Friday, September 30, 2011

Siesta Key Spiced Hits the Rum Lab Today

     Mike Streeter of the Rum Connection is bringing a bottle of Siesta Key Spiced Rum to the Rum Lab today for experimentation.     This is the first time we have tried to work with a spiced rum in the lab and I'll be interested to see how it is going to work out.     As usual I'll be creating some ideas for new cocktails using this really fine spiced rum and the "Lab Mice" will help decide which of the cocktail will be usable and which one don't make the cut.

     This afternoon's project is going to be a interesting and challenging one, because with the rum providing so much flavor on it's own, you have to blend it with things that are complementary to the flavors and don't clash it.     Sometimes you can get some really great tasting combinations and other times not so much.    I always enjoy a challenge and it is through these challenges that you create some really special new cocktails.     I'll have a full report of what the results of today's Rum Lab adventure tomorrow.     ;o)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Iggies Beach Bar and Grill, a must see in St. Thomas

Iggie's is on the top of our agenda as we head into St. Thomas in November.      This fabulous beach bar is on of the best beach bars in the Caribbean.    With the live music nightly and the cocktails flowing freely, this is the place to be on St. Thomas.     I have a couple of friends that now live in Key West that both worked at Iggies that tell me they will shoot me if I don't stop by for some fun there.     The sign says "365 days of fun" and I guess that I'm going to find out if this is truly the case.   I do believe it is as my friends have told me.

Captain Jack and his crew
     There are regular theme  parties that shouldn't be missed at this Bolongo Beach Resort Bar.  Plus the "All You Can Eat Crab Night" on Tuesday and the "Wednesday Carnival Extravaganza" complete with limbo, steel pan, and Mocko Jumbie shows  that draw huge crowds .   The Pirate Party is probably one of the bigger ones each year.      

     Iggies has it's "Bands in the Sand" concert every night , plus Karaoke, and Televisions carrying all your favorite sports nightly.     You can mingle with the locals or hang with the tourists, either way you'll have the time of your life on a Bolongo Bay night at Iggies.     The cocktails and the food there is always interesting, from their famous Spinach Crab Artichoke Dip to the oysters, mussels, shrimp and burgers.   No matter what your reason it would seem that a trip to St. Thomas would not be complete without an evening at Iggies.

       I can hardly wait for November and my arrival at St. Thomas and hitting Iggies for some fun and frolic in the beautiful St. Thomas nights by the water.     When are you going to Iggies?   ;o)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Prichard's Buzz

Prichard's Buzz
   The nice little cocktail that has risen out of the need to have a good cocktail for the "White Russian" crowd that will put a smile on your face and graduate you into the world of rum.     In a collaboration with the Rum Connection we have a video on how this simple cocktail is created.     This cocktail has a honey warm flavor that blends perfectly with the Prichard's Fine Rum and half and half.

Prichard's Buzz
  • 1 1/2 oz. Prichard's Fine Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Agave Nectar or Clover Honey
  • 1 oz. Half and Half
Put all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake til chilled.  Strain into a rocks glass and serve with a lime an orange wheel.

     This was another creation of the Rum Lab from last week.    This week there will be a surprise rum in the lab to be blended, stirred and shaken into some wonderful new cocktails for the book and for a future promotional event.    Watch for this week's Rum Lab edition.     ;o)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rainy Day In Key West

     My day off today and it's raining, hmmmmmmmmmm  I guess that I'll just have to do some creative indoor work today.    Let me see, write my blog, do some work on the book, create a new cocktail.    Nah, I'm going out and play in the rain and watch all of the tourists dodge the rain and do all the things they do to get the most of a rainy vacation day.   

     We sit under awnings and on porches looking the wrong way, or drive our electric car in the rain with our umbrella up, or a scooter with a rain suit.   We try not to let the rain stop us from doing what we want to, but is does tend to slow us down.    Key West doesn't usual have all day rain events, but today sure looks like one to me.     I guess the correct action is to just keep on keeping on and get the stuff completed that I need to, and maybe head over to the Hurricane Hole in the rain for some lunch and a little rum.

