Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Rum is Coming out of the Still at Hemingway Rum Company Distillery

Left To Right Bahama Bob Leonard, Shawn Martin and Carlton Grooms
   After eight days of the fermentation, the wash was transferred to the still and the fresh rum came pouring out from the end pipe of the condenser.  This is the big day for the entire crew that everyone has been waiting for when the fresh rum would start pouring out of the end pipe and put the distillery really in business.  The Rum will be passed through the solera for preparation before it is added the the rest of the aged blend and it becomes a part of the Papa's Pilar Rum.  We are still a little more than a week away from bottling the first batch.

The Rum Begins to flow out of the Still
     This first round of rum making has brought a lot of excitement to the crew here at the distillery and as each step unfolds for the first time the excitement rises again.  We all went through the first training session this week for the bottling line.  Everything is falling into place as we inch closer to putting our rum on the shelf for sale in the trading post.

     The four year journey to production is over and the Hemingway Rum Company is now underway and looking forward to all the new adventures that the future in rum making will be offering.   These are the "good ole days", and all the fun and excitement will be continuing for quite some time.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse Myths, Facts and Fiction Behind Nature's Wild Event

No, a solar eclipse will not harm pregnant women, nor is it an event that brings on doom, eclipses aren't dangerous unless you stare at them with unprotected eyes.

Map of Projected Amount of the Eclipse
     "The biggest myth of them all is that eclipses are dangerous."  You would never look directly into the sun, an eclipse is not any different. Looking at the sun is always a bad idea and can create a scar on the retina of your eye and you won't even feel a thing.   "Even if 0.5 per cent of the sun's photosphere is visible, there is still a retinal hazard because the exposed photosphere is still producing the same amount of light as always."   "The only difference is, the scar is the shape of the exposed remaining crescent, instead of a circle."

2009 Eclipse over Indonesia
     This is going to be an annular solar eclipse like the one over Indonesia in 2009. These types of eclipses occur when the moon doesn't quite cover the entire face of the sun. Even though very little sunlight is visible, it's not safe to look at. There is only one time when you can look toward the sun during an eclipse: during totality, when the moon covers the entire disk of the sun.  For the Aug. 21 eclipse, so it's very important that you're equipped with approved solar eclipse glasses if you look at the partial eclipse.   Sunglasses won't cut it, not even those with extra-dark glass used by alpine skiers. They still allow too much sunlight to reach your eye.  Aside from proper eclipse glasses, there is only one other form of eye protection you can use: welder's glasses.   NASA recommends a Welder’s #14 Lenses to look directly at it.  There's been a lot of attention to eye safety during the lead-up to the Aug. 21 eclipse.  Back in the 1990s, there were a lot of people trying to use various things like aluminized Mylar gardening film, and CDs, most of those products aren't safe at all.
     There have been some fears about Unborn children, but each day our bodies are bombarded with solar radiation, like sunburns, which come from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.  The solar eclipse will not harm your baby if you're pregnant.  There are even difficult-to-detect subatomic particles emanating from the sun called neutrinos that start out in the sun's core. But they don't cause us any harm.  During the solar eclipse — total or partial, what's emanating from the sun doesn't change.

Throughout history, solar eclipses have been thought to be a harbinger of doom and associated with bad events.  In 763 BC there was an insurrection in the city of Ashur which happened to coincide with a solar eclipse.  Then there was the death of England's King Henry I in 1133, again during a solar eclipse.  In Greek mythology all the way through medieval history, eclipses of the sun have turned up at fortuitous times and scared the heck out of everybody.  These events were just the same kind of bad things happen all the time, that no one brings up except when there is an event they think that they can blame it on.  Enjoy the solar eclipse, but use some “common sense” when you are enjoying it.   By the way a little bit of rum helps you enjoy the eclipse a lot more, if you enjoy it smartly.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Old Town Panama City, Panama

     Old Town Panama City, Panama is an interesting place of the old and the view of the very modern.  It is like old town in other parts of the Caribbean, with it's narrow streets and views of the modern city across the way from it.   Old Town has its charms and its remnants of the of the war in that ousted Noriega in 1989.  Much of the old buildings are being restored and the charm is returning to Old Town Panama.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

What is the Real Connection Between Alcohol and Weight Gain

      As a person that has to really be careful of how I eat, drinking my rum has to be watched also.  There are more studies out there that tell you that you can or cannot drink a lot if you want to lose of maintain your comfortable weight.  Is it a good idea to scale back on how much you drink when you are dieting?   But there's a difference between hearing your friend's cousin lost a bunch of weight after she stopped drinking beer and knowing the actual science around weight and alcohol.

