Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Making Healthier Cocktails

Cucumbers Pine Needles and Thyme
          “Healthyish cocktails appeal to everyone,” says Danny Kuehner, bar manager at Madison On
Park restaurant in San Diego. Stashed behind the bar are such wellness ingredients as alkaline water, turmeric, matcha, beets, carrots, aloe vera, nopales, seaweed, cannabidiol oil and activated charcoal. “People want to feel good, not only about what they are eating, but what they are drinking.”  Cocktails as healthful? Sounds like a contradiction. But consider history: Apothecaries originally compounded alcohol into healthful tinctures, elixirs and tonics.  And compared to drinks in the 1980s that used artificially flavored mixers with way too much sweetener, today’s fresh-ingredient cocktails are natural and refreshing. Plus, the current proliferation of low-ABV creations offers more wholesome quaffs.

     Bartenders often look to the kitchen for inspiration, which is where the health-food angle fits. When writing menus, chefs today focus on organic and sustainable ingredients, preferably locally sourced. And of course, drink lists that call out the latest superfood or unusual, arcane ingredients attract the attention of curious consumers thirsting for the new and novel.  “Bartenders love stealing ideas and ingredients from kitchens, and if the kitchen trends or what people are asking for gears itself towards health foods, then that’s how we’re going to lean into it,” says Jenn Harvey, bar manager at Temple Bar in Cambridge, MA. Items borrowed from health food for cocktails include carrot juice, chia seeds, cacao nibs and turmeric.

     Mixologists are ranging far and wide to unearth therapeutic ingredients. “If you think about the historical aspect of spirits as curatives, used in the apothecary style, I don’t think cocktails borrowing inspiration from health foods is a trend, but rather a modernized form of expressing creativity,” says Jenn Grossbard, bar manager and resident forager for The Drawing Board in Petaluma, CA., where you can a virtual pharmacy of holistic ingredients, including activated charcoal, bee pollen, ginger/turmeric honey, rosehip and hawthorn tonic, alkaline water and adaptogenic herbs such as eleuthero, fo-ti, astragalus and tulsi.  The aptly named Prescription cocktail features healthful bee pollen and ginger/turmeric-infused honey, along with Dewar’s Scotch, lemon juice and locally produced Amaro Bilaro and Fresno chilies.

     Using healthful, plant-based ingredients in cocktails can boost both flavors and sales, says Ryan Nolen, bar manager at Pitchfork Pretty Restaurant & Bar in Austin, TX. “Health-centric food and beverage consumption is mainstream: It has permeated pop culture. I believe it is here to stay and has appeal to some degree across all demographics.”  The restaurant features Texas Hill Country cuisine and the bar follows suit. Local carrots, butternut squash, tomatillos, avocado seed, avocado leaf, avocado flower honey, poppy seeds and fermented peach pits all appear in cocktails, which are priced from $10 to $12.   Examples include the A Drink Has No Name, featuring theobromine-rich yaupon tea, smoked ginger honey, clove, mint, lemon, bourbon and rum, with a Sasquash pictured atop.

Creating drinks with exotic components can be expensive, however. “Sometimes, these super-healthy ingredients can cost a lot of money,” says Harvey. And if the cocktails don’t sell, spoilage can be a problem.

     At The Drawing Board, they will “personally forage for many of the herbs or grow them in someone’s garden.” She also works with local purveyors for specialized ingredients, such as bee pollen or organic dried herbs.  Pitchfork Pretty sources from local farms that practice sustainable farming techniques and grow plants in ideal soil compositions, says Nolen. “We try to do this as far as it is cost-effective.”   “Using veggies and herbs gives the cocktail a fresh and herbaceous aspect that can’t be found in a bottle,” but “the challenge is sourcing the freshest possible ingredients. Your cocktail is only as strong as its weakest ingredient.” 

     This is only the tip of the iceberg, read more at

Monday, May 21, 2018

Flor De Caña Has Earned Fair Trade Certification

     With all of the health problems many of the workers in the sugarcane cutting and handling trade have this is a great step forward by the makers of Flor  de Cana.  I hope that more of the spirits producers around the world can follow in the footsteps of Flor de Cana and make life better for all.
     The certification with Fair Trade USA, the leading varifiers of Fair Trade products in North America, covers areas like safe working conditions, protection of fundamental human rights and environmental best practices.  The partnership with Fair Trade USA will come into effect by mid-2018.
     It assures that with every purchase of a bottle of Flor de Caña , the workers earn a financial premium called the Community Development Fund. The fund allows workers to choose how the money is used on projects of their choosing.  Flor de Caña is committed to sustainable practices – the rum has been distilled using 100% renewable energy for over a decade.  For the past 12 years, Flor de Caña has planted 50,000 trees annually to help protect the environment.  “In the global spirits, wine and beer industry there is still more that can be done in terms of sustainability,” said Eduardo Pellas, CEO of Flor de Caña   “We’ve been distilling our rums with 100% renewable energy for over 10 years and this has been certified by Lloyd’s Register. Some companies are just starting to adopt these practices.
     Among the company’s plans, Pellas aims to have a “fully sustainable production cycle”. Currently all CO2 generated during the fermentation is captured and recycled.  “Our next goal is to have completely green packaging, made from 100% recycled material,” he added.  Paul Rice, president and CEO of Fair Trade USA, has welcomed the partnership with Flor de Caña.  “In the spirits industry, the trend toward environmental sustainability and social responsibility is just beginning,” he said.   “Flor de Caña is one of the early trailblazers in this space and is one of just a few spirits companies to adopt fair trade practices in their supply chain. We’re excited by this partnership and the ripple effect that it’s poised to create.”  Flor de Caña is not the only fair trade-certified spirit in the world, Alexandre Koiransky launched Fair Trade USA in 2009.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Rainy Season in the Keys

     I came home from Grand Cayman on Tuesday afternoon, a nice day here in Key West.  For the past two days we have had just a tome of rain and thunder and lightening flashing and banging at the same time.  Yes it was really close Wednesday night.   We really needed the rain here in the keys, but does it have to all fall at one time?  I believe that we have gotten 6.37 inches so far this month, that is a lot when we only have had 9.9 inches all year.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Why Does Alcohol Make Us Drunk?

     Every day as I research things for the blog, I run across many interesting tidbits.  I found this one very interesting.  It is a question I feel that most of us have asked ourselves after an afternoon or evening of partaking a wee bit too much of the beloved ethanol.

     Every day millions of people ask Google life's most difficult question.   As Homer once said, this infamous molecule is both "the cause of, and the solution to, all of life's problems".  It was Homer Simpson who said that rather than the classical bard, but it's no less true or profound for that. Sometimes, the rubbish you come out with when you're drunk really is quite clever, or funny, or both, so long as you can remember it properly the next morning.  Why does alcohol make us drunk?   When you look at the history of our relationship with it in light of Marlatt's research, the smart ass, know-it-all-on-the-bar-stool's answer has to be, "Because we want it to."

     Our ambiguous relationship with alcohol is older than civilization - in fact there's a strong argument that it was the cause of civilization itself.  We've been drinking it since our dawn as a species, and it probably helped us evolve into humans in the first place. It may even have played a role in the very creation of life on earth. No, I'm not drunk. This is proper science.  For all that time, alcohol has been, as Simpson said so beautifully, both a cause of great pleasure and, for a minority, colossal pain. Our relationship as a society with alcohol swings on a pendulum over time between celebrating the positives and deploring the negatives, and right now we're over on the temperance side. Between 1785 and 1985, The Times used the term "binge drinking" a total of 49 times. The same paper ran over 300 stories about binge drinking in 2004 alone. Which is odd, because people were drinking much less in 2004 than their ancestors had been at pretty much any point in the preceding two centuries. 
     What does alcohol really do to us? And how does it do it? The truth is, neuroscientists are still in the process of figuring this out. To a significant degree, it depends on who you are, what your relationship with alcohol is, what and how you're drinking, ultimately, what you mean by "drunk".   Let's look at the physiological effects first. The active component in booze is ethanol, which as molecules go, has all the sly charm of one of those beery lads who can worm his way past the velvet ropes of any bar in the world. Water soluble and small enough to pass through and between cell walls, ethanol is drawn first to the liver, which immediately begins to break it down. But the liver only works so fast, so surplus ethanol shoots on through to every part of the body and ends up in the brain within minutes. It does all sorts of stuff to our digestive system, our motor functions, our need to pee and much more, but it's the feeling of drunkenness that fascinates us.  Information and instructions are carried around the brain by neurons - excitable cells that carry data. Neurons don't touch, but communicate across tiny gaps known as synapses, using chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Simplistically, these fall into two types: "excitatory impulses", which tell us to do stuff and are carried by glutamate, and "inhibitory signals" which tell us to do less, and travel via gamma-aminobutyric acid, or Gaba. Trillions of these signals are happening all the time, and their net effect is the mind itself, and our sense of consciousness.   Ethanol gleefully speeds into the synapses, cascading into the gaps between the neurons, and then sidles up to them, puts its arms around their shoulders and assures them it's their best mate in the whole world. You might be suspicious if a stranger did this to you in a pub unless you were already gathered, but your neurons totally believe the ethanol molecules, and scientists still don't really know why.

     Loss of motor function, memory loss, nausea and so on often only kick in at high blood alcohol concentrations, -bind effect - dulling the active signals and amplifying the sedative ones, is what we really mean when we say alcohol is a depressant, it doesn't make you depressed.    What it does is slows down and depresses your active functions, making the brain slower and more sedate and, given enough time it can accelerate the process until you pass out.  At the same time, ethanol also jacks up the release of dopamine, exciting the part of the brain that perceives reward.   Reward is related to the ethanol you consumed, so you consume more, depressing your brain function while increasing your sense of euphoria. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Diageo Launches Limited Edition Captain Morgan Bottles

     Diageo has introduced a new crew of captains to temporarily replace Captain Morgan, each designed to be the leader of a personality trait.  The collection includes Captain Drama, Captain Banter, Captain Comedy, Captain Genius, Captain Retro, Captain Clueless and Captain Karaoke.  The bottles have been created to celebrate different personalities within friendship groups. Captain Comedy is “the one we turn to for the latest fun viral videos”, while Captain Banter is “always ready with razor sharp wit and perfect timing”.

Nik Keane, global brand director, Captain Morgan, said: “Captain Morgan is all about the crew. We champion the kind of fun that comes from friends getting together and celebrating who they are.  “Following the overwhelmingly positive response from Captain Morgan fans to the one-off bottles for our famous Captains, like Leicester City captain Wes Morgan, these bottles take it to the next level and celebrate the great mix of personalities found in friendships around the world.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Prohibition Federal Chemists Used Poison to Prevent Consumption of Industrial Alcohol

     Here is an open case where if you can’t stop people from drinking alcohol by law, just poison
them.  Prohibition has many stories where the government of the time did some really despicable things to enforce prohibition.

     On January 15, 1922, The New York Times reported that 35-year-old Robert Doyle, a veteran of World War One, was found blinded and afraid in his rooming house on West 23rd Street.  A doctor conveyed Doyle to the hospital, where he died six hours later. The paper also reported the death of another local man-he had brought alcohol home from his workplace to add to his coffee. The problem was that America was in Prohibition, and he had worked at a furniture-polishing company. Both men had drunk a fatal dose of wood, or methyl, alcohol.        These deaths were part of an epidemic of alcohol poisonings that swept the country after the United States made the manufacture and sale of alcohol illegal in 1919.  

     An illicit alcohol industry boomed, and despite increased border security, alcohol flowed in from Mexico and Canada. But some bootleggers, eager to cash in on black market prices, wanted to sell alcohol made closer to home. The government could ban the brewing of beer, but not the production of industrial alcohol, which was used to make everything from perfume to paint.  Bootleggers redistilled industrial alcohol to make it drinkable, the federal government responded by requiring manufacturers to add in increasing amounts of poison.     Doyle was an early casualty of the resulting showdown between federal chemists, who tried to make the country's industrial alcohol deadly to drink, and speakeasies' and bootleggers' chemists, who tried to remove the poisons. The Times article describing Doyle's death noted that an unnamed but "prominent" local club had employed a chemist to double-check that patrons' booze was safe to drink. The problem, reported the anonymous writer, was that much of the liquor flowing into speakeasies hadn't been brewed abroad, but was in fact "denatured" industrial alcohol. 

     There is a lot more to what was going on in those day.  You can read more at

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Felix Juan Serrallés Nevares, Chairman of Destilería Serrallés Has Passed Away

 Felix Juan Serrallés Nevares (Right) Roberto Seralles (Left)

     Felix Juan Serrallés Nevares, chairman of Destilería Serrallés, producer of Don Q Rum has passed   Felix Juan Serrallés Nevares served as the company’s president and CEO until 2017.  Known as ‘Don Fao’ to close relatives, employees and friends, fifth generation family member Serrallés Nevares was the company’s president and CEO from 1981 until his retirement in 2017. He continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors.
away at the age of 83.

     Destilería Serrallés has issued a statement with respect to the passing of its Chairman, Felix Juan Serrallés Nevares. He was 83. "It is with deep regret that Destilería Serrallés and its Board of Directors confirms the passing of our Chairman, Felix Juan Serrallés Nevares.  "Don Fao" as he was known to close relatives, company employees and friends, was the company's President and CEO from 1981 until 2017 and a member of the family's 5th generation. 

     Under his vision and tenure, Destilería Serrallés experienced unparalleled business growth and innovation, solidifying a leadership position for Don Q Rum in Puerto Rico and driving an aggressive expansion into the USA and other international markets. He will be remembered by all at Serrallés, and those who knew him for his noble spirit, his passion for the company and his brilliant intellect.  His values and legacy will continue to lead the way for generations to come", said Roberto Serrallés, family and corporate spokesperson.