Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rum's Top 10 Historical Moments.

     The Spirits Business published a very interesting article recently, dealing with historical events that have shaped the rum business and the way the rum is perceived today.

"Exile, revolution, war and Prohibition all played a part in shaping the fascinating story of rum. Here are the spirit’s top 10 historical moments."

     From Navy rations to the Cuban Revolution, these are the biggest moments in rum history.  
     It may be one of the biggest spirits categories in the world, but rum has encountered its fair share of set backs and challenges since molasses were first distilled in the 17th Century.
     With roots in the colonial slave trade, the spirit later became forever associated with drunken sailors as the Royal Navy were rationed a “tot” of rum a day.
     The world’s largest rum brand Bacardi was created in 1862 and laid claimed to being the first rum to feature in the Cuba Libre cocktail.
     While Prohibition proved fruitful for the industry, when other sectors were contrastingly dealt a fatal blow, it soon encountered its biggest upheaval in the Cuban Revolution and the ensuing US/Cuba trade sanctions.
      The origins of rum lie in the Caribbean plantations, where slaves are believed to have discovered that molasses could be used to distil alcohol.
     Many historians believe that this process was first discovered in Barbados – where an ancient document calls the spirit a “hot, hellish and terrible liquor” – while others believe there was proof of rum production in Brazil as early as the 1620s. Meanwhile, evidence of alcohol made from fermented sugarcane dates back to the 14th Century in Europe, India and China.

     Rum production then moved to colonial North America, where the first rum distillery is thought to have been opened in Staten Island in 1664.

     In 1655, the Royal Navy famously switched the daily liquor ration it gave to its sailors from
French brandy to rum.   However almost a century later, in 1740, sailors’ tots of rum began to be watered down to prevent drunkenness, creating a mixture known as grog. This added lemon or lime juice to help prevent the onset of scurvy.   Until 1970, the Royal Navy continued to give its sailors a daily ration of rum, and do so on special occasions to this day. The day the daily ration of rum ended is known as Black Tot Day.

The story has much more to tell and you can read the rest of the story at

     This is an interesting linking of historical events with rum.  It is a good read and one that I think that you can enjoy.  ;o)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Casa Bacardi Tours in Puerto Rico No Longer Free

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The drinks are no longer on the house at Casa Bacardi in Puerto Rico.

     Foreigners will now have to pay $12 and residents $6 to visit one of the most popular tourist attractions in the metropolitan San Juan region, officials said Tuesday.   The seaside rum distillery was well-known for its free drinks and tours.   The new cover charge includes a welcome drink, a commemorative 12-ounce acrylic glass and a tour of the Bacardi Visitor Center, according to a statement by Casa Bacardi. Those who want a tour of the distillery, a sampling of four premium rums or a drink-confectioning course must pay an additional $23.    Casa Bacardi officials said they also plan to renovate their facility and revamp their drink menus.
     Mari Jo Laborde, a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico's tourism company, said Bacardi officials have already met with tour operators and cruise line officials to notify them of the changes.    "It's one of the most important tours for us," she said. "They didn't consult us, but they did inform us about their plans. It's a private company and they take their own financial and strategic decisions."   More than 250,000 people a year visit the Bacardi distillery, where more than 83 percent of Bacardi rum is produced.

     This is a rend that has happened to the wine industry as well.  In my days of living in the Sonoma Valley of California I use to jump into my 1959 Austin Healy Sprite and drive over the mountain to the Napa Valley and sample all of the free wines at the wineries in St, Helena and Calistoga.   Today this is no longer a "free" event either.  Times change, insurance costs go up and it becomes necessary to charge for such visits.  In the case of Bacardi, it is no different.  You can not run a business at a loss and costs need to be covered.  The price of entry is about the same as having a couple of cocktails at a bar and you get so much more


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is Cuba Going to Open Up Soon?

     From the STR headquarters outside of Nashville, Tennessee, they currently gather performance data from over 50,000 hotels located in more than 160 countries.  These properties use STR products, such as the STAR Report or Hotel Survey, to benchmark their hotel’s performance versus a competitive set or market segment and hotel reviews.
"Among the countries in the region, Mexico reported the largest number of rooms In Construction with 7,957 rooms. Three other countries reported more than 500 rooms In Construction: Bahamas (2,681 rooms); Cuba (1,176 rooms); and the Dominican Republic (715 rooms). "
     In Cuba, there is a huge new hotel being developed by the Spanish Developer Melia Hotels International.  This new property accounts for the entire 1176 rooms being developed in Cuba.
Cayo Coco
     "About the new resort in Cayo Coco, it is expected to be finished by sometime next year, it was revealed that the first phase should be completed in November 2014 and once the whole hotel complex is finished it will become the key’s largest hotel. With a total of 1,176 rooms found along 25, three-story bungalows, they will offer garden views, pool views and ocean views as well as luxury amenities and facilities."
     This property along with the very recently  opened 
Marina Melia Veradero
gem on the island, the lavishly luxurious, five-star Marina Melia Varadero, which opened in summer last year give the beautiful northern beaches of Cuba some spectacular hotels to draw more and more tourists from all over the world.
     It makes me wonder with this much money being spent to develop five-star resorts is someone knows that the opening of Cuba and the lifting of the embargo might be closer that some have thought. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Robots Replaceing the"Love Boat" Crew ?

