Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tennessee Williams meets Ernest Hemingway for Lunch at the Floridita in Cuba 1959

Ernest Hemingway Bust in El Floridita

     This is excerpts of a very interesting article by Steve Newman about the lunch meeting  bringing Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Kenneth Tynan and George Plimpton together.  This proved to be an interesting meeting that seemed to be a great experience for all that were there.
     In April 1959, Tynan was travelling to Cuba to interview Fidel Castro, who’d recently chased Batista off the island, and called in to see Tennessee Williams — who was living in Key West at the time — suggesting the playwright might like to come along.
     “I’ve arranged to have lunch with Hemingway at the Floridita tomorrow, “said Tynan, “why not join us?  “Hemingway? You are joking, right? I’ve heard he kicks people like me in the crotch.”  “Nonsense. But if he does I’ll kick him back.”   In the end curiosity got the better of Williams, and the two writers headed off to Cuba.

Tennessee Wiliams
Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams, III was born in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 26, 1911. His first great theatrical hit, The Glass Menagerie, was staged in 1944. From that moment on he never looked back as a playwright. By the time of the lunch with Hemingway, Sweet Bird of Youth had been doing good business on Broadway for a month, and he was now considered, along with Miller and O’Neill, to be one of America’s greatest playwrights.

Kenneth Tynan
     Tynan was a rising star.   Hemingway was on his last legs with only one more book left in him, and suicide just around the corner.   But Williams, who admired Hemingway’s work, still feared the tall and big chested novelist who greeted him and Tynan with handshakes and hugs, as they walked into the famous Floridita bar and restaurant.  Hemingway ordered Papa Doble, The cocktail created just for him by the El Floridita owner, Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, for everyone in the party.  They signed a few autographs and then had to listen to a trio of singers that saluted Hemingway. Hemingway laughed and hugged the singers, tipping them well, before explaining, to Williams and Tynan, that the bronze bust of himself on the bar in the corner was always covered up for Lent.   Hemingway then ordered lunch, lobster with a salad, and white wine.

George Plimpton
     The group were then joined by another journalist, and sometime friend of Hemingway’s, George Plimpton, who spotted that Tennessee looked slightly terrified, and as Plimpton put it “…Tennessee Williams’ tendencies were noticable and I only saw the great respect Hemingway had for him.”   Williams then told Hemingway he’d met the bullfighter Ordóñez in Spain, describing him as “a lovely boy, very friendly, very accessible.” Hemingway said nothing.” Williams then said, I was introduced to Pauline back in Key West. I was very sorry to hear of her death.   “She died like everybody else,” said Ernest, “and after that she was dead.”  There was something of a pause.

     The conversation moved on to the air crashes Hemingway and Mary had suffered in Africa, with Hemingway giving detailed descriptions, and how close they came to death, with Hemingway adding “You can survive on one kidney, but if your liver gives out, you’re through.”  He then made his goodbyes and said what a pleasure it had been to meet you Tennessee, and can I say how much I enjoy your work, although I’ve never seen any of your plays I do enjoy reading them.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mount Gay Campaign to Combat Single Use Plastic

     Rum brand Mount Gay has partnered with sea-conservation charity Oceana to launch the More Taste, Less Waste campaign to support the fight against single-use plastic.   Mount Gay Rum has partnered with Oceana to campaign against the use of single-use plastics.   More Taste, Less Waste aims to encourage the reduction of single-use plastics by asking consumers of Mount Gay rum to pledge to cut down on their own plastic use to improve the condition of the world’s oceans.   As part of its environmental commitment, Mount Gay will also ensure everyone is “equipped to sip” with the launch of reusable products at designated accounts and events.
     Dorothee Heriard Dubreuil, brand director of Mount Gay, said: “Mount Gay has a deep appreciation for the environment, from the ingredients used to create our high-end rums derived from the terroir of Barbados to the brand’s longstanding connection to the sea and sailing community.
     “In partnership with a like-minded brand, Oceana, and through the More Taste, Less Waste pledge, we are proactively implementing initiatives to help further reduce our footprint and promote social responsibility while still enjoying Mount Gay cocktails with friends and family across America.”   An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic pollutes the marine environment each year, according to Oceana, which equates to pouring a rubbish truck full of plastic into the sea every minute.
     Mount Gay will further support Oceana’s efforts through a joint digital ‘call to action’, and offer a list of ways for consumers to get involved with Oceana’s work to reduce single-use plastics during social occasions with friends and family.  This includes promoting a reduction in the use of plastic straws and stirrers, as well as food items and garnishes in single-use plastic containers, and to use reusable cups, bottles and bags.
     Shelly Brown, education director, Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana, said: “Through our policy campaigns and by building a community of eco-conscious boaters who are taking action such as eliminating single-use plastics on their boats as part of our Green Boating initiative via Sailors for the Sea, we are committed to efforts towards reducing plastic pollution.
“We believe this partnership will resonate with people eager to help Oceana win victories for our oceans.”  Over the last year, Barbadian Mount Gay has moved to use compostable cups for all sampling and regatta events, embarked upon a local ‘Skip the Straw’ program and encouraged people to reuse the red Mount Gay thermos cup.
More information on the campaign can be found online at