     Well, the day in the computer room just came to an end with the Internet going down, that is why I'm finishing up this piece today.   The rain took out the whole day until about 6:30pm when the sun made a brief appearance before setting.   So you get the story today instead of yesterday.

Plastic bags are all the fashion this year

Sunday, September 25, 2011

November and The Virgin Islands is Getting Closer

I'm getting ready for November and our trip to the Virgin Islands for some pure relaxation.     This is always one of my favorite destinations for sun, sea, and fun.      Can't wait to see the beautiful white sand beaches of White Bay and the rest of the beautiful waters of the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'm Amazed What Can be Done with Well Rums

     The Rum Lab opened yesterday to the roar of inexpensive rums and liqueurs to create quality cocktails.     This was the mission of the day and we were very pleasantly surprised with the results.     We started with a everyday inexpensive white rum, some liqueurs, and some flavored rums that all were in the range of $10 to $20 a bottle.     This is where the fun really begins, now we must use our creativity to make flavorful drinks without the assistance of very flavorful quality rums.     First we invited three bartenders from here in Key West to be out "Lab Mice" for the day and it was off to work again to create some new and flavorful cocktails.

     I'm finding that a swizzle format is great for the inexpensive cocktail, because the crushed ice smooths and expands the flavors of these rums.    Not usually being a fan of flavored rums, I was pleasantly surprised with the results we got using them in the swizzles.

Tropical Daiquiri or Swizzle
  • 1 1/2 oz. Spiced Rum
  • 1 oz. Banana Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Cane Syrup or Honey
Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake till chilled.  Strain into a martini galas for a daiquiri or strain into a cocktail glass filled with crushed ice for a swizzle.   Garnish with a sprig of mint and a lime wheel.

Bubbly Daiquiri
  • 1 oz. White Rum
  • 1 oz. Lime Rum
  • 1 oz. Mango Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz. Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Soda
Place all ingredients except the Ginger Beer and the Soda in a shaker with ice and shake til chilled.   Strain into a frosted martini glass (2/3full) and the ginger beer and a splash of Soda.   Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Spicy Coconut
  • 1 1/2 oz. Coconut Rum
  • 1 1/2 oz. Spiced Rum
  • 2 oz. Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
Place all ingredients in a cocktail glass with ice and shake lightly or stir.  Garnish with a lime or sprig of mint.

     These are three ways to enjoy some really tasty cocktails on a very small budget .    Don't be afraid to experiment with the stuff you find in your liquor cabinet, there is often a treasure trove of flavors that your would not usually put together, but they do work.    ;o)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday and The Rum lab is Open Today

     The decision has been made and we are going to open the Rum Lab today for more research on one of our new acquisitions.    This is always an interesting event, because you never really know what is going to be successful and what is going to be a flop.    Over the past several months we've learned about mixing some very unusual items and coming up with exciting new cocktails.     I feel like today is going to be trying to create new "Well Cocktails", those that can be made and created from inexpensive white and dark and flavored rums.    I'm going to be trying to get flavor without having to resort to a lot of funky sugary mixes.   I feel that there are a number of really good fruit juices and liquors that can produce the desired flavor without resorting to the funky mixes in a bottle.     Anyway I do have a great group of lab mice coming by today to assist in the tasting and development of some new and fun cocktails.    I'll let you know tomorrow how it all came out.   ;o)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's just one of those rainy days today !

Here is a great cocktail to brighten up the day.

Bahama Bob's Rum Swizzle
  • 1 1/2 oz. Vizcaya Cask 12 Rum
  •  1/2 oz. Amaretto
  • 1/2 oz. Falernum
  • 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
Place all the ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and shake til chilled, pour over crushed ice in a tall glass and swizzle gently.  (add a dash or so of Bitters to your taste) and serve with a sprig of mint and a lime wheel.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rum from the Virgin Islands

     The Virgin Islands have long been a source of rum for the rest of the world.     Today there are just 3 distilleries left in the Virgin Islands.     The British Virgin Islands only have Callwood Distillery in Cane Garden Bay on Tortolla.   The U.S. Virgin Islands boast two very large distilleries, Cruzan and Diageo, both on the island of St. Croix near Frederiksted.