     According to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, people who drink heavily when they're younger have a higher risk of gaining excess weight and becoming overweight or obese when they're older.   People who were heavy drinkers (which is defined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as having four or more drinks on any day or eight or more drinks per week for women) had a 41 percent higher risk of going from a normal weight BMI to an overweight BMI when compared with people who weren't heavy drinkers, and a 36 percent higher risk of going from an overweight BMI to an obese BMI by the time they hit their mid-twenties.   According to these findings, the researchers concluded that heavy drinking should be part of the discussion when it comes to talking about healthy eating and weight loss.

     "It's important to look at alcohol in terms of calories," says Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., instructor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.   Alcohol definitely has calories: According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 12 ounces of regular beer can have about 150 calories, five ounces of wine might have about 120 calories, and a seven-ounce rum and Coke has about 155 calories. And, if you're drinking a lot of those in a week, it can add up.  People also tend to underestimate how much they're drinking.   A serving of wine, for example, is five ounces, but you probably pour more than that when you're having a glass at home.   It's not just about the calories from alcohol itself: Drinking can lower your inhibitions and sense of awareness, making you much more likely to mindlessly eat when you have a buzz according to Alissa Rumsey, R.D., owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, "while you may be able to realize you are full and stop after one slice of pizza when you are sober, it's harder to read those fullness signals when you've had a few drinks.”   

     Taking all the factors into consideration, it's easy to see how drinking heavily can cause you to gain weight over time.  That doesn't mean you should totally swear off alcohol if you want to lose weight-you just need to be smart about drinking.  Moderate drinking of alcohol if it is something that is important to you, it would be best to reduce your drinking to try to lose weight, but this usually does not work.  Making better choices about what you drink and what you mix your spirits with works better, if you want to make lower your calorie intake from drinking.  You can drink and still lose weight-just keep it within moderate levels and you should be fine.   The real question is not "Whether alcohol calories do count" but "How much do alcohol calories count?". There seems to be a large individual variability according to the absolute amount of alcohol consumed, the drinking frequency as well as genetic factors. Presently it can be said that alcohol calories count more in moderate nondaily consumers than in daily (heavy) consumers. Further, they count more in combination with a high-fat diet and in overweight and obese subjects.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Defining Rum, The Same Issues Today as They Were in 1908.

     Richard Seale posted this on Facebook, the other day and I find it really interesting that the same ideas were being argued in 1908 that are still being argued today 109 years later.
     “The first time it was attempted to regulate the "trade identity" of spirits was the ROYAL COMMISSION ON WHISKY AND OTHER POTABLE SPIRITS in 1908.   Spirits such as rum and whisky had been made for over 400 years but this was at last an attempt to protect the consumer and decide what we mean we say something is whisky, brandy or rum.  The descriptions of the stills in being used in Guyana in 1908 perfectly reflect the Gargano classification we promote today”.
- distilleries with just pot stills including those 'modified pot stills' with retorts and rectifying plates - PURE SINGLE RUM
- distilleries with both pot stills and traditional column stills in general,. coffey stills - SINGLE BLENDED RUM
- distilleries with just column stills - TRADITIONAL RUM
     “In a response to 'imitation rum' being sold on the market, rum was defined as not only from sugar cane but from sugar cane producing countries. This was thought essential to identifying authentic rum as the 'imitation rum' was as you might guess not coming from sugar cane producing countries.  The conclusions on liqueurs make fascinating reading.  A liqueur is anything that "obscures our hydrometer" - that is to say just as we do today with our "hydrometer test" to discern the true rum from the rum liqueurs”.
     “Score another hit for the purists and woe to those  who deride this simple test because they refuse to understand it.   The 1908 Commission made it abundantly clear by it’s conclusion on liqueurs - labeled as a spirit means a pure spirit. For then, for now, for always.”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

48 Years Ago Today Was the Original Woodstock Music and Art Festival

Note the List of Musicians
     48 Years ago some where in the area of 750,000 music loving "freaks" gathered together to celebrate great music and the freedom of the hippie lifestyle.  It was a music festival like no other and has never been matched since.  It was an epic event for those that were fortunate to have been there, and something that the rest of us can wish we were.  The poster tells it all, three days of the greatest musicians of the time in a concert that was suppose to be $6.00 per day, but the majority paid nothing as the slogged through the mud to get to the concert field.