Sunday, May 19, 2019

An Afternoon Walk on Hilton Head Island

     Hilton Head South Carolina provides a wonderful place to wander with a camera and watch the sun work its magic as it weaves its way through the pine trees in the afternoon.   This is a very unique place to wander and just enjoy your afternoons.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Drum Circle Distillery Introduces Their Latest Expression

     Troy Roberts and his crew have done it again with the introduction of Siesta Key Coffee Rum.  This is in the same vein as their famous toasted coconut expression.  The results I had the chance to taste at the Rum Bar in Key West, a coffee rum that tastes just like a fine cup of black coffee, not some sweetened rum with imitation flavorings.  How does he get all of this flavor in a rum?

     The concept is actually very simple.  He makes it the same way a cowboy would make his coffee, he puts the grounds of his coffee blend directly into the rum and let it infuse the flavor to the rum.  This reminds me of how he puts the toasted coconut into a tea bag like apparatus and let it sit in the rum until the flavor is infused.  When the coffee flavor is right, the grounds are filtered out and the rum is ready to be bottled.

     This could have been accomplished by using some prepared syrup, but Troy believes in using natural flavors and ingredients to bring such full and satisfying flavors to his rums.  The real good news is that you would have to drink a whole bottle of this rum to get the amount of caffeine that would be present in one cup of coffee.

     If you are a coffee drinker and like the flavor of a good cup of coffee, this is a really great new rum for you to give a try.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Sailor Jerry Pledges Support for Veterans of the United States Military

     William Grant & Sons-owned spiced rum brand Sailor Jerry has partnered with marketing firm
Anchor Media to donate $100,000 to support US military veterans.  Sailor Jerry has unveiled a limited edition bottle design in honor of Military Appreciation Month.   Sailor Jerry and Anchor Media will donate the money to the United Service Organizations (USO), which works with programs that support service men and women throughout their time in the military and as they adapt to civilian life after serving.

     Ashley Thomas, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum brand ambassador, said: “It’s an honor to expand our USO partnership, given the fact that Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins was greatly influenced by his time serving our country.”   Sailor Jerry’s total contribution to the USO and other military organizations over the past six years now stands at $750,000.   As well as the brand’s latest funding pledge, Sailor Jerry has also unveiled a limited edition bottle design in honor of Military Appreciation Month (May). The bottle will be available at national and local liquor stores across the US for $15.99.

   Thomas said: “With the launch of the new, limited edition bottle wrap, we are proud to celebrate our patriotism, as well as honor the dedicated service of the troops and Norman himself.”

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Very Happy Mothers Day to Mothers Everywhere

     Today is a very special Sunday.  It is Mothers Day, a day that we set aside to honor all of the mothers.  I wish to honor my mother today as well.  I'm only sorry that I won't be able to visit her until June.  This is my heart felt thanks to my mother and I hope that you get to honor yours in some was as well.

     Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers everywhere.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

A New Study Published in The Lancet Calls for a Ban Globally on Alcohol Advertising

     It seems that alcohol is heading down the path that smoking took before it.  The alcohol industry has not on its own regulated the advertisement programs, and if it doesn’t soon, the restrictions will follow just like they did for the smoking industries.  This is a wake-up call that the industry needs to take very seriously.

    A major report on global alcohol consumption has recommended an international ban on alcohol marketing and advertising.  The world is “not on track” to achieve targets to reduce harmful drinking, according to a new report in The Lancet journal.    The study, published in The Lancet, looked at alcohol intake in 189 countries between 1990 and 2017, during which time consumption increased from 5.9 liters of pure alcohol a year per adult to 6.5 liters. Researchers forecast that consumption will further increase to 7.6 liters by 2030.  As a result of increased alcohol consumption and population growth, the total volume of alcohol consumed globally per year has increased by 70% in the past 27 years.

