It turns out that what Sephora is to beauty products, Puerto Rico is to rum.
Last night Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel hosted a Rums of Puerto Rico event at the W Hotel in a celebration of liquor from America's great non-state. She kicked off the evening by introducing the Skinny Girl (which includes pineapple juice and coconut rum) and Skinny Guy (my favorite: coconut rum, lime juice, ginger, soda) cocktails, and guests had the opportunity to mix their own drinks using endless varieties of Puerto Rican rums (seven brands, with tons of variations and flavors).
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As you may have noticed, my beloved vodka is getting a run for its money as I sample quality liquors. Rum has a more complex taste than vodka and, when properly crafted, it enhances the flavors of its mixers. Naturally, the Skinny Girl and Skinny Guy were beautifully crafted; my own creations were somewhat less successful.
After an hour of playing mixologists, we settled into dinner–a feast prepared by two Puerto Rican chefs flown in for the occasion. It was a six course affair, including crab-stuffed calamari; spiced blackened tuna with toasted garlic, coconut and cilantro; and braised short ribs over goat cheese and truffle risotto. Like any good dinner, we ended with more special drinks. We capped off the night with a snifter of Ron del Barrilito, sipping rum that perfectly complemented the dulche de leche roullade and coconut ice cream with chocolate ganache we had for dessert. Decadent.
Jealous yet? Don't be. Perhaps you can't indulge in visiting Puerto Rico as often as you visit Sephora, but just by trotting down to your local liquor store, you can always get a taste of the good life.
– Becky Ellis