Ah, rum. The popularity of this sweet spirit can be traced back to the 16th century, when New England colonists, the Royal Navy, and, of course, pirates guzzled it by the gallon. So where can present-day scoundrels soak up their share of molasses-fermented glory this summer? Here are the top five rum-infused beverages and the respective bars you'll find them at, spanning Seattle and its surrounding seas: 5. Panama Punch, Rainforest Cafe 633 Southcenter Blvd., 248-8882, Tukwila. It should go without saying: A kid-friendly chain restaurant featuring animatronic animals and simulated thunderstorms must also offer adults proper refuge (read: a bar). Keeping with the tropical theme, Rainforest Cafe offers a rum-inspired cocktail menu. The Panama Punch is the strongest, fruitiest selection available: 20 ounces of Bacardi 151, 99-proof banana schnapps, peach schnapps, and pineapple juice. It's easy to suck down and packs a punch (ha!) that makes sitting by a giant purple elephant and a talking tree named Tracy an enjoyable experience. Almost.4. Tiki Rum Runner, Tiki Joe's Wetbar 106 Kirkland Ave., 425-827-8300, Kirkland. This Polynesian-themed bar by the Kirkland waterfront attracts patrons with and without popped collars (mostly with). Fueling their party is the awesome Tiki Rum Runner: a pretty peach drink that in appearance resembles, but in flavor is superior to, the pink panty dropper, a college-party staple (pink lemonade, beer, and Everclear). The Rum Runner is made with three Parrot Bay flavored rums (mango, pineapple, and coconut), plus orange and cranberry juices. Think of it as a bro-friendly version of Hawaiian Punch, with enough sugar and alcohol to rile you up for hours.3. Mojito, La Isla 2320 N.W. Market St., 789-0516, Ballard. Seriously? A mojito? At La Isla, yes. The Puerto Rican restaurant and rum bar transforms the cliché cocktail into a signature one, using homemade syrup that the bartenders will demurely reveal is made "with love." They churn out hundreds every night, and with good reason: La Isla's mojito is the perfect fusion of light rum, muddled mint, lime, and "love." It's light and refreshing—meaning yes, you can damn well order another one.2. Rum Punch, Casuelita's Caribbean Cafe 81 Vine St. Suite 101, 770-0155, Belltown. Casuelita's Rum Punch looks innocent: an amber-colored cocktail garnished with a darling cherry. It tastes innocent, too, thanks to a blend of grenadine and pineapple, mango, and orange juices. But it is in fact the Long Island Iced Tea's kitchen-sink kin. This concoction contains white rum, gold rum, and dark rum, plus a splash of apricot brandy for good measure. The sweet/tangy taste makes you feel like you're vacationing in the tropics. Just be careful, or your travels will hurt in the morning.1. Sorrel Rum Punch, Pam's Kitchen 5000 University Way N.E., 696-7010 U District. There are only five seats available at the bar of this small family-run restaurant. But this drink alone is worth waiting—even fighting—for. Trinidad native Pam Jacob, the owner of Pam's, imports all her ingredients from her home country, including sorrel, a hibiscus species commonly used in the Caribbean for its tart flavor. Her signature Sorrel Rum Punch is made meticulously—the flower boiled with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, then sweetened with sugar and of course rum. The first sip is as pungent as it is sweet. But it's very easy to get used to, just like Pam's cooking (curry roti!) and hospitality.
Top Five is a weekly column that appears every Wednesday morning on SW's food blog, Voracious (seattleweekly.com/voracious). More Swashbuckling Summer Guide 2010:Seafair Pirates: Meet the men behind the marauding-over cocktails, ofcourse.Where's Johnny Depp?: The search for Vashon Island's most famous new (alleged) resident.Buried Treasure: Das Booty's rock operas sparked a pirate culturerenaissance.Captain's Grog: A highly subjective tour of six local pirate bars.Todd's Shipyarrs: A Lake Union captain offers sailing to the sick.Skyline Chilling: Where to booze under the sun in a city known for itsrain.Portland's Plunder: The Rose City's pirate record cruelly snapped byBrits.Cannonball!: The best planks (i.e., diving boards) to walk while nearlynaked.Adventures on the High C's: Sefaring summer operas abound!Summer Events Calendar: SW's picks for what to do this summer, including stuff that has nothing to do with Jack Sparrow.