Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Happy Birthday to Ernest Hemingway

Ernest and Pauline at Home in Key West

     Happy Birthday to Ernest Hemingway, the man that Papa's Pilar Rum's back story is based upon.
 The man, his fishing yacht, and his persona have added so much to our world.  Whether you like his writings or not, this larger than life man has had some effect on you somewhere in your mind.

       I had very little knowledge of his life before moving to Key West.  I knew who he was, but very
little about him.  I hate to admit it, but I have never read any of his writings, but the man and his way of life have really drawn me in.   His life here in Key West and all of the legends of him here on the island only made me more interested in the man and the locals and places that he  hung out with and at are legendary.  People like Josie Russel owner of Sloppy Joe's in  Key West, Boxing at the Old Coca Cola Bottling Plant, To his house and wife.  You can hardly move anywhere in this town without some reference to Ernest Hemingway.

     My first visit to Havana, Cuba is where his life was brought to the forefront for me.  Hemingway's life in Cuba is felt is so many places as you travel around there.  Starting with the Ambros Mundos Hotel that he lived and completed For Whom the Bells Toll when he first moved to Havana in 1939 to the El Floridita where he spent a lot of time drinking.  His famed home Finca la Vigia in San Francisco de Paula outside of Havana and the village of Cojimar to the east of Havana where he kept his beloved fishing yacht, Pilar and spent so much time at the La Terraza where Hemingway and Gregorio Fuente, the captain of Pilar would dine and drink after a day of fishing on Pilar.

     Today as a distiller at the Hemingway Rum Company his presence has become a daily part of my life.  Happy Birthday to this amazing man.

Friday, July 20, 2018

What's in Your Rum

     There is a rum blogger out there known as “The Fat Rum Pirate”, who has taken the time to test a whole load of rums for their sugar content.  This list takes a lot of the question out of who is telling the truth and who is lying about adding things to their rum.  As I’ve said before, I have no issue with people adding things to their rum, just let us know that you have.  Here are the results of the “Fat Rum Pirate’s” testing.

     Visit the site and you will see his complete list and find what is in you favorite rum.  This is a very enlightening experience.  There are many rums out there that have more added than advertised, and others that are just nothing but pure rum.  The choice becomes yours.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Drinks Business Joins Forces with The Spirits Business to Launch The Wine And Spirits Show

The team behind The City Wine Show and Spirited London is thrilled to announce the launch of The Wine & Spirits Show, which will bring together the world’s very best wine and spirits under one roof.
     The event will be open to both the trade and consumers and will take place over two days from 12-13th October in the heart of London at One Whitehall Place, part of the five-star hotel the Royal Horseguards. Targeting wine enthusiasts based in London, around 2,000 members of the general public are expected to attend, alongside members wine and spirits trade.   The event will open from 1pm to 9pm on Friday, and from 1pm to 8pm on Saturday. To register for the trade event, which will run from 1pm to 5pm on Friday.
     The Wine & Spirits Show will offer one hall dedicated to wines, and another that will be focused entirely on spirits.   Producers already set to exhibit in The Wine Hall include Consorzio Tutela Vini, Wine Trail Wales, Sud de France, Ledbury Wine and New Zealand Wine Growers.  The Wine Hall will also feature the Global Masters Zone, showcasing the top medal-winning wines judged throughout the years in the drinks business Global Masters Series.
     The Spirits Hall will feature everything from gin and whisky to Tequila, rum and Mezcal, with Amber Glen Scotch, HMS Spirits and Angus Dundee Distillers already set to take part. This hall will also host The Spirits Masters Zone, which will be manned by the spirits business team and showcase the Spirits Masters competition medalists.  
     Both halls will feature a dedicated New Products Zone for both wines and spirits, which will showcase the hottest wines and spirits launched within the last 12 months, keeping guests up to speed on emerging trends and releases. Consumers will be asked to vote for their favorite new wine of spirits, with the winning brand set to receive a profile page in the magazine.
     A Global Beer Tour zone will also offer guests the chance to sample a wide range of brews to have been judged by our expert panel as part of the Global Beer Masters, which will take place in August.
     As well as hundreds on wines and spirits available to sample, the event will also offer a series of expert masterclasses, on both wines and spirits.   Not only do these sessions offer consumers the chance to learn more about wine or spirits, but for wine and spirits brands to showcase their products in front of an interested and engaged audience of wine and spirits lovers.   A full schedule of masterclasses, which will be offered FREE on a first come first served basis, will be announced in due course.  We still have a few stands available for those wishing to take part. To enquire about taking part in the show, please email