Love Boat Crew
      The days of your "Love Boat" type services and going by the wayside to be replaced by robot bartenders in the Royal Caribbean's new "smart ships".   

     Royal Caribbean International has partnered with Makr Shakr to create the world's first "bionic bar" tended by robots aboard its new "smart ship". 

Robot Bartenders
     Claimed to be the world's first robotic bar, the bionic bar will allow guests aboard the Quantum of the Seas to place drinks orders via tablets and then watch as they are mixed by robotic bartenders programmed to add the right amount of mixers, ice and even garnish. 

     Each robot can produce one drink per minute and up to 1,000 drinks per day, according to Royal Caribbean, with robotic arms able to draw alcohol from dozens of bottles hanging from above. 

     Alessandro Insica of Makr Shakr, the company that developed the machine for Royal Caribbean, said: "You have a choice of a Bionic Bar signature recipe or a classic recipe, or you also can create your own. There are endless combinations." 

Issac Washington

I'm going to miss the ability to walk up to the bar and chat with the bartender as I get my cocktail, a robot just doesn't have the same personality.  I might as well be drinking alone in my cabin for the amount of social interaction that will occur with a robot.  I feel that this is a great idea for making cocktails for the service staff serving cocktails with dinner or at the tables, but when I sit at the bar, I want to communicate with a fellow human being.  ;o)


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Richard L. Seale on Single vs Redistilled Rums

     Richard L. Seale, Master Distiller at the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, offers the answers to the difference between these two types of run.  He gave us an offering of explanation on Facebook a few days ago that I feel is very interesting and helps understand the differences between the two,

     Traditionally in Barbados, 'light rums' from the column stills are called "single" and 'heavy rums' from the pot still are called "redistilled"   The words "single" and "redistilled" are actually stamped on the barrels.

Column Still
     Single is derived from 'single distilled' as in one pass through the column still. How ironic the moronic "times distilled" marketing mantra refers to the number of columns in a distillation plant !!!  'Redistilled' comes from the practice of physically passing the rum through the pot still twice, classic double distillation, which is even more ironic since the classic rum pot still with pot and twin retort needs only one pass !

Pot Still
     In the classic style of Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana, at Foursquare we make 'Blended Rums' in the true meaning of the term (blended) in that aged "single" (i.e. column still) and aged "redistilled" (i.e. pot still) rums are blended for the final result. Blended really means blended, none of that solera stuff.

     No doubt the art of blending pot and column is derived from our Scottish brethren but at Foursquare we take advantage of the fact that our stills are side by side and so our "single" rum has a touch of "redistilled" and our "redistilled" has a touch of "single", all done before aging.

"Single" Rum aging at Foursquare Distillery
     We still call and mark them "single" and "redistilled," I just think they are better for their little "impurity".

     Now we completely agree with our good friend Luca Gargano that "Pure Single Rum" (i.e. simply a beautiful name for pot stilled rum) is the very highest expression of rum there can be. higher than blended rums, higher than column rums. “rum for big boys and girls”.   Not telling you what to prefer but "highest" meaning the fullest flavor of the molasses wine and the highest intrinsic value.

     So we are thinking to release a "Pure Single Rum" even if just a limited edition, we need our "redistilled" to make our blends!.

     Of course our "Pure Single Rum" will have a little "impurity" but I do not think that will spoil the intent or the expression.

     We need in rum the "single malt" revolution of the 60’s which invented the category as the highest expression of whisky. The weapons, though scarce, are around, thanks to the likes of Velier and others, but we seem to be making little use of them, rum opinion leaders take note. Little wonder our super premium category practically does not exist, only 1% of sales, because we can’t even define it properly. We are yet even to get our heads around "blended". If it ever comes it will be a revolution because sacred cows will be decimated and for many their rum world will be upside down. Time we at Foursquare played our part, pure single rum here we come.
     Thanks to Richard Seale for taking some time to give us a real informative definition of these two types of classic and "pure rums".

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cockspur has Reintroduced "Old Gold Rum"

    According to the Rum Journal, Cockspur is reintroducing its "Old Gold Rum".   This was an expression that was not distributed in Florida, but one that I had the opportunity to enjoy while in Barbados.

     "Old Gold Special Reserve Rum comes from Cockspur, which calls the venerable Barbados’ West Indies Rum Distillery home."   Cockspur is one of the most popular brands on an island that rather legitimately claims to have invented the stuff.  

     On to the tasting of this five-years-aged pot-still rum.   The color is, unsurprisingly, a golden-hue of amber, with a pleasant aroma of caramel, molasses and a hint of honey.
The flavor profile is marked by caramel, honey, dried fruit, oak and a hint of spice.   It’s remarkably smooth, and exceedingly drinkable even when taken neat.   All in all, a quite drinkable rum, perfect neat, on the rocks or in your favorite cocktail.


    This is good new to see this expression being brought back to life.  It was a good rum for Cockspur and one I hope this time makes it into the Florida distribution system so I can offer it to my customers at the Rum Bar in Key West.  ;o)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Day Dreaming for the Road Again

     It has been too long since I have had the opportunity to take off and head South for a week or so and I'm getting a bit of "cabin Fever" to hit the road again and explore a neat place.  Time on the water and the land to enjoy a cool beach bar and some new local concoctions.   ;o)