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product review: DonQ Cristal Rum + some tasty cocktails

Clean.  Smooth.  Sweet with floral notes.  Sippable!  Seriously, I'm not much of a liquor sipper, but I can pour myself a small glass of DonQ Cristal Rum over ice and sip it.  Without freaking out.  It's true, I do prefer my liquor with mixers, in cocktails, or in food...but occasionally I come across something so utterly easy to drink that it's ridiculous.  DonQ Rums is one of those things.  Sure, I still get that slow-burn...but it's the kind that puts a smile on my face.  You know, instead of the kind that makes my eyes water and my nose shoot flames.  It's funny, because I really think this crystal clear Jamaican rum tastes sweet.  Now, I know that I need to learn more about the aging and distilling process of liquor.  Not just need to, but actually want to.  I was intrigued to learn that DonQ uses a multiple distillation system which produces a "cleaner, more refined, and more delicate flavor profile" in a rum.  Cristal is also aged in American White Oak barrels which in turn add a touch more smoothness.  It's been told that it is so smooth that you could substitute it in a vodka drink and "most people won't be able to tell the difference."  Nice. 

So, sipping this rum that was so pleasant and unique from others I've tried in the past, it got me wondering What Makes Great Rum?  Delightful Flavor, Distinctive Clarity, Purity, and True Infusion.  Read more in depth about these characteristics and see a full size Making DonQ Rum Chart over at the DonQ website.   Also read about how DonQ gives back by using sustainable practices to keep their beloved Puerto Rico clean.  I hear tell that DonQ Cristal makes the "World's Finest Mojito"...and I don't doubt it for a second.  So, aside from my delight at being able to sip it, I also slightly adapted a couple of the drinks developed by Soy Chiever, Head Mixologist at Ava Lounge, NYC.

Raspberry Mojito Royale
yield: 1 drink

1½ oz. DonQ Cristal Rum
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. simple syrup*
4 fresh raspberries + more to garnish
handful fresh mint
ice
Champagne or sparkling wine

Muddle raspberries with most of the mint.  Add rum, lime juice, simple syrup and some ice.  Shake vigorously.  Strain into glass filled with ice.  Top it off with a splash of champagne.  Garnish with extra mint and raspberries, if you wish.

*simple syrup: Combine equal parts superfine sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil to dissolve.  Let cool.  Store in fridge.
While I LOOOOOVED the Raspberry Mojito Royale...I also found some serious enjoyment in these Watermelon DonQ-iri (think Daquiri and substitute the word DonQ to pronounce).  I think crunching on the sugar crystal with each sip was my favorite part of the drink.

Watermelon DonQ-iri
yield: 1 drink

3 oz. DonQ Cristal rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1½ oz. agave nectar
2 oz. watermelon, puréed
ice
watermelon wedge or chunks, to garnish
raw or demerara sugar, for glass

Dip rim of glass in a bit of lime juice or water, then dip it into the raw or demerara sugar.
  Set aside.  Shake rum, lime juice, agave mectar, watermelon puree and ice.  Strain into glasses rimmed with raw sugar.  Garnish with watermelon.

*Oh, I also used my DonQ Cristal Rum to make some homemade Vanilla Extract.  I am totally stoked to find out how that turns out. Check back in 4-6 weeks for an update!

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*I received a free bottle of DonQ Cristal Rum to test and review.  All opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.