When it comes to rum, I am conservative and rather picky. I prefer dark, moderately sweet varieties for my Dark & Stormy's and high quality strong monotone whites for mojitos. For this reason, I was initially reluctant to agree to review Cruzan's fruit-flavored white rums.
Not that I have anything against Cruzan, as I cannot bestow enough accolades on their terrific aged dark rum and their innovative black strap rum, whose licorice notes are just tantalizing, and incidentally, which makes for a mean rum and coke. And truth be told a ways back I tried (and liked) their blueberry lemonade rum.
But fruit-flavored spirits in general tend to be saccharine and over-the-top in terms of their taste profiles and more often than not don't come off as particularly natural. The mango and orange (and yes, they do taste different) Cruzan white rums seem to be the exception, perhaps because they are lower in alcohol content and more subtle in their botanical flavors. Sipping either straight up is pleasurable, and not, as in the case of some other brands who shall not be named, like quaffing hastily made prison hooch from purloined generic juice.
I recreated the Cruzan Carpe Diem, though with a blood orange twist, and it was light and refreshing. I am still in the process of experimenting with some of the other flavors, but so far my 'research' has yielded a nice concoction I call the "Cruzan Skinny Orange Strawberry Fields Forever." (Btw, probably about time I got off my high horse about being 'natural' as I used HEB soda because I was in a pinch.) Here's the recipe:
Cruzan® Skinny Strawberry Fields Forever
1½ parts Cruzan® Orange Rum,
3 parts light or diet strawberry soda (I recommend Zevia)
Garnish: Fresh strawberry
Method: Pour rum and strawberry soda into a chilled glass filled with ice. Stir to combine and garnish with a strawberry.
I will keep you posted on additional possibilities for cocktails...and there are many.