Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Grapefruit Juice as a Daiquiri Mixer

     Grape Fruit juice is a very interesting citrus to work with.  It is very tart by nature, nut works very well if you are trying to avoid the sickish sweet tropical cocktails that are so traditional.   I had an idea to do some work with grapefruit juice and rum the other day and found that if I mix the right rum with it and add a bit of sweetener there is a great flavor there that comes through making the cocktail very flavorful.   I really like the daiquiri style cocktail and this one lends itself very well to the style. 

Grapefruit Daiquiri

  • 2 oz. Plantation Barbados 5 Year Old Rum
  • 1 oz. White Grapefruit Juice
  • 1/2 oz. DeKuyper Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. of Agave Nectar
Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice.  Shake until really chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a cherry.

Monday, March 30, 2015

What Drinks To Avoid on First Dates

     It has been forty years since I had a "first date", but I still think about how awkward that they could be.   Chilled Magazine has made a list of 8 drinks you might want to avoid on a first date.  This is an interesting insight to the cocktails that obviously ruin first dates.  
     Tropical Cocktails.  Yes, blue curacao is trending right now, but more as a novelty than a  long-term bar ingredient. If you find yourself at a Sandals resort or you’re in a craft bar with a sense of humor, sure go for it. Otherwise, order your tropical drinks in their natural colors.
     Topped with whipped cream If your first date is at a ski lodge and they make dynamite hot chocolate, have at it. Or you’re in an Irish pub and they are known for their Irish Coffee, sláinte. Otherwise, whipped cream belongs on dessert, and you’ve only embarked on the first course.
     A Boozy Milkshake First, see directly above. Milkshake = whipped cream. Second, you’re an adult on a date, not a 12-year old at an ice cream shop.
     A Drink Garnished with Insects.   With the rise of tequila and mezcal, so too there’s the rise of curious south-of-the-border toppings. Unless you meet your beloved on an episode of “The Amazing Race,” keep the crunchy critters for date # two, or three. After all, who wants to kiss someone who has just eaten a cricket? And worms in mezcal? Don’t go there either.
     A Drink Lit on Fire.   It’s just risky.   Who knows what might go up in smoke? Besides, it’s ostentatious.   Keep things between the two of you for now, not the entire room.   Exception: If the evening is going well and you both feel the need to share a flaming tiki punch, then may the island gods bless you.
     A vodka tonic.   Seriously. Don’t do it.   Just don’t.   It shows lack of imagination on your part and lack of respect for your bartender.
     Anything Layered.   Basically, we’re talking about the Pousse Café and its children. Yes, layered drinks are incredibly cool to look at and some of them even taste pretty good, but it takes time and patience to make them and to make them well. Ordering one ticks off your bartender – if he or she is even willing to make you one — – and quickly labels you as being difficult, which isn’t the best first impression.
A cheap, domestic beer.   Order an IPA.   Order a Saison.   Order something on draft.   Make a choice that isn’t just generic.   Unless you want to seem generic too.
Read more at http://chilledmagazine.com/8-of-the-worst-first-date-drinks/

This is a good and fun look at the no no's of first date cocktails.  I like it and it seems to make sense for a variety of reasons, primarily to keep the attention between you and your date and not the bartender being a third wheel for your first date.  Look at the basics like a daiquiri, or even a martini.  Something classy not just a bunch of glitz, it shows what you are made of.  Don't be afraid to ask your bartender for some help if you are at a loss for what might be appropriate.   ;o)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Noble Pelican

     Pelicans are a most interesting bird.  The are quite common around the coastal areas of Florida and most of the Caribbean.  They spend the sinter and spring months here in the keys and migrate elsewhere for the summer and fall.  These are very large birds with huge wing spans, their flying and diving skills are very impressive.  It is a shame that many of them have just become scavengers hanging out at the fish cutting tables of the marinas instead of hunting their food as nature intended. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Who Do the Rum Smugglers Really Hurt?

     In a smaller country like the Dominican Republic, it is a very significant problem.   The smuggling of Rum and Tobacco products is costing the country millions of dollars in tax revenues.   This is just the tip of the iceberg though,  The loss of sales to the retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers of legitimate products are also feeling the bite of these activities.   This is a chain of events that is seriously having a negative effect on the entire economy of the Dominican Republic.
Commerce Minister Jose del Castillo
     "Santo Domingo.-  fake rum and cigarette smuggling cost Dominican Republic’s coffers around RD$2.0 billion (US$45.5 million) in 2014, revealed Monday Industry and commerce minister José del Castillo during the launch of the Campaign Against Tax Evasion, Smuggling, Counterfeit Alcohol and Tobacco ."

