Cardinal Spirits Tiki Rum has been awarded a well-deserved 92 points and a “Best Buy” rating by Wine Enthusiast magazine in its influential buying guide for spirits, wine and beer. The score makes Tiki Rum one of the top-rated craft rums on the market, and at $25 a bottle, certainly among the most affordable.
Tiki Rum is a natural star: a light rum with a smooth and fruity profile that is wonderful in a range of drinks, from classic tropical ones to modern cocktails. The way Cardinal Spirits ferments and distills this spirit in small batches leads to one intriguing rum, and Wine Enthusiast agreed.
Here is Wine Enthusiast’s review of Tiki Rum: “Aptly named, this rum is tiki-drink ready, for sure. It leads with a pungent banana aroma and distinct tropical fruit flavors—banana, mango, touches of lychee and coconut—with ginger and nutmeg sparks on the finish. It’s not infused with fruit, but all those flavors may have you wondering.”
HOW WE MAKE IT
Tiki Rum is fermented and distilled from cane juice and light molasses, and we pitch a mixture of hefeweizen yeast and a yeast strain that was discovered growing wild on sugarcane. We let it go slow, keeping it cool in the beginning as the hefeweizen likes it that way. Then we distill to just under 150 proof, leaving fruity and sugary flavors in the spirit before proofing down to 80 for bottling.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT
We enlisted a yeast whisperer — our friend and Indiana University biochemist Matt Bochman — to select and propagate the yeast strains that make our Tiki Rum one-of-a-kind. Where some distilleries might purchase commercial dry yeast to make their rums, we use active, or living, yeast. Yeast is important because it’s where all the flavor comes from. Living yeast makes fermentation more effective, and, ultimately, it makes a better rum.
WHY WE MADE IT
We initially crafted this rum especially for our ever popular Tiki Tuesday cocktail nights. Tiki drinks are magnificent creations, and our masters of tiki needed a light rum with lots of fruity esters like pineapple and citrus to stand up in such complex cocktails.
HOW TO DRINK IT
Try it in this 92 Points cocktail, which plays up all the best parts of Cardinal Spirits Tiki Rum. The recipe easily scales up to a punch — just add the ginger beer right before serving, or let guests top their drinks with ginger beer themselves.