The way we drank when we were younger is different from the way we drink now. In my case, I was happy to drink San Miguel Light or Red Horse beer. Back then, drinking was a means to get drunk, so there were times when me and my friends would down cheap gin before going out so we didn’t have to pay for overpriced drinks. A lot of people agree with me on this.
Now, I, with the support of the people who agreed with the point above, am more selective of what I drink. I am more likely to study the list of drinks available in a bar rather than order something safe, like the San Mig or the Red Horse. And I now drink to savor the taste, as well as the moment I found myself in. While I still do enjoy the occasional San Mig (I graduated to Pale Pilsen), my palate has become more adventurous.
I also appreciate liquor now, especially rum. I like its sweet flavor, and how it goes down my throat in a fiery blast, followed by a warming bloom in my stomach. It’s a comforting feeling, kind of like spending the night with an old lover.
Now, there’s a new player in the local scene as Sailor Jerry is now in the Philippines. The brand specializes in spiced rum, which tastes like cinnamon, nutmeg, and rich vanilla, with a hint of toasted toffee. It has a kick that lingers on your lips, like the first kiss after a good date, or when a feisty lover bites your lips during a passionate night.
Sailor Jerry is named after Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins, considered as the father of old-school tattooing. He is a legend: he started tattooing as a teenager hopping on freight trains around the USA in the ’20s. When he was 19, he joined the Navy, where he traveled and learned about Asian art, which he combined with America’s bold lines and balls-to-the-wall attitude. Collins set up shop in Honolulu in the ’40s, where he tattooed young soldiers and sailors on shore leave. He also innovated the art by creating purple ink and medical-grade sterilization.
Collins passed away in 1973, but his legacy lives on in Sailor Jerry Limited, a clothing line with his artwork. It was only natural that a line of spiced rum would be the next step. After all, rum is historically associated with sailors, when they would deliver it during the triangular trade in 1664 between Africa, the Caribbean, and the British colonizers in the USA. They would drink it as an alternative to water, which spoiled easily. The rum then wasn’t as good as the ones we enjoy now, so they improved it by aging it in wooden barrels, or adding spices, which was much faster.
Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum are created with the same exacting standards Collins used in creating his tattoos (even the riggings of his clipper ship tattoos were nautically accurate). William Grant & Sons, the team that creates the rum, travels to the Caribbean every year to inspect the finest distilleries. They also work with talented blenders, a feat considering there have only been six blenders in the past 125 years.
In keeping with tradition, Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum is 80 proof, similar to how they did it in the 17th and 18th centuries. The high proof is necessary for the rum and the spices to have a balanced blend without overpowering each other.
Of course, Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum can be enjoyed on its own or as a cocktail. During the launch, I was given an elegant booklet detailing its rich history, along with unique recipes such as the Jerry Float, Jerry with Ginger Beer, and the Rockabilly Juice, which has black tea, fresh lemon juice, and Orange Curacao.
Gone are the days when I would gulp down bad-tasting drinks in order to be drunk. I realized that liquor, like life, was meant to be sipped, not gulped. I know that sounds very tita of me, and I am a tita, but this tita can still appreciate a feisty lover.
Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum is available in the Philippines at ABV Bar and in S&R branches across the Philippines.