     The Woodstock Music and Art Festival was a rock music festival at Max Yasgur's 600 acre dairy farm in the town of Bethel, New York from 15–18 August 1969.   It is the most famous rock concert festival ever held. For many, it showed the counterculture of the 1960"s and the "hippie era".   Many of the most famous musicians at the time showed up during the rainy weekend, as can be seen in a 1970 movie, Woodstock.  Joni Mitchell's song "Woodstock", about the event, also became a major hit song for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.  In recent years, a number of attempts were made to recreate it, but the original Woodstock festival of 1969 has proven to be legendary.

     The festival was called "Woodstock", because the investment group that backed the concert was called "Woodstock Ventures." It was originally planned for Saugerties, and then the Town of Wallkill, in Orange County . People in the Town of Wallkill, meaning those on the Town Board, quickly passed a law that required a permit to hold any gathering for over 5,000 people.  A permit was applied for, but it was denied because the portable toilets proposed were considered to be inadequate. A Sullivan County farmer named Max Yasgur heard about the festival and the problems and offered his farm in the Town of Bethel. He was paid $10,000 for the three days.

     The municipalities were told there would be no more than 50,000, the organizers thought they would get as many as 150,000, and by best counts, there were more than three times that number over the three days. Most did not pay to get in, and the festival lost money as a result. The roads to the concert were jammed with traffic. People left their cars and walked for miles to get to the concert area. The weekend was rainy and overcrowded, and fans shared food, alcoholic drinks, and drugs. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Today is National Rum Day

     Today is National Rum Day, so I decided to stick my neck out a little bit and let you know a little about some of my favorite rums that are available in America.  I get the opportunity to enjoy so many rums, but many of them are just not available here in the United states.  I thought for National Rum Day, I’d try to pick my top ten.  These are not in any particular order, but they are the ten that I tend to gravitate toward and enjoy on a regular basis.


Doorly’s XO is a blend of six to ten year old rums created and aged by Richard Seale at the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, Doorly's XO gets its final finishing in an Oloroso Sherry cask.   The rum has a deep copper bronze color with golden highlights.  In the mouth, the viscosity is somewhat light, This rum contains no additives of any kind.   There is an initial spiciness that dies down quickly revealing a fruitiness, that is coupled with oaky tannins that coat the palate and a hint of sweetness.  The long finish is primarily spice and oak, and finishes with just a slight bitterness.  Wonderful in a glass or mixed in premium cocktails.

Mount Gay Black Barrel is a small batch, handcrafted rum recently created by master distiller Allen Smith. It is a blend of both matured double pot distillates and aged column distillates which are finished in Bourbon oak barrels. This blend has a bold and balanced flavor, that is not to sweet as what the nose would have you think.  The flavor of the oak comes to the front over the palate, there are notes of orange, banana peel, almonds, baking spices and vanilla.  This is a good sipper or mixing expression

Abuelo Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish is their wonderful 12 year-old rum that has been rebarrelled in Oloroso Sherry casks for another 5 years.  This process adds to the already wonderful flavors of the original rum, yielding a brilliant copper color with complex aromas and flavors of polished wood, leather, sherry raisin cake, and dark roasted nuts.  This is a vibrant, fruity full bodied rum with a warm distinctive notes of fruit cake, spiced prunes and figs with some tea and tobacco in the finish.
This  one is a pure sipping rum.

Afrohead Premium Aged Dark Rum is born in the West Indies and authentically aged, sporting a silky smooth spirit with notes of toasty oak and a hint of honey. The rum has notes of molasses and Bourbon wood accents with a hint of vanilla with a smooth, warming, long finish. It is authentically crafted with blends of rum aged 7 years or older in once-used Bourbon barrels.  Also a rum that can be sipped or used in premium cocktails.

