Friday, January 17, 2020

Barbados Rum Geographical Indication is Getting Closer to Being a Reality

    I know that I'm not writing this column on a regular basis anymore, but this is an important development in the rum world and worth reporting on.  This is a story issued in "The Spirits Business" email and worth reading.

Foursquare Aging Warehouse

     Following a disagreement over the terms of a geographical indication (GI) for Barbados rum, Richard Seale, proprietor of Foursquare Distillery, said the regulations would place “now restrictions” on production methods.  Three distillers, Foursquare, Mount Gay and Saint Nicholas Abbey, said they have collectively agreed a GI for Barbados rum as prepared by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) in consultation with its legal counsel.   Foursquare, Mount Gay and Saint Nicholas Abbey added that they are the largest bottlers of Barbados rum, and together hold more than 90% of the island’s aged liquid.
St. Nicholas Abbey Still
     Part of the proposed GI would require any Barbados rum to be fully matured on the island.   Larry Warren, proprietor of Saint Nicholas Abbey, said: “The value of rum increases as it matures. We cannot afford the loss of Forex earnings by letting this production step happen outside of Barbados.”   However, a fourth distillery in Barbados, the West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD), has previously expressed that it would like to see greater flexibility within GI rules.  The WIRD agreed a GI was important to protect the future of Barbados rum, but called for what it described as an “inclusive, not exclusive” set of regulations. As such, it has not lent its support to the proposed GI.
     The Barbados government asked the BIDC to collect each producer’s view on the GI and to outline a common proposal. However, the government will not approve the legislation for a GI until all four distilleries agree on its terms.    Foursquare, Mount Gay and Saint Nicholas Abbey all argue that the proposed GI “gives ample room for innovation”. They highlighted that there are no restrictions on the type of stills that can be used to make Barbados rum, and that long and short fermantations would be permitted.   Furthermore, producers would be able to use fresh juice, syrup or molasses. Any yeast strain can be used, but non-saccharomyces strains must be native, while only Barbados water would be permitted in rum production.
   Regarding maturation, producers would have to use new oak or refill casks from a list of recognized wine and 
spirits denominations to age Barbados rum. Age statements would have to refer to the youngest spirit used and vats would not be acceptable for age statements.   Any addition of sugar syrup or flavorings would be prohibited, but caramel coloring “under strict guidelines” would be allowed for consistency.   Seale said: “At Foursquare, we have gained a reputation for innovation. I am happy to say the Barbados GI places no restrictions on our rum-making methods.”
     Foursquare, Mount Gay and Saint Nicholas Abbey also noted that under their proposed GI regulations, there would be no ban on making non-compliant rums. The group of distillers added that under EU spirits regulations, a Barbados distillate aged in France and sweetened using sugar syrup, or any sort of sweetening agent, would gain French provenance.
Disagreement
West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) Pot Still
     While WIRD has expressed its support for several points within the proposed GI – including the requirement for Barbadian rum to be fermented and distilled only in Barbados – it disagreed with the maturation requirements.   WIRD said it favored “mandatory tropical ageing” in Barbados for at least one year, but argued the “historical practice” of ‘double-ageing’ – involving a secondary maturation period in another country – “must also be preserved”, as long as brands are transparent about this process.
WIRD issued a statement on behalf of its managing director, Andrew Hassell, and Alexandre Gabriel, owner and master blender at French drinks maker Maison Ferrand, which acquired WIRD in 2017.   The statement, given exclusively to The Spirits Business in December, said: “Our take [is] the GI is protecting the entire history of Barbados rum-making. There are techniques that have been documented and used for hundreds of years and we at West Indies Rum Distillery have been making rums this way for over a century.
     “There are also many external documents [that] prove rum has been made in diverse, innovate ways and we encourage you to read them. Why should we handcuff future generations of rum makers to one particular style of rum and lead to rum standardization in Barbados?   “We at West Indies Rum Distillery are all for an inclusive GI, not an exclusive GI. We are fighting to protect the heritage of rum and its future.”
The distillery was also in favor of using “every type of food-grade wood”. It said that historically, rum was matured in a variety of woods, such as chestnut, mulberry and acacia.   “We need to be able to revive this unique heritage, which offers fascinating taste profiles to be rediscovered,” said WIRD. “Limiting Barbados to American oak barrels or to oak barrels would be a great mistake that would obliterate historic practices.”