     The report highlights the shifting geography of drinking levels, with reductions in Europe more than offset by increases in Southeast Asia. In particular, alcohol intake increased in countries with a growing middle class, such as India, China and Vietnam. By 2030, Europe is no longer predicted to have the highest level of alcohol use.   The estimates also suggest that by 2030 half of all adults will drink alcohol, and almost a quarter, 23% will binge drink at least once a month.
According to researchers, increasing rates of alcohol use mean the world is “not on track” to achieve targets to reduce harmful drinking. The World Health Organization (WHO) is aiming to see a 10% reduction in harmful alcohol use by 2025.   The volume of alcohol consumed is growing faster than the number of drinkers, leading to an “increased alcohol-attributable disease burden”.

    “Based on the data, the aim of reducing the harmful use of alcohol by 10% by 2025 will not be reached globally,” according to author Jakob Manthey,.     “Instead, alcohol use will remain one of the leading risk factors for the burden of disease for the foreseeable future, and its impact will probably increase relative to other risk factors. Implementation of effective alcohol policies is warranted, especially in rapidly developing countries with growing rates of alcohol use.”  The report researchers are calling for the implementation of measures including increased taxation, restricted availability, and a ban on alcohol marketing and advertising at a global level.  Price or availability-based policies are important, strict restrictions on advertising and other promotional activities are crucial to slow the growing demand for alcohol in these countries.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Toby Tyler Introduces One Drop Tequila Barrel Finished Rum

Afrohead and One Drop Rums

     You can call it cask-finishing or barrel finishing or secondary aging or whatever you like.   But it’s no secret that using the barrels that once held other spirits to give different personalities to rum is an increasingly prominent trend in the rum world.  It’s one that remains best executed in Martinique, where distilleries like Rhum Depaz and Rhum HSE continue to set the global standard for their cask-finished rums.

     And while we’ve seen all kinds of finishes, from port to sherry to Highland whisky, there’s one spirit that has not thus far given its personality to any rum: tequila.   But master blender Toby Tyler, the man behind the celebrated Afrohead — and, more recently, the Jamaica by way of Harbour Island Bahamas rum called One Drop, has pushed the envelope again with a new expression finished in Tequila barrels.

     It’s called, fittingly, “Cactus & Cane.”  It’s a limited edition One Drop that takes seven-year-old Jamaican rum and sends it for nearly eight months in ex-tequila barrels.   It’s a seriously robust rum, with the proof pushed to 102 and the result is, well, something totally new in the rum world.  So what’s it like?  The rum has a pale golden color, with an aroma dominated by honey, anise and white pepper.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Small Mangrove Beach Where I Only Found Tracks in the Sand

     I was out on my dinghy the other day drifting around the mangrove keys to the north of me in the Gulf of Mexico.  I stopped at a little mangrove key on a very small beach and was amazed that the only things I found on it were footprints of birds and a couple of tennis shoes.   It is really to bad that the majority of the places I drift into are littered with debris that is left behind by lazy boaters.

     With a little bit if fore thought and a trash bag, you can bring your trash back to the dock with you and dispose of it in a proper manner instead of adding to the trash pollution of our waters.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Transparency of What is in the Rum is the Key


     There seems to be a lot of very strong feelings about how rum flavors are obtained.   Based upon the strong responses to the Richard Seale article that I posted on Tuesday.  I do have to say that opinions on this subject vary widely, but it is my opinion that it all boils down to transparency.  I ran across a rum that I had not seen before this past week so I went on line to learn about it and found that there was an honesty about what it was and contained.

     "The production process is overseen by Carlos Esquivel, who controls the most important production details of Martí rums including growing the distillery’s own cane, using yeast isolated from the skin of pineapples grown on the estate and using select American oak barrels for aging.  As relatively dry rums, Martí Plata is an excellent base for building classic rum cocktails. Martí rums contain less than 5 grams of total sugar per liter."

     This is what can help with the debate over what is added to make individual rums taste like they do, by being honest of what is added to the pure rum and where the sugar cane and yeast are sourced..  Marti Plata is a 3 year old silver rum that has been aged three years in American Oak barrels that were previously filled bourbon.   The label covers the way, what and how this rum is created .