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva has a heavy, rich, toasted sugar flavor, with a rich and buttery hint of spice.  Revealing a medley of flavors that include caramel, allspice, almonds and molasses, vanilla and leather that come together ins such a wonderful manner. It is a very viscous medium-bodied rum that the flavor seems like it will never end.   This is definitely a rum that is worth spending time with as a sipper especially great with a fine cigar.
Cartavio XO has a brilliant mahogany color with woody aromas furniture shop.  There are notes of tropical fruit, leather, cinnamon, tannins, crisp, caramelized nuts, mango, orange caramel with a vanilla bean and nutmeg finish.  This is a very rich aged rum that suits palates that prefer sweets rums.  Another that can be used as a sipper or for mixing premium cocktails.
Dzama Cuvee Noire is one of a very few that can boast such a balance of flavors that are achieved by this rum.  You will find the notes of orange, vanilla, coffee liqueur, citrus and bananas as you sniff and taste this unique rum from Madagascar.   This oak barrel aged rum is filled with character and flavor that are unique to this rum.  Sip it or mix it you will enjoy this one.

Damoiseau XO has a golden amber color, with a rich, complex, oaky aromas, with flavors of chocolate, dried banana and mango, and some notes of spices and fruitiness.  This Agricole Rhum has a light-medium body with a smooth, subtle, medium-length satisfying finish.   A very smooth and elegant sipping rum that is absolutely my favorite Agricole..

Plantation Barbados 5 Year Grande Reserve has a light sweetness in the mouth with hints of butterscotch, caramel and molasses initially across the palate with some sweetness followed by a sharp orange peel and baking spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla along with a leathery mustiness.  Other flavors like banana and marmalade, toasted almond, charred coconut and notes of marzipan.  This is a unique rum that can be enjoyed across the spectrum, it works well in anywhere.

Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum has an aroma of molasses, baking spices and hints of caramel.  The flavor is sweet initially, with lots of vanilla, caramel, and citrus that melt away to a pepperiness at the back of the tongue.  It finishes on the dry side, medium-long, and slightly astringent, with the influence of the Oloroso sherry finish coming to the forefront.   This is unique in that gets its flavors not only from the selection of fine rums, but also what is gained from the solera blending method.   Papa’s Pilar is bold and works well as a sipper or a a replacement for bourbon in many of the classic cocktails. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bahaama Bob's August Cooler

     These are the hot days here in Key West with temperatures in the 90's and the humidity right up there as well.  What these afternoons call for is a refreshing and tasty cocktail to put the chill on you.
Here is an idea with a few unusual suspects that I have brought together just for the occasion.  Enjoy this one soon, I know it really fills the bill on the aft deck this time of year.

Bahama Bob's August Cooler

1 1/2 oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Agave Nectar

Place all ingredients in a shake filled with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled and strain into tumbler filled with fresh ice and garnish as you see fit.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Big Things Happening at the Hemingway Rum Company in Key West

Carlton Grooms Making Final Inspection
     After nearly four years of construction and planning rum production has begun at the Hemingway
Rum Company in Key West, Florida.  The dropping of the yeast into the first batch of molasses in the fermentation tank last Saturday rum making is underway.  Carlton Grooms, Shawn Martin and the rest of the crew ceremoniously dropped the yeast in the first batch Saturday the 12th of August and 2:00 pm to get the first batch started.

Shawn Martin Dropping the Yeast
   If the fermentation goes as planned the distillation will begin on Tuesday afternoon.  the wine will be pumped from the fermentation tank into the still to begin the extraction of the fresh rum.   At this point there should be approximately 10% of the by volume of the original of the distillation come out as rum.

     The ceremonial tasting of the first batch will follow and hopefully it will bring smiles to the faces of all of us that are involved.  The rum will then pass through the solera and mixed with the other components of the sourced  blend of aged rums and bottle.  This is a huge event that has been in the making for nearly four years and I'm so glad to see it finally getting underway for everyone in the company.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Santiago de Cuba

The City of Santiago de Cuba houses some of the most interesting history in Cuba.  There Spanish American war history with San Juan Hill and Daiquiri Beach to the spirits history of the Bacardi Family there, you can not begin to see all of the things here even in a week.  Don't overlook this wonderful city when you plan your Cuban trips.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

New Rum Offered in the United Kingdom Inspired by Cornwall’s Book Jamaica Inn

     Jamaica Inn Black Ginger Rum has recently been quietly launched into its Cornwall heartlands, by Mangrove, the UK-based premium spirits distributor.  Recently and quietly launched into its Cornwall heartlands, by Mangrove, the UK-based premium spirits distributor.  This premium rum is a blend of Jamaican pot and column distillations that is infused with ginger, accompanied by subtle hints of lemongrass and citrus.  Ginger is a primary botanical infusion with a quality Jamaican rum, this offers fuller taste for classic cocktails that can be made with cola, tonic or any other mixer. The rum is aged for three years and has an ABV of 40%.

