Rum is following in the footsteps of fine whiskey, cognac, and other distilled spirits as a drink for sipping and savoring…so says Nkoumou Wood Philippe, our host for last night’s dégustation de rhum. While plenty of the world will still enjoy getting bombed on rum and coke or choose Bacardi for their Long Island Iced Teas, those in the know and in the “nose” will be able to distinguish a fine rum, similar to appreciating a fine wine. The terms are the same…nose, bouquet, finish, legs (the french use the word tears), and the process of rum tasting is the same as wine tasting except much more time is allowed between bottles to allow the palate to refresh. Last night, amid a variety of entrées like crusted fish balls, black sausage, roquefort cheese, asian potstickers, and carmelized nuts, we sampled five rums from Martinique and one from Mexico and Venezuela. The range included citron tart, variations of vanilla and cinnamon, salt (from sugar cane grown close to the ocean), smoke (which none of our group liked so we got an extra sample!), and a sweet caramel desert rum. My favorite was Clément and the Venezuelan dessert rum which does not even need bananas or foster. In just a couple days, many people will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a nip of Jameson or Bushmills. I feel like I’ve already celebrated and this year’s greeting is “Erin Go Br-aaaaaarrrrrgh Matey!