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Richard Seale Speaks Out on Caramel and Backdoor Sweetening

Richard Seale

     In the desperate and pathetic attempt to find a “tradition” of sweetening in Jamaica (and presumably Barbados) Rum it is now being claimed (by the usual suspects) that caramel color was hitherto incompetently made and so contained large amounts of residual sugar which sweetened the rum.  {A little background - Genuine caramel color is made from heating sugars and does contain some residual sugar but as it has a bitter taste and a potent dark color, it is used to color spirits not to sweeten them.}

     Caramel Color has long operated in a legal framework which specifies its use only as a means to adapt color. Today, EU spirits specifications e.g. Scotch, Rum will indicate that caramel can be legally added as means of “adapting” or “adjusting” color. That is to say, if caramel affects flavor, it becomes an illegal flavoring. The draft EU rules now offer further clarity and specify that caramel color "does not correspond to the sugary aromatic product obtained from heating sugars and which is used for flavoring purposes”.
The European Technical Caramel Association (EUTECA) created a decision-tree, to distinguish the food additive color “plain caramel” and aromatic foodstuffs (Burnt sugars) by a simple yes/no decision cascade - see attached. If it affects flavor, it is not caramel color.

     Jamaica has long operated in the same legal framework for what is caramel color. - the 1942 Jamaica Excise Act does not simply say caramel can be added, it says it can be added as ‘coloring matter’. The Act specifies the purpose to its addition. Even the Caricom Rum Standard describes Caramel color as “a wholesome coloring matter widely used in the liquor and beverage industry”.  Famed Jamaican Rum Blender J Wray & Nephew used to source their caramel color from the London firm of White Stephenson - I think they got the genuine article.  But lets humor this nonsense for a moment.

     Caramel color has long been used in rum and its historical use included adjusting the color of bulk un-aged rum to the specification of the English buyer. We can see from the historical records - see attached - that a large amount of caramel was used to meet the color specification (Lovibond #19) causing an obscuration of up 1 1/2 degrees of UK proof. According to the attached record - a change from 140 UK Proof ( = 80% abv) to 138.5 Proof ( = 79.14%) - an obscuration of 0.86%. That will correspond to about 5 g/l of added solids.  Now our caramel color analysis shows that about 20% of the solids in caramel color are residual sugar. Now lets humor this nonsense, by assuming our caramel maker is so incompetent that 50% of the solids are sugar. Now this is going to cause a big problem because our poorly made caramel will not give us the right color intensity. And if we have to add more, we are going get rejected by the buyer for excess obscuration - see the attached of possible faults. Contrary to the claims, we can see from the attached that obscuration faults are avoided and “care” is taken in "preparing the color". Our rum producers take the very care they stand accused of omitting.

     But we will continue to humor this nonsense.  So now our inept caramel color has added 2.5g/l of sugar to our 80% abv rum (instead of the usual 1 g/l). And by some miracle our pale rum has passed the buyer.
Next step is dilution to 40% abv. That brings us to a whopping 1.3 g/l of sugar in our rum (instead of the usual 0.5g/l).  And from that “tradition” is coming the argument to allow sweetening of Jamaica Rum up to 20 g/l.  Lets not humor this nonsense a moment further.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

You Had to be There, Very Eerie Sunset

     Friday night provides a very unique sunset.  The low clouds that left only a slot for the sunset made fgor some very dramatic shots as the sun sank into the ocean.  I sat for nearly 30 minutes on the front deck of the boat shooting these awesome shots of the stranger than fiction sunset.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Caribbean Journal Green Rum Company of the Year: Rhum Neisson, Martinique

     You don’t think we’d do a slate of Caribbean awards with rum, did you? As appreciation for rum continues to grow, it’s important for the Caribbean’s most famous export to move with the times and be an example for the spirits world at large. And no rum company has been more laser focused on sustainability and green practices than the boutique rhum distillery in Martinique’s Le Carbet: Rhum Neisson.

      Led by intrepid CEO Gregory Vernant, Neisson now produces the world’s first certified organic rum, a rum project that is now seeing the world’s first aged organic rum, too. When you make rhum agricole, that’s no small feat — but for Vernant, it’s been a passion project – but one he sees as paramount for the future of rum making.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Havana Club’s “Daiquiri Days” Brings Summertime Street Culture Worldwide

     Havana Club’s multi-market campaign will channel the spirit of Cuban street style.   Havana Club unveils a new multi-market ‘Daiquiri Days’ campaign for Pernod Ricard’s Havana Club three-year-old rum – bringing some summertime swag to the Havana Club brand for the summer of 2019.