      “The brand is inspired by the Cornwall coaching inn built in 1750 and made famous in Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name. Jamaica Inn first derived its name from the local landowning Trelawney family. Edward Trelawney was born in Trelawney, Cornwall in 1699 and appointed Governor of Jamaica at the age of 39. Located on the bleak Bodmin Moor, the inn originally provided a watering hole to hide smuggler’s plundered Caribbean contraband of Jamaican rum and botanicals, including ginger.”  The expression is based upon the style of rum the patrons and malcontents would have been imbibing during the era.
Cornwell's Jamaica Inn

    Nick Gillett, managing director of Mangrove, comments: “More than anything else, this is an authentic Jamaican, flavored rum”.   It has that unique Jamaican ‘funk’ flavor with the presence of a well-balanced quality, ginger flavor throughout.  The name Jamaica Inn conjures up all the right images of dark rums and the historical richness with the cross over between Cornwall and Jamaica’s rumbustious past.”

     Unfortunately, like so many other interesting rums, Jamaica Inn Rum is not available in the United States.  If you happen to be visiting the United Kingdom, this is one of those rums with a unique story and mystique that you might want to search out.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Copper Cocktail Mugs Can be Poisonous According to Iowa Health Officials and the FDA

Banned Pure Copper Cup
     The Magic of the Copper mugs commonly used in trendy cocktails like Moscow Mules or Dark and Stormy’s has the potential of poisoning drinkers, according to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.   The body have examined the copper and food reactions and concluded that serving any food or liquid with a pH balance below 6, which include vinegar, wine and fruit juice.  These and other ingredients can cause copper poisoning with the result in the body causing diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice and low blood pressure.  According to the Food and Drug Administration's Moral Food Code, copper is prohibited from coming into direct contact with foods that have a pH below 6.0.  The warning comes as the Mule has risen in popularity with social media users, who enjoy posting pictures of the attractive mugs.

Approved Plated Interior Copper Cup
     A statement from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division reads: “The pH of a traditional Moscow Mule is well below 6.0. This means that copper mugs that have a copper interior may not be used with this beverage.”   “However, copper mugs lined on the interior with another metal, such as nickel or stainless steel” are allowable for use and are widely available.

     “High concentrations of copper are poisonous and have caused foodborne illness. When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food.”

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sailor Jerry Reveals a Special New Bottle Design

     William Grant & Sons has launched a new limited-edition bottle that was introduced to reinforce the Sailor Jerry’s “premium” credentials.   The new bottle was introduced to emphasize the brand’s extensive tattoo personality and to jump off the shelf in retail and bar exposure.   The new design sports a glossy black concealed wrap that offers tribute to the tattoo designs of the late Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins.
     The bottle image features an iconic hula girl, much like many of Collins’ early tattoo artist days, inking fellow soldiers and sailors at his tattoo parlor in World War II-era Hawaii.   It also features the brand’s famous anchor, a traditional symbol of stability, which takes us back to Collins’ professional sailor roots.   The limited-edition bottle is available in major markets at an suggested price of $26.50 while inventory is available.
     The Spirits Business named Sailor Jerry the 2017 Rum Brand Champion along with hitting the million-case sales plateau for the first time along with continued success in the US.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rum Java in the Morning?

     Just tired of trying to wake up on one of these very warm tropical summer mornings with "Hot Coffee"?   I had an idea this morning, I grabbed my bottle of RumJava and added a little Licor 43 and sweet vermouth and you have a cool summer wake up cocktail.   I really like the idea of waking up in a much cooler way these summer days.