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Captain Morgan Surpasses Bacardi as Britain's Biggest Rum Brand

     Sales across Captain Morgan's portfolio of rums surged by $10,319,371.31 over the past 12 months, our Britain's Biggest Alcohol Brands 2018 report reveals Brits' love of spiced rums has sent Captain Morgan sailing past Bacardi to become the nation's favorite rum brand.

     Sales across Captain Morgan's portfolio of rums surged by £7.8m to £123.2m over the past 12 months, with £6.9m of that growth coming from its Spiced flavor, our Britain's Biggest Alcohol Brands 2018 report reveals. Which makes Captain Morgan not only the nation's favorite rum but Britain's 24th biggest alcohol brand.  Bacardi's sales, meanwhile, have fallen £6m to £111.3m, with £4.5m disappearing from its flagship Carta Blanca SKU.

     Rum sales have skyrocketed over the past year. According to WSTA figures, sales in the UK broke the £1bn mark over the 12 months to 24 March 2017, while value and volume sales rose 31% and 16% respectively over the past four years.  Yet nearly all the growth has come from spiced or 'golden' rums such as Captain Morgan, which are up 15% to £132m. White rum sales have fallen 2% to £137m [WSTA].  The market had "delivered challenges", admitted Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands MD Amanda Almond. However, she stressed the brand "enjoyed growth thanks to the launch of new products" such as posh spiced rum Bacardi Añejo Cuatro and Bacardi Raspberry. "Bacardi rum has been in existence for over 155 years and we fully intend to add at least another 155 years."

     The category had been "given a boost by the nation's thirst for craft cocktails", said WSTA CEO Miles Beale. "Ten years ago there were only 50 rum brands on the UK market, which has now increased to over 150. There are 315 distilleries across the UK making world-class gins and whiskeys and now many are adding rum."

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Forget the Caribbean: Was Rum Invented in India?

      Newly discovered evidence suggests that rum production predates the Caribbean by at least 1,000 years and may began in South East Asia.  Dave Wondrich’s article says that rum may have conceived years before the Caribbean even got its first sugarcane.

     Which brings us to rum. The start line for the spirit's History has traditionally been drawn on the Caribbean island of Barbados in 1645, give or take a year, with English colonists responsible for its invention. A few modern historians take a somewhat wider view. Frederick H. Smith, in his groundbreaking 2005 study Caribbean Rum, observes that cane distillation was recorded in Martinique in 1640, and that it may have been brought to both that island and Barbados by Dutch colonists fleeing the Portuguese reconquest of northern Brazil, occupied by the Dutch since 1630. The Dutch may have started the practice there or picked it up from the Portuguese colonists.

     This doesn’t really surprise me, considering that sugarcane had its beginning in different locations in Southeast Asia.  Sugarcane originated in tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia. Different species likely originated in different locations with S. barberi originating in India and S. edule and S. officinarum coming from New Guinea. Originally, people chewed sugarcane raw to extract its sweetness.

     Reaching yet further into that murk, and further by quite a bit, and highlight a few documents that have not been generally included in the History of rum. They come not from the Caribbean, or the New World at all, but from Asia. In the absence of a comprehensive history of distillation in that vast, and vastly diverse, continent, they are widely scattered and lacking in context, but that does not mean they should be left out of the History of rum, as thus far most have been.

     The first is a section of the Ain-i-Akbari, the "Constitution of Akbar," a work (in Persian) compiled around 1590 by Abu'l Fazl ibn Mubarak, Grand Vizier to Akbar, the Moghul Emperor of India, whose realm, encompassing northern India, parts of Afghanistan and the eastern parts of Iran, held a fifth of the world's population. In a survey of all the useful plants to be found in that empire, Abu'l Fazl includes a section on sugar cane. After briefly discussing the types of cane and their cultivation, he adds (in H. Blochmann's 1873 translation) that "sugarcane is also used for the preparation of intoxicating liquor."

