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Zaya is a delicious Trinidadian rum that most people think of as a sipping rum – and it is an excellent sipping rum, but it also has some intense vanilla and caramel flavors that are delicious in cocktails. Vanilla is an ingredient that we often add to our simple syrups to give them a soft, sweet flavor, while caramel is a prominent note in many demerara sugars. While many rums have these two flavors in their profiles, few have them as prominently featured as Zaya. This means that we think of Zaya as a versatile rum, since we can enjoy it neat and use it to really enrich cocktails.
The Zaya Yacht Club is one very simple cocktail that features the rum prominently without covering it up with too many other flavors. It is made with just three ingredients: rum, Grand Marnier and a lime twist. The rich orange flavor of the liqueur plays very well with the vanilla in the rum and you can almost get a hint of creamsicle in the finish (albeit a very sophisticated creamsicle). You can try an orange twist if you want to emphasize the liqueur even more, but a lime twist gives the drink a nice brightness to the nose that keeps it from feeling too heavy. It also helps to balance the sweetness of the rum and the Grand Marnier.
This drink doesn’t work quite as well with other rums (other aged rums still work, but create a completely different flavor profile), however you can switch up the Grand Marnier with other orange liqueurs, such as Cointreau, if you need to make substitutions. We also recommend trying Grand Marnier Signature Collection No 2 Raspberry Peach, a seasonal release from Grand Marnier that gives this cocktail a whole new, but still delicious, twist.
Zaya Yacht Club
2 oz Zaya 12 Yr. Rum
1 oz Grand Marnier
Combine Zaya and Grand Marnier in a rocks glass, add a couple of ice cubes and finish with a lime twist.