Bahama Bob's RumJava Wake Me Up

2 oz.  RumJava
1 oz.  Licor 43
1/2 oz.  Sweet Vermouth

Place all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir until chilled.  Strain into a tulip glass filled with ice and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Rum Sixty-Six Expands with Two New Expressions

    Rum Sixty-Six has two new expressions, Extra Old and Cask Strength, bringing the Rum Sixty Six’s total range to three. These to new expressions will be joining the 12 year-old Family Reserve.   Extra Old and Cask Strength are aged for six years and 12 years respectively and aim to “tap into the premiumization surge within the dark rum category”.

     Halewood acquired a stake in the Rum Sixty-Six parent company, Bajan Trading Company, through this new joint venture.   H.J. Neill Ltd. firm also got the import and distribution rights of Barbados-made Rum Sixty-Six.  Bajan Trading Company has a family connection to the Seale family, with Richard Seale currently acting as master distiller of Rum Sixty-Six. The liquid, which is distilled in small batches, is aged and bottled at RL Seale’s historic Foursquare Rum Distillery in St Philip, Barbados. The process uses a blend of continuous still and copper pot productions.   Rum Sixty-Six is recommended for drinking straight like a fine scotch or cognac for sipping and savoring or as a base for cocktails.

      “Consumers are placing increasing emphasis on provenance and authenticity of their rum choices.  Rum Sixty-Six’s legacy is one skilled and honest rum making that comes from the historic Foursquare Distillery.  This provides a genuine strength of character to the rum, whether you’re new to the category or looking for the ultimate cask strength rum.”

     The Extra Old variant is a six year-old variant bottled at 40% ABV.  This expression is targeting the “new rum explorers”.  The Cask Strength expression is bottled at 59% ABV, is looking to attract the more sophisticated palate of the rum connoisseurs.   The two new additions also introduce Rum Sixty Six’s new bottle design, that is available in a 700 ml format.   Extra Old has a recommended price of £30 while Cask Strength is £55.

     These wonderful Rums unfortunately are only going to be available in Great Britain, but if you happen to be going there, don’t miss out on any of these classic Richard Seale rums.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Mystery of the Mermaid House Floating in the Gulf of Mexico

     The mystery of the floating mermaid house in the Gulf of Mexico has been solved, the Coast Guard said on Thursday morning.  The floating dock that was originally located behind the Parrot Key Hotel in Key West, Florida.  The dock reportedly broke free from its mooring during a storm.  No one was on board, but the tiny mermaid house drifting in the Gulf of Mexico had the Coast Guard wondering where it had come from.

     A report of the mermaid house first came in at 1 p.m. Wednesday, located approximately 180 miles south of Grand Isle according to the Coast Guard.   An airplane crew from the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala., went out to look and search for signs of distress.   Having found no one aboard, the Guard issued an alert to other vessels working in the area of the drifting object.   A provided picture shows a quaint little building with a painting of a mermaid frolicking with marine life on its side.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Beauty is All Around You

     Wandering around Key West I run across some of the most beautiful places.  Here is a picture of the way from the parking lot at the Pier House looking toward the waterfront.  There are so many of these places that make such beautiful photographs.  All you have to do is o open your eyes where ever you wander and you can find the beauty all around you.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Home is Really Where the Heart is.

     I was thinking about how things have changed over the years in my life.  I was thinking on the
idea that "Home is Where the Heart is", a concept that sort of just goes in one ear and out of the other, until you spend a few minutes thinking about it.

   When I lived in California, my passions were in the mountains, skiing in the winter and water skiing in the summer, but always in the mountains.   At that time I had mementos from the mountains and my decor was that of a mountain cabin.  Later when I moved to the Carolina's I fell in love with the Caribbean and my house was decorated with the souvenirs of the islands.  Today living on the island of Key West, where my heart really lives I spend my time doing things that keep me close to the water and nature of this place.

     The thing that I've found it really doesn't matter where you are,
as long as your passions are living
there with you, you're in a really good place.  It doesn't mean that you never want to go anywhere else, but it is the place that you want to be most of your time.  Today, living where I really want to be and living on a boat, all is great with the world.   When I get up til I spend my evenings on the aft deck watching the sun rise and set, my days are very rewarding.  I love to travel out, visiting as many Caribbean islands as I can, but after a week or so, I can't wait to get back to my home, because it is truly where my heart is.

