Rum Gets Some Respect

Sales soar as liquor snobs discover the fine aged varieties' mellow, complex flavors

Ed Hamilton has a rough job, but somebody's gotta do it. The Florida-born chemical engineer cruises the Caribbean on his 44-ft. cutter in search of the world's best rums. He's not looking for the pale stuff you guzzle with Coca-Cola; he's out for the darker, lesser-known aged rums you sip from a snifter. That's right--rum in a snifter. Hamilton's website fans know him as the Minister of Rum, and he's issued a new decree: rum after dinner instead of the traditional brandy or single-malt scotch. "We all remember getting sick on mixed rum drinks in college," says Hamilton, 52, who imports...

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