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Bahama Bob’s Rum Fire Review



     Jamaica’s Hampden Estate, one of the centuries old distillery famous for Jamaican style  high proof rums.   This rum reaches out and kicks you immediately upon your first sniff and taste.  It is a high-ester rum that is filled with that famous “Jamaican funk” that make this rum so special.   Rum Fire is a historic and truly authentic Jamaican rum that is smooth and vibrant, perfect for those special cocktails that ask for a white rum.

     Rum Fire exhibits aromas of cane, mint and fruit.  This is a medium body dry white rum that provides a fruity flavor and a finish with hints of leather.  Be careful of this wonderfully flavorful rum, because it packs a whopping 126 proof.

     I love this rum in several very simple cocktails, like as I lovingly refer to a “Tingfire”, a simple drink combining the Jamaican soft drink Ting with Rum Fire Rum.  This makes great daiquiris, Mojitos, or any other rum cocktail that you want to add a little bit more flavor and kick to bring it to life.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Thank You and Farewell: After Seven Plus Years and 3000 posts, I've Decided to Move to a Video Format

   

     Thank You so much for your loyal following these past seven years, it has been very heart warming.  I've been spending most of my time these days making rum instead of traveling around tasting it.  As a result the number things that make a good story are no longer so abundant.

     It has been so great to see the blog grow and it is sad to close it out, but "the times they are a changing"  Thank You and this is the final sunset for Bahama Bob's Rumstyles as you have known it.  The videos will start to appear here as well as on my YouTube Channel Bahama Bob Leonard.



Thursday, August 8, 2019

Friday August 16 is National Rum Day 2019

Barrels and Barrels of Aging Rum

      It’s a dark ‘n stormy day when the rum runs out, but lucky for all of us there will be plenty to go around a week from Friday, August 16.   This is the day we pay tribute to the currency of the Caribbean as we celebrate National Rum Day. It actually makes sense why the rum’s always gone, it’s a delicious spirit that springs from swaying palm trees and sugar white sand beaches.  The earliest rum distilling companies can be traced back to the 1600's, when sugarcane was cultivated and its byproducts were used to create the drink. Thanks to British exploration, rum runners, and new economic trade routes, rum took the new world by hurricane. It was made famous by both pirates and the British Royal Navy, and remains a mainstay cocktail base to this day. The big difference is today, we can all enjoy this drink without the threat of scurvy.
     What is the history of rum?  First distilled in the 1620’s when Caribbean sugarcane plantation slaves discover that molasses, a byproduct of sugar refining, can be fermented into alcohol   The first American distillery was opened on what is now Staten Island in New York.  The oldest existing rum distillery in the world, Mount Gay on the island of Barbados, opened in 1703.
     It was best summed up by Lord Byron, “There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.”  Since its arrival on this planet, it has been the inspiration for sailor’s songs, pirates code’s and helping the world enjoy Tiki and island style parties.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Expect to See a New Video a Week from Today

     Things are going well as far as the preparation and the purchases of new equipment to start the Youtube Channel.   I've been shooting some videos around Key West to get things stated and I'm excited to get things underway very soon.  If you haven't, please subscribe to my YoutTube Channel, Bahama Bob Leonard.  Just go on YoutTube and hit the search Button and type in Bahama Bob Leonard and you are there.  Subscribe, it is free and they just need your email address to let you know when I have put up a new video.

     Looking forward to all of my friends joining me on YouTube to share the adventures.

Watch as YouTube Channel Bahama Bob Leonard Rises.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

See What Rises from the Sunsetting of Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

     A week from today will be the final edition of Bahama Bob's Rumstyle Blog after 3000 editions.  I want to thank all who have followed for the past seven and a half years, but it is time to do something different.  I'm moving to a more modern and I feel exciting way to show what is happening down here in the Florida Keys and the other fun places that I am privilaged to travel.   Don't miss out on any of the new things that I am planning.  Subscribe to my YouTube Channel now, it is free.  Just click on the link and subscribe, I'll be sending you an email whenever a new video is posted and you can continue to enjoy the fun.  Please join the fun today at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2Y-tHwjSpRSzEP-w9nq1zw



Thursday, August 1, 2019

Good Morning Grand Cayman

     Grand Cayman and specifically the beach at The Reef Resort have some very beautiful sunrises.  I enjoy the stay there because you can sit on the veranda and watch the sun rise out of the ocean.  Always a beautiful way to start your day.   Even when there is a squall on the horizon it is still the start of a wonderful day.



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Black Tot Day is Tomorrow


     July 31, 1970 was a sad day for members of the British Royal Navy as the Admiralty Board discontinued the centuries-old tradition of providing a daily “tot” of rum to enlistees.  Affectionately known as “Black Tot Day in the UK and other Commonwealth countries, the ritual dates back to 1655 when shipboard life was incredibly difficult and the daily issue of Rum was the highlight of the day.  Wednesday we are celebration the 49th anniversary of Black Tot Day.  It is a day to enjoy your favorite “Tot of Rum”.
     Today Pusser’s Rum is enjoyed worldwide and Black Tot Day is a celebration of those days gone by.  My personal favorite for Black Tot Day is Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof Rum, presented in the original Admiralty Strength.   This is one of my personal Pusser’s favorites anytime, but especially appropriate for Black Tot Day.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Brown Heron in Flight

     This day has been very interesting and consuming of my time.  Sorry I'm so late getting today's blog out, but it could not be helped. 

     I just love to kayak drift through out waters taking pictures of birds as they get close to me.  This is one that I particularly like.  I hope you enjoy it as well.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Campari Group is Trying to Buy Trois Rivières and La Mauny Rums


     Italy’s Campari Group has entered into “exclusive negotiations” with the Chevrillon Group to buy French firm Rhumantilles SAS, owner of Trois Rivières and Maison La Mauny agricole rum brands.  
     Trois Rivières and Maison La Mauny have a “strong presence in France and potential for international growth”, while Duquesne rum is said to be a brand designed for the local market. The rum brands obtained the Appellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) ‘Rhum Agricole de la Martinique’ certification.  ‘Rhum Agricole’ is the only segment in the rum category to benefit from a label of origin, which was gained in 1996. It is said to provide a “significant barrier to entry for potential competitors”.
     If the deal is finalized, the rum brands will join Jamaican brand Appleton Estate in Campari Group’s rum portfolio.  The Italian firm said rum was a premium category “at the heart of the mixology trend and growing cocktail culture” and that Campari Group “will have an opportunity to add prestigious rhum agricole brands” to its portfolio.   “Moreover, France is poised to become one of the group’s strategic markets and with this acquisition Campari Group has the opportunity to add significant critical mass in this market.”
     Campari hopes for a “positive conclusion” to the talks and will provide key financial terms of the deal if secured.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tainted Alcohol Kill Nineteen in Costa Rica

Classic Moonshine Still

     Nineteen people have died from consuming alcohol tainted with toxic levels of methanol in Costa Rica, where the Ministry of Health issued a national alert.  Fourteen men and five women ranging from 32 to 72 years old have died in several cities across the country since the beginning of June, the ministry said.
     The government has confiscated about 30,000 bottles of alcohol suspected to be tainted, affecting several brands.  The Ministry of Health advised against consuming alcohol from a number of brands because samples had tested positive for methanol adulteration.
     Adulterated liquor often contains methanol, which can make people feel inebriated. Adding methanol to distilled spirits enables sellers to increase the amount of liquid and its potential potency, according to SafeProof, a group that lobbies against counterfeit alcohol.

     Methanol is a byproduct of the production of ethanol.  The head is the first part of the distilled liquid to be produced and mainly contains unpleasant substances that would give the liquor an unpleasant sour taste, as well as methyl alcohol, which is toxic, and therefore needs to be eliminated. Fortunately, these substances have a lower evaporation point than the "noble" substances of the liquor, and therefore are the first to come off of the still. The skill of the distiller consists of the ability to establish when the heads of the distillate ends and when the so-called hearts begin.  Proper distillation methods will, make sure that these foreschots and heads are discarded.  These make up about 25% of the output of or a distillation run.  Using these in the final mix is either done by someone who is unscrupulous or has no knowledge of the process.   This is not as uncommon as one might want to believe.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Hemingway Rum Company Launches its First Limited Edition Expression, The Lost Casks


         During this past week Hemingway Rum Company has launched its first Key West Limited Edition Rum.  Lost Cask is one of those collector items, not only is it a wonderful rum, but being a first of its kind makes it a real rum collector's treasure.





Thursday, July 18, 2019

Tomorrow is National Daiquiri Day





    Need to cool off from the blistering heat we have had here in the past few weeks? Why not celebrate National Daiquiri Day, July 17, 2019  with meA great daiquiri is a cocktail you will not forget.

Jennings Cox
     In 1898, after the victory of Roosevelt at the Battle of San Juan, the Americans began to exploit the iron mines and this engineer led one of the first explorations. Cox and his team worked in the Sierra Maestra hills to the outside of Santiago de Cuba where the small town of Daiquiri is located and was the one who invented the famous drink during their stay there.   The engineers received substantial salaries and generous rations of tobacco as an incentive after leaving their jobs in the United States to go to Cuba and face the threat of yellow fever that was there at that time. Jennings also asked that his workers receive a monthly ration of local rum, Bacardi Carta Blanca, that local workers used to mix with coffee every night after the workday. This is how he began to experiment until he created what we now know as Daiquiri.

     The gossips tell that the history of this drink can be attributed to another engineer, Pagliuchi , who was a mine observer and who met more than once with Cox. During their meetings, they talked about creating a drink with the ingredients that Cox had at hand: rum, lime and sugar. Cox's granddaughter tells a slightly different story; she said that his grandfather was running out of gin when he had to entertain the Americans. When that happened, I changed it for rum that never served directly but mixed it with lime and sugar to mask its flavor. Whichever way Cox managed to create the drink, the result was sublime.

     In Havana, a bar just off of the square in Old Town Havana was El Floridita.  This is a bar that was owned by Constantiono Ribalaigua Vert.  He has been credited with the invention of the “frozen Daiquiri”  To this day it is the best please in the world to go have one of these very refreshing cocktails.  A pleasure that I have enjoyed many times.

     He did his best writing in the morning, standing in front of his typewriter, plucking the keys as fast as the words might come to him. This was fortunate, because by 11 a.m., the Havana heat began to creep into his rented room at the Hotel Ambros Mundos.   He couldn't think in the swelter, much less write.   If the trade winds were good, Hemingway might make his way to Havana Harbor, where his boat, Pilar, was docked in the 1930s. But on other days, he would take the ornate caged elevator down from Room 511 to the lobby and make his way out to the sun-speckled street. It was just a 10-minute stroll through Old Havana from Hotel Ambos Mundos to El Floridita, his favorite bar.  Between the heat and the morning spent cooped in his small room, Hemingway was always parched by the time he arrived at El Floridita.

     According to Hilary Hemingway, Ernest’s niece, Ernest Hemingway's niece, explains: "In the early 1930s, Hemingway went into the Floridita to use the restroom one day. People in the bar were bragging about the daiquiris that were being served there. So he ordered one and took a sip. Ernest asked for another one, this time with 'no sugar and more rum.' And that's how the Papa Doble, or the Hemingway Daiquiri, was born."  Ribalaigua coined the drink after Hemingway and the rest is literary-meets-libation history. The Papa was for Hemingway, known for his graying beard and fatherly self-assurance. The doble — well, that meant two. Two times more liquor to pack the most punch.  Hemingway proudly boasted to have downed 17 of Constante's daiquiris over the course of one afternoon in 1942.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Havana Club CEO Says Rum Needs a Clear Set of Rules


     The CEO of Pernod Ricard-owned Havana Club has called for “basic quality rules” in rum to create a “more harmonious” industry.  Christian Barré believes rums of different origins should adhere to specific rules and regulations    Christian Barré, who was appointed Havana Club CEO in 2017, expressed his support for new European Union regulations that limit the amount of sugar that can be added to rum.  In addition to “special legislation”, such as those of the  European Union, each rum-making region should “make sure it has a clear set of rules”, he said.

     “It would help the category in the future if there were some clearer rules and regulations, like in whisky and Cognac. We need to innovate but in well-defined framework to guarantee consumers that when you innovate with super-aged rums you still deliver quality.”  Increasing discussions around transparency in rum are leading to the creation of a “more harmonious” sector, which is in its “early stages”, the Barré added.