This is Where my Heart is Today

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ohio State Liquor Law Change Will Helps Craft Distilleries Expand Their Customer Base

     Ohio is considering a change in the laws that might make it easier for Ohio's micro distilleries to get their vodkas, gins, rums and whiskeys on barroom shelves thanks to a change in state rules that will allow small-time distillers to sell products directly to pubs and restaurants.   That may not sound groundbreaking, but the process to get booze in the hands of a bartender is so ponderous that many producers didn't even bother trying.   Under the Ohio's strict liquor control rules, all distillers - no matter if they make 100 bottles a year or 100 bottles a minute - first had to ship their products to one of two state warehouses. The warehouse would send the bottles to a state liquor agency, where restaurateurs then could buy it wholesale.

     "If we have a micro distillery in Cincinnati, they would have to deliver product to the Columbus warehouse just to have it come back to the Cincinnati market," said Kerry Francis, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Commerce. "This will eliminate that step."  Georgia has very similar laws that are also causing a rum maker in Richland, Georgia has to send his rum to Atlanta and then it has to be brought back by a distributor to the bar and liquor store that is right across the street.  All these laws do is to send the cost of the product through the roof, mostly  because of unnecessary shipping.   Sales still will be tracked and regulated by liquor control agents, but officials say the eased rules recognize Ohio's growing craft distilling industry and are viewed as a way to help support those businesses.

     The changes likely will boost distillers like Toledo Spirits Co., a four-year-old craft distillery on North Summit Street in Toledo.   Toledo Spirits still is awaiting final details on how new the process will work, but partner and co-founder Dustin Wade is excited by the potential.   "It becomes more of a volume game for us," Mr. Wade said. "It'll be great to be able to engage directly with those local proprietors."    Mr. Wade noted that it was never their intention to put their spirits through the state system because the batches are very small and unique to Northwest Ohio.  This new law will allow them new sales opportunity in their specific region.

     As an employee of a small distillery in Florida, I see this issue effecting many of the craft distillers here as well.  Because all spirits must go through a distributor  in  order to get to the market, it is very hard for the small distilleries to sell outside of their distillery showrooms.  Most of the worthwhile distributors aren’t really interested in these small distilleries products because there isn’t enough volume to be worth their time.

      Craft distilleries are nowhere nearly as common as craft breweries, the numbers are growing significantly every year.  Ohio State officials say in May of 2011, there were two. Today, 57 producers are licensed to make up to 100,000 gallons of spirits a year.   Ryan Lang, president of the Ohio Distiller's Guild and co-owner of Middle West Distilling in Columbus, said the industry continues to gain traction and the state's upcoming changes should help with growing pains.

"This is a big change for Ohio craft distillers. This is definitely going to help people get to their customers better," I hope that more of the states will take what Ohio has done and look at doing the same for the craft distillers in other states.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bahama Bob's Papa Pilar Dark Bramble and Creme de Mure

     I had an idea for a cocktail, but I came across Creme de Mure, and I stared to play with it.  Creme de Mure is a Blackberry Liqueur, that is a frank and powerful olfactory attack, with impressions of puree of fresh fruit and jam.  Round and pleasant mouth brought by the freshness of the fruit.  Aromatic power of the blackberry. Bitterness of seeds at the end.  This is a wonderful liqueur that adds a dynamic flavor to so many cocktail possibilities.  Below is a twist on the classic Bramble.

Bahama Bob’s Pilar Dark Bramble

  • 2 Oz. Pilar Dark Rum
  • ¾ Oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • ½ Oz. Simple Syrup
  • ½ Oz. Bahama Bob’s Blackberry Liqueur

Place all ingredients except Bahama Bob’s Blackberry Liqueur into a shaker filled with ice.  Shake until chilled and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.  Drizzle Bahama Bob’s Blackberry Liqueur over the drink and garnish with a lemon zest.

Bahama Bob’s Creme de Mure
  • 12 Oz.  Blackberries freshor frozen
  • 14 Oz. Good Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
  • 12 Oz.  Sugar in the Raw
  • 10 Oz. Doorly’s White Rum

Pick over the blackberries and remove any stalks or leaves. Tip into a large ceramic or glass bowl and pour over the wine. Use a potato masher to crush the fruit into the wine. Cover with a tea towel and leave to macerate in a cool place for 2 days, mashing occasionally.

Pour the mixture through a plastic sieve, then pass again through the sieve or a colander lined with a square of muslin to remove any bits.  Tip the juice into a pan and add the sugar. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for 5 mins. Leave to cool, then stir in the vodka or gin. Using a small jug, pour into bottles, then seal and label. It’s ready to use straight away. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight for up to 1 year.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

NB Gin Distillery in Scotland Decides to Make Rum

     The company will launch three new rums that will be all made using a retort still and British molasses.  The new expressions have been produced after months of research and experimentation and will feature the same contemporary branding as its flagship NB gin and vodka brands that were launched in late 2013.  NB Gin is also increasing its production of its base Gin and Vodka because of an “overwhelming” demand from United Kingdom and other global markets.
      “We anticipate rum in the future becoming more popular, particularly craft rum.  “It is likely the number of rum bars across the world will also increase.”   Vivienne Muir, CEO of NB Gin, says that the work on the distillery is “progressing well”.   Mrs Muir outlined her plans at a meeting of East Lothian Council’s planning committee earlier this month, where they were granted permission to open a distillery at Halfland Barns, near North Berwick, which will be able to operate around the clock to meet international orders, she told the Courier: “We plan to launch two rums – a clear and a spiced rum.   An official launch is expected in November, but Mrs Muir is hopeful the new spirit will continue the success of the brand, launched in 2013.

Steve and Vivian Muir Founders of NB Gin
  The firm also recently secured a deal with Instil Drinks Company, which is handling the distribution of NB Gin, NB Gin Navy Strength and NB London Dry Citrus Vodka, in England and Wales.   The deal will see the spirits being supplied to all sectors of the business, including wholesalers, other distributors.   The award-winning NB Gin – previously named the world’s best London dry gin – and NB Vodka, launched last year, are the brainchild of husband-and-wife couple Steve and Viv Muir.   Now, the couple want to branch out further, with plans for NB Rum to be launched before the end of the year.   “These products have been exceptionally difficult to develop and have taken months of perfecting so far.   “Our experimentation and refining of the recipes is nearing the end of the process and recent blind tasting committees are placing the products ahead already of other major brands.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Luca Gargano is Releasing a Rare 12 Year Old Caroni Rum

The Now Closed Caroni Distillery
    Caroni Distillery has an interesting history, especially concerning Caroni Rum from the island of Trinidad.   At one point in time, there were 50 distilleries on Trinidad, but by 1950 there were just eight.   Today there is only one, the House of Angostura.    From 1923 till 2003 were the golden ages of the Caroni Rum distillery, founded in the heart of the Caroni plain's sugarcane plantations, this famed Trinidad distillery was renowned throughout the world for producing some of the best heavy rums.  They received high praise from the British Navy for whom they had produced rums.    In 2003, a disaster struck, with the closing of the nearby state owned sugar refinery resulted in a slow decline of Trinidad's sugarcane production.  It was a short time later that the Caroni distillery was also shut down.
     It’s not too far from here that Italian Luca Gargano found something on a trip to the island in 2004.  He located the last of some legendary Caribbean rum.   A little more than a year after the Caroni Rum Distillery had closed, Gargano discovered that inside the old facility were hundreds of barrels of Caroni’s “heavy” rum aging, some of which dated back nearly three decades.   Gargano, a spirits importer that has made an art form of locating rare and sometimes thought to be lost old spirits, was able to acquire the rums and eventually bottle them.  This is a treasure trove of rum archaeology.
     The Caroni 12 Year Old bottling contains rum from the 2000 vintage, the last available barrels of 100% Trinidad Rum made from local molasses, distilled and matured for 12 years on the island.  The hot tropical weather resulted in an angels share of 60% loss of distilled spirit due to evaporation.   To perfectly capture the unique heavy rum character of this closed distillery, Gargano has bottled the Caroni 12 Year Old at 50% ABV.   To add to the mystique, the label reflects a 1940 label to commemorate Trinidad’s golden age of rum.  This is a very limited supply, it should be a must own expression even for one that is not a regular rum drinker.

     This expression is a deep gold rum with the aroma of charred molasses, a barbaque in your neighbor's garden, vanilla and caramelized ripe bananas. On the palate it is velvety, with hints of toasted nuts, smoked licorice, vanilla, honey, marzipan and delicate spices.   It is a heavy bodied rum that is well balanced with a long dry oaked finish.