     The campaign will channel the spirit of Cuban street style, championing Havana Club’s new frozen daiquiri serve – a “liberation” of the traditional daiquiri for a modern, urban audience. The drink is served either in a paper cone or ceramic cup, to play on its resemblance to a slushy snow cone and is made even more recognizable through a signature cherry on top. Further collateral include a global-ready OOH poster campaign, slushy machines and everything from jumbo metal straws to flip flops and swimsuits.  Havana Club aims to galvanize the next generation of rum drinkers by tapping into street culture with a bold, confident movement to seize the summer across cities worldwide. Rolling out internationally, Daiquiri Days will celebrate the ‘high-low’ lifestyle of today’s young urbanites – creating a luxe feel on the streets, whilst bringing a bit of street to the higher end of culture.   The 360-degree campaign will embrace Havana Club’s Cuban roots, bringing to life the raw, lo-fi and DIY attitude of Cuban street style and celebrating a drink which can be drunk at home and on the streets.

      Daiquiri Days campaign will help Havana Club retailers, bar-tenders and brand managers identify clear daytime drinking occasions, from ‘Summer in the City’ to ‘Weekend Vibes’, and signpost them to consumers across on and off-trade touchpoints. The campaign aims to take social media by force, with bright, summertime visuals such as swimming-pool blues, continuous waves of inviting water and popping yellows – complete with glam, kitsch-cool models.  Digital assets have been created for Havana Club’s social media team to use across all markets – complete with ideas such as how to gamify content with polls and emoji sliders and Insta-friendly ‘Rum It’ recipes in three taps – as well as creating branded GIFs and stickers for the brand.

     Michael Scantlebury, founder and creative director of Impero, said: “We love the bold confidence of Daiquiri Days – channeling Cuban street cool to tap into the summer mood of audiences across the world. Street chic is about to gain a whole load more attitude thanks to Havana Club Daiquiris – they’re just so bad-ass.”   Nick Blacknell, international marketing director at Havana Club, said: “We are really excited to launch our Daiquiri Days campaign this summer in multiple markets across Europe. With the Impero team, we have created a bold, eye catching and most importantly fun drinks campaign that we are confident can make the Frozen Daiquiri appealing to a fresh urban audience.”

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Mr Flaglers Old Railroad Bridge

     One of my favorite places in the Florida Keys is Bahia Honda, and I just love to kayak around Bahia Honda Key shoot pictures of nature and what man has made in the area.  Drifting with the tide under this old Flagler railroad bridge is one of my favorite places.  I can still hear the sounds of the steam powered locomotive as it passes above taking its passengers and freight to Key West .

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Nelson’s Distillery Launches its Newest Rums

     English producer Nelson’s Distillery has expanded its portfolio with the launch of two rums, each made with spirits from Barbados, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.  Nelson’s Signature Blend Rum and Nelson’s Roasted Pineapple Rum are bottled at 42.5% abv  To create Nelson’s Signature Blend Rum and Nelson’s Roasted Pineapple Rum, three rums sourced from distilleries in Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are blended together and aged in oak barrels for three years. To make its Roasted Pineapple Rum, Nelson’s then adds “natural” flavorings to the blend.
     Neil Harrison, founder and master distiller, said: “We know that rum is the next big trend here in the United Kingdom, especially flavored rum.   As a forward-thinking, proactive business, we wanted to ensure that our expansion not only includes the development of our signature gin range, but also places us firmly at the forefront of this exciting new marketplace”.
Bottled at 42.5% abv, Nelson’s Signature Blend Rum and Nelson’s Roasted Pineapple Rum are priced at $52.00 per 700 ml bottle.  The launch follows the news that Nelson’s has expanded its sales team as it looks to grow its presence in the UK. Rosie Peters and Lara Marshall have both been appointed as account managers for the business.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Diplomático No. 3 Pot Still Rum Ready to be Introduced

      Venezuelan rum brand Diplomático has completed its Distillery Collection with the third and final release in the series – No. 3 Pot Still Rum.  The Diplomático Distillery Collection aims to showcase the different distillation methods used to create the brand’s range of rums.
     First launched in 2017, the collection comprises No. 1 Batch Kettle Rum and No. 2 Barbet Rum.  The latest release, No. 3 Pot Still Rum, is created in the copper pot still that was first used at Diplomático’s La Miel distillery in 1959.  The pot still uses sugarcane honeys and a prolonged fermentation process. The spirit is then filled into small American white oak barrels to age.
     This is the third of the three numbered series rums from Diplomatico, it is described as having aromas of red and tropical fruits with toffee and vanilla. On the palate, the flavors develop into wood combined with coffee and dark chocolate.
     Jon Lister, UK brand ambassador, Diplomático, said: “The rum is essentially a look behind the curtain to show the flavor profile behind the traditional range.  “It’s not to replace anything in our portfolio, it’s to support and showcase the traditional range.”  Diplomático Distillery Collection No. 3 Pot Still Rum will be available from select retailers at an RRP of $78.00.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Hammock on Great Guana Cay

