The first step to loving anything completely is recognizing and accepting its flaws.
This is especially true with Malibu coconut rum, the supersweet rum-coconut liqueur. Some say it has a stringent nose of pencil shavings and Crayola crayons. And that it brings to mind a not-so-appetizing thought of suntan lotion. It's made in Canada. It's a "girly" drink, acceptable only for spring breakers at a swim-up bar in Cabo.
But its sweetness lessens the need to add simple syrup to cocktails. It tastes like a half-baked piña colada, because it was first made in 1893 in order to be just that—a tool to help bartenders streamline their colada making. True, it's blended in Canada, but our neighbors to the north also gave us gems like poutine and Tim Hortons; besides, the rum itself is made in Barbados. And it's 2016—can we stop putting drinks (or anything really) in an outdated gendered corner?
A Malibu rum cocktail is like a trip to the beach, but without sand stuck in weird places. The writing on the bottle says, "Malibu Caribbean rum with coconut liqueur is perfect when the sun's setting and the good times are flowing." The same is true for when the sun is doing anything, and you're alone in your apartment under 12 blankets. It's a free tropical vacation for your mouth at just $25 a bottle.
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Diet Coke and coconut rums are my secret for surviving frigid New York winters. But I challenge you to think outside the Solo cup and use Malibu for its full potential. I used to come home late after a line cook shift in need of both dinner and a fast-acting destresser. I learned that a bowl of cereal with Malibu poured into the milk is the ideal 1 a.m. dinner. You can also use it in any rum cake or baked good that calls for rum to transform it into a certified tiki dessert.
Embrace the opaque bottle. Not every drink (nor cake or bowl of cereal) needs to be top shelf.