     The Callwood distillery is the world's longest continuously running distillery.     This historic distillery nestled in the woods at the edge of Cane Garden Bay on the island of Tortolla is one of the fun "old school" distilleries that still run things pretty much like it did originally.   This distillery still produces rum that is bottled for you to take home with you and is a lot of fun to visit especially if you are interested in the historical rum distilleries and the taste of "old school" rums.

     Cruzan on the other hand is one of the large modern distilleries that produces very high volume rum that is distributed throughout the world.     The Cruzan Distillery has a visitor's center where you can learn the modern methods of rum making and spend some time sampling the fine rums made by Cruzan.    The Cruzan Distillery boasts a long history of rum making that has it's origins with the Dutch and the wind driven cane crusher, parts of which are still at the distillery.    There have been several ownership changes over the past years, but the place is still operating and a great place to visit when in the Virgin Islands.    

     The newest and the largest is the new Diageo Distillery that is producing Captain Morgan Rums.     This mega distillery when fully operational will be able to produce some 20 million proof gallons of rum per year.     This distillery not only has extremely high output potential, but is an environmentally sound operation.    This is a joint venture with the St. Croix government and Diageo that will get 80% or it's employees from the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

   All of these locations are great places to visit and learn more about how and why many of the processes that make your rum happen the way that they do.     Make sure to visit these neat places when you re in the Virgin Islands, and be sure to sample some of the products at the same time.     ;o)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rum Bloggers Decend on Key West

Cork and Stogie
Cork and Stogie     Conched in Key West Bar Crawl brought some 40 plus rum blogging visitors to Duval Street Saturday for some fun times sampling the rum concoctions of Key West.     This was a fun charity event that started at Cork and Stogie, then to Pearl's Patio, on the the Rum Bar, then to Overboard, across the street to Willie T's, and finally finishing at Krawl off Duval.     It would appear that a great time was had by all involved.

Pearl's Patio
     The event moved along with the Bike Week activities that were going on at the same time.     This made for a really lively time on Duval Street as these two events evolved together.     The crawl started at the Cork and Stogie, where every one met to partake their first crawl cocktail of the afternoon.     Soon they were wandering a foot to Pearl's Patio for their next cocktail or two in the fun atmosphere of the patio.

The Rum Bar
    The third stop brought them   to the Rum Bar where I got to take a shot at them with a Denizen Rum Punch.    I do have to say we had a great time with the whole bunch of them there along with many of the regulars all there at the same time.    It was fun because beside the punch I was able to share some of the new cocktails that we have been developing at the Rum Lab over the past few months.   The wheels were getting well greased as they left the Rum Bar and heading north on Duval Street.

Overboard Key West
     Next it was Overboard Key West, a new Bar and Grill here on Duval Street, where the "Shot Doctor" got to spin his magic for the group.     The Shot Doctor is a stethoscope that has a shot glass at the end of the hose for your convenience to have a glass when ever a shot is offered.    Staying in the "doctor vein", an IV filled with the shot for the stop was administered to all.    This too was a fun stop, but it was time to move on again.

Willie T's
     Willie T's, the rock 'n roll club on Duval would be the place to get the next to the last cocktail of the crawl.   Standing under the dollar bills and other paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling, the crawlers were able to enjoy still another cocktail that was specially created for the event.    By now the effects of the previous four stops were starting to show on some of the crawlers.    Now it was time for the crawlers to make their way to the final stop of the crawl.

Krawl off Duval
     What a fitting place to end the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl, at Krawl off Duval.    This is another of the new venues here in Key West, specializing in craft beer and making many of their own brew.
By now the crawlers were more and the walkers were less, but the fun was to continue as they tried some of the quality beers offered up by the staff.

     With the event coming to an end and the group's participation was able to raise some much needed money's for the military families living here in Key West.    Thanks to "Tommy Nikon" for providing all of the pictures for me, and to all of the crawlers that had so much fun .     ;o)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bikers Hit Key West to Roar

   Last weekend was another of the fun events in Key West.    The annual poker run to Key West for the bikers.     This event brings the roar of the Harley's along with the party on Duval Street.     The endless line of beautiful roaring bikes and the lovely ladies on the back.     This is one of the really fun events where thousands and thousands of bikers get to share their bikes with all of the spectators  and each other comparing ideas and accessories about their bikes.

