Tuesday, September 30, 2014

San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate

    No trip to the San Francisco Bay area would be complete without a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and stop at the Vista Point on the Marin County side of the bridge.   Not only do you get an incredible view of the bridge, but you see the entire San Francisco skyline. 

     Alcatraz and Angel Island can be see to the east of the bridge, along with all of the sailboats that are dotting the waters everywhere on the bay.   As you gaze through the incoming afternoon fog, you can see the Bay Bridge, that is quickly being obscured by the afternoon fog as it rolls through the Golden Gate and into the bay.

     On of the most beautiful sights along the waterfront of San Francisco is the Palace of Fine Arts on Lombard Street.  The Gold Dome and the magnificent stucco exterior you can see all the way from Sausalito.


Monday, September 29, 2014

High School Revisited 50 Years Later

Gym and Quad Awalt High School, Mountain View, CA
     When you graduate from high school and you move into the world with so many visions of what you are going to do with your life and what you want to experience.  It seldom turns out like you envision it, but other times it turns out better.   I saw myself just like my father going to work 5 days a week in an office or something like it, but a few turns of fate allow me to have a very different life from what I thought I would. 

     Talking with so many of my classmates this
past weekend show me that many of them found themselves in the same situation.  Most of them have gotten themselves into a place that they found out that they really wanted to be, and are like me very happy with their lives.   Many are traveling all over the world and others are happy spending time with grand babies and family.  Either way, most are very happy the way that their lives have turned out.

     My Daddy use to tell me, "
not to let my studies get in the way of my education", something that I didn't understand at the time.
  Today it was following what my gut has told me and becoming educated through my life that has taken me to a very happy place today.   You rarely ever know how things are going to turn out, but if you are afraid to try, you will never go anywhere.   I try to follow the idea, "if it feels go do it" and not be afraid to get out there and enjoy your life.  ;o)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

An Interesting View of California from High Above

     After a 6 hour flight to California it was nice to see the old familiar territory as we let down over the south end of San Francisco Bay.   Moffett Field, Mountain View, Los Altos and San Francisco Bay.   This area was my home from 1956 until 1989, and hold a lot of memories of my youth.  Last night was my 50th High School Reunion and has brought back so many memories and a chance to see so many friends from those days.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Siesta Key Distiller's Reserve: Fall Cocktail Time

     Autumn has arrived and the chill is already being felt in the northern sections of the globe.  It is time for some of falls wonderful flavors like cinnamon and apple cider.

    I just received a wonderful Distiller's Reserve Siesta Key Rum that has been calling me to create a new fall cocktail.  The rum is absolutely wonderful and so flavorful on it's own, but when mixed with the flavors of fall it becomes a new fall standard cocktail.

Color Season Apple Cider

  • ·         2 oz. Siesta Key Distiller's Reserve Spiced Rum
  • ·         2 oz. Apple Cider
  • ·         ½  oz. Amaretto
  • ·         Juice of ½ Lemon
  • ·         Fresh Ground Cinnamon
  • ·         Cinnamon Stick 
       Place all ingredients except the cinnamon in a shaker filled with ice
and shake until chilled.  Strain into a cocktail glass and grind cinnamon
on to the top of the cocktail and lay a cinnamon stick in the glass as a
     Try this wonderful, although hard to find rum and you will really enjoy it neat, on the rocks or mixed in your favorite fall cocktails.    This one is a real winner and I hope you can find it for your
fall consumption.  If you can not find the distiller's reserve the standard Siesta Key Spiced
Rum is the only substitute for the Color Season Cocktail.  ;o)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Traveling to San Francisco

Awalt High School Class of 1964
    Today I am traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area for my 50th high school reunion.  This is going to be a fun event for me, I haven't been to any of these events since the 25th when I left the bay area for North Carolina.  

     Facebook and the social media have fortunately allowed me to stay in touch with many of my friends over the past years. This 50th reunion will give me a chance to see many of them again.  We are getting together tonight for a fun welcome party then tomorrow we have the actual reunion in Sunnyvale, California.

