I just love rum. In a subliminal way, my brain associates good rum with good sex. The warm sensuous flow of fine barrel-aged dark rum over eagerly waiting taste buds brings physical analogies to mind that are best not described in public. I suppose the mellow high after drinking enough of the good stuff has its own sexual equivalent as well. Overall, I’ve tried forming relationships with many other liquors, but none of them have tickled the gustatory version of my erogenous zones in the way rum has (I suppose rum has good technique, one could say). Maybe it has something to do with the combination of a darkly transparent color and an inviting aroma with many shades, none of them clear but all hinting at lovely possibilities. After all, I always was a sucker for dusky women with complex personalities.
My long affair with rum has another parallel as well, which may be a bit harder to explain. I became a rum drinker at the age of eighteen, which was also roughly when I started seeing my first serious girlfriend. I’m thirty-three now and happily married. The intervening fifteen years, to put it delicately, have been enjoyable. Introspectively, what’s interesting to me is that the sort of woman who piques my interest (post-marriage in a detached way, I may add) has undergone a gradual but definite transition over this phase of my life. Long ago, I found regular “hot babes” desirable, but these days I’m drawn towards more enigmatic, confident women, often with dark or conflicted shades to them. In a strange reflection of this change, my rums over the years have sort of followed my women. For many years, the only thing to pass my lips would have been McDowell’s No. 1 Celebration XXX rum which is an economical and quality product but needs a cola mixer to be made into a decent drink. After moving to the US at twenty-four, I found other rums, but lacked the maturity to appreciate their finer points and tended to waste them by diluting them with whatever was at hand. Only in recent years have I seen how juvenile all of this was. By trial and error with many brands and ingredients, I’m happily settled now with a drink that I can live with for a long time (Ron Zacapa Centenario rum with one large ice cube in a highball glass). Hence, I can’t help but imagine that at some level, maturity is reflected both in one’s choice of partner and drink. There is a common theme that stands out here: take a long time to try out many, but if you find a good one, stick with it – rum or wife. You can probably guess that it’s my anniversary today.
Anyway, enough philosophy and self-searching for one article. Being the lovely girl that she is and having guessed that the two things on my mind right now are rum and sex, my wife made some rum balls (the dessert variety). Enjoy.
Vegetable oil, cooking spray
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling
1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Melt butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
2. Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate mixture, then fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until top is shiny and a cake tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
3. Break up brownie into small pieces; transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With machine on low speed, pour in rum, and mix until crumbs start to come together to form a ball.
4. Shape into 1-inch balls, and roll in sanding sugar to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet; refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 2 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature.