Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide" is Online

     Great News, The original Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide is back.  It is on line and it is very well done.   I have always thought that the Mr. Boston Guide was the best one around, and had the most accurate recipes, especially when it comes to the classics.

    Mr. Boston used to be the barkeep's best friend. The unmistakable, narrow, cherry-red books were once found behind every bar. The first edition of "Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide" was published in 1935, just as America was again able to properly quench its thirst after Prohibition. More than 65 editions would be published.

     Around the time that American bartenders became "mixologists" and cocktails got complicated, Mr. Boston fell from favor.  A few years back, the New Orleans-based Sazerac Co. bought Mr. Boston, which also sells a line of cordials and spirits.   Thursday July 21 Sazerac relaunched the Mr. Boston guide as a free, web-only tool.  Sazerac plans to make Mr. Boston bigger than ever.   The website: offers more than 10,000 cocktail recipes from the post-Prohibition era.

     It took the Sazerac Co. five years to get out of the Mr. Boston publishing contract.   While they waited, they found copies of all but 17 editions of the Mr. Boston guide and entered the 10,539 cocktail recipes into a database.   "We've been restoring it like you would a Van Gogh," said Mark Brown, president and CEO of Sazerac.   Now, you can search every one of those recipes at When there is more than one recipe, the site lets you see each version to learn how the cocktail changed over time.

     Recipes can be searched by name or main ingredient. A "discovery" page lets you browse by style, era, occasion, city of origin and even color. Create an account, and you can review the recipes and build a personal collection of your favorites.   The site also has a guide to techniques and glassware, a glossary of ingredients and historical information.

     The Mr. Boston guide is a record of how America drank for 80 years. And the Sazerac company plans to keep the guide alive for at least another 80 years.   Although they likely won't print another guide, Sazerac has big plans for Mr. Boston. First, they want to find the remaining 17 editions and enter those recipes. They will create videos demonstrating cocktails and techniques. They plan to commission articles on cocktails. And users will be able to add new drinks, which will be considered for inclusion in the guide.   

     If you have a question, almost any question about mixology or bartending in general, this is the site you need to visit.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Grog: The World's Original Cocktail

     Back in the late 1600's and the early 1700's rum was known as "Kill Devil", mostly because of the firey burn it had.  In fact it was just plain rough.   In the early days of rum rationed out to the sailors of the British Admiralty it wasn't much better.  Most of the rum was more truly a distillate rather than a rum.  It was unaged and most of it was more like moonshine in its strength.

     Admiral Edward Vernon was credited for Grog being the mandatory drink of the  British Navy in 1740  when Vernon was issued the infamous "Captain's Order Number 349.   This stated that all rum should be mixed with water,  a dash of brown sugar,and lime to make it more palatable. The sailors christened the weakened beverage after the admiral, from the grogram cloth cloak that he wore.
     Grog has gone through a lot of modification over the nearly 300 years that it has been around, but the original recipe with just a cinnamon stick dropped in as a garnish and adding a dash of spice to the mix.

 Gunpowder Proof Rum Grog

  • 2 oz. Pusser's Gunpowder Proof Rum
  • 4 oz. Water
  • 1/2 oz. Brown Sugar Simple Syrup
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until chilled and strain into a tumble filled with fresh ice.  Drop in a cinnamon stick to garnish and enhance the flavor.

Bahama Bob’s Grog Syrup
  • 4 cups Dark Brown Cane Sugar
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1/8 Cup Ground Cinnamon
  • Juice of ½ Lemon

Place all ingredients into a sauce pan and slowly bring to a boil.   Reduce heat to a slow boil for 5 minutes. Put into squeeze bottles and chill for a couple of hours before using.   Lasts about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

How Did the Rum War Over Havana Club Begin?

     Havana Club is an iconic brand that as we approach normalization of relations with Cuba has become a valuable property that was thought to be worth nothing in 1973 here in the United States when the trademark was about to expire.  The story of the rum war between Bacardi and Pernod Ricard is loaded with a history of bad decisions and revenge.

     The Arechabalas introduced Havana Club with Americans in mind in 1934.  The name of the Cuban capital was spelled in English, rather than the Spanish "Habana."   Soon Havana Club was served in places such as the Stork Club, a high-society night spot in Manhattan.      The Arechabalas,  according to Gjelten, sympathized with dictator Fulgencio Batista, whom Fidel Castro overthrew.  Soldiers showed up at the Havana Club office on New Year's Day 1960.   The late Ramón Arechabala was a sales manager, while one of the top executives, his uncle José María Arechabala, or "Pepe," was in Spain.  "From now on, I am Pepe, and you people will do as I say," declared a military commander, as Ramón Arechabala recalled in court testimony in 1999.

     "I say, 'Okay, no problem, whatever you say,' " he testified, "because he was armed with a machine gun."   Ramón Arechabala,  went on to sell cars in Miami.   In 1973, he realized that the Havana Club trademark was due for renewal.   He asked his uncle whether they should file the paperwork.   His uncle said no. The family did not have enough money to produce rum in the U.S. and mistakenly believed they couldn't renew the trademark without making rum.   "He told me we could not do anything right now with it, because, 'Let's wait because we might be going back to Cuba any moment,' " Arechabala testified.

     In 1976, a state-owned Cuban enterprise secured the American trademark for Havana Club.   It was a cunning yet hopeful investment in the day when Cuban rum might once again be poured on the other side of the Florida Straits.

The rum war was declared nearly 20 years later, when two things happened.   In 1993, news broke that Pernod Ricard had struck a deal to become equal partners in Havana Club.   In 1994, Bacardi filed its own application for the U.S. trademark for Havana Club.   Bacardi paid the Arechabala family $1.25 million for any rights to Havana Club that the family still possessed, plus a fraction of any sales of Havana Club.  Ever since, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard have battled on legal, regulatory, political and commercial fronts.

     This seems like a battle that will never be settled, it looked like it was settled back in the early 2000’s when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bacardi, but with the easing of relations with Cuba it has reared its ugly head again.

Read the entire story at

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Black Tot Day, Sunday July 31, 2016, the 46th Anniversary of Rum Being Removed from British Navy Ships

     For over three centuries, until 1970, all Royal Navy vessels would ring out their ship's bells just before noon every day. The famous call, 'Up Spirits' would go out, calling sailors to report to deck and receive their daily 70ml ‘tot’, or shot, of rum.
     Sunday marks the 46th anniversary of Black Tot Day, and here in Key West we are celebrating this day by introducing the newest Pusser's Rum, Gunpowder Proof at the Rum Barrel.  We are having a free event at 7pm Sunday evening to introduce this award winning new expression from Pusser's Rum.  This is British Navy Rum presented at the original admiralty strength of 54.7% ABV.
     The original ration was beer, but when it was not available, or as often happened it would often spoil easily, it could be substituted by a pint of wine or half a pint of spirits depending on what was locally available.   In later years, the political influence of the West Indian planters led to rum being given the preference over other spirits.
    The half pint of spirits was originally issued neat; it is said that sailors would "prove" its strength by checking that gunpowder doused with rum would still burn, verifying that rum was at least 54.7% ABV, thus the term “Proof” came about.

     The practice of compulsorily diluting rum in the proportion of half a pint of rum to one quart of water was first introduced in the 1740’s by Admiral Edward Vernon, known as Old Grog, because of his habitual grogram cloak.   The ration was also split into two servings, one between 10 am and noon and the other between 4 and 6 pm.   In 1756 Navy regulations required adding small quantities of lemon or lime juice to the ration, to prevent scurvy.    The rum itself was often procured from distillers in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the British Virgin Islands.   Rations were cut in half in 1823 and again in half, to the traditional amount, in 1850.   The last rum ration was on 31 July 1970 and became known as Black Tot Day as sailors were unhappy about the loss of the rum ration.  There were reports that the day involved sailors throwing tots into the sea and the staging of a mock funeral in a training camp.
     This is the perfect day to introduce this wonderful new expression to Florida.  Come join in the celebration at the Rum Barrel on Front Street, here in Key West.  We start at 7 pm, join us to taste this expression and try new special cocktails made from Pusser's Gunpowder Proof Rum.  The party celebrates the newest Navy Rum on the day that the rum was removed from the British Navy Warships.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quitting Smoking and Reduced Alcohol Consumption

     Quitting smoking and you will likely as not lower your alcohol consumption.  This is the observations of James Brown of University College London.   “Adults who attempted to quit smoking in the past week consumed less alcohol than those who weren’t trying to give up cigarettes.   And now, according to Medical News Today government warnings are now suggesting that those looking to stop smoking should lower their alcohol intake or just abstain from it completely.   It had previously been accepted that those looking to quit smoking would up their alcohol intake as a way of coping for the lack of nicotine.”

     This is an interesting conclusion that I truly understand.   From personal experience years ago, when I quit smoking there were two places that I avoided for quite some time.  First of all was the bars, smoking goes right along with having cocktails and conversation, especially when there are a lot of people smoking.   Second was the coffee shop for the same reason.   I did find, however that after about a year, I could start going to the bars again and not have a terrible urge to smoke. 
     I think that what they found is a short term effect rather than something that carries on for the long term.  I think that it depends on the individual and their will power around other smokers.   Jamie Brown and colleagues found that adults who have attempted to quit smoking in the past week consume less alcohol than smokers who have not tried to quit.   While smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with around 40 million American adults are currently smoking cigarettes, 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit the habit.   In order help with the quitting process, health officials recommend reducing alcohol intake or abstaining from it altogether.

     I know for me I did not go to a bar for at least a month after I decided to quit smoking, but as the desire for nicotine diminished, I could comfortably go to bars again without craving a cigarette.   I feel that they have arrived at a very valid conclusion, but I feel that this is just a temporary thing that will, after a period of time, will be reversed.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Shirley Temples Are Destroying America’s Youth

Shirley Temple
     I ran across an interesting article by Wayne Curtis about "children's cocktails", and particularly the  "Shirley Temple herself, before she died in 2014 at the age of 85, recalled that she’d first been served her namesake drink at the Brown Derby in L.A." 
"Shirley Temple".

     The Shirley Temple is the most enduring non-alcoholic drink that ever had the temerity to mimic the sophistication of an actual cocktail.   Watching kids order and sip Shirley Temples at a restaurant is "adorable".     "I have several objections to the drink, but none are about kids pretending to be adults", playing adult is how they learn.   It’s what they’re being served, and therefore what they’re learning, that’s wholly objectionable.
Shirley Temple "Mocktail"
     The recipe for the Shirley Temple varies slightly depending on where it’s served. But generally it’s a concoction of ginger ale (or sometimes 7Up) mixed with a little grenadine and served in a highball glass. The essential coup de grace? A cherry the color of a shiny new fire engine. That’s what made it sophisticated for kids.   What is a Shirley Temple? It is sweet mixed with sweet, garnished with a crimson dollop of sweet. It’s an underground bunker of a drink, able to withstand direct assault.   
     "I’m not the only one who objects to the Shirley Temple", Shirley Temple never really liked it either.    “It is a saccharine sweet, icky drink?” she replied to an NPR interviewer who asked her about the drink in 1986.    “All over the world, I have been served my namesake, because, people think it’s funny.  I hate them.”  When asked why?, she replied, “Too sweet!”.
Read More at 

     I really have to agree with Wayne that it is a really bad drink, but for slightly different reasons.  One of the most important things that young children need to learn when they are out in public is how to behave and good manners.  The last thing that needs to be done if you are truly trying to enjoy going out with your children is a "ton of sugar".  Children are hyper enough, they don't need a stimulus that make them more hyper when you are trying to teach them to be quiet and act appropriately.   There are many other possibilities that are not laded with sugar.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It's Been Too Long, Need to go Back to Abaco

     It is hard to beat the crystal clear waters and the powdery white sand of the Bahamas, and especially Great Guana Key.   The combination of the rocks, surf, and the sea oats make it such a beautiful view from the dunes that lie just off of the beach.  So many great memories of these cays that surround the "Crystal Sea".