     “In the rum market, we should push to make sure transparency for consumers is key. At the end of the day, consumers are not fools; they can understand the difference between a good quality product and one that is commercial. We need basic quality rules.”  Barré confirmed that “flavors are of interest” to Havana Club when it comes to innovation, and that “it’s going to be an interesting year” for new releases from the brand.   Earlier this year, the rum released its 2019 Tributo bottling a blend that includes rum aged in Cognac casks, while October saw the launch of Havana Club Professional Edition series.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Havana's El Floridita

 With all of the new rules that have stopped the visits to Cuba, it is fun to think back on my memories of the many wonderful places that I have visited in the historically beautiful island of Cuba.  The El Floridita with the statue of Ernest Hemingway in the background, is just one of these places that I have gotten to visit over the years.



Thursday, July 11, 2019

Top 10 Selling Rum Brands


     Rum has had its ups and downs in the past year.  Some of the top ten selling rums have declined and some have grown very impressively.  Rum is going through a strong premiumization, bringing new sales to the category, but the cocktail it is making new ground as well.
1.       Tanduay:  It has retained its position on top of the pile with a 3.1% growth, passing the 20,000,000 case sales mark.
2.      Bacardi:  Has had a 2% growth with a 17,100,000 case sales
3.      Captain Morgan: 11,700,000 case sales up 0.2%
4.      McDowell’s No.1 Rum: 11,700,000 cases with a drop of 8.7%
5.      Havana Club: 4, 600,000 cases  with a 3.8% gain
6.      Barceló: 2,200,000 cases with a 0% net again
7.      Božkov:  1,700,000 cases an impressive 49.3% growth
8.      Ron Medellin:  1,600,000 cases and a 1.1% loss for the year
9.      Contessa Rum:  1,600,000 cases sold and a 11.5% loss for the year
10.  Appleton Estate:  1,100,000 cases sold and a loss of 9.8% loss for the year

     All in all, worldwide, rum has done fairly well n the past year.  The top rums have had a growth and a new entry to the top ten.   The premiumization of the category has dropped the total sales a bit, but the perceived value is helping rum’s image, which will be felt as the years move ahead.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Tomorrow is National Pina Colada Day

     Monchito Marrero is no longer with us, but he is still a celebrity in his own right and his legacy lives on in the form of his flavorful handiwork. Internationally, it is estimated that more than 200 million Piña Coladas have been served since 1954 when Monchito officially mixed the first one in what was then the Caribe Hilton's Beachcombers Bar.

     You can enjoy the same drink Monchito created and personally served to Caribe Hilton guests, including such luminaries such as Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor, and John Wayne. The original Piña Colada recipe is:
  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 1 ounce coconut cream
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 6 ounces fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice
  • Pineapple wedge & maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour rum, coconut cream, cream, and pineapple juice in blender. Add ice. Blend for 15 seconds. Pour into a 12-ounce glass. Add garnishes.


      Recently, we shared what we believed to be the original pina colada recipe, a 1963 concoction hailing from the famous Barrachina watering hole in Old San Juan.  But in the weeks that followed that post, a new contender arose proclaiming that they, in fact, were behind the creation of the world's most popular tropical drink. 

     It really doesn't matter today who actually first created it some 64 years later, but just how good it really is and tomorrow is the day we celebrate this wonderful cocktail.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Coastal Grenada

     About 6 years ago, I ha the opportunity to explore the island of Grenada.  This is one of the most beautiful islands that I have ever had the opportunity of visiting.  It has so much beauty from the mountains and forests to her seashores, this little waterfront is just one example of how beautiful it really is.



Thursday, July 4, 2019

Enjoy Your July 4th Celebrations Today



    Today is a day that we Americans celebrate the 243rd anniversary of the birth our wonderful country.  Today is possibly the most important holiday for the people of United States.   A federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the Thirteen American Colonies regarding themselves as a new and independent  nation.

     
They knew full well that the might of the British armed forces brought full force to our shores attacking what would appear to be defenseless colonies.   Until the thirteen colonies decided to unite against the British Crown,  They still were lacking numbers, arms and training to stand against the British, much less defeat them militarily.  Yet they put their signatures, and their lives, their families, their destiny, on the document declaring their independence.   They decided against all odds, and even against good reason, to tell the world that “the United Colonies are, by right should be free from the reign of the British Crown.

