Wednesday Nightcap: The Kraken

So, a common current among wine aficionados is a disdain for “critter” wines – you’ve seen them, cases upon cases of little penguins, kangaroos, toads, black cats – a veritable vintner’s Noah’s Ark – with cute labels designed to make passersby go, “Awwwww…”  In general, these wines sell because of what’s on the outside of the bottle and not the inside.   Good marketing for sure – but rarely good wine.  Being Californian, I’ve had to practice uttering “critter wine” mumbled with contempt and dismissal, with a sneer (or an eye-roll) and a little put-upon exhale.  Try it for yourself.

Anyway, so a couple of Saturdays ago, we were picking up some stuff at our local BevMo when we passed the rums and The Beloved pointed out a bottle of The Kraken – Dark Spiced Rum.  Immediately, I knew I had to have a bottle and I may have even broken out in “Aaarrrgh!  The Kraken!  Arrrr!  Rarrrr!” in public (though I will deny it).  I had to have a bottle because:

  • Giant squids are awesome.
  • The Kraken (a mythical beast) is the largest and most dangerous of all giant squids
  • Did I mention that giant squids are awesome?

Now, rum is generally the redheaded stepchild of distilled spirits.  They’re made for pina coladas, fruity daiquiris and mai-tais – not serious drinking.  But I had just read an article in the last issue of Imbibe that had just described how some serious rums were being made to savor.  The Kraken — dark, powerful and inky black (like squid ink, get it?) promised a departure from your regular Bacardi experience.

Clocking in at 94 proof, I will say that unless you want to get seriously blotto, put a couple of tiny icebergs in with your Kraken.  The flavors of this rum are actually very good (and better — mellower — with a little ice-melt) – I was happy to find that it wasn’t sweet, but had strong molasses, bitter chocolate and coffee flavors, and a pleasant vanilla finish. A little Kraken makes a really good nightcap.

Now, I just need to figure out how to avoid rum snobs pointing out that I’m a sucker for “critter” rums.

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22 thoughts on “Wednesday Nightcap: The Kraken

  1. Shiver me timbers! I would have bought it too, just for that bottle! (I shall have to search out a bottle for my son, he loved pirates when he was little and esp. Blackbeard, a NC coast frequenting pirate)What a great Christmas gift that would make for people. Try it with spicy ginger ale? I like rum and ginger ale, very refreshing.

  2. I tend to pick out wines based on their witty names and cute labels. Stick a penguin on it, well it must be good! For some reason, it doesn't usually turn out well for me. Maybe I should be looking for a wine with a giant squid on the label instead.

  3. Hahah… When I saw the title to this post I thought it was going to be about the Kraken bar in Cardiff, and I was thinking — "he went to the Kraken and he didn't call me?!" Lol. I love a good spicy rum. Bacardi's pretty eccchhh, I'd only use it for mixing. I'm just now starting to appreciate gin, after I made a drink with gin and creme de violette… it might have been from Imbibe magazine. I need to subscribe, I really like that.

  4. B — probably my favorite rum-drink is the Dark&Stormy. Dark rum, ginger beer (sort of a stronger ginger ale) and a squeeze of lime on the rocks. Really really good. In fact, the next time it rains here, I may have to post that one!

  5. J — I had heard that "Clash of the Titans" was coming out again this year. I really liked the original — though I know it's hard to say that it's "good". Harry Hamlin as kept-screwing-things-up Perseus! I have a hunch that won't be the case in this one.

  6. Janie — maybe THAT should be my next career move! I could make Giant Squid Wine (a google-search suggests that no one has thought to do that yet) — though maybe we can go all high-brow and call it Architeuthis… :)

  7. Hapa — we would TOTALLY call you if we were at The Kraken! :) (though we'd be more likely to be found at Las Olas… :) ). I really like Imbibe — there's always a couple of things that I really want to try in there each issue.

  8. Oh yes, ginger beer is tasty, more common here than ginger ale, I think. LOL, I buy "American style ginger ale" from Tesco for a summer soft drink. Thank you for the rum report, it is handy! It also makes me long for tropical nights on an island with a sea breeze blowing and the smell of jasmine (Stop it, brain, you must accept winter is still here..).

  9. Brilliant! I am such a sucker for labels too – at one stage in my college life that's how I chose music as well. But cheap wine can be nasty, the label has to be pretty awesome to buy it just for that. Rum, not so much. I love rum. That bottle is a work of art.
    We also love cooking with wine and beer, can it be done with rum as well?

  10. There is a wine called Squid Fist depicting a similar vintage looking label. I happened to try it once while I was here in New Orleans and didn't really like the flavor. It was so strong, it took my breath away…literally….as if I had actually taken a squid fist to the gut….

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