     As usual I'll keep you apprised of all the fun and interesting experiences of the trip each day, but it is going to be a short one and will be returning on Monday to Key West. 

    If time permits, I will be stopping by Martin Cate's Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco.  If this works out, I'll have a full report for you when I return.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

This Bartender's Pet Peeves

     Like so many other bartenders around the world, I to have some pet peeves while I'm working.  Of course you know about all of the funny things that have been posted on You Tube, but some of the more basic things that many don't even notice are the ones that bring many bartenders to the brink.

     I wonder sometimes if I came into some of the people's offices and acted like they do in mine how long I would be allowed to stay before being thrown out.  Things like insisting to be served before the other people that have been patiently waiting ahead of them.   In my work place we make all of our cocktails from scratch, and they take some time to complete.  I make an effort to give each cocktail the time it takes in order to be able to present the customer a fine tasting product. 

     On the same vein, I find it to be aggravating to have a crowd of waiting customers and then when it is their turn they haven't even thought about what hey want.  When the bar is full of thirsty patrons waiting for their turn to order and they have to wait for an indecisive person that would rather be texting instead of thinking about what they want.

    I really enjoy the customers as a rule, but when I am "in the weeds" sometimes it is hard to be the cheery guy behind the bar and stay focused on the job of making the best cocktails possible with people trying to shout their orders or want to talk to me when I have 10 orders on the rail being constructed.  Mistakes take time and any distractions from what I am doing will result in a longer time lapse before other customers will get their cocktails.  

     I guess that my pet peeves really relate the people with a strong "me" personality.  I have many fabulous customers that all deserve and get the same quality service, impatience just slows the entire process and makes everyone in the bar uneasy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ian Burrel's London RumFest Goes for a Guinness World Record

     Rum enthusiasts will have the chance to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest ever rum tasting at The RumFest next month.
     The Rum Experience on 9 October at London’s Hotel ILEC – which will be hosted by global rum ambassador and The RumFest founder, Ian Burrel – will be able to take part on a sensory journey, sampling six different aged rums from different countries.
      The tastings will be lead by brand representatives including Joy Spence, master blender of Appleton Rum; master distiller Roberto Seralles, master distiller of Don Q; George Freegard, head of rum procurement for Pusser’s Rum; John Georges, master distiller of Angostura; Asbel Morales Lorenzo, master blender of Havana Club; and Tito Cordero, former Golden Rum Barrels Awards winner, of Diplomatico.
     Tickets to the event cost £10 per person. For more information on The Rum Experience visit The RumFest website at www.rumfest.co.uk.
     UK RUMFEST returns to the capital for its Eighth outing where visitors will be invited to embark on a journey of rum discovery. This year's show again will be different from last year’s show with new ticketing system providing an incredible experience catering for discerning connoisseurs. Welcome to the UK’s Premium Rum Experience – The RUMFEST.  
      This year's RUMFEST will once again showcase over 400 of the most diverse rums from across the globe as well as a few very special treasures that will take part in our ‘Golden Tot’ initiative. Please read more about our ‘Golden Tots’ in About Rumfest.Features will again include intimate seminars hosted by industry aficionados, a main stage with mouth-watering food from all over the world as well main stage presentations, holiday giveaways and live music and dancing during our “Carnival Hour”!

     Ian is the world's foremost rum ambassador and always puts on one of the finest events anywhere.  If you are going to be in the UK during the weekend of October 11 and 12, this is a must see and taste for the rum lover.  ;o)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Rob Ron Cocktail

Based on the famous Rob Roy, the blended Scotch version of the Manhattan. "Named after the title character in a Sir Walter Scott novel, Rob Roy was a Robin Hood-like figure."    This is an exciting cocktail that brings out the naturally produced flavors of the Doorly's XO rum. it is a perfect blend that is perfect for an evening cocktail.