     They are a fun loving bunch also the you can usually find in many of the bars and other party spots in Key West.    The Rum Bar was no exception to the rule and we had a really fun group of people there with us that did know how to have fun.    Bahama Bob's Root Juice is a popular quaff among the riders.     The partiers are there to just do one thing and that is to have fun and 5 or 6 thousand that came to town did just that.     I look forward to this event every year in Key West just to see what it will bring to light each year.     The really pretty laddies that it brings to the party don't hurt either.    

     Thanks for the party on Thursday through Saturday and I hope all of you get home safely and look to see you again next year when the party on Duval Street comes alive again.     ;o)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday's Productive Rum Lab

     Yesterday afternoon was another really productive Rum Lab, this time working with Prichard's Crystal Rum.     The rum was one of those clear and clean rums that mixes will with most everything that we threw at it.    We were very pleased win many of the 14 or so recipes that we put to the test in the lab yesterday.

Here are a couple of the really delicious recipes that came out of yesterdays research. 

Kelso Expresso

  • 1 1/2 oz. Prichard's Crystal Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Kahlua
  • 3/4 oz. Amaretto
  • 1/4 oz. White Creme de Cocoa
  • 3 oz. Pineapple Juice
 Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice shake til chilled, and put into a Collin's Glass and garnish with a sprig of mint.

                         Prichard's Buzz

  • 1 1/2 oz. Prichard's Crystal Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Agave Nectar (or Good Clover Honey)
  • 2 oz Half and Half
Place all of the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until chilled and serve in a rocks glass with a sprig of mint or parsley

     These are 2 of the many new recipes that we developed yesterday.   I hope you get the chance to enjoy this exciting rum as much as we did in the Rum Lab yesterday.     ;o)

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Rum Lab is Working Today

Phil Prichard, Master Distiller
     Today in the Rum Lab we are working with a Prichard's Crystal Rum.     This is one of the fine American Rums that is rapidly on the rise in the homes and bars of the world.     This is a 5 time pot still distilled Louisiana Grade "A" Fancy Molasses whit rum.    This is a rum that can be sipped or mixed, that in itself make this an unusual white rum.     Phil Prichard brings pride and experience to the art of rum making in America, and I feel privileged to be able to work with a really fine rum here in the lab.

     Today we will take this rum and try to develop some new cocktails that will really enhance the flavors of this really nice rum without burying them in overboard mixes.     The ideas stem from the use of classic cocktails that have been almost forgotten about and bring the rum into the mix in place of the original liquor.     This opens a new world of flavors and revitalizes many of these classic cocktails with the wonderful world of rum.

     I will give you a report and some of the new recipes in tomorrow's edition.     ;o)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Siesta Key Spiced Rum Receives a Warm Welcome at the Rum Bar

     The long awaited Siesta Key Spiced Rum has received a nice warm welcome since it's arrival at the Rum Bar in Key West.   The really smooth gingerbread aroma and lingering after taste has made the rum an instant favorite.     This is a spice rum that you can actually serve neat or on the rocks for sipping and the aromas of gingerbread or Christmas cookies warms your mouth and mind.

     It also mixes well with many of the same things that most of the other spiced rums do, but it really seems to add special flavor to the cocktail missing in many other spiced rums.     Much of the first bottle is already gone, but there is another on waiting in the wings for the enjoyment of those who like the spiced side of rum.

     It is available through Total Wine and Spirits as well if you are not close to Key West this week.    This is going to be the sales leader for the Drum Circle Distillery of Sarasota in the very near future, and a well earned congratulations to Troy and Tom for a well though out and finished product.     ;o)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Rum Lab Lessons

     The Rum Lab has given us a new perspective of what can be mixed with rum.   We've found that rum loves to jump in where other spirits have been and make the cocktail more interesting.     One of the favorites at the Rum Bar is our "Bloody Mary", but many have learned to love the same cocktail made with a white rum, called a "Bloody Rummy", as my friend Bruce has named it.    This is the tip of the iceberg, as far the places that rum can go to make a new flavor and liven up a classic cocktail.     The classic "Tom Collins" can be vitalized with the use of a nice gold rum like Siesta Key Gold instead of gin.   The use of a home made sour mix adds even more to the blend and then it is up to you and your improvisation skills to finish the cocktail.

