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I cannot mention the exact year when I understood what alcohol meant or what it was capable of doing but my introduction to the intoxication was through the Old Monk. I remember I didn’t quite like the taste the first time though it was sweet caramel-like. But it grew on me. Slowly. Building memories over the years with many others for whom the Old Monk is a ritual.

We have much to thank Edward Dyer, H.G. Meakin and N.N. Mohan for establishing a brand which is considered a legacy. Some love it, some loathe it but it certainly never goes unnoticed. Though I am not much of a dark rum fan, my partner-in-crime on the other hand swears by it. We have spent many sessions at our favourite neighbourhood bar, releasing steam post a hard day’s work over Old Monk and coke. And not to forget the cocktail sessions during our famous pajama parties where she often comes up with innovative mixes to keep us spinning through the night. One of my favourite flavours from her Old Monk based cocktail repertoire is the one with apple juice in it. Brilliant!

While we younger lot love to dress the Monk with as many flavours as possible, my aged friends feel that the Monk tastes best when served with the right amount of ice, water and coke in the respective order, strictly. I have never understood the logic but I am told that it enhances the flavour. I have even met some who love the Monk with hot water and cinnamon. To each his own!

While the 7 years aged XXX rum grade is the most popular, there are Supreme and Gold Reserve varieties which are sought after. These are aged for 12 years and are blended with highly matured spirits. Supreme also comes in a special bottle, with the shape of a standing monk. The top part of the monk’s head is the bottle cap, which also doubles up as a peg measure.

While we may seek other luxury intoxication most times, I am sure when it comes to a special get-together at home with your oldest buds, the Monk is guaranteed to resurface. The question therefore is not whether you love the Monk but what memories has he built for you. And I am sure there’ll be plenty.