Bahama Bob's Rob Ron
  • 2 oz. Doorly's XO Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • Dash of Bitters
Place all of the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled.  Strain into a Manhattan Glass with 4 or so cubes of ice and garnish with a cherry.  ;o)

Monday, September 22, 2014

10 Myths About Drinking Visited

     Here is an article that I ran across in Drinks Business, by Neal Baker.  He does a great job of dealing with 10 myths about the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

     This is the myth that drinking too much – be it beer or anything else – can cause one’s gut to expand to orbit-inducing proportions.  In fact, a beer belly is much more likely to be caused by food than beer or any other type of alcoholic drink. Yes, beer can contain a surprisingly high number of calories, but one would have to drink a fair bit to match the calorific intake of even an average meal, healthy or otherwise.  The beer belly, should you suffer from one, can also be blamed on your genes. Yes, that’s right! Researchers who rounded up 2,000 able-bodied Czechs to test out this theory discovered that weight gain was a result of the calories you consumed – nearly all of which we get from food – and not the beer you drank. 

     The potentially toxic/hallucinogenic thujone that supposedly causes the psychoactive effects of absinthe only shows up in negligibly small trace amounts.  The whole reputation of absinthe is based on a very simple fact: It was a strong, no-frills, cheap liquor, and thus favored by big drinkers who couldn’t afford fancy wines and beers because of the sheer amount of their intake.  It was also favored by famously ‘unstable’ figures of days-gone-by, such as Vincent Van Gogh and Charles Baudelaire, so they may have added to this transcendental reputation of the spirit.

     This is the suggestion that a quick soak in a cold shower along with a giant cup of black coffee can, among other techniques, help a person to become sober faster.  Unfortunately the truth is the most boring and obvious fact that the only way to sober up is to let your body process the alcohol naturally.  Obviously, this takes time, which is why it is tempting to look for a quick fix. The beautifully simple mathematical equation of coffee (stimulant) + alcohol (depressant) = neutral sobriety, sadly, doesn’t work. 

     Mixing what one consumes in an evening’s drinking is, as the myth goes, the reason behind either excessive drunkenness on the night or excessive pain the morning after.  This is again a very simple myth to unravel, as it is down to the bare fact that drunkenness – and by extension, one’s hangover – is solely dependent on the amount of alcohol one consumes, not the form in which it arrives in the body.

    Even the most ardent beer fans would be hesitant to claim that beer is good to rehydrate after exercise.  However, research has suggested that beer can rehydrate athletes better than water for three key reasons: one, that beer’s vitamins and minerals offer health benefits that water doesn’t have; two, that the carbonation helps quench thirst; and, three, that the carbs help replenish energy stores.  Moderation is key, however.

     As comforting as a late-night snack can be after an evening’s drinking, that pizza or those cold leftovers will do very little to sober you up or reduce the severity of those hangover pains.
By the time that pizza hits the stomach, the vast majority of the alcohol consumed that night has already been absorbed into the body. And the craving for greasy food won’t help the liver metabolize the alcohol any faster.  In fact, the combination of alcohol and greasy food can actually contribute to acid reflux, meaning one might feel even worse in the morning.  If you want food to help slow down alcohol absorption, consume a snack or a meal before you start drinkingas this can help to pace the body’s intake of alcohol and process it more smoothly (i.e without the deathly feelings the next morning).

    This is only six of the myths, there are four more you can enjoy reading about at http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2014/09/top-10-drinks-myths/?source=US&date=10-4-14  

     I hope that you have had as much fun looking at these legendary myths as I have.  ;o)



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sprinkling Today

   Today there is a light breeze, a few raindrops and incredible reflections on the water.  It is a day to enjoy from under cover and a point of relaxation.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tiburon Rum: Premium Crafted Small Batch Aged Rum

     I received a bottle of 4 year old Tiburon Rum yesterday and I was in for a real surprise as I sampled it.   This is the rum that Basil Destefano created out of his love for the spirit.  "I have been a big rum enthusiast for years!   I kind of always thought I wanted to have my own rum, but never was able to find one worth putting my name on."   That was until he made contact with the people at Travellers Liquors in Belize.  This partnership has produced a fine new rum that has a full bodied and exciting flavor.
     Tiburon rum is aged in several different types of barrels first, then blended together by the master blender, the placed in bourbon barrels for a second resting.   The rum is a blend of small batch four, six and eight-year-old rums.   Tiburon Rum is producing 12,000 bottles a year to start with and see what the demand will allow in the future.

