Wednesday, June 23, 2010
It's called Hum, it was invented by a Chicago bartender and it's a little hard to explain. Which is good. Trouble finding the words means it's something new and different. And novelty is harder and harder to come by in the increasingly crowded liqueur market.
The creators behind the stuff, which is getting nothing but great word-of-mouth around the liquor circuit, are Adam Seger of Chicago and Joe McCanta of London. They worked for two years on the recipe for Hum, which has an organic rum base infused with hibiscus, organic ginger, green cardomom and kaffir lime. All trendy ingredients, but they come together beautifully in the dark purple potion. Hibiscus provides the color, the cardomom dominates the nose and all battle for the spicy flavor profile, though none (happily) win. Potent and strongly flavored, it's as close to an amaro as I've encountered in an American-made product.
Indeed, the makers modeled it after an Italian amaro, and were equally inspired by the botanicals of the French Caribbean.
It's suggested that you use Hum as a substitute in Negronis, Manhattans, Margaritas and most everything else. But I found it worked best mixed with ginger ale, a drink the creators are (unfortunately) calling Summer Hummin', which sounds the follow-up hit the Starland Vocal Group never had. (Actually, if there's anything I'd change about Hum, it's the name.) I would have experimented with more drinks, but my sample ran out, uh, pretty quickly. Sorry. It's just really good.
OK, now it's time to be cruel. You can't get Hum. They're rolling it out slowly. Right now, it's only in Illinois, California and Nevada. New York won't see it until late 2011. Believe me, I'm not happier about it than you are. But hope is not dead. I have a sister in Chicago...