     There is nothing more inviting than an empty hammock between two palm trees on the beach.  Seems that most everywhere I go I can find this inviting sight.   This Hammock on  Abaco, The Bahamas,Great Guana Cay made me happy relaxing on the beach with a nice rum on the rocks lazing in the sun.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Mount Gay Welcomes New Master Blender Trudiann Branker

Trediann Branker Master Blender

The Barbados rum Mount Gay has announced a new master blender, who represents a first for the company.  The 300-year-old rum brand has appointed Trudiann Branker, who steps into the role after a five-year apprenticeship with outgoing master blender Allen Smith.  Trudiann Branker will be responsible for overseeing hundreds of casks of ageing rum and hand-picking each one that goes into every blend.
     The new master blender graduated from The Siebel Institute, the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and has more than 11 years’ experience working in the spirits industry.   She joined Mount Gay in 2014 as a quality assurance manager and has followed the same path as former master blender Allen Smith.   Smith, who boasts more than 25 years’ working at Mount Gay, has held the position of master blender since 2005.    He was responsible for bringing blends such as Mount Gay XO and Mount Gay 1703 to market.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Beveland Introduces Peated Rum

     Spanish drinks group Beveland has extended its Ron Relicario rum range with a new peated expression.  Relicario Peated Finish has been aged for between five and 10 years in the Dominican Republic. It was finished for an additional six months in American oak barrels that previously contained peated malt whisky from Speyside.
     The expression is described as having “a unique flavor with aged notes and smoky nuances of peat and malt”.  The product made its debut at the trade fair ProWein in Düsseldorf previously this month.   Beveland expanded its portfolio back in February with the introduction of new expressions,  a brandy barrel-finished rum and an elder flower-flavored liqueur.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Sun Also Rises in the Bahamas

     I love to get up relatively early in the morning to walk along the dune.  You see some very beautiful things as you gaze out over the water.  This life is so wonderful, I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Enjoy the view.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Off to "Camp Great Guana" for a Few Days of Music and Adult Beverages

     Heading today for “Camp Great Guana” in the Bahamas.  Four fun days of party and great music.  The Barefoot Man George Nowak is playing is final concert there this weekend.  We have been to Nipper’s for his concerts since the mid 1990’s and George has become a good friend over the years.  Looking forward to seeing and hearing him for the final time at Nipper’s on Great Guana Cay along the ”Crystal Sea”. 

    It is a long, narrow islet, 7 miles long, It is in the center of the Abaco Islands and is near Gurnelemi Cay.   It is located about 8 miles from Marsh Harbour.   There are approximately 150 people that live on the island, mostly along the five and a half mile long stretch of beach on the east side of the island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

     Great Guana Cay's settlement is known for its loyalist culture and architecture, as well as its social scene. Several traditional loyalist homes are in the settlement, which wraps around a natural harbor.  Nipper’s and Grabber’s located around the area of Guana Harbour is one of the biggest tourist attractions on the island. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Berry Brothers and Rudd are Launching Spice Hunter Spiced Rum

     London wine and spirits merchant Berry Bros & Rudd is preparing to launch Spice Hunter spiced rum in the United Kingdom, where it will be initially available across 19 Revolución De Cuba bars.  Launching through Berry Bros’ distribution arm, Fields, Morris & Verdin, Spice Hunter is made with Mauritian rum from the Medine distillery that has been blended with 13 spices – including clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and ginger.  The combination of spices and aged rum gives Spice Hunter a “bold yet balanced taste” with notes of ginger, cloves and nutmeg that give way to a lingering spicy finish.
     Jack Denley, brands executive for Spice Hunter, said: “We’re hugely excited to bring Spice Hunter to the UK market. This is a rum that doesn’t get lost in the mix and challenges you to make a bold move.  “With its 13 exotic spices and aged Mauritian rum, Spice Hunter is designed for the modern drinker; complex, approachable and undeniably bold.”  Spice Hunter takes its name and inspiration from 18th century botanist turned spice smuggler Pierre Poivre.
     Wounded whilst fighting the British, he recovered from losing an arm on the Dutch-owned islands of Indonesia. Whilst there, he saw the abundance of nutmegs and cloves growing, which he began smuggling to start a botanical garden on his Mauritian homeland.
From 2 April, Spice Hunter will be available throughout the United Kingdom at Revolución De Cuba’s 19 sites as well as a host of other United Kingdom  bars and pubs. It will also be available to buy through Amazon and Berry Bros & Rudd for £25 or $32.00.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Sky is the Palate