     He said manufacturing and illegal commerce in rum and cigarettes which evades taxes, are adulterated, smuggled or of dubious origin, reveal a trend that he affirms requires attention. “It’s time to revert it before it becomes uncontrollable.”

     He said the illegal activity has harmful consequences for the government, retailers, formal productive sector and citizens.

     A lot of people look upon this as a way for people to get cheap tobacco or rum, but is reaching deep into the pockets of those that need the most help when large amounts of revenues are lost like this.  This doesn't even consider the cost of tracking down the culprits and bringing them to justice.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Liquor Ads:, What do They Influenced?

      In an article in AdWeek, I ran across this interesting article about a study done at the University of Texas, Austin.  It has found that the effect of advertising does not make people want to drink or drink any more, but rather seems to effect what they are drinking.   This is for me a good thing, it means hat the government does not need to get into the media business again and limit what Americans can see in the media.
   A new study of alcohol consumption and advertising from 1971 to present found per capita drinking remained flat. 

     Alcohol marketers have two reasons to feel good about the findings of a new academic study on advertising impact.   For one, their money seems to be well spent on generating new or loyal customers. But at the same time, their ads don't seem to be turning America into a nation of drunks.   A new study from the University of Texas at Austin, led by advertising professor Gary Wilcox, suggests ads have little impact on how much wine, beer or liquor people consume.   The study looked at alcohol sales between 1971 and 2011 and found that during the 40-year time frame, per capita consumption remained relatively unchanged. In that time period, the study reports, alcohol advertising in the U.S. increased more than 400 percent. 

     "Relating these findings to previous research reveals a consistency in that there is either no relationship or a weak one between advertising and aggregate sales," the report states. "Over this time period, beer sales have exhibited a downward trend since the early 1990s, while wine and liquor have increased their share of total alcohol sales. This is despite large increases in advertising expenditures across all three categories of alcohol."   While advertising might have little impact on how much we drink, the study says it's still safe to assume that ads are effective at guiding brand preference.
    "Although criticisms of alcohol advertising and promotional methods abound, remedies that would restrict or overly regulate such communication activities usually do not have the desired effect of reducing consumption," wrote Wilcox, the study's lead professor. "Instead, a more logical alternative would be to communicate as much information as possible to the public about the subject and encourage all viewpoints so our society makes an autonomous, rational choice regarding alcohol consumption."
Read More at http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/alcohol-ads-increased-400-over-40-years-americans-arent-drinking-more-163668
     I found this article very enlightening and on that is worth reading.  I'm glad to see that there are people in this country that believe that we are a nation of sheep that will follow one after another right into the sea and our demise.   Advertising is a means of communication of wares and not a hypnotic trance that makes us stupid.   ;o)



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Springtime in Key West

     For the past couple of weeks, we are getting the first signs of spring down here in Key West.  The return of some of the migratory birds flowers blooming, and a general warming trend with the winds decreasing.   This is a really wonderful thing for us, and a time to get out on the water and enjoy all that makes the tropics so wonderful.

     I know, those of you that have been suffering all winter with 100 or more inches of snow don't believe that spring is something that we can actually notice.  There are significant difference in our seasons as well.  I went out on the waters last week for the first time in many weeks, the seas were calm and the ride was very smooth and wonderful.   I arrived at Bahia Honda dry and the 80 degree air temp put a smile on my face as I came under the old railroad bridge.   

     The birds are different, the air is warm and the flowers are beginning to bloom again, just like everywhere else when spring arrives,   I just hope that your spring has arrived bringing a wonderful change for you like it has for us down here.   ;o)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Underwater Aging Comes Under Fire from FDA

US federal authorities have taken a dim view of ageing wine underwater, warning it may be illegal to sell wine that have been aged that way.

