Mexicans drink tequila, mezcal, sotol, pulque, beer, brandy, whiskey, more beer . . . you get the picture. But rum? Maybe in the Gulf of Mexico region, but the only sugarcane-based alcohol the wabs I know like are charanda (all those damn michoacanos) and aguardiente--and the old men I knew who drank alcohol de caña drank it at the unbelievable heights of 180 proof.
All of this is to say I'm not much of a rum drinker. But our art director Laila is, and when she saw the bottle of DonQ Cristal rum, I might've well had a Warhol on display, so joyous she was. She told me DonQ is a Puerto Rican rum, the island's finest, and is named after Don Quixote. Booze in honor of the Man from La Mancha? I'm sold
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DonQ Cristal is the label's light rum, which means it's been aged less than its brothers and is usually used for cocktails. I favor bourbon-based cocktails, though, so first tried this ron straight: damn, it's strong! Reminds me--because I'm a Mexican--of tequila blanco, except DonQ Cristal is much sweeter, with a potent nose and light, sugary aftertaste that coats the palate after the initial, bracing rush of the rum. It's smooth, even ultimately cooling: the Caribbean in a bottle.
Laila, being a lady, insisted on the DonQ as a cocktail--fine. In a mojito, the DonQ is gentle, allowing the mint, lime, and--take your pick--club soda or 7-Up to dominate your senses. DonQ is much better than Bacardi, not just because boricuas will ALWAYS top coños, but because it sneaks up on you, leaving you drunk without you knowing what smacked you--and isn't that what the best drinks do?
Go to donq.com to find your closest booze emporium that stocks DonQ