by Isabel Boons and Tom Neijens
No tasting notes this time, but…a book review. Why not? There are almost no (good) books on rum in Dutch, so whenever there’s a new one on the market we should give it the credit it deserves.
“Rum – De Complete gids”, a hardcover book (that’s always a pro in my eyes!) is written by Isabel Boons (freelance foodwriter) and Tom Neijens (owner of the fantastic Tiki-Bar ‘The Drifter’ in Gent – Belgium).
The title says it all : the book tries to give the reader an overview on rum: what it is, how it’s been made, a bit of history, differences between agricole, Spanish style and English style, how to drink rum, cocktails, cigar pairing, etc… . It’s rather complete and yet not too long – or at least it doesn’t seem too long because it’s well written, and illustrated with some very nice pictures (also with lots of drawings…but I’m really not a fan of those, I’m afraid). A history of rum can be boring, but in this case it was a pleasure to read, thanks to the anecdotic way of telling the rum story. Another pro: short chapters, so again easy reading and handy if you want to look up a specific fact, brand or anecdote…
As a cachaça aficionado, I was pleasantly surprised to read a few words about my favourite drink in the book too. OK, only about the industrial cachaças and not about the really good stuff, but it’s a rumbook, not a cachaçabook.
The second part of the book is a selection of 50 rums with a bit of history and information about the brand, and short tasting notes. Between the thousands of rums that exists it is, of course, not easy to make a selection of 50. Luckily the writers choose to select only these rums one can actually find in the better liquor stores. Maybe just one little remark – and I know, taste is something very personal : the authors claim to only select high quality rum for the book. But in my humble opinion Bacardi, Don Papa or Captain Morgan are not really the best the market has to offer.
The book ends with a few short chapters like ‘Start to rum’ on how to drink rum, what kind of glassware to use, etc…; a selection of some classic rum cocktails and tiki’s; and a bit on cigars – how to smoke and how to pair.
The last pages are for some of the most famous rum/cocktail bars around the globe. Very interesting…but maybe for a next edition a personal thought. Since the book is available in Dutch, it might be more interesting to have a selection of bars in the Netherlands and Belgium. Not that I don’t want to visit Tokyo, Bologna or San Francisco – but chances are I rather will be searching for a good rum bar in let’s say Amsterdam, Antwerp or Brussels.
So in short: if you’re interested in rums, and you do understand a bit of Dutch: this is a must-have book. Published in 2016 by Lannoo with ISBN 978 94 014 3295 5 – and available for less than €25.