Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sugar: An Addictive Drug Like Alcohol and Tobacco?

     According to a senior Dutch health official, soft drinks should carry health warnings much like the ones on tobacco products.   Paul Van Der Velpen, head of the Amsterdam Health Service was quoted as saying, "Just like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is actually a drug. There is an important role for government. The use of sugar should be discouraged. And users should be made aware of the dangers,"  


Many of the energy bars rely on sugar for the energy
    There is pressure being applied to legislators in Holland to place extra taxes and regulations on sugar and the amount of sugar being used by the food industry.   The point that they are making is some what of a valid one, because it is a lot easier to put down a bag of vegetables than it is to set aside a bag of cookies.
Up to 41 grams per liter of sugar

     I guess that when you combine sugar with alcohol, whether it be added to the liquor at the distillery, or you add it to your cocktail you are looking at a double whammy.  

     My feeling on the subject are very simple, I believe that a limited amount of sugar in your life is fine, it is like so many other things that it is so easy to over indulge on, you need to exercise some self control and use things in moderation rather than being a glutton.   For me, I like a good cocktail, but I avoid the ones that have  ingredients in the mixes or spirits that are loaded with sugar or even worse high fructose corn syrup.  You can get great flavors from the sweetness found naturally in juices and fruits without adding all of the sugar  Read your labels, you will be surprised how much sugar is contained in many "healthy" products.
Fruit Juices more sugar than a candy bar in most cases

     Just keep things in perspective and use your head when it comes to the over use of anything, whether it be alcohol, sugar or anything else.  ;o)



Friday, August 29, 2014

Tasting Results From International Rum Conference in Madrid, Spain

     The 2014 Rum Festival in Madrid, Spain is concluded and the results from the tasting competition compiled and here you have the winners for 2014.   There were a number of seminars, conferences and days of judging during the Third Annual International Congress Ron de Madrid.   Madrid will host the 2015 edition again in June.   "The "IV International Congress Ron de Madrid", for which we  from have the support of the entire rum industry."
 
 

 







Thursday, August 28, 2014

El Presidente: The Lost Cuban Cocktail

Jockey Club
     Every now and again I run across one of the old classic cocktails from Prohibition in Cuba.   Cuba was the hub for sophisticated Americans to travel for fun and legal cocktails during of "The Great Experiment" that lasted from 1920 until 1933.   Many of the famous cocktail lounges and showrooms make Old Havana the Las Vegas of that era.   Out of this era came many famous cocktails, many of which are still very popular today.  One of the lost cocktails of the era was the El Presidente.

     This cocktail is believed to have been invented by an American barman at the Jockey Club in Old Havana named Eddie Woelke.  During that era, Old Havana was alive with American celebrities, aristocrats and politicians.  People Like Ernest Hemingway, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Spencer Tracy and many more would flock to Havana to enjoy the nightlife and legal booze.  El Presidente was one of the very popular cocktails of those days, but today it seems to have gotten lost in the era of Vodka and speed bar cocktails.

     The El Presidente  has all of the true classic ultra premium cocktail hallmarks, the true flavor is only attained when it is made with the proper ingredients, cheap versions just kill its marvelous flavor.  Basil Woon, one of the society correspondents of the era call it the "aristocrat of cocktails", and there were many others who were of the same opinion when it came to the El Presidente.

El Presidente  (Original Recipe)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Curacao
  • 3/4 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp. Grenadine
Stir ingredients well with cracked ice then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Color should pour a clear deep orange color, garnish with an orange peel.

Bahama Bob's El Presidente
  • 1 1/2 oz. Diplomatico Blanco Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin de Chambery Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 Tsp. Dekuypers Pomegranate Liqueur
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake until chilled.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and float a twisted orange peel for a garnish.

     This is a wonderfully dry cocktail, not one for people with a sweet palate, but a very nice and very flavorful one anyway.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Holiday Heart Syndrome


     I received an email from Julie Bowen today about something that I believe I say happen to a
customer of mine from the Tampa area last spring.   After a day of drinking and partying here in Key West, he wound up in the hospital with chest pains.  This is a very real problem and one that you need to be aware of when you are out partying while on holiday anytime


How Alcohol Increases Your Risk of ‘Holiday Heart Syndrome’ 

     Scientists have long been aware that heavy drinking increases the odds of heart failure. Although there are health risks, no one has pinned downed the trigger factor that leads an alcoholic to cardiac arrhythmias.

     A new study from Sweden now suggests that moderate to heavy consumption of wine and liquor increases the risk for atrial fibrillation, a condition also known as ‘Holiday Heart Syndrome.’
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
     Atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heartbeat, is a quivering of the heart that causes chest pain, shortness of breath and increases the chances of a heart attack or stroke. Usually it occurs in periodic episodes, but atrial fibrillation may last for several days. Atrial fibrillation can occur among people who don’t drink as well, but it is more common in alcohol drinkers.