     Today we look back at what they accomplished and then head out for a picnic, bar-b-que and then an evening of spectacular fireworks.  No matter how you celebrate your Fourth of July Holiday, do it safely and responsibly, we want to have you back with us next year.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Calls for Cancer Warnings on Alcohol Labels


     A number of health organizations in the US have penned a joint letter to the government department that regulates alcohol urging new labelling laws to necessitate cancer warnings.   Cancer warnings should be included on the labels of all alcoholic drinks brands, a coalition of health groups has said

     The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is seeking to amend the regulations governing the labelling and advertising of wine, spirits and malt beverages to “simplify and clarify” regulatory standards.   As part of the consultation period prior to the laws being amended, stakeholders and organizations can submit their comments to the TTB.

     The latest letter states: “The available scientific information shows that consuming ‘even one drink per day’ of alcohol increases cancer risk. A ‘modernized’ label for alcoholic beverages should therefore carry a warning that reflects this scientific understanding.”   The Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act (ABLA) of 1988 requires that a specific health warning should appear on the labels of all alcoholic drinks containers produced, imported or bottled for sale in the US.   In addition to the warnings about drinking while pregnant or while driving, the groups recommend the following statement is included on labels: “GOVERNMENT WARNING: According to the Surgeon General, consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause cancer, including breast and colon cancers.”

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Seven Mile Grand Cayman Sunset

     Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman offers some pretty spectacular sunsets.  Sitting at the bar looking out to the west always seems t provide a wonderful view of the sunset.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

William Grant Feels That They Paid a ‘Fair Purchase’ of Sailor Jerry


     Scottish drinks group William Grant & Sons has stressed that its purchase of Sailor Jerry rum was “made in good faith” as it faces a lawsuit from the family of the tattooist who inspired the brand.  The spiced rum pays homage to Norman Keith ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins, a former naval officer who later became a well-known tattoo artist with a unique and distinctive style. Collins, who died in 1973, ran a tattoo shop in Honolulu, Hawaii, for several years.
     His widow, Louise Collins, is now suing William Grant & Sons, which bought the Sailor Jerry brand in 2008, for “unauthorised use and misappropriation of Sailor Jerry’s name and persona”.  According to Louise Collins, William Grant & Sons “never sought or received permission” from her to use Sailor Jerry’s likeness.  “I am appalled to see what these folks have done with Jerry’s name and legacy,” she said. “This was my husband, the father of my children, and no one ever even asked our family for permission to use him in this way.”
     Legal representatives of Louise Collins have called the use of Sailor Jerry’s likeness “illegal” and are seeking to “secure a better financial future for his family”.   However, Glenfiddich maker William Grant & Sons said the brand was “developed and protected by multiple owners” before its acquisition, and that the group “undertook due diligence, tracing back a number of decades, to ensure the purchase was fair and lawful”.
     A spokesperson for the company said: “While we are not able to comment on any pending litigation, William Grant & Sons has and always will hold Norman Collins’ legacy in the highest regard. We have enormous respect for the family of Norman Collins and have no desire to cause upset.”  Representatives of William Grant & Sons will meet with Louise Collins and her immediate family in Hawaii later this week to discuss the matter and “fully understand their concerns and needs”.
     “The aim of this meeting is to establish a joint approach to ensure that Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins’ legacy is protected and celebrated,” a statement from William Grant continued.  Louise Collins and her family are being represented by Honolulu law firm Davis Levin Livingston.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Oloroso Sherry Cask Finished Cayman Spirits Rum Launched



Oloroso Sherry Casks at Cayman Spirits
     My friends Walker Romantica and Nelson Delbert of Cayman Spirits located on Grand Cayman Island have just released Cayman Spirits Special Release, Oloroso Cask Finish. a Rare Rum aged in Bourbon Barrels for 2 years & Sherry Cask finished for an additional 2 years.

