It took a few reads for me to grok the rum classification but I get it now. At first there was a bit of a needle-skip noise in my head as I tried to suss out the recipes. "I use what kind of rum?" I understand it now. I'll leave it to Matt Pietrek to explain better, or you could just buy the damn book. If you're interested in Tiki be it origins or the revival this book is for you. If you're interested in rum this book is for you. If you ponder how Martin Cate became a tiki stalwart this book is for you. I could go on and on, but this is no sugar frosted nut sack. Basically everything
So, about this rum classification. As I mentioned I grok it now but it blew me away at first. In one instance a substitution I have been known to make seems especially justified with this classification. In another instance a category is torn asunder. The walls come tumbling down. The stones turn to dust. The dust is scattered to the wind. And just like that some tiki dogma (that has made me scratch my head) blows away. My question of, "Why can't I sub X for Y?" is answered. "You can! You can!"
I had some pull quotes but I think I'll paraphrase...
Tiki drinks need not be Thomas Kellerian mountains to climb nor need they be vestiges of the past. If you can chop an onion and make an omelette you can make syrups and squeeze fresh juice for your drinks. Nothing lasts forever and this includes the brand of rum that is your favourite; how easily it is procured; how it's contents compare to six months previous (or hence). The Margarita ought to be our exemplar rather than the Mai Tai.
To put it another way while I prefer a Sidecar with Pierre Ferrand 1840 to one with Meukow VSOP they are both Sidecars and both contain cognac. Let's consider that when we reach for, let's say, blended black rum...