     Tiburon, Spanish for “shark,” has a golden amber color that draws your eye in to the expression. Tiburon's aroma of vanilla with hints of caramel lead you to a full-bodied rum, with  flavors of pepper, caramel, cappuccino, dried fruits and molasses.  The rum has a spicy and smooth finish that lingers for further enjoyment .  Tiburon Rum will work well as a mixer for your premium cocktails as well as a fine sipper.

    The rum retails at around $59.00 a bottle, but the flavor makes it worth every penny.  ;o)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Poker Run and Bike Week in Key West Begins

     The 2014 Phil Peterson Poker Run is upon us here in Key West this week.    Thousands of classic and custom motorcycles will be lining Duval Street and all of the trappings of the fun times when motorcycle people get together in Key West every year.   It is time to join all of us down on Duval Street and see these fantastic machines.

     "Known as Phil Peterson’s Poker Run, over 10,000
riders from all over the country enjoy this classic motorcycle ride. Starting in Miami, they rumble their engines all the way to Key West, crossing over the many bridges to our island paradise. During the Phil Peterson Poker Run, the motorcycle riders make 5 stops and draw a card at each stop. At the end of the ride, the person who draws the best hand wins! Plus, if you draw one of the top 10 hands, you get a chance to play one round of Texas Hold ‘Em at Cowboy Bill’s on Duval Street! This Round begins on Saturday Night at 11:00 pm and features a winner takes all – a brand-new Sportster 883 Iron!"

     "In addition to poker game, Key West blocks off 8 blocks of Duval Street for the Phil Peterson Poker Run, where a huge bike show is held in front of Rick’s, Durty Harry’s, and Sloppy Joe’s Bar on Saturday, September 20th. Locals, tourists, and bikers enjoy this mini-Mardi Gras with its carnival atmosphere, music, food, and cold beer!"

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Real McCoy Rums Joins DAVOS Brands

     Baily Pryor and Guillaume Cuvelier  have joined forces to take "The Real McCoy" Rums national.   "Crafted in the prohibition tradition of America’s pioneer rum runner, Bill McCoy". The Real McCoy expressions are hand-crafted aged rums from the Barbados distillery of Richard Seale made from the finest molasses and purest spring water. These rums are a  combination of column and pot still rums and aged in American Oak whiskey barrels in the traditional style, yielding a clean, smooth and flavorful rum. Richard Seale a very special rum producer, believes in an honest rum with no additives of any sort, thus the pure honest flavors that make this rum "The Real McCoy.    A multi-award winning line including  a 3-year-aged, 5-year-aged, and 12-year-aged rum. Perfect for sipping or creating your premium cocktails, it’s truly "The Real McCoy"!

Pryor Baily
     "The Real McCoy Rum is the brainchild of Bailey Pryor, Film maker. He produced and directed a documentary about the life of Bill McCoy and his role in the establishing the rum running trade which defined the prohibition era. This rum is based on the story of Bill McCoy, the pioneer Rum Runner of the Prohibition era.  When Prohibition began, in January of 1920, McCoy was the first person to fill a boat full of rum down in the Caribbean and sail it up to New York, anchoring 3 miles offshore and acting as a floating liquor store within sight of Manhattan."  Through  the process and research for making the documentary he became intrigued by the rum as well as the story of Bill McCoy.    His journey to find the right rum that would be worthy of "The Real McCoy" name would t end up at the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados and highly respected rum producer Richard L. Seale. This was the beginning of "The Real McCoy Rum" line, a collaboration between Bailey and Richard that would produced 3 unique rums.

Guillaume Cuvelier
     In 1998, Guillaume Cuvelier created the premium vodka brand, SVEDKA, and launched it in the US. After building distribution throughout the US, and developing a provocative and high impact advertising campaign, SVEDKA became the fastest growing vodka in the US. In 2007, with sales over 1,000,000 cases, and a 7% share of the highly competitive imported vodka market, SVEDKA was sold to Constellation Brands, Inc., the largest wine producer in the world, for $384M.  Today he is a part of DAVOS Brands in New York, where he is serving as  their vice chairman.  He will be spearheading the collaboration between DAVOS Brands and The Real McCoy Rums to take the brand to the national level.

