Enjoy a Puerto Rican Rum Sour

The classical definition of a sour is spirit, sugar, and lemon juice.  The classic Daiquiri is made from rum, sugar, and lime juice.  The lines between Sour and Daiquiri are blurry in some parts of the world, one delicious exception to the cocktail rules is Puerto Rico where a Rum Sour contains all that you would hope to find in a rum cocktail.  Oh, and there is a cherry on top.
The Puerto Rican Rum Sour is one of my favorite     “spin-off” drinks.  Technically, it is not a Sour nor is it a Daiquiri.  However, if you order a Rum Sour in Puerto Rico this is the drink that you are going to get.  The cocktail follows the classic rum/citrus pairing of gold rum and fresh lime juice, it's the sweetener that makes this one unique.
The Puerto Rican Rum Sour is sweetened with cherry syrup which has the unique ability to sweeten a drink without over-sweetening while adding a hint of cherry.  This practice goes back to pre-revolution Cuba in what is known as a Hemingway Daiquiri.
Ernest Hemingway was diabetic and did not take his Daiquiris with the standard lump of cane sugar.  The Daiquiri needed to be sweetened, so his regular bartender sweetened Hemingway's Daiquiris with cherry liqueur.  Not only did the notes of cherry subdue the sweetness, they tamed the tart lime juice to create a unique sweet/sour citrus combination that made Hemingway Daiquiri a legend.  
Cherry liqueur is acceptable in the Puerto Rican Rum Sour, but the easiest and best source for cherry syrup is the juice from canned or bottled cherries.  That's all there is to it.  Simply strain the juice from your canned or bottled cherries and refrigerate.  This cherry “syrup” is a bit of a happy accident and is far more balanced than commercially prepared syrups that are an overly sweet marriage of cherry flavor and high fructose corn syrup.
For rum drinks that call for lime juice, be sure to use fresh lime juice.  Better ingredients make better cocktails and there is no substitute for fresh.
As for the rum in this unique adaptation of the Sour, reach for a true gold Puerto Rican Rum.  Gold rum is simply rum that has been aged in American white oak barrels and has picked up both color and character from the wood.  The most dominant flavor note imparted by aging in American white oak barrels is a mild vanilla, or brown sugar sweetness.
A quick note regarding Puerto Rican rum, particularly Bacardi which is the most famous Puerto Rican label.  Bacardi is sometimes referred to as a “Cuban Heritage Rum” because the recipe and distillation process is typical of a Cuban rum.  In fact, the Bacardi distillery operated in Cuba for more than a century before relocating to Puerto Rico during the Cuban revolution.   
The Bacardi brand flourished following the relocation to Puerto Rico and by 1980 the Bacardi Distillery accounted for two-thirds of all rum sales worldwide.  Today Bacardi has shifted focus from being the number one volume producer to distilling more quality rum offerings.  I have tried the newer line of aged rums such as their Gran Reserva Limitada and find that their efforts are paying off.  
There is nothing wrong with the tried and true Bacardi and Coke, but the current lineup from the Bacardi Distillery has much more to offer consumers than the base white rum of a few years ago.
Let's have a look at the   “gold” rum category.
The term “gold rum” is a blanket term that applies to many aged rums, but if a recipe calls for a “gold” Puerto Rican rum I recommend the following: Bacardi 8, Bacardi Anejo, or Ron Barrelito 3 Star.  
If a gold Puerto Rican rum is unavailable, you may substitute a gold Virgin Islands rum such as Cruzan, or Flor de Cana from Nicaragua.  All will perform wonderfully in a Rum Sour.
The Puerto Rican Rum Sour is built in a shaker and served in a chilled Old Fashioned glass.
Fill shaker with ice, then add:
2 oz. gold Puerto Rican rum
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. cherry syrup
1 to 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass
Garnish with cherry
Until next week, enjoy responsibly.