Pocket Flask: Pour a Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva and ask yourself why no one ever seems goes to Venezuela

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      As a valuable public service, we crack open spirits from B.C. to Bahrain and beyond, then give you a highly opinionated, pocket flask–sized review.

      Today’s free pour

      Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

      Their words

      “Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva is a blend of exclusive rum reserves aged for up to twelve years, carefully selected by our Master Blenders. Marrying a unique body with excellent balance has made this multi award-winning rum a reference for connoisseurs and fine spirits lovers throughout the world.”

      Tasting notes

      At the risk of sounding like a candy commercial—which isn’t a bad thing, because everyone loves candy—the first thing you’ll notice, both aroma and taste-wise, is beautifully buttery, deliciously rich toffee. We’re not talking the rock-hard, filling-pulling Mackintosh’s stuff that your grandparents used to buy from the concession stand at ice rinks, along with five-cent Pep Chews and 10-cent hot chocolates. Instead, think top-shelf toffee, like the private-reserve stash at Fraser Valley Gourmet in Langley.

      Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva goes down smooth even when sipped neat, which is to say no ice required unless—thanks largely to your inner scotch drinker—that’s the way you insist on rolling. Love the essence of fresh tangerine peel and buttered popcorn in the morning, or when it’s time for a 5 p.m. Old Fashioned? This winningly complex sipping rum has you covered there as well on both fronts. Now pass the Fraser Valley Gourmet Espresso Bean Caramel Crunch, which was more than worth that long trip up Highway 1 from East Van.

      Cocktail time

      Here’s something that’s strange when you live on the west coast of British Columbia: no one ever talks about going to Venezuela for a vacation. Everyone’s been to Costa Rica, Barbados, and Jamaica, but when’s the last time you met anyone who’s spent a week or two in Caracas, on Isla de Margarita, or exploring the Los Roques archipelago?

      Weird right?

      Perhaps because it’s hard to find folks who’ve made the pilgrimage to South America’s sixth-biggest country, Venezuelan rum doesn’t get the same shine on these shores as the heavy hitters from the Caribbean. And that’s a shame because distillers have been honing their game in the Land of Grace since the late 1800s.

      Until you can get on a post-pandemic plane, transport yourself to the northern slopes of the Andes Mountains, where the Diplomático distillery is based, by pouring a finger or four of Reserva Exclusiva. If you must unleash your inner cocktail creationist, resist the urge to whip up a gallon of Rum Guarapita. As delicious as that drink might sound—there are few things greater than passion fruit juice—you’re going to want this rum to take centre stage is a spirit-forward concoction. Here are two of them, both from Diplomático.

      “Diplomático Orange Cocoa Ritual (DOC)

      2 oz. Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
      One thick slice of orange cut into quarters
      Raw cocoa powder unsweetened
      Pour Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva into a sipping glass, either on ice or neat. Pour a teaspoon of cocoa onto a plate, take the orange slices and dip one side in the cocoa powder. Alternate between a sip of Reserva Exclusiva and a slice of orange with cocoa. The acidic orange notes will contrast with the sweetness of the rum.

      Old Fashioned

      2 oz Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
      1 teaspoon simple syrup
      3 dashes of Angostura bitters
      Pour into a shaker, add crushed ice, and stir. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange peel.