     One thing that makes the Florida Keys so special is the sky.   Whether it be at sunrise, sunset clear or cloudy, it is always very impressive to my eyes.  Today it was the clouds that make the day a very special one.    When the sky touches the land and the sea there is art in my eyes.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Bermuda's Most Famous Drinks

     When in Bermuda, there are several famous items associated with cocktailing.  The Rum Swizzle, Barrett's Ginger Beer and of course Gosling Rum.  When it comes to a must have cocktail when it Bermuda, you head for the Swizzle Inn and order a Rum Swizzle.  The Swizzle Inn of Bailey’s Bay whose motto is "Swizzle Inn, Swagger Out."  The Swizzle Inn is known as "the home of the Rum Swizzle" and Bermuda's oldest “watering hole”.  The Swizzle Inn pub sold its first Rum Swizzle in 1932 and the rest, as they say, is history.   Now it's the perfect place to whet your whistle with Bermuda’s national drink, the very potent Rum Swizzle cocktail.!

The Swizzle Inn's Rum Swizzle Recipe
  • 1 ½  Oz. Goslings Black Seal Rum
  • 1 ½  Oz. Goslings Gold Seal Rum or Barbados Amber Rum
  • ½  Oz. Triple Sec
  • 1 Oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 1 Oz. Orange Juice
  • 2 Oz. Bermuda Falernum or Sugar Syrup
  • Juice Of ½  Lemon
  • 6 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

Mix all ingredients with ice and shake vigorously until a frothing head appears. Strain into stemmed cocktail glasses.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Saint James Creates Bitters for Agricole Rum Cocktails

     Saint James Agricole rhum brand has created new cocktail bitters following two years of research and development.   Saint James Aromatic Cocktail Bitters was created using a base of sugarcane alcohol, which is macerated with plants and spices such as wormwood, gentian, quinquina, angelica flower, caraway, coriander and ginger.

     Saint James brand ambassador Stephen Martin used historical pharmacist, distiller and bartender manuals to come up with the final recipe.   The mix of ingredients is said to offer a “perfect balance” of four flavor characteristics – floral, herbal, spicy and bitter – resulting in an “organoleptic profile perfectly adapted for white rhum-based cocktails”.

     Produced in Martinique, Saint James is the world’s best-selling agricole rhum, with a distribution footprint in more than 50 countries.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Pelicans are Back

     Sometimes I really don't appreciate all of the sights that are right in front of me here in Sunset Marina.  I was walking in front of the ship's store yesterday and I looked down and saw this beautiful bird.   If you "don't slow down and smell the roses," you really miss out on a lot in this life.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Mount Gay Celebrates 316th Anniversary Of Making Rum

     This is exciting news, Barbados has long been in the rum business and one of the original distillers of rum, Mount Gay has been continuously been making rum since 1703.  This is one of the premier rum companies in the world and still making so many fine rums.  Mount Gay has marked its 316th anniversary as the world’s oldest operating rum distillery by showing appreciation to its valuable staff members, clients and customers.

     The company celebrated in fine style with a series of events including visits to clients and customers at bars and rum shops, a staff appreciation event and a massive product sale for the public.   Speaking at the staff appreciation, Managing Director Raphael Grison said that 316 years was a great accomplishment and explained that the company wanted to say a huge ‘thank-you’ to all who made it possible to mark the significant milestone.

     “The rum shop crawl gave us the opportunity to meet with our customers one-on-one to thank them for pushing our brand and to also get a better insight into what is happening in the trade,” he said.  “The sale at our distribution center was our way to say thanks and give-back to our loyal customers and clients, by providing the opportunity for them to purchase their favorite products at a reduced price.”

     “There is a pioneer mindset at Mount Gay and we intend to keep that going. Yes, we are the oldest but we do not intend to rest on our laurels. We intend to continue to be innovative, engage our customers and keep our brand visible as we look forward to celebrating many more years.” 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Gender Stereotyping in Spirits Marketing Can Lead to Problems

     #MeToo and the fight to combat sexism in wider society is being reflected in the spirits industry, with moves afoot to ban stereotypical advertising and promote inclusive. But there is still more to be done to put an end to gender bias in spirits marketing.   Over the last few years, the collective conversation about gender equality has shifted up a gear. In 2017, the worldwide Women’s March brought attention to issues such as women’s rights, healthcare reform and workplace parity. Meanwhile, discussions about sexual harassment in Hollywood, governments and big businesses catapulted the #MeToo movement into the mainstream.  The issue has become more prevalent in the drinks world as brands face a crackdown on gender stereotyping in advertising, with a number of initiatives and regulations unveiled in the past 12 months.

