Friday night was a small and casual group at a friend's home where they've built a sweet little outdoor dining area in their back garden. The invitation was to come for a glass of wine at 5:00 and when we arrived our friends had also invited another couple. So the six of us sat at the table and enjoyed bubbly wine and appetizers for a while before saying our goodbyes and heading home to our respective houses for dinner.
I think this is a fabulous idea. It can be very last minute depending on the weather and involves no complicated cooking or cleaning up. Nobody has to bring anything, although you can do so if you like, and it can be quite a simple offering, like say a dish of olives or some bread and cheese. This is going to be my entertaining method for the rest of the summer.
At the other extreme was our Saturday afternoon event, a rum tasting party for a group of 12 put on by dear friends on their patio. This was planned in advance and they had acquired five fabulous bottles of rum for us to try. For us the idea of tasting rum was new. My experience has been the Canadian standby, rum and coke, or a Christmas rum and eggnog, and more recently Mohitos. But these rums were top of the line meant for sipping.
We met at 3:00 and each couple brought some finger food to share and our hostess served us tastes from each bottle, interspersed with water and nibbles from the delicious array.
Here's some of our group on the patio. We discussed the subtleties of each rum and some of us even made tasting notes. Interesting to see the differences in scent, flavour and experience.
Here are more guests, including one of the resident poodles.
As the tasting continued we found we became more enamoured of the rums on offer. You can see here that we also took the comparing of flavours very seriously.
Two of the best are pictured here: Diplomatica from Venezuela and Kirk and Sweeny from the Dominican Republic. Diplomatica is available here in Canada at the government liquor stores, as well as another one called Zaya from Trinidad. These rums are 80 proof and have been aged for many years. I found them quite delicious, which is saying something as I'm usually just a white wine kind of girl.
Amazing how a little sunshine on a patio can shift things.