On this day in history, President James Buchanan received the first transatlantic cable from Queen Victoria in 1858. Hum, wonder if he toasted the historic event with a nice buttered rum.
Typically when we think Rum, our minds are filled with thoughts of pirates and warm seas. It makes sense, since rum is a by-product of a by-product of a product grown in the West Indies, sugar cane. When sugar was extracted from the cane, it created a by-product known as molasses. For years, the molasses was a waste product that was flushed away. That is until someone discovered that if you distill molasses it becomes rum.
To support the demand for the drink, the first rum distillery in the British Colonies of North America was established on Staten Island in 1664. In 1764, the British Crown placed a tax on sugar, molasses and rum that the American Colonies were expected to pay. The Sugar Act was instrumental in feeding the unrest in the Colonies. That unrest eventually became the American Revolution.
The popularity of rum continued after the American Revolution, with George Washington insisting on a barrel of Barbados Rum at his 1789 inauguration. Rum continued to play an important role in the political system, as candidates were knows to attempt to influence the outcome of an election through generous gifts of rum. Eventually the restrictions on sugar imports from the Caribbean coupled with the development of American Whiskeys, led to a decline in the drink’s popularity. Yet to this day, America has a deep affection for Rum. It is the third most popular spirit in the country. Only vodka and all the whiskeys combined beat rum for first and second ranking. But rum is more than just a lively spirit.
Some of us raise our glass of Rum and toast the day. Others like to cook with rum. If you are like me, you’ll be drinking yours while you’re cooking! Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Rum.
Spiced Rum Cheesecake with Buttered Rum Sauce
10 Shortbread Cookies (1 cup crushed)
2 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons packed Brown Sugar
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
In a food processor, finely crush the shortbread cookies. Melt butter, drizzle over the crushed cookies.Add brown sugar and mix well. Press firmly in bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan.Set aside to make the filling.
Spiced Rum Cheesecake Filling
5 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/4 cups Sugar
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Light Rum
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, cream, rum, cinnamon, and nutmeg with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Beat in eggs on low speed until well blended. Pour over crust; smooth top.
Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes. Turn off oven; leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan on wire rack away from drafts 30 minutes.
Without releasing or removing side of pan, run metal spatula carefully along side of cheesecake to loosen. Refrigerate uncovered about 3 hours or until chilled; cover and continue refrigerating at least 9 hours but no longer than 48 hours.
Buttered Rum Sauce
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Butter
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Rum
Pecans for garnish, if desired
In 1- 1/2-quart saucepan, mix sauce ingredients. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.
To Serve: Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen again; remove side of pan. Serve with warm sauce. If desired, garnish each slice with pecans.
Store cheesecake and sauce covered in refrigerator.