     I've taken a real liking to the brand from the start and I'm really proud of Baily Pryor and Richard L. Seale for their fine work and dedication to take this really fine rum to the national level and making it available through our the states in the near future.  ;o)


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sailor Jerry Announces New Bottle and Label Coming Soon

     Sailor Jerry’s new bottle is embossed with the brand’s anchor design and dates.   The label has been divided into two areas giving more prominence to the iconic hula girl.   The new bottle shape just introduced will hopefully carry the new and progressive image of the brand.  The rum will not be changed, but William Grant and Sons company is stepping up all of its brands up with new labels and bottles that are here to raise the level of the brands.

“In a competitive category, the changes have been made to ensure Sailor Jerry remains prominent in the on and off-trade sectors and reflect the values of craftsmanship, independence and originality Sailor Jerry was built on.”    “The new packaging has been introduced to align the brand’s look and old school feel with the premium, authentic nature of the spirit,” said Riana Gallagher, Sailor Jerry senior brand manager.

     There are six new Sailor Jerry pin-up girls the brand has added on the inside of the front label that can  be removed giving the collector a chance to add the girls to their collection.

The new Sailor Jerry bottles will be available in September, keep an eye out for them in your local liquor stores..



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Classic Rum Cocktails Evoke thoughts of the Tropicana and Carmen Miranda

     The classic rum drinks, mojitos, daiquiris and Cuba Libras, are having an exciting renaissance.   After a visit to the Tropicana just outside of Havana last year, I got the feeling that rum and the classics are coming back.  “RUM is not a blank slate. It's a spirit that offers plenty of character and personality. Nonetheless, white and amber rums are known as cocktail ingredients, married with everything that Carmen Miranda can offer.”  While enjoying the show at the Tropicana, I was waiting for Carmen Miranda to step out and offer me a fruity cocktail with a wonderful Cuban flavor.

    The more that I experiment with new ideas, the more that I find the classic base cocktails to be the best starting point for new cocktails.  The classic idea of “something strong, something weak, something sour and something sweet” are the real basis for some of the best cocktails.  

Bahama Bob’s Plantation Daiquiri

·        2 oz.  Plantation Grand Reserve Rum

·        2 oz.  Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

·        Juice of ½ Lime

·        Dash of Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a tall shaker filled with ice.   Pour into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass and garnish with an orange twist.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Cocktails on Tap in New York's Alder Restaurant

     This is an interesting article I found in the Wall Street Journal the other day, it in following on the heels of the barrel aged cocktails and I think might be fairly successful in the big cities larger establishments.

     At New York City's Alder restaurant, the most popular cocktail is made of rye, yuzu juice, amaro liqueur and smoked maple syrup and called Dr. Dave's 'Scrip Pad. Despite the complicated recipe, customers often receive their drink in seconds. The bartender pours it straight from a tap. 

     As demand for creative craft cocktails shows no sign of slowing, bartenders have struggled with how to serve drinks quickly while preserving the taste. From small bars to hotel chains, they are making large batches of cocktails and connecting them to tap systems like those used for beer. And cocktails on tap, also called kegged or draft cocktails, make it easier to serve mixed drinks at large events. 

     "You can sell it with the speed of a draft beer. It's the best of all possible worlds," says Anthony Caporale, a cocktail consultant and representative for Drambuie, the whiskey liqueur that sponsors a competition for kegged cocktails. 

     Part of the appeal of a cocktail has been watching the bartender mix it. While punches could be made in advance, cocktails needed to be made on the spot to blend the alcohol or give a gin and tonic the perfect fizz, traditionalists held. 

     But as bartenders have experimented with cocktails on tap, they found that, after some trial and error, they could come up with recipes that satisfied customers. Not all menus list if the cocktail is on tap, but those that do make this point not to warn customers, but to show off their capabilities, they say. 