     In 2013 Napa producer Mira placed 48 bottles of its 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon in the waters of Charleston Harbor to see what effect underwater ageing would have.   In November last year the bottles were salvaged, tasted and the process declared a success. The winery’s president, Jim Dyke, announced they would age twice as much for twice as long beginning next month alongside several other cases which are currently underwater in the harbor. 
     However, Dyke may have to shelve his plans as the practice has caught the attention of the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau who warned that potential contact with ocean water would render the wines “adulterated” and thus illegal to sell.   The bureau, which oversees alcohol labelling, can prohibit wineries, breweries and distilleries from selling or shipping their products if they are judged to have been “adulterated” in some way.   The bureau referred to the US Food and Drug Administration which said that wine aged underwater “may” render than adulterated under federal law because they have been stored in “unsanitary” conditions.
     The bureau continued that degradation of the seal – wax and cork – while underwater could lead to the wine being exposed to: “Gasoline, oil, heavy metals, plastics, drug residues, pesticides, as well as various types of filth, including waste materials from biological sources, sludge, decaying organic matter, runoff from farms, effluents from sewage treatment plants, and bilge waters from vessels.”  
     Dyke said he was disappointed with the news but pointed out that all of the bottles he’d aged underwater and then tasted, none showed any hint of contamination with seawater.
     For years now the Cayman Spirits Company has been producing Seven Fathoms Rum, a really fine rum that is aged underwater in special barrels in the ocean just off of Grand Cayman.  This is a very fine rum, one that I find to be very flavorful and clean.   I r
eally have to question the FDA on this one, because if the aging barrels are properly sealed and protected from the encroachment of sea water the end product is greatly enhanced by the constant movement of the sea and the very consistent temperatures.    The process needs to be looked at on an individual bassis and not just a "blanket" rule.  


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Feeling Stout? Diageo to List Calorie Counts

Nutritional labels to appear on drinks including Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff

     Diageo PLC is following the lead of the food industry by offering calorie counts and other content information on many of its biggest-selling products, from Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky to Smirnoff vodka. 

     The world's biggest drinks company said Thursday that it would begin displaying per-serving nutrition and alcohol-content information on its labels and online, in what it said was a first for the industry. 

     That will include Guinness, which for much of the 20th century was marketed as "good for you" for its high iron content. Doctors even prescribed the stout to pregnant women. 

     The U.S. is likely to be the first market to see the new labels, which could hit the shelves in the next few months. Diageo has received approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for a "serving facts" panel to be added to its labels, with per-serving information on calories, fat content and alcohol by volume. Discussions with the bureau started nearly 10 years ago, according to a Diageo spokeswoman. 

     The first product to include the new label in the U.S. is likely to be Smirnoff, Diageo's biggest-selling brand in North America. 

     Nutritional labeling on food is a hot topic in the U.S. as consumers become more health-conscious. Late last year, the Food and Drug Administration issued rules requiring restaurants with at least 20 locations to display the calorie count of food items on their menus.
     The TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) has issued some basic guidelines of the labeling.  The ruling allows "Serving Facts" statements that include the serving size, the number of servings per container, the number of calories, and the number of grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving. Additionally, Serving Facts statements may include information about the alcohol content of the product as a percentage of alcohol by volume and may also include a statement of the fluid ounces of pure ethyl alcohol per serving.
     This is something that will really help in the controversy over what has been added to the spirits.  Sugar content, and other additives will become apparent with these labels, as long as people read them.  Kudos to Diageo for leading the way.   ;o)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kenny Chesney's Fishbowl Spirits, LLC. Appoints David Farmer as President

David Farmer
     Fishbowl Spirits, LLC, announced that David Farmer has been appointed as President, effective

 immediately.    Fishbowl Spirits is the entity through which Kenny Chesney created and produces

Blue Chair Bay Rum.   This newly-created position, David Farmer will be responsible for overseeing

all aspects of the operation of Fishbowl Spirits’ and will report directly to Kenny Chesney, Fishbowl

Spirits’ Chairman.
    David Farmer will be continuing to serve as Chesney’s Tour Manager, responsible for coordinating over 100 employees on tours.  He has been a big part of what has made Kenny Chesney the biggest ticket-seller of the 21st Century,   Farmer has spent 18 years helping establish the live franchise that supports  eight time Entertainer of the Year, Kenny Chesney's commitment to quality, fun and providing a concert experience his audience will never forget.    Farmer will manage and further integrate the Fishbowl Spirits team as Blue Chair Bay Rum hits the road this spring as one of the sponsors of Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival Tour.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Drama of the Sun and the Clouds

     So often around the ocean here in the tropics, there are very dramatic visuals of the coming together of the sun with the clouds.  To watch the interaction of these two masses can be very wonderful..  They provided me with some very relaxing time on Monday afternoon on the back of the boat.   "Off of the Rock time at