Rumba, the rum-infused sibling to Tango, opens tonight, the latest arrival to the Capitol Hill microhood I guess we're supposed to call the Melrose archipelago. The list of more than 100 rums includes familiar names like Gosling’s, Barbanourt, Appleton, or Mt. Gay. There's also as a huge lineup of new acquaintances, like Lemonhart 151 from Guyana, or a Martinique-made Rhum J.M, aged 10 years and selling for $15.5 an ounce.
This array is largely the result of manager Kate Perry’s exhausting, grueling, and not-at-all-awesome “research” trip through the Caribbean; Perry says she’s particularly fond of Martinique’s rhum agricole, a product that upon which the French government bestows its own appellation. The vast, vast, vast majority of the world’s rum is made from molasses, but rhum agrigole uses fresh-pressed and fermented sugarcane juice. It’s funkier, says Perry, and richer than the rum most of us know from tiki drinks and spring break.
These are rums you sip, and Perry suggests patrons who wants to expand their rum horizons should start with the Neisson Rhum Blanc or “anything aged” from Clement, J.M or La Favorite. Rhum agricole also makes an appearance in the Ti’ Punch on the cocktail list. Another acquisition she is geeking out about: the Plantation rum series, a collection of single-island rums, bottled by Cognac Pierre Ferrand; think of it like a single-vineyard wine bottling, made with sugarcane solely from one island or plantation, and aged in cognac barrels.
Bar manager and Vito's alum Connor O’Brien created the cocktail list, which begins with four distinct daiquiris and moves on to rum classics, a page of tiki concoctions, some modern rum-based creations, and plenty of punch. Grab a little menu book, which is full of educational rum tidbits. Most drinks run $9 to $11, and the rums are listed with by-the-ounce prices, just like a brown liquor lineup.
The bar opens at 5pm, and considering the evening should be about as balmy as Seattle could possibly be in September, expect those bright turquoise seats to fill up quickly. Fun fact: Scan the bookshelves near and you'll find the white double-O that used be part of the sign when the previous occupant, Goods, was selling streetwear and limited-release sneakers. Capitol Hill Seattle blog has photos of the ladder-bedecked bar.