CoCoRum on Koh Samui
Fine Caribbean and Latin American rums are turning Thailand's beach escape into a West Indies paradise. By MONSICHA HOONSUWAN.
Published on Apr 27, 2016
NOW THAT CUBA is on everyone's wish list, it's time to get acquainted with the region's sugarcane spirit... all in the name of research. Rum is making a comeback with distillers around the world brewing their own varietals, from New Zealand's oak-aged Roaring Forties to Phuket's vodka-clear Chalong Bay. The latter is on shelf at CoCoRum, the Bill Bensley-designed bar at Four Seasons Koh Samui with Thailand's most extensive collection of the Caribbean firewater curated by rum mixologist and former Bacardi global ambassador David Cordoba. The Argentinian expert stocks the venue, opened in December 2015, with bottles from the West Indies and Latin America, the two regions distilling most of the world's rum.
David Cordoba. Courtesy of Four Seasons Koh Samui.
You can sip anything from Plantation XO 20th Anniversary, Barbados's 20-year-old rum with a hint of candied orange, to 15-year-old El Dorado, Guyana's dry liquor with a nose of toffee. Cordoba's prized products, however, are Thailand's only two bottles of Plantation's "Stiggins' Fancy," a 1,000-bottles-per-batch collaboration between distiller Alexandre Gabriel and cocktail historian David Wondrich that the mixologist scouted out especially for CoCoRum. This smoky dark tipple from Trinidad and Tobago follows traditional recipes from the 1800s and is infused with Queen Victoria pineapple rinds to add the tropical-fruit note that shines in classic Old Fashioneds and is equally delicious straight-up on the rocks.
Beachside CoCoRum. Courtesy of Four Seasons Koh Samui.
Cordoba says you can even forgo the ice and order it neat, with a side of assorted-seafood cebiche mixto for a complete Caribbean fantasy. Wherever you sip it, from Thailand to Tortuga, don't be shocked if the waves start breaking to a calypso beat.