• Drunk as Lords

Drink Like Papa, again


I’ve been reviewing booze long enough to be wary of a great looking bottle. I may be a sucker for that Hemingway vibe – but not such of one that that I can’t smell a gimmick when it sits on my lap and calls me “Papa.” So against all my professional instincts I went into a bottle of Papa’s Pilar rum half-expecting to hate it. Or at least sneer at it.


As it was, I was in Wrightsville beach, NC for the Lightning Class World regatta, in a rented beach house built in 1927 that was more porch than anything else. Parsley Cottage (no idea how the name came about) actually predated Hemingway’s Key West and Cuba days, when he patrolled the high seas game fishing and, so he convinced the US military, patrolling for German U-Boats.


It’s hard to entire divorce the joy of a certain cocktail or drink from its environment – but this was on balance, very good rum. According to the producers it’s a “solera blending” which is like regular blending, but with more syllables of premium rums from Barbados, Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela and Florida. Like I said, I was prepared to sneer.

It is in fact very good. It’s a rich, dark rum with hints of the ripe fig, and hints of chocolate.


Pilar goes well on the rocks, with some soda and lime for a bit of grog, or with tonic in Captain Bill’s favored “Pensacola Tea” so coined by a sailing friend called Bob Barnhart. Then there is also the classic rum cocktail that I’d call a Dark n’ Stormy if I wanted a cease-and-desist letter from the legal department at Gosling’s rum, who hold the copyright on the name. The ersatz sailing cocktail of dark rum, ginger beer and lime.


It’s good for nursing the constellation of party bruises you get when competitive sailing, as well as for your bruised ego when capsize off the dock and are forced to call, amid the a frenzy of well-meant but ham-handed citizen rescue attempts, “will you people please just let me swim to the dock.”