Details of the Study
     In the 12-year-long study, Swedish researchers kept track of a group of 79,016 adults between the ages of 45 and 83. In the end they discovered 12,554 cases of atrial fibrillation out of this population. The results showed an increase in irregular heartbeat for moderate consumers of alcoholic beverages, which is considered to be one to three drinks per day.
     Furthermore the risk of fibrillation increased by 8 percent with each alcoholic drink consumed. The people who drank the most were 50 percent more likely to develop an arrhythmia.
     Interestingly enough the subjects that chose to drink beer, rather than wine or alcohol, did not seem to be at as high of a risk. There was no direct relationship found between binge drinking beer and atrial fibrillation.

     Susanna C. Larsson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Unit of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, was lead author of the study. She thinks the new findings about beer may have to do with the time of the week it is consumed.
     According to Larsson, “It is likely that beer is consumed more regularly during the week, whereas wine and liquor is more often consumed during weekends only. Adverse effects of alcohol on atrial fibrillation risk may be less pronounced if alcohol consumption is spread out over the week compared with consumption of larger amounts of alcohol during a few days per week.”
      The research was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
     There is controversy amid health care professionals over whether light to moderate consumption of alcohol leads to atrial fibrillation. However most agree that moderate to heavy alcohol abuse is a leading cause of heart problems – no matter what you’re drinking.

 

 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Labor Day Weekend is This Week

Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River
     The traditional end of summer and the kids going back to school weekend, but like so many other things in this world it too has changed.   I still will always remember the family packing all of the camping gear into the station wagon and heading up to the high Sierra's for a three day weekend of camping along the Stanislaus River.   The good news was it was a really fun time of hiking and trout fishing, but the bad news was Tuesday morning all of the summer freedom was gone and we were back in school.
Relief Reservoir
     There were several resorts along the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River from which you could head into the wilderness areas and really enjoy some beautiful views.  The entire area is from 600o' to 10,000 feet and the stars and the clear skies are just breathe taking.   Hiking or horseback riding the trail into the back country is one of the best parts or the weekend of exploration.  The untouched beauty of this area is still the same today, and will hopefully continue to be this way in this time of so many changes elsewhere.

     Here in Key West, Labor Day weekend is going to be a fun one, but in a very different way.  It is going to be loaded with people that I will be entertaining and hopefully making there long weekend a little bit more fun.   It is different from my experiences when I was young, but it is still Labor Day Weekend and a time for fun no matter how you choose to use the time.  You might want to take a cruise on out Prohibition era black boat on this labor day holiday  ;)

Monday, August 25, 2014

The 12 Bottle Bar: Your Home Bar Cocktail Guide

     With some 260 plus rums on my bar and a few of everything else, it can be a daunting task just to figure out what I want to use to create a cocktail in the evening or afternoon.  here is a new bar guide that I think has brought the home bar back into perspective.   "The 12 Bottle Bar
, by David and Lesley Solmonson, advises consumers to stock seven spirits, one liqueur, two vermouths and two bitters to create the perfect home bar."  It offers a brief history of each spirit style, why it should be included in your bar, and several recipes.   There is also a guide at the back of the book on how to serve cocktails and a selection of virgin recipes.
    "The 12 Bottle Bar" really makes sense to me for a small house bar.  It includes a white and Amber rum, a brandy, dry gin, Genever,  rye whiskey, vodka, orange liqueur (triple Sec), dry vermouth, sweet vermouth aromatic bitters and orange bitters.   

     "Obviously the main spirits (vodka, gin, rum, brandy, whiskey) need to be included, the choice from there is the brand.   The accent liqueurs were a challenge within themselves. My decision was primarily founded in how often is a certain liqueur used in the greatest number of cocktails or cocktails where the liqueur can act as a substitute for another. After that list, it’s back to choosing a brand. With a well-stocked supply of essential mixers this list can make at least 100 different cocktails."
     The book retails around $10 and is a really nice guide to making cocktails at home with a very minimal space and outlay for the bar stock.   Which brands of spirits you choose can raise or lower the cost of stocking your bar, but even "well spirits" work out for mixed cocktails.  If your palate is tuned to the better spirits by all means put them in your bar.
     "Genever" threw up a question flag for me, but it does make sense once you know what it is.  Genever enables bartenders to work with the authentic flavours of the past to recreate the true classic cocktails the way they were meant to taste.   The whisky-like malt tones of Genever make it also perfect to drink it straight, on the rocks, or in ‘regular’ easy mixed cocktail.  It adds the malt flavor to cocktails with out using scotch.
     I think that this is a perfect starter book for someone to put together a small home bar, and it will surprise you all of the cocktails that you can create with just 12 bottles.  ;o)
 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beautiful Day Sharing the Ocean

     It was a beautiful day for a cruise out to the west of Key West and follow along the string of Keys that lead you out to Boca Grande and the Atlantic Ocean.   Today we were lucky enough to have clear waters and the company of a pod of dolphins.  These creatures are such wonderful mammals that love to play in the boat wakes as we travel along.  I find them to be just plain entertaining as well as beautiful..