Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here's To 2014 Happy New Year

     This year has been a really fun one for me and the Bahama Bob's Rumstyles blog, I've been able to visit and write about so many wonderful places and sample so many fabulous cane spirits.   I'm thankful for a safe and wonderful 2013 and am so looking forward to all the adventures that 2014 has in store for me.  
     Here is to all of you and I hope your 2014 is as wonderful as it can be.   Happy New Year to all.  ;o)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bahama Rum Festival

     February 21 through the 23 is the first "Festival Rum Bahamas".  Alexandra Maillis-Lynch is the chairperson for this event and has very high expectations for the event.  :" We believe that as a country if is time to stop waiting for things to come to us, we have to create our own destiny.  So far tourism has been pretty general, going after almost a generic tourist.  What we're looking for  now is a specific market because they are the ones that are often more loyal.     They follow product.   The rum festival world is in fact a huge one."    With this premise in mind, the festival is being created to provide a place for the rum manufacturers to show their wares and the rum lovers to enjoy them.  There will be product sampling, rum classes, bartending and cocktail competition, plus the fun of music and food from the Caribbean.

     The Bahamas have for many years been a center for rum.  The beautiful islands just off the coast of the United States are home for many rum companies.   Bacardi has a strong presents in the Bahamas along with John Watling's, Ron Ricardo, and many others.  It is a place with rum history from Prohibition rum running to a rum production mecca for many years.  The islands have a great Caribbean feel for the visitors as well.  The beautiful white sand beaches and the crystal clear water makes for a great break from the winter cold here in the states.

     Today is the day to start to make your plans to be at the festival this year and be a part of the first of it's kind in the Bahamas.    Everyday the list of rum producers is growing and the event promises to be a fun one for those that participate.   Remember that rum not just a spirit it is truly the spirit of the people that enjoy it.  Join the rest of the rum enthusiasts and be at the Festival Rum Bahamas in 2014.  ;o)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The St. Nicholas Abbey Sugar Factory

     On the island of Barbados there is a great old historic sugar plantation called St Nicholas Abbey.  In addition to all of the antiques around the main house, the sugar factory with its steam powered cane crusher and rum factory is a very fascinating experience.  If you make it to Barbados make the time to visit Larry Warren and his family at the St. Nicholas Abbey, it is an experience you won't forget.  ;o).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

How Much Sugar is Their in Rum?

Fermentation Tanks
     I hear this question on a daily basis behind the bar.  "I can't drink rum because is has sugar, and too many carbs".   Actually, true rum is sugar free.  Rum is turned from a sugar derivative to alcohol during the fermentation and distillation, the final product is alcohol, and it is sugar free.   There is one catch to this statement though.  Some rum companies add Caramel, (burnt sugar) sugar and/or flavorings to improve the flavor and color of the straight alcohol in lieu of actually aging the product.  These do have a sugar content. 

Pot Stills
     There has been a lot of discussion about this practice around the rum blogs lately.    I feel personally that I find it a bit deceitful taking a low grade distillate and artificially making it look and taste aged by artificial means.   There are a number of very great distillers out there that still honor the time proven method of actually allowing the rum to spend the amount of time necessary to mature before putting it on the market.  These are the true spirits that make the category so wonderful to enjoy.

Bottling Area

    I hope this will answer the question about sugar in the rum.  It is in fact made from sugar cane, but when completed there is virtually no sugar left unless it is added during the finishing and bottling.

     Here is a list that was put out by the Swedish Government (Systembologot)

Rum Brand                                    Sugar Content

      Angostura 1919                                                             14 gr/l

     Appleton Estate Extra 12 Years                                    Less than 3gr/l

     Berrys' Caribbean Rum 12 Years                                  Less than 3 gr/l

     Botran Solera 1893 Gran Reserva Añejo                      9 g/l

     Dillon Très Vieux Rhum                                               Less than 3 gr/l

     Diplomático Reserva 8 Años                                        7 gr/l 

     Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva 12 Años                     41 gr/l
     El Dorado 15 Years                                                       31 gr/l
     Matusalem Solera 7                                                       Less than 3 gr/l
     Ron Barcelo` Gran Anejo                                              5 gr/l
     Ron Zacapa Gran Reserva                                             41 gr/l
     Zacapa XO                                                                     26 gr/l   
     Plantation 20th Anniv.                                                    29 gr/l
     Plantation Grand Reserve Barbados                              22 gr/l

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tweener Recipe

     These are the days between Christmas and New Year, I feel like it is the perfect time for a new version of a Virgin Island favorite.   These are the tweener days of December and a fresh tweener cocktail is what the rum guy has come up with.  

Bahama Bob’s
"New" Bushwhacker Recipe  

·         1/2 oz. Dark Rum
·         1/2 oz. Vanilla Rum
·         1/2 oz. White Rum
·         1 oz. Coffee Rum
·         1/2 oz. Rum Cream
·         3/4 oz. Amaretto
·         1/2 oz. Crème de Cocoa
·         1 1/2 oz. Cream of Coconut
      ·         1/2 oz. Half and Half

Blend all ingredients with ice until smooth. Pour into a pint glass that has been swirled with chocolate syrup.  Garnish with fresh ground nutmeg, an orange wheel and a cherry.  If you are looking for a real kick from this one, float it with Lemon Hart 151 Rum.

     This is a very fun cocktail that is a kin to soft ice cream and packs a fun wallop.  Careful this one is dangerous, you will not taste any of the alcohol.  ;o)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What is Happening to "America's Spirit"

     Today many feel that "America's Spirit" is bourbon, but in fact it is rum.    There was a time in Colonial America, at the eve of the American Revolution, that as many as 160 rum distilleries were operating.     New Englanders had a real love for molasses, not so much for baked beans, but for making their rum.    Colonial Americans felt that "rum could cure the sick, strengthen the weak, enliven the aged, and generally make the world a better place."

    It has been said that the American "Rumbellion" was fought over molasses rather than tea.   The molasses was the key ingredient for making the rum. American  rum was a big part of the triangle trade that kept Colonial America going financially.   It was said that George Washington brought a large quantity of "Bombo", a rum cocktail to a campaign rally to encourage the electorate to vote for him.

  It seems that several events brought the reign of rum to an end and later saw the advent of a strong whiskey popularity here in America.    Following Prohibition, you had to buy several cases of rum in order to get a bottle of whiskey, this lead to warehouses full of rum with no outlet for it.   Some of the more creative barmen like Pat O'Brien in New Orleans, came up with some cocktails that would lead to rum's return to prominence.  

    Today in middle America rum is very hard to get a hold of.  In Ohio for instance, where the alcohol is strictly regulated by the state, there are only some 30 rums available.   Fortunately for me and the "Rum Bar" here in  Key West, we are in Florida where there are several hundred rums from which to choose.  We are currently stocking some 235 plus rums from which our customers to choose.   This is very fortunate, but several of our vacationing customers are saddened when they find a new rum that they really enjoy and find that they can not get it back home.

    Rum has made a huge resurgence in the past few years.  Today it is right near the top of the spirits world and growing with leaps and bounds.   The industry has responded with an awareness of the need for more honest and high quality rum.   Not just a bunch of swill for college students to chug not worrying about what it tastes like.   I read articles that are revealing how some of the producers out there are taking low grade distillate and adding caramel and sugar to make these appear to be aged and high quality products.   All in all, the category is making giant steps into the world of spirits.   Rum is letting the world know that they are serious about offering true high grade rums.   Today they are back near the top as "America's Spirit", they still have some work to do.  I'm glad to see all the efforts being made around the globe to make it better.   It is very interesting to see how many craft distilleries here in America are making rums as well.  ;o)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Look What this Rum Writer Got for Christmas

   I found a great present under the Christmas Tree this morning.   This is one of the rums that I have been waiting to put into my collection and be able to sip and enjoy for years.   Christmas is that special time of year when wishes come true and you get to share them with your special friends and family.   This year is no exception, getting a bottle of "Reserva Don Pancho" Origenes 30 Year Old Rum makes for a real special day.   I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful present.  

     I was first introduced to the rum at the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami this past April when Don Pancho and Carlos first brought it to light.  Now actually having one is just unbelievable.   This is a true Spanish style rum made from Don Pancho's very private reserves and only available now in limited quantities.   Terlato Wines has been chosen to be the distributors of Don Pancho Fernandez's very own rums, both the 18 and 30 year old expressions.   These rums were bought by Don Pancho many years ago and have been tucked away with this project in mind.   Today we will finally have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of all of his knowledge and passion for the rum.

     From it's rich mahogany color of Origenes Reserva Don Pancho and the legs from its viscosity are only the beginning of this superb experience.   The balanced aromas of  vanilla, oak, tobacco and spices tells me this is going to be a very special tasting experience.   The tasting reveals a smooth, full bodied rum that mirrors many of the aromas that you taste and just seems to flow immediately into a finish of lingering sweetness that dries as the flavor begins to fade.

     I am so proud to be able to say that I have this bottle of such fine rum to call my own, this is a Christmas to be remembered and long cherished.    I know that I will be enjoying this for many years to come, when the occasion warrants it.

Thank You So Much.   ;o)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From My House to Yours

    I just want to take the time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas from my house to yours.    This is a very special day that deserves the company of friends and family.    I hope that your day will be a warm and happy one this year.  ;o)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas in the Caribbean

     I love the Caribbean during Christmas season, we replace white snow of the frozen north with white sand.  Naturally, White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, BVI comes to mind immediately.   There is something about this place that is really magic.    Yesterday as I made what seemed like my thousandth "Painkiller", I started thinking about the beautiful white sands of White Bay and the Soggy Dollar Bar.  

     You can have your freezing "White Christmas", I'll take this time of year at a balmy 75 degrees on the white sands of the Caribbean make a great "White Christmas" for me.

     Of course Christmas would not be right with out a fine cocktail with the aroma of nutmeg in your hand to enjoy.  Being that you are at the home of the "Painkiller", it is only right that you wander up the beach and see Mic at the Soggy Dollar Bar.  You can have one custom made just for you while you watch.   Of course, there is the next question as to where do I go to enjoy the wonderful beverage, beach, hammock, or even the ocean.    So many choices so little time, I leave it up to you to figure out.

     Let me see, who needs presents, this is all the present I really need.  I think that this might be a great time to head for the hammocks and just take it easy and watch the tides ebb and flow.   The palm trees provide all the color I need naturally, I really don't need those sparkling lights to give me a warm Christmas spirit, the painkiller takes care of it just fine.

     I guess that I'm still dreaming again, because I just woke up here in my office writing a blog instead of sipping painkillers on the white sands of Jost Van Dyke.     It is funny what starts your mind traveling to fun and far away places.  

     I guess the ability to day dream is a really calming thing and something that is always fun.  I'm here in paradise, but I still get to dream of being in another paradise just a little bit further south.  ;o)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Time to Drift Away

This time of year it is really a time for me to just drift away and think of all that has happened over the year and how much fun I have had passing through,   Hope you year was as much fun as mine.  ;o)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Classification of the Rums

     As a judge of rum, I am often asked how do you compare all of the different types of rum?  Actually you don't.  Rum is broken up into categories so you can compare them to members of like attributes.    For instance you won't generally compare a white mixing rum to an aged dark rum, they are two completely different animals.  Therefore we break rum into classifications.

     White Rums:    These are usually continuous distilled light rums that are not aged.  There are some exceptions, a few are aged and filtered to remove the color gotten from the barrels.   Most of these are "mixing rums" in that they generally do not have much flavor to allow them to be sipped..   Like all generalizations there are exceptions to the rule, some are made in "pot stills", especially ones coming from smaller low volume distilleries and some have been aged enough to be flavorful.

     Gold or Amber Rums:  Sometimes referred to as "anejo" the are rums that have been aged in wooden casks for a relatively short period of time, usually 2 to 5 years.  They tend to have a golden or amber color.  These can be quite a bit smoother when compared to the white unaged rums and they have subtle flavors that emanate from the reaction of the alcohol with the wood.   These rums are also usually the product of a continuous distilling process.  They tend to be a lower viscosity  than the rums that come from the pot stills.   One other thing to keep in mind, rums are usually not a "vintage" product, they are usually a blend of different styles of rum from different batches and years, and aged in different types of casks.    After blending, some are put back in barrels for a final finishing.   These rums in some cases can be sipped, but also make great mixers for premium cocktails.

