Rum: it’s not just for pirates anymore!

Rum: it’s not just for pirates anymore!
Photo by Alice Proujansky

Rum running is back.

The popular pirate-swill is the latest elixir to titilate the borough’s ever-shifting tastes, as drinkers are rapidly realizing that rum drinks are so much more than the umbrella-garnished cocktails of yore.

“Rum is delicious and sweet, and light and refreshing,” said Wil Petre, the beverage director at The Farm on Adderley. “But it can be dark and complex, too.”

On Feb. 25, thirsty Brooklynites are invited to Sycamore Bar and Flowership in Ditmas Park to explore rum’s dynamic properties, and learn to make a mean rum cocktail, at the bar’s “Art of the Rum” cocktail course.

Rum’s recent popularity is a return to its original status in the country: the sugarcane-based spirit, was the sip of choice for early American colonists, though it fell out of favor after the revolution made American-crafted whiskey more appealing to newly founded nation.

Bartenders now promise there is nothing unpatriotic about drinking the Caribbean liquor.

“It’s speaking to a different era,” said Mike Mikos, a bartender at Sycamore who will be hosting the cocktail course. “But I don’t think it’s un-American.”

The sweet swill does not spring from a history of life, liberty and happiness, however; like many New World products, rum leaves behind a tangled past.

“Sugar was the oil of its age,” said Frederick Smith, a professor at the College of William and Mary, who wrote “Caribbean Rum: a Social and Economic History” after spending many summers in Barbados. “And the development of rum is tied to the rise of African slavery [in the New World]. Rum was also a way to reward enslaved people’s for hard work — and keep the system going without rebellion.”

But the spirit also represents the sweeter side of the Caribbean — it goes extremely well with fruits, for example — making this variety of hooch particularly appealing to chilly New Yorkers in the middle of winter.

“We’re still pushing forward with some of the tropical-style cocktails [at the event] so we can all imagine a better time,” said Mikos. “If you feel your manliness is challenged by the idea of a rum cocktail, you can just remember it was in Hemingway’s cocktail of choice.”

The Art of the Rum Cocktail at Sycamore Bar & Flowershop [1118 Cortelyou Road between Westminster Road and East 11th Street in Ditmas Park (347) 240-5850] Feb. 25, 5 pm. Tickets are $45. For more information, visit www.sycamorebrooklyn.com

Want to drink like Ernest Hemingway? Of course you do! Here’s a recipe for the literary master’s drink of choice: a rum daiquiri, courtesy of the skilled bartenders at Sycamore.

Rums to choose from:

El Dorado 3 yr (Guyana)

Kraken spiced rum (Trinidad and Tobago)

Lemon Hart 151 (Guyana)

Smith & Cross Navy Strength (Jamaica)

Ron Zacapa 23 yr. (Guatemala)

The recipe:

La Floridita Daiquiri

1 1/2 oz. white rum (El Dorado 3 yr.)

1/2 oz. Maraschino liqueur

1/2 oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 oz. simple syrup

Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.