"The chief fuddling they make in the Island is Rum bullion, alias Kill devil, and this is made of sugar cane distilled, a hot, hellish and terrible liquor."
Today is the anniversary of Jamaican nation hood and Jamaica, says the Columbia Encyclopedia, "is generally thought of as the home of rum," a liquor made from fermented sugar-cane products.
It is a time, then, for a celebration featuring not the "hot and hellish" liquid indicated by the traveler in 1651, but the one which received the gentler judgment of Lord Byron: "There's nought, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion."
There are light rums from Jamaica, but the ones the island is noted for are those of deep color and richer flavor. Light rum might be preferred for rum and tonic, but it is the dark rums which have built the reputations of so many Planter's Punches. In a rum evening, there surely would be room as well for daiquiris or the rum shrub of an 1864 recipe: "The freshest lemon juice, and a portion of Seville orange juice, the finest Jamaican Rum, and sweets from good loa sugar," a concoction not unlike our modern punch.
The main course could be flank steak, marinated in 6 parts soy sauce, 3 parts olive oil, and one part molasses (rum's sober sister), broiled and sliced very thin on the diagonal. With it, fried bananas, or plantains if you can get them.
Dominique D'Ermo of Dominique's Restaurant has a recipe for a rummy dessert, a Frozen Lemon Rum Souffle. An alternative would be Haagen-Dazs' rum-raisin ice cream. And if, at evening's end, you insist that your guests join you in a hand of rummy, only the ungrateful will say you've gone too far.
From The Chef's Dessert Cookbook, by Dominique D'Ermo
1 1/2 tablespoons unflavored geletin
2/3 cup hot water
1 cup lemon juice
grated rind of 2 lemons
8 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups Jamaican rum
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
Prepare a one-quart souffle dish with a paper collar extending approximately 4 inches above the rim.
Sprinkle geletin over hot water to dissolve. Combine lemon juice, lemon rind and egg yolks and beat for approximately 5 minutes. Add sugar and rum and continue beating until the sugar is well dissolved. Stir in the gelatin mixture and blend well. Cool over crushed ice or in the refrigerator until the mixture starts to set. Fold in the whipped cream.
Pour into prepared souffle dish and place in the freeze about 3 hours or until set. Peel off paper collar and serve. CAPTION: Illustrations 1 and 2, no caption