     Aged or Dark Rums: These are the premier rums, the ones that have spent from 6 to ... years in barrels.   Most are blends of different types and ages of rums to attain the flavor that the blender is seeking.   You have to watch out for the age statement on many of these rums, but usually the age statement is letting you know that the youngest rum in the blend is at least that age.     Many are age equivalents, these are numbers that take into consideration the environment that they were aged in.   Many of these rums have some heavier post stilled rums in the blend, giving the finished product a higher viscosity and richer flavor.   When you are looking at these rums it is the flavor of the expression that you are seeking, and not how old it really is.   "Vintage" rums are the only ones that give you a true age, because they were from a specific year and production run.   These rum are for sipping and generally not for mixing.

     Flavored and Spiced Rums:  The name says it all.  These are the rums that usually not aged, but mixed with flavoring and or spices to give you a palatable flavor.  Generally low grade distillate based, these are definitely mixers in most cases, but there are exceptions.

     I hope this helps you understand the differences in the rums that you see on the shelves and in the bars.   The older the rum the more it costs to produce, and the more expensive it will be for you to taste.  Hope you can get out and try some these expressions of the rum in the near future.  ;o)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Just One of Those Days

     It seems to be one of those mornings where I really don't have much to talk about, so lets go to the Virgin Islands and see some of her moods.   She is a beautiful lady with many moods and colors to keep you coming back and learning more about her every time you visit.   She can be a mean mistress, but the ocean is in control out there and if she is mad you will pay the consequences for crossing her.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Santa's Helper": A Cure for Those Present Wrapping Nights

     The late nights of wrapping presents can be a little brighter with this different version of the Cosmo I created just for the Christmas season.   It will pick up those late evening Christmas wrapping blues and kindle your spirits for a Merry Christmas.   Give this one a try and enjoy the eves leading up to the Holidays.

Santa’s Helper

·         1 ½ oz. Brugal Especial Extra Dry Rum

·         1 oz. Cointreau

·         1 oz. Cranberry Juice

·         ¾ oz. Dekuyper Pomegranate Liqueur

·         ¼ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled.  Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with a lemon zest.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Selected by Berrys'" 11 Year Old Barbados Rum

     Founded in 1698, the cellars of Berry Bros. & Rudd have been, for centuries, a temporary resting place not only for the very finest wines, but many very exquisite spirits including rums from all over the world.

     Perhaps lesser known, our range of spirits has been expanding year on year, and exponentially since we first introduced Berrys’ Own Spirits in 2003.   As have the accolades and awards that their spirits team have received in recognition of their expertise and passion for sourcing and blending all of the spirits in the collection.   Berry’s strives to provide unparalleled quality and service.

     These ideals were perhaps never more in evidence than in the selection of “The Berrys’ Selected Spirits”.   Carefully chosen and blended by the spirits team, led by Douglas McIvor, they represent the standard-bearers of style and quality for rums from the region.
     Rums from the former Spanish American colonies (Cuba, Panama, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic) have commonly a light, crisp, clean taste.
     Former English colonies share a tradition for darker, sweeter, richer Rums, with a pronounced molasses flavor. Rums from Barbados where distilleries date back to the mid 1600’s, probably some of the oldest operating rum producers in the world.   There are other regions like Fiji, Bermuda, Belize, the Demerara region of Guyana, Venezuela, Trinidad and Jamaica that still produce some of the finest aged rums in the world.
    Berry's 11 Year Old Barbados Rum is a very fine example of the rums that come from this operation.  It has the aroma of sweet fruits followed by the notes of rich figs and raisins on the palate and a smooth rich and lingering finish that prolongs the wonderful fruitiness of the palate.
     If you are able to get a hold of one of these wonderful "Selected by Berrys' rums don't miss the opportunity.  They are really a marvelous experience.   ;o)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Havana Through the Windshield

     Havana for all it's beauty and charm is after all made up of very industrious and colorful people.  Traveling in the taxi on different days to different parts of the city, I was able to see a very different side of the city.  It is a side that is about it's people, where they live and how they get from place to place.   The city is very much like many other large cities that I have visited, but it seems trapped in the 50's.   I find this to be very charming and fascinating to see how they can be so innovative.  They can make marvelous things from cast offs and scrap like no place that I have ever been.   

