Sunday, July 20, 2014

Monkey Rum –The New York City Launch Party


The poster promoting the event

On one of those sultry summer evenings that’s typical for mid-July in New York City, I happened to spend a rather drunk night attending the official launch party for Monkey Rum.  I blame Zane Lamprey and Steve McKenna for this. 

The party was held at an appropriately-named venue -- The Three Monkeys Bar in midtown Manhattan (near The Ed Sullivan Theater where David Letterman tapes his talk show).  Not only did I get a chance to taste the rum – both on its own and in cocktails – I also got to meet Zane and Steve. 


First, some background on my history with Zane.  Some years ago, I started watching “Three Sheets” on what was then The Mojo network and became fascinated at how much I learned about the spirits and the drinking culture worldwide. After Mojo went off the air, there were several unsuccessful attempts to revive the show across multiple networks.  During the time when the show was off the air, Zane was planning his next television venture, “Drinking Made Easy” on Mark Cuban’s HDNet (now AXS-TV).  At this time, Zane set up a Web site of the same name as the new television show and was looking for contributors to the blog portion of that site; as a fan of Zane’s, I submitted a writing sample and was asked to be a regular contributor. That was in 2010 and I continue to be proudly contributing to that blog to this day


Although I’ve attended other New York City-based events Zane has held here, this was the first time I’ve had an opportunity to attend one since becoming a blogger for his Web site.  As Zane sauntered amidst the crowd socializing with the revelers, he eventually made his way over to me, at which point I introduced myself and informed him that I was one of the bloggers on his Drinking Made Easy Web site.  Since I can’t immediately think of a word better than “underwhelmed” in order to describe Zane’s reaction, I’ll simply use that one.  After about 15 or 16 years of staring at me after introducing myself (although in reality, it may have been a bit less than that), Zane countered with, “So what do you write about?”. 

“Spirits and cocktails”, I replied, now no longer able to disguise the fact that neither one of us was interested in continuing this conversation. 

“What did you think of the rum?”, he asked, apparently fishing for a compliment. 

“Well, to be honest, I haven’t tasted it on its own yet – only in cocktails”, I answered, trying desperately to extricate myself from an awkward situation that was only getting worse. 

“I’ll get you some, then!”, Zane responded, immediately disappearing. 

Eventually, one of the hostesses for the evening delivered a pair of shot glasses – one containing the spiced version of Monkey Rum and the other being the coconut flavored Monkey Rum. 


I tried the coconut rum first.  Both the aroma and taste of the rum are very strong with the coconut, to the point where I found it overwhelming.  By contrast, the spiced rum is considerably more subtle; it doesn’t have a very noticeable scent and the spice is mostly detected on the back of the palate.  While I have to admit that I’m not that much of a rum drinker, I probably would’ve preferred it the other way around – make the coconut more understated and the spiced version more aggressive.  Possibly the reason for the distinction here was for marketing purposes – grab the male market with the spiced rum while the women would prefer the coconut rum. 


Initially, I had only tried the rum in cocktails that were being passed around; it wasn’t until Zane offered me the shot glasses that I tasted it on its own.  There were two Monkey Rum-based cocktails that were being prepared that evening:  The Monkey Punch and The Orangutan.   

MonkeyPunch Recipe

The Monkey Punch was served over ice.  I found it to be quite refreshing on this humid night.  The mixture of both rums appeared to balance out each other. 


While The Orangutan was not quite as tasty as The Monkey Punch, the orange juice ingredient didn’t add much besides color (and, presumably, a basis for the cocktail’s name).  Perhaps just the spiced rum with the ginger ale would have been better – a variation on The Highball (The Monkey Ball?). 


For additional photos from this evening, please refer to the album on Facebook or Google+.

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