     The new focus tracks with a jump in demand for these drinks. U.S. spirits suppliers have seen revenue growth each year since 2009, to $22.2 billion in 2013, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, an industry trade group.

read more at  http://online.wsj.com/articles/mixed-drinks-on-tap-faster-manhattans-negronis-and-more-1410391659

Sunday, September 14, 2014

An Egret Checks In at the Speaakeasy Inn

     This is a rare sight in the center of the island.  You usually see the Egrets in the mangroves and along side of the shallow waters that surround Key West.  I thoroughly enjoyed this visit, and was able to document it pretty well.  The bird was healthy and well, but just had a urge to see something different I guess.   No matter what the bird's reason for the stop, it was a really cool visit.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fall Morning in the Marina

The Marina just after sunrise is a very unique and beautiful place to wander around.  The water is just like glass and the reflections of the sky, mangroves and the docks against the actual makes for a great illusion.   The towering clouds of the morning and the birds moving about add the serenity of the boats in their berths.  With the weather cooling down up north, the birds are beginning to migrate to the south.  I noticed several swallows yesterday around the mangroves and I suspect that the pelicans will be arriving any day now.   Just take a few minutes this morning and enjoy all the beauty of the beginning of fall in the marina.

Remember that the waters are not your trash can, carry it back with you and dispose of it properly!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Thirteen Years Ago

World Trade Center as Second Plane Takes Aim
    The face of America was changed forever thirteen years ago yesterday.  With the destruction of the World Trade Center Buildings and the Damage to the Pentagon, this country was changed immensely.
I hope that we never become as complacent as we were at that time and that we remain vigilant to the possibility of an attack on our home again.

Pentagon Building

     We lost an enormous number of wonderful people and the shock of actually being attacked here on our soil was one of pure disbelief.   The steps that were taken to prevent this kind of tragedy again have helped, but we can not be lulled again into complacency and allow it to occur again.

     I guess that the key to our personal safety is "Never Forget" and be aware of what is happening around you.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Queen of Tarts

     I was looking to create a new tart cocktail yesterday, and I think I have come up with one for all of us that are tired of the “sugar bombs”.    This is a flavorful cocktail that rides on the trail of a tart daiquiri.   It is a blend of some new ingredients for me and I’m happy to share this one with all of you.

Bahama Bobs Queen of Tarts

·         1 ½ oz. Barbancourt White Rhum

·         ½ oz. Bols Genever

·         ¾ oz. Dry Curacao

·         ½ oz. Sweet Vermouth

·         Juice of ½ Lime

·         2 Dashes of Fee Broz. Whiskey Barrel Bitters.

Place all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until chilled and serve over ice in a snifter or tall tumbler.

     This one turned out very well and I think that if you are looking for a really flavorful tart cocktail, it is worth the time to go looking for all of the ingredients.  The Bols Genever is one of those magic ingredients that I have just begum to experiment with, along with the sweet vermouth to just round out the edges.   ;o)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Midwest Rum Fest

     There is a new Rum Festival happening in America this year.  On Dec 6th, 2014, Federico J. Hern├índez is giving the Midwest its 1st Midwest Rum Festival.  It is scheduled to take place at "The Kentucky International Convention Center", located in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

     Russell Glass (River City Distributing - Director of Wines & Spirits) said, "The Midwest Rum Festival and its focus on consumer traffic is just the type of event that we as distributors of fine aged rums want and need to support. Rum is a category that is poised to surge in the wake of other aged spirits growth in popularity among all types of consumers. While rum is arguably more approachable than many other spirits, namely whiskey. Fine aged rums still need more consumer awareness and trial."

     Attendees to this event will enjoy live entertainment starting with tropical and local musicians playing fun music for your entertainment.   In addition, a number of Rums Ambassadors will be offering seminars about the spirit of the sugar cane .   There are tickets available to give you all or any part of the festivals activities. 

     For more information or updates, and to sign up for the event newsletter, simply visit:  www.midwestrumfest.com
     I'm looking forward to hearing more about this inaugural event as the information becomes available.  It is a first of its kind event in the Midwest, and a new frontier for rum.  With all of the new grass roots distilleries popping up in the Midwest, this should be a really fun and educational event.  ;o)