Liquor marketing is an interesting thing. Take Kilo Kai rum. Its website is chock full of electronic music and pictures of parties populated with busty broads. When I received a bottle for review, I was concerned this might be a style liquor with no substance. Happily, my first impressions were hasty. Kilo Kai is actually a tasty spiced rum that I’m happy to have in my liquor cabinet.
Kilo Kai is distilled, flavored, and aged for three years on the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles. It is then imported to the US where it is bottled and distributed.
The back label of Kilo Kai’s frosted bottle challenges you to compare it straight to other spiced rums. Sailor Jerry is my current standard spiced rum. But I must admit, it’s not something I enjoy drinking straight. At 92 proof, it’s just too hot and boozy.
Not so the Kilo Kai. The bottle notes that it is flavored with caramel, and that choice brings a soft sweetness to the final drink. While they don’t specifically call it out, I sensed a taste of orange peel.1 This brings a brightness and warmth to the cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Kilo Kai also comes in at 70 proof (35% ABV), and in some ways tastes closer to a liqueur than a liquor. Straight from the bottle it is quite tasty, and even more so with a single rock in a glass.
Since I was in the mood, I mixed the Kilo Kai with some Coca-Cola, and found it to be a tasty combination, better than the average rum and coke I get in most bars. The rum’s spices worked well with the cola and provided a pleasant drink.
My standard use of spiced rum is in eggnog, but I must admit, I’m a bit burnt out on eggnog after making several batches over the holidays. I wanted to find a lighter cocktail that took advantage of spiced rum. Happily, I remembered one of Tony Abou-Ganim’s signature drinks, the Cable Car.
1.5 oz spiced rum (Kilo Kai)
1 oz lemon juice
0.75 oz orange curaçao (Grand Marnier)
0.5 oz simple syrup (1:1)
Shake, strain into cocktail glass, and garnish with flamed orange peel.
The original recipe does call for a simple orange twist, but I felt going with the flamed orange peel trick would let the flavor stand up to the spiced rum. And in this case, I was right. With the Kilo Kai, this is a very tasty, if slightly sweet drink. Next time I will probably reduce the simple syrup when I mix it.
Kilo Kai is still in fairly limited distribution, and I’m not sure when it’ll be available for those of us in Washington State. But if you should see a bottle, be sure to give it a try. I think you’ll enjoy it, even if you don’t like techno music!
 I’m sure it’s not just the association with Kilo Kai rum’s home island of Curaçao.