Marty Holt began working the bar at Cedars Restaurant and Lounge 25 years ago. He tells us that the Rum Barrel was already their signature drink when he arrived.
In those early days it was often served to couples. It was presented in a huge vessel Marty likened to a fish bowl and came with separate straws. The Washington Liquor Board has since banned the sale of drinks intended to be consumed by more than one customer, but current Rum Barrel purchasers needn’t worry about being short-poured. Cedars now serves its signature drink in a stemmed glass, dubbed by its manufacturer, the Magna Grande. It holds 27-ounces. A Rum Barrel will set you back $9.25 plus tax, which doesn’t seem so expensive when you realize that there are two-and-a-half shots of liquor in it.
Cedars is a dinner house and cocktail lounge that’s popular year-round and their patio on the Columbia River is an especially busy spot during warm weather. Customers—whether inside or outside--consumed about 2,500 Rum Barrel during the month of July. At one time Marty and his colleagues actually put some numbers to his production of this drink. He says a fairly accurate estimate would be over 130,00 Rum Barrels since he started at Cedars. Many of those have been poured on Thursday nights, when they’re available at half-price for ladies.
Competitors have attempted to do knock off versions, but haven’t been able to duplicate the Cedars Rum Barrel recipe, says Marty. “We have tweaked it over the years but it has always been a staple cocktail here. I can't give exact ingredients because we don't want to give away our secrets, but it consists of light & dark rum, with some fruit juices & some top secret stuff, as well.”