     Major brands have been criticized for their portrayals of gender in the past. Historically, it wasn’t unusual to see sexualized representations of women in spirits marketing, and images of scantily clad pin-ups are still used by some today.  Past examples include Bulgarian brand Flirt Vodka, famous for its series of raunchy posters, while sex has also driven publicity for Lust Vodka, Skyy Vodka, Evan Williams Bourbon, Bacardi rum and Cabana cachaça. “The whisky industry has come a long way since the advertising from the 1960s and 1970s, when we saw advertising being polarized as either ‘drink this and you’ll be successful’ or ‘sex sells’,” says Georgie Bell.  “Some of that sort of marketing still comes up in advertising today, but less and less so.”

     It’s not just specific products that are being assigned a gender, either – entire alcohol categories have been coded as either male or female too. Tom Harvey, co-­founder of alcohol marketing agency Yesmore, says the pink gin category “feels like it’s a movement to target women through a somewhat basic way of using a color that is stereotypically seen to attract women”.  Last year, several companies unveiled new products to coincide with Women’s History Month in March and International Women’s Day.   One of the biggest women-inspired launches was that of Jane Walker, a limited edition iteration of Johnnie Walker Black Label. However well intentioned, the launch backfired with a number of consumers and commentators arguing it was patronizing and unnecessary.   “What was intended to be a celebration of women was interpreted by many as Johnnie Walker trying to appeal to a female audience, and generated much criticism”.   Nevertheless, the brand was also praised for donating US$1 from every bottle sold to organizations championing women’s causes.
     “Targeting women with feminine brands or female celebrities doesn’t work”. She says: “How about doing more to celebrate the real people behind the spirit brands, whether that’s a re­telling of the founders’ and distillers’ stories that so many brands have in abundance, or a celebration of the real distillers and ambassadors these brands have today. Whether they be men or women, their stories would in many cases provide a perfect marketing opportunity.”

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day in Key West

     Key West is one of those towns that really make the most of St. Patrick's Day.  Saturday started out with our St. Patrick's Day Bar Stroll that began at noon from the Southernmost Beach Cafe and wound its way down Duval Street and finished at Schooner Wharf.  The event is always a lot of fun, and if you were here, you are most likely pretty hungover after participating.  Enjoy your day in the green in Key West.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Sittin' on the Dock of the Gulf Watching the Clouds Drifting Away

     Sitting at Marlyn's Bar looking out over the Gulf of Mexico.  I can't help but to think of that Otis
Redding song as I watch the day and the tide drifting away.  It is a n afternoon that will lead to Karaoke at the Hurricane Hole a little later on and then back to share the night here before calling it a day.

     Today there are boys fishing from the breakwater while the rest of us sit at the bar and watch the clouds and the wind paint another beautiful picture.  Though the temperature is in the low 80's here today the winds put a certain chill to the evening.

     A month ago I would be looking at another sunset at this time of the day, but on this evening it is still bright with the clouds and the blue of the sky creating the canvas for the evening.  As always it is a great place to sit and enjoy the end of the day before heading out to the Hurricane Hole for an evening of fun and song with so many of my friends.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Drinks to Avoid for Your First Impression

     I ran across an article about drinks that you don't want to drink on your first date, but it also
applies to your first time drinking with people you have just met.  I see so many people that go on a company picnic or get together with co-workers for the first time and head straight off "power drinking" and end up in a heap on the ground or just make a complete fool of themselves.  No one is impressed with that at anytime, but if this is who you introduce yourself as, it is really remembered.

     When it comes to cocktails, a new survey from showed that the worst thing you could order is Vodka and Red Bull, (30 percent of respondents) according to women, while men say it’s a Sex on the Beach (35 percent).  Wine was considered the best drink to order on a first date, according to 47 percent of surveyed Americans, followed by beer and a Margarita.   The survey also identified the 20 most popular alcoholic drinks, with beer taking the top spot, as well as which common drinks are considered upscale . Champagne and wine topped the list as the most classy drinks, while Vodka Red Bull and beer were considered the least classy.

     This is something to keep in mind as you head out on your first date or get together's with new friends.  Your first impression is a lasting one and you don't want to leave them with the impression of you laying on the ground passed out or having to leave your car behind because you had too much to drink,  That is not a bad idea if you do, but its not the first impression you want people to have of you.

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