     First, he explains, the cane is pounded together with acacia bark (here, I believe, as preservative) and then the juice is fermented for a week or longer. Sometimes unrefined sugar is added, or other aromatics, or even pieces of meat. Then the liquid is strained and sometimes drunk as is. However, as Abu'l Fazl adds, "it is mostly employed for the preparation of arrack."

Like "salsa," "arrack," also written as "rack," is one of those words that, though they have perfectly clear equivalents in English, are rarely translated, thus making the things they designate sound exotic. In this case, the word means simply "distilled spirit" and is applied to local spirits from the Eastern Mediterranean all the way to the Indonesian archipelago, encompassing a variety of liquors as different from each other as mezcal and Cherry Heering. In India alone, in the 1500s, it could be made from, among other things, palm sap, cashew fruit, mahua-tree leaves or, as in this case, sugar cane.
Abu'l Fazl then goes on to describe precisely how this cane arrack is made, detailing-and quite accurately-the three different kinds of still used (to modern students of the history of distillation these are known as the "Gandharan," for which see below, the "Mongolian" and the "Chinese") and adding that "some distil the arrack twice, when it is called Duátasha, or twice burned; it is very strong."  The geography part, at least, is easy: although cane was grown in various parts of the Indian subcontinent, its historical heartland was a broad swath of territory running along the Himalayas from Kandahar, in what is now Afghanistan, all the way through Lahore and Delhi and Calcutta to the Bay of Bengal. By the 1500s, the industry was centered in the province of Bengal-modern Bangladesh.  As for its consumption, we know one thing: its use need not have been confined to the empire's non-Muslim subjects. The Moghuls were imperfect Muslims in this respect, and alcohol was frequently consumed at all levels of Moghul society, right up to the very Emperors themselves, all of whom were topers, and some of them to notorious excess.

     This is only a short synopsis of the article, that if you are interested in can be read in its entirety at

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Willy T Will Return

The Willy T Before Irma
     We are finally well on our way here in key west in our repairs after Irma.  I often think about the other island that were in her path and so many wonderful places that were destroyed Throughout the Caribbean.  One of these was the William Thornton, better known as the Willy T.  Great news out of the British Virgin Islands recently, the new Willy T will be in the same place very soon.

     The William Thornton (Willy-T) Floating Bar & Restaurant, which is known for its lure of adventure-seekers, is expected to be back in operation this month.  The restaurant which usually operates on the south-west corner of The Bight off Norman Island was ‘an absolute right off’ following last year’s hurricanes, Manager Ewan Anderson said.
     In an exclusive interview with BVI News, Anderson said the replacement vessel will be almost an exact replica of the previous steel boat.  He said the remains of the old vessel are still on the beach and will be removed and sold for scraps soon.  “We are building a new Willy T,” he said. “It is the same kind of ship [but] a bit larger and it will be in the same place.”  “We are going to drive it down next month,” he added.
New Boat Costly
     The vessel was sourced in the United States and is currently being retrofitted.  And while remaining tight-lipped on the overall cost of the undertaking, Anderson admitted that it is costly.  “We are putting a lot of money back into it. Willy T will be back at a vast expense,” he noted.
Willy-T Coming Back Important
     Anderson said his family, which has been operating the unique business for more than 35 years, believes “it’s absolutely tantamount” to restore Willy T.  “It is one of the top ten attractions in the BVI. It’s a big tourist attraction,” he stressed.  He said fans of the restaurant are eagerly awaiting its return

     There are no pictures of the new Willy T at this time,.but I hope one will be made available soon 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bahia Honda Marina,The One Place That Hasn't Reopened at the State Park

     One of Marta's and my favorite places to head to when we want to get away for a couple of days is the Bahia Honda Marina.  We pull in and spend a couple of days in our "Aqua-camper" and relax and enjoy kayaking, and sitting in the open water area just outside of the marina entrance and enjoy our cocktail hour as the sun sets.  I just hope that they can get it operating again soon.