     I had the privilege a couple of years ago to try their original expression that was still under development at the time.  It was wonderful, I can hardly wait to try this finished expression when I visit in November.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

A Heron in the Mangroves

     Taking a trip out into the the mangrove islands to the north of us  is always a thrill.  The herons and i=the egrets will always provide you with some interesting views.  Today a white heron is hiding in the mangroves here in Mud Key providing a wonderful view.  It is watching us as we watch it, making for a great experience for both.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Story of Josie Russell and Sloppy Joe's Bar Key West

Sloppy Joe's Duval and Greene Streets   Key West

     A long time in Key West there was a bar owned and operated by a man named Josie Russell.   Joe Russell was a charter boat captain, a rumrunner, Ernest Hemingway’s boat pilot, and fishing companion for some twelve years.  Prohibition was looked on as an amusing exercise dreamed up by the government and Josie Russell was just one of several individuals who operated illegal speakeasies. Key West residents including Papa Hemingway, would stop by his home occasionally  to buy illicit bottles of liquor.
 
Josie Russell and Papa
   
The official beginning of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the famous and infamous Key West saloon, was December 5, 1933–the day Prohibition was repealed. The bar would to go through two name changes and a sudden change of location before it would become Sloppy Joe’s,    When Prohibition ended, Josie Russell became a legitimate saloon-keeper-proprietor of the “Blind Pig”, a droll rundown building that Russell leased for three dollars a week.   The rowdy, come-as-you-are saloon was remodeled and renamed the Silver Slipper, with the addition of a dance floor.   It didn’t matter–it remained a the same  shabby uncomfortable place where good friends, gambling, fifteen-cent whiskey, and ten-cent shots of gin could be enjoyed.  It was Hemingway, a favorite patron of Russell’s bar from the start, who encouraged its name change to Sloppy Joe’s. The new name was adopted from Jose Garcia Rio Havana club of the same name.   Because the floor was always wet with melted ice, his patrons taunted this Spanish Joe with running a sloppy place… and the name stuck.
Sloppy Joe's Havana, Cuba
     Sloppy Joe’s literally marched across the street to its present location on May 5, 1937. The move was the result of a rent increase from three dollars a week to a whopping four dollars per week, a 25% increase that Josie Russell refused to pay.  Joe Russell paid $2,500 for the former Victoria Restaurant owned by Juan Farto at the time.  Built in 1917 Located at the corner of Duval and Greene streets, the Victoria had Cuban tile work, busily whirring ceiling fans, and jalousie doors.
     In true Key West fashion, the bar never actually closed during the transition–customers simply picked up their drinks and carried them, along with every piece of furniture in the place, down the block to 201 Duval Street. Service resumed with barely a blink. The new Sloppy Joe’s boasted the longest bar in town. Behind the bar, in the back room, were gambling and pool tables. Inside the bar hung life-size paintings of fighters on the walls, and adorning one wall was a 119-pound sailfish caught by Hemingway. Skinner had a place of pride above his new long curved bar. The bat Skinner used to control his patrons still hangs on the wall today.
     This bar still flourishes today at the same location.  Captain Tony’s Saloon occupies the original location on Green Street today.   Born on December 9, 1889, Josie Russell died of a heart attack at the age of 51 on June 20, 1941.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Barrilito the History of a Little Barrel


     Don Pedro Fernandez would carry it around in a small wooden barrel, rum in arm, giving tastes to his friends and those who wished to try it.  A third-generation sugarcane grower in Puerto Rico, He studied the art of brandy and cognac distillation in France.  Upon his return to Puerto Rico in 1871 he wished to impart in rum the finesse of the French spirits, and in a few years Puerto Rico’s first rum was born on an island covered in sugarcane plantations.
     “Ron del Barrilito,” or the “Rum of the Little Barrel,” was produced in the pot still that he brought back with him .  Ron del Barrilito “three star” quickly became very popular, during Prohibition, Puerto Rico, being part of the United States, was soon a rum-free zone.   The company switched its operations to the production of alcohol for cosmetics and other purposes for the duration.   When Prohibition was repealed, the family quickly returned to return to rum.
     The rum making tradition lived on, and Barrilito’s true art of barrel aging, became the focus of the company, using bulk rum blended with a hints of their  secret blend of macerated fruits and spices combined with onsite aging methods that date back to Don Pedro’s brandy days.
      Barrilito remains the island’s oldest, most beloved rum, the one that gets you an approving glance from the barman when you ask for it.   It’s the pride of Puerto Rican rum making. Balanced by the sherry aging adding just a whisper of sweetness to the rum.  This is a story that is still to this day being written and I’m sure will be carried on for years to come.