If there's one spirit that most of us associate with the warmer seasons, it's rum. That's because most of it is produced in the tropical island climates we spend all winter longing for around here. While we can't necessarily transport ourselves to the Caribbean or Latin America on a whim, a trip to RumBa at the InterContinental Hotel offers a more cost-effective — and immediate — fix.
With the opening of their summer patio season right around the corner — and a recent expansion of the waterfront fixture just completed — now seems like as good a time as any to set sail on the molasses seas.
A second, 10-seat bar and numerous high top tables were recently added to the space, which now overlooks the Fort Point Channel and the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum (those dudes knew a thing or two about rum, as you might recall). They probably didn't have as many to choose from back then as we do today, though. RumBa has some 100 options from around the world on their lengthy menu, including many from lesser-known regions that should come as a pleasant surprise to drinkers with palates accustomed to a more narrow repertoire of silver and spiced rums.
A recent visit found us drinking our way through the sip-able Guatemalan silver Montecristo and the Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum Agricole Vieux. The latter, a Martinique, agricole-style rum made from sugar cane juice and aged for at least four years, contains hints of dry caramel and light pepper. Continuing this progression, we moved on to the deep spice and tropical banana notes of Guatelmalan Ron Zacapa 23 (then the staff favorite), ending our makeshift tropical journey with their new, must-try sipping rum, the Venezuelan Diplomatico.
“This is the stuff dreams are mad of,” bartender Marshall McGlynn enthused. You wouldn't want to use the latter two spirits in a cocktail per se, although RumBa’s menu has plenty of Tiki classics marrying the two to choose from. The Boston Mama — a play on poolside standby the Bahama Mama — is made with Bacardi 8 and Bacardi 151, plus coconut, coffee liqueur, lemon and pineapple juices, and fresh grenadine. It will put you in your beach chair, to put it bluntly. McGlynn, like most of the staff here, is both knowledgeable and capable, ready to serve as your cruise director through a world of rum you didn't know even know existed — or the one you've been dreaming about returning to for months.
If you go
RumBa at the InterContinental
510 Atlantic Ave., Boston