This is one of a series of interviews I conducted for DonQ Rum’s “Party Data” campaign on Nerve.com. See the original here.
As the makers of Puerto Rico’s premier rum for decades, Don Q knows what it takes to have a good time. There are lots of essential components for a good party – the right music, the right look, the right mix of people. But of course, Don Q’s real area of expertise is at the bar – which is why they supplied all the rum necessary for a recent Brooklyn house party. A party can fail if the drinks are lackluster, but luckily we were in good hands – Lauren, the designated mixologist for the evening. We talked to her about the best rum drinks, bar essentials, and why the resident mixologist shouldn’t be afraid to liberally sample their own creations.
What advice would you give for people who are throwing holiday parties and need to come up with the drink menu?
Do a little research, but don’t be afraid to improvise. And use what you have around.
And as far as rum drinks go, what are your favorites?
Well, mojitos are always really popular but also really labor intensive, um but a good rum punch is always a hit.
She was right – the pitcher of mojitos seemed perpetually close to empty, because as fast as she could make it (in between bouts of enjoying the party around her), the guests were always happy to help themselves to more. And whether it was superb attention to detail or a happy coincidence, the cool green of the mojitos and the bright red of the punch were perfectly suited for this holiday party.
And what’s your preferred recipe for a mojito?
For a mojito, I do maybe three or four wedges of lime, handful of mint leaves, a couple of tea spoons of sugar, muddle it up, heavy pour of rum, and a splash of club soda.
How many people would that serve?
That’s for one maybe two, just judging it.
And your rum punch, what goes into that?
I use like a gold rum or an anejo, and a grenadine, orange juice, pineapple juice, and then if you’re feeling festive, you can throw some cranberries on top.
Do you think people should really be by the book or should be more willing to experiment with putting different stuff in?
Definitely experiment, but just taste it as you’re going along. That’s the most important part.
And what would you say are the essential things for any aspiring mixologist to have in their kitchen?
Lots of fresh limes. And fresh fruit is always great. Sugar, club soda… and lots of rum.