     The city is very clean and the country sides are well manicured and beautiful as well.   They are very proud of their heritage and what they have accomplished.    I find that I can't seem to get enough of the island, the people love to show me so much about their country, rum, and are so happy to share the culture.

      Making the venture is a difficult process, but is so worth the effort.  You will experience so many places and things that the stories and rumors of the island can't even begin to cover.   Just enjoy the pictures and let them take you there and travel with me through the streets and highways. 

     Soon, maybe we will all be able to just hop onto our boats, planes and ferries to make the short trip from Key West to Havana and enjoy all of these sights anytime we care to just like they did in the days of Hemingway and Josie Russell ;o)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Study Concludes that "James Bond" Had a Drinking Problem

     In a study that was just released in the British Medical Journal by the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust made some very interesting conclusions  based on the studying of the cocktail consumption of James bond after reading the books.

"James Bond consumed four times the recommended weekly alcohol limit while serving his country putting him at risk of liver disease and impotence, researchers find"

Source: Daily Telegraph
By Miranda Prynne, News Reporter
13 Dec 2013 

     James Bond's love of martinis would have left him both shaken and stirred as he consumed four times the weekly recommended alcohol limit, doctors have said. 

     Despite his dangerous exploits, the famous spy was more at risk of dying from liver disease or drink driving than a bullet, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.     His high cocktail consumption may have even induced an alcohol-related tremor in his hands preventing him from stirring his drinks and explaining his preference for a shaken martini, the researchers said. 

     The team read all 14 of Ian Fleming's novels over six months to test whether the secret agent would have been able to cope with his high octane profession while drinking heavily.     They noted down every time 007 drank alcohol and calculated the number of units he consumed.     Bond's average alcohol consumption was up to 92 units each week - more than four times the recommended amount.  The most he drank in one day was 49.8 units.  Bond had just 12.5 alcohol-free days out of the 87.5 days he was able to drink and frequently drove when over the limit.

     The NHS advises that men should not regularly consume more than three or four units a day, while women should not exceed two to three.  The experts said that while they appreciated the pressures to drink "when working with international terrorists and high stakes gamblers", they would advise Bond seek help for how much he drinks. 

     Patrick Davies, from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and his team said: "when we plotted Bond's alcohol consumption over time, his intake dropped in the middle of his career but gradually increased towards the end," they said. "This consistent but variable lifetime drinking pattern has been reported in patients with alcoholic liver disease." 

     "We conclude that James Bond was unlikely to be able to stir his drinks, even if he would have wanted to, because of likely alcohol-induced tremor."
     Bond’s biggest daily drinking binge was in “From Russia with Love,” when he downed almost 50 drinks. And the doctors suspect alcohol may have been a factor in Bond’s “Casino Royale” car crash, after he knocked back 39 units of alcohol before engaging in a high-speed car chase.

     Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/health-headlines/james-bond-s-licence-to-booze-u-k-doctors-say-he-imbibes-92-drinks-a-week-1.1591107#ixzz2ndnkOLKQ
     I found this to be an interesting study, and one that one of our "super heroes" was the center of.   And he has proven the doctors wrong time and time again in every book and movie.   Fiction is a wonderful thing just like fantasy, you can do what ever you want without consequence.  Too bad real life isn't that way.  ;o)


Sunday, December 15, 2013

December Morning at Sunrise

     With daylight savings time gone, this time of year provides us with very short days and longer nights.  My early morning strolls down the docks to the office some times can really brighten up my whole day.  The transition from artificial to natural lighting can be very dramatic and wonderful.   Just picks me up and makes me feel really good.   ;o)