     This isn't just the classic cocktail, but some of the more modern cocktails can be updated with some new ingredients.    The Zombie got a new lease on life at the Rum Lab with the introduction of Pomegranate Liqueur and Barrett's Ginger Beer.      The Bermuda Swizzle with the introduction of Smith and Cross Rum.     A daiquiri  by the addition of some creme of Coconut.    The Moscow Mule by substituting rum for vodka.     This list is an endless one if you jut let your imagination wander and try some of your ideas.     Don't for get to write the recipe's down, because if you don't, they will be forgotten in the enjoyment of the new creation.    

     We have been working all summer in the rum lab creation new cocktail for a book that is being done as we speak called "Cocktails and Tales", which will be a recipe book with the stories that make the cocktail as interesting to know about as it is to drink.     Many of the cocktail that I mix every day have a story behind their creation and the stories are really fun to explore.    The book will include many of the classic tiki, Caribbean, and domestic recipes and the tales of their creation and where they have been.    It will also include many of the recipes created in the Rum Lab.     It is our hope to have the book ready for print in time to introduce it for spring break here in Key West.

     The point of the discussion and the book is that you don't have to remain in a mold, you can operate outside where there are no rule only your taste bud determine the outcome of the creation.     This is a really fun experience and one that makes for a great party as well.     It give you the ability to be a "Don the Beachcomber" or a "Trader Vic" in your own back yard.  Try it is fun and very gratifying when you discover the next new "hot cocktail".     ;o)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summer Doldrums Slowly Disappearing

     The slowness of summer finally hit the Keys a couple of weeks ago and thankfully the don't seem to be staying around this year.     Traditionally the summer is the time where everyone stays up North and enjoys the summer weather close to their homes, but this year Key West has become the destination of choice for a lot of people.     I have to say that this is good both from the point of my sanity during bar hours and it has provided me with a lot of story ideas for the blog.     Today is one of my days off and I will more than likely head out into the mangrove keys somewhere with my camera in hand and just relax and take in the scenery as I cruise.     This is usually a pretty good source for a story or two also.     I can't begin to tell you how much these trips do for my personal peace of mind.    The are a great mouthwash for my brain during these slow times here in the Keys.

     We have a Conched in Key West Bar Crawl this Saturday that I'm going to be behind the bar at the Speakeasy Inn's Rum Bar to host the crawlers with a very special Rum Punch.      This event's proceeds go to helping the families at Naval Air Station Key West.     I'll be looking forward to seeing those of you that will be stopping by the Rum Bar during the crawl.

     Things are looking positive for a great fall in Key West, so you might want to put it in your plans for a fall quickie vacation to America's drive-in tropical islands.    I'm looking forward to meeting all of you when you arrive here for some real fun.   ;o) 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rum an American Commodity

     America has rum so deeply embedded it to it's history that it is not hard to understand why we are the biggest consumer of rum in the world.      We have been involved with rum for as long as we have been on this continent.     Wayne Curtis, has just published a book entitled "and a BOTTLE of RUM", that follows rum and how it has affected American History.     It is subtitled "A History of the New World in 10 Cocktails", examining the American History through the spyglass call rum.     Unraveling American History from the current rum growth of today back through the days of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, Prohabition, Slave for sugar era, sugar taxes, pirate lore, and all the way back to the first settlements in America.     Even the "Boston Tea Party" was re ally about molasses rather than tea, Americans needed the molasses to make their rum in colonial New England and the taxes were really hampering the availability of this commodity.    It was said that the New England Distilleries as a part of the triangular trade between Africa, Barbados, and America were the "central bankers of the slave trade".

     Curtis opens his book with the statement "Rum is the history of America in a Glass".    Rum was vital throughout the colonial days in America.     Ben Franklin had a few sayings about being drunk, like "He's been to Barbados".     Curtis als mentions bits  of how rum was part of "Paul Revere's Ride", the pre-Castro Cuba, and the "Trademark wars", all of these are about rum.     Saluting America with a toast  the glass would have to contain grog, a "rum flip", or one of the curious mixtures rum, water,molasses, and nutmeg the  pirates called "bombo".   This is a really rough, nasty cocktail in it's original recipe, but with a bit of work in the "Rum Lab", I think that this could be an interesting modern cocktail with an American History lesson included for free.

     Mr. Curtis's book is available  from Amazon on line and a welcome adddition to any rum effecinado's collection.    ;o)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bundaberg: A Down Under Rum

     Bundy as it is known in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, the Bundaberg Distillery rose up in 1888 as a way for the town of Bunderberg's sugar plantations to deal with the  "waste molasses".    Bundaberg first started producing commercial sugar in 1872, but it didn't really start to take off until the early 1880's.    It was the growth of production that created the problem of what to do with all of the molasses that was  accumulating.      There were small distilleries popping up all over Queensland during this time, but they where barely putting a dent in the molasses being produced.    Several of the small sugar producers got together for a meeting in the Royal Hotel on 1 August 1885 and formed The Bundaberg Distilling Company.     The distillery was set up during this meeting with the leadership of W.M.C. Hickson (Chairman), W.G. Farquhar, F.L. Nott, S. McDougall, T. Penny, S.H. Bravo, and A.H. Young and started with a total capital of 5,000 pounds.     There were three people put in charge of the distillery operation, Fredric Buss, A.P. Barton, and F.L. Nott, these people very quickly began to produce a high quality rum that would become famous for it unique taste and smoothness.    

     In 1888 the first barrel of Bundaberg Rum rolled off of the production line, and the start of a very colorful history in the world of Rum.    The original rums were bottled and sold in only two forms, overproof (115 proof), and underproof (74 proof).     The production of the rum was halted from 1907 til 1914 and again from 1936 til 1939 because of fires at the distillery.     H.T. Christsen Pty. Ltd. operated their bottling plant in the rear of a grocery and hardware store near the center of Bundaberg.     The original bottles were purchased for a penny each from "Bushell's Coffee Chicory", washed and filled with the Bundaberg Rum.    The Christsen's had unusual employment policy's, in that they would only hire from the "Salvation Army" because they felt that they would be less apt, because of their beliefs, to sample the product.     The original shape of the bottles remains the same today, but they have been enlarged to hold the current 700 ml currently being produced.    The also make a list of other spirits including a premixed "rum and coke", available in both draught or bottle.

     In 1961 the polar bear mascot was added to the label that would imply the spirit would keep you warm in any weather.       in 2000, the Bundaberg Distillery was purchased by the Giant British Spirits company Diageo.      Today the polar bear is being dropped and the images of the founding fathers is replacing it on the new label.    The new label is said to be capturing the "quality, authenticity and craftsmanship in Bundaberg Rum".     Matt Bruhn, marketing manager for Bundaberg said: "This is the first redesign for the brand since 2004.     Bundaberg rum's new iconography and packaging enhances the brand's strong credentials wilst highlighting it's origins and reputation as quality rum."     ;o)       

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why do People Believe Old Rum is Better Rum?

     I guess that it comes from the days of blind listening to the makers and purveyors of liquor telling us that the most expensive is always the best.     I'm here to tell you that there are some really fine older rums out there on the shelves that I believe are as fine a rum as there is to be found anywhere.     Likewise there are some $15 rums out there that I can sip and enjoy equally as well.     It has been my discovery that the price tag does not make the rum, but rather what is in the bottle at any price.    

     An interesting new rum cane to my attention recently from a place that I rarely find a good sipping rum that has turned out to be a really good sipper.     Bacardi has just put out a new addition to the spiced rum market.   Bacardi Oakheart falls into categories that I rarely ever go to for a sipper, first, it is a spiced rum, and second, Bacardi inexpensive rums are not as a rule good sippers.    These rules fell by the wayside about 2 weeks or so ago when I got my first bottle of this really smooth and flavorful rum.

     I guess that what I am telling you is to try some of the less expensive rums out there because you will be really surprised how many good ones there are out on the shelves.    

     Ron Baracelo has a Gran Anejo, El Dorado has a 12 year old, Abuelo 7 year old, Ron Matusalem has a 15 year old, Mount Gay Black, Vizcaya's new Cask12, and Siesta Key has a new spiced rum all fall in the range of about $30 a bottle and will provide you with premium aged rum flavor and enjoyment without breaking the bank.     Before you race out to the liquor store and spend $50 to $75 for a bottle of rum, look at the 5 to 15 year old rums out there and you will find a great deal of enjoyment for an inexpensive price.     

     Another way is to talk to your local rum guide at the nearest bar to you that specializes in rum.   Tell them you want to try some rum in the category of just a dollar or two above the well price rums and you will be surprised what is out there providing great flavor.     ;o)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Abuelo Centuria Has Arrived in the United States

     Abuelo Centuria has made it's arrival in the United States and is currently be distributed by Republic National distribution.     This long awaited rum from Panama has been on of the most sought after rums in a long time.     This is the rum that was made by Valera Hermanos family to celebrate 100 years of rum making in Panama.     This is without a doubt one of the finest rums that I have ever tasted and worth every sent of it's premium price tag.     Make sure that you take the time to talk to your rum provider and have them get this on for your enjoyment.

     The very colorful history of Varela Hermanos has been  brought to life in this solera aged premium rum.   This is a rum making history that began in 1908 and is still going strong today.     There were no restrictions and this is the benchmark of what great rum should be, and a fitting tribute to the family and their quality rum making skills and long history of doing so.     So many of you have already tasted this fine rum at the Rum Bar in Key West, it is time for the rest of you to get a bottle and keep it for those very special occasions when a snifter of fine Abuelo Centuria Rum is what is appropriate.     ;o)

Monday, September 5, 2011

What are You Looking for in a Rum?

     Rum is the hardest of the spirits to get to know, in not just by the large number of them, but they all seem to have their own unique taste profile.    That is right there are virtually no 2 rums that taste the same.      It is easiest to put the rums into categories before trying to pick the ones you might like to try.     Blanco or White Rums, Gold or Amber Rums, dark or Black Rums, Agricole Rhums, Overproof Rums, Cachacas, and finally Premium Aged Rums.     By breaking the rums down int to categories, you have greatly reduced the number of rums from which to look for you new favorite spirit.

    Next you have to ask yourself what am I looking for in a rum or even in some cases what do I like in any spirit?    If you are having trouble, there are a couple of things that you can do about this.    The first is to get on line and visit any one of the many rum review sites and start to read what the "experts" have to say about the different varieties of rum that are out there.    The second is to go to a rum directory like "Robert Burr's Gifted Rums" .     The other is to stop by one of your local cocktail lounges that specializes in rum and has a knowledgeable bartender to guide you on your journey.

     If you are a vodka drinker for example, you will more than likely be open to a wide variety of rums, because of the nature of vodka, being a "neutral spirit", you are probably going to be looking for a blanco or white rum that you will probably be mixing with something else.    If you are of the higher end vodka drinker and you usually drink it straight or in a martini, you are going to be looking at the higher end white rums as well.     One other choice is the Seco Herrerano, a sugar cane base "neutral spirit", that is made in Panama and can be sipped alone or mixed with anything and the flavor of the mix will dominate the cocktail.   This is what is meant by "neutral spirit".

     Dark Spirit drinkers such as bourbon, whiskey, or scotch, will tend to the gold, amber, dark, or the premium aged rums.    It is the same scenario though in that the higher end of dark spirit you prefer, the higher the quality of rum you will prefer.     There are rums with notes of each of the other dark spirits, mainly because of the way that rum is blended, aged, and finished.      With time you will find yourself placing your rum in a snifter with only a single ice cube or nothing at all and sipping the nectars of the sugar cane while relaxing anywhere.  

     Your personal palate is the key to this whole thing, you need to get in and taste as many of these rums in each category that you can over a period of time and you soon develop your own collection of the rums that please you and your mood will determine which on you want on any given day.     Getting started is the hard part of the process, but the time spent on the journey is as pleasurable as the rewards that will be gleaned.   Just one point of guidance, oldest and the most expensive doesn't make a rum the best.   You will find a lot of really good rums that are under $30 a bottle and 3 to 12 years old.     Listen to friends and bartenders they are your best place to find the sign posts to guide you to your rum.     ;o)