On Mexican Food and Hangovers – an Interview with RumDood

As the first of hopefully a series of boozing and cooking related interviews Matthew Robold from RumDood.com agreed to answer some quick questions about drinking, cooking and hangovers. I’ve run into the problem here that I could keep asking more and more questions, so I might leave them for another time.


Over here at My Aching Head we love nothing more than a home cooked dinner and a bottle (or two) of wine. What’s your dinner of choice?

I’m a big fan of Asian cuisine.  I cook in my wok a great deal, although lately I’ve been in a big ahi tuna phase and have been making seared ahi steaks, sushi, sashimi, and ahi salads quite a bit.  I’ve been experimenting with using different rums as ingredients in marinades for the fish when I sear it.  So far I’d say a good demerara rum like Lemonhart or El Dorado seems to work the best at matching with the fish.  Something about the smoky richness of the demerara rums just makes it so tasty…although I’ve also enjoyed using Mount Gay Extra Old for the same purpose…and sometimes I skip the marinade and just have a dram with my fish.

I’m interested in Rum, but surely that isn’t the only thing you drink, so what else is in the liquor cabinet?

Well I don’t keep the rum in the liquor cabinet…it won’t fit.  My main fallback when I’m not drinking rum is gin.  I’m a big fan of Tanqueray and Plymouth gins, and a simple gin and tonic is just so refreshing.  I’ve also taken to drinking whiskey more often, and have probably 2 of every style but Scotch.  I keep a single bottle of vodka around for guests, but can’t remember the last time I opened it.  Then, of course, there are the numerous liqueurs, vermouths, tinctures, bitters, etc.

I’m also a big fan of port and pretty much always have a bottle of ruby and 20 year old Tawney at hand, in addition to a few bottles of wine, and a refrigerator door full of beer.

I love a gin and tonic as well. The problem I have is I always suck them back way too fast but I’m always curious what other G&T drinkers have as their garnish. Personally I’m a lime man, but lemon is good and more recently people have been sneaking cucumber into them. Where do you stand?

I’ve never gone wrong with lime.  I mean, it’s such a perfect garnish…you can garnish just about any drink with a lime and it works.  If I don’t use a lime, I’ll usually opt for a lemon twist.  I can’t say I’ve ever had a cucumber garnish in a G&T.  I’ve had a G&T garnished with an orange wheel before, which was interesting.  I think the most unusual garnish I’ve ever seen in a G&T was probably a sprig of mint.

And what do you drink when you are looking to get boozed up?

Rum is still my first choice when looking to tie one one.  Granted, I don’t generally go for the rarer stuff for that purpose.  I’d say my go-to rums for a good bender are Sailor Jerry’s Spiced rum or Appleton Estate V/X.  They’re both very inexpensive and easily replaced.  The Sailor Jerry is good for a rum and coke or mixed with juice…the Appleton Estate is good in anything.

If I really want to hurt the next day, I’ll even through in some J. Wray and Nephew overproof or the Lemonhart 151.

Gah! You actually think about causing yourself pain? I generally let the barman sort that out for me. Do you have a favourite haunt for a few quiet (or loud) drinks?

I don’t necessarily think to myself, “Self, let’s put a hurtin’ on for tomorrow!”, but I’m usually cognizant of when I’m headed down the path to alcoimmolation, and sometimes I really just don’t care because I want the drinks – and zombies are just freaking good.

As for a favorite watering hole, it depends on who I’m with.  My brother and I tend to spend a lot of time in various bars all over Downtown Fullerton – usually in Bourbon Street, Mulberry Street…any bar named after a street apparently.  I also have a buddy that loves dive bars, so if I’m out with him the odds are very high that I’ll end up at the Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa.  Of those bars, only Bourbon Street really has any decent rum in its selection – but when you’re a rum snob, you learn that unless you can get to places like Tiki Ti in LA or Forbidden Island in Alameda really easily, you’re going to have limited options.

And as far as waking up with a hangover, how do you sort that out? Are you a hair of the dog man or a coffee man?

When hungover, I generally maintain a strict regimin of coffee, gatorade, ibuprofin, antacids, and either pizza or Mexican food.  Something about the grease in a taco stand’s offerings or a big slice of meaty pizza just seems to make the world right again.  A burger and fries, animal style, from In’n’Out will also work in a pinch.

I will confess that the “hair of the dog” approach served me well in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail this year – though it’s not my typical approach.

I personally am a “hair of the dog” man and if I asked you to whip me up a quick rum-based cocktail that wouldn’t be too harsh on the stomach or the head. What would you give me?

That’s easy.  If I’m going “hair of the dog” with rum, I usually mix up a Dark and Stormy (dark rum and ginger beer), with a few dashes of bitters.  The combination of the effervescence, ginger, bitters, and the blackstrap rum all just work wonders on an unsettled stomach and headache-addled brain.

Ah, I love a Dark and Stormy, maybe with a splash of lime.

Personally, I love heading down to my local coffee shop, ordering a bacon and egg surprise. What about you?

Are we still talking about hangovers?  If I’m hungover and by myself I usually opt for pizza delivery simply because it means I get to stay in the house with the shades drawn and wait for food to come to me.  Either that or I’ll call a friend and ask them to save me with a carnitas burrito.  Carnitas, beans, rice, cheese, salsa, and guacamole really hits the spot when I’m trying to get my feet back underneath me.

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