Banks 5 Island Rum

Inspired by Cognac, this rum is a blend.


Rums wear their places of origin like badges of honor. A Jamaican rum maker would bristle if his product were mistaken for one from Barbados, and vice versa. And the distillers of Martinique—producing several rums that boast a rare AOC designation—would raise a cri de coeur if their rums were lumped in with the rest of their Caribbean brethren. So Banks 5 Island Rum—a blend of white rums from a quintet of different nations: rinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Java and Guyana—is born of a new and unorthodox notion. The motivations behind its creation become clearer when one discovers that Arnaud de Trabuc is the brand’s master distiller. Formerly the president of Thomas Hine & Co., de Trabuc has a long history of working with Cognac, where blending is the name of the game. He considered rum’s prevailing commercial model—where islands work only with home-grown liquor—to be shortsighted. “I thought since we were going to do a new rum, we had to do something a little bit different,” said de Trabuc. He spent 18 months toying with the blend for Banks (which is named after explorer Sir Joseph Banks), finally settling on a cocktail of 21 diffrent rums anchored by a Trinidadian distillate. Not surprisingly, the result tates like nothing else in the rum world, viscous and pungent, with unexpected notes of green pepper, coconut and ripe tropical fruit. The only gripe with the result: 5 Island is a bit of a misnomer, since Guyana isn’t an island.

Interesting in mixing your own Banks 5 Island rum recipes? Here are some easy and tasty options created by Jim Meehan.
Chairman's Refresher

3 slices cucumber
½ ounce Frangelico
1½ ounces Banks 5 Island Rum
2 ounces coconut water

Muddle 2 slices of cucumber with the Frangelico. Add the rum and coconut water, stir with ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

Pink Flamingo

2 ounces Banks 5 Island Rum
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
3 ounces pink grapefruit soda (Preferably Ting or Izze)

Add the rum and lime juice to a mixing glass then add ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with grapefruit soda and garnish with a lime wheel.

The Sun Also Rises

2 ounces Banks 5 Island Rum
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce fresh grapefruit juice
½ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 Bar spoon of Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe

Add all of the ingredients in a mixing glass, then add ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe filled with crushed ice.

Kew Garden

8 mint leaves, plus 1 sprig for garnish
3 cucumber slices, plus 1 for garnish
½ ounce simple syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water)
2 ounces Banks 5 Island Rum
½ ounce St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
¾ ounce fresh lime juice

Add 8 mint leaves, 3 cucumber slices and the simple syrup to a mixing glass and muddle. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with club soda. Poke a mint sprig through a cucumber wheel, for ganish.

Airmail Punch

1 ounce Banks 5 Island Rum
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce Honey Syrup (two parts honey and one part water)
2½ ounces of Moët Imperial Champagne

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass, then add ice. Shake and strain into a chilled teacup filled with one large cube. Top with Moët Imperial Champagne and finish with freshly grated nutmeg.

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