I tried a new rum last night called Lola Belle. It’s a Caribbean rum flavored with maraschino cherries, and I didn’t expect to like it–I’m not so big on the flavored stuff, and this rum in particular seemed a little girly–but I did, a lot. I liked it in spite of myself, because it’s well-balanced and not overly sweet. It starts off strong but smooth, like, say, Brugal white rum, and then ends on a sweet cheery note. Sweet, but not cloyingly so. It’s also very pretty. When poured over ice in a tall glass, which is how I tried it first, it looks like Campari, which is one of my favorite summer cocktails (with soda and lime, of course). Lola Belle isn’t a bitter, of course, but it does function well as a digestif. My notes say it’s "sophisticated and fun, with a citrus note." The label and branding of all of it shouldn’t matter of course, but it’s worth noting that the bottle is gorgeous, and the story behind it is nifty.
As the story goes, Lola Belle drove men wild in the Caribbean, so she was banished to America. (Watch the video below for more details on that.)
As much as I enjoyed Lola Belle on the rocks, it’s probably best as a base for cocktails. Their Facebook page has plenty of ideas (I’d like to try the Mary Pickford) but I just grabbed what I had in the refrigerator, which was orange juice and seltzer. My impromptu cocktail was quite good, and, again, very attractive in the glass. My wife came up with a good name for it: the Sunset Park, after the Brooklyn neighborhood.
And so, while I do normally gravitate toward manly drinks like beer and whiskey, there’s nothing wrong with sweetening things up every now and then, and who really cares what’s in your glass if it makes you happy? So when the time comes for a kiss of cherry on your lips, pick up a bottle of Lola Belle at your local spirits purveyor. It’ll run you about $20, it goes great in cocktails, and has a fun invented history to ponder and expand upon while you’re drinking it. Whatever Lola wants.
[Try Lola Belle and other great rums at New York bars like Mayahuel. For more great drinking spots, check out the BlackBook City Guides. Learn more about Lola Belle on her Facebook page. More stories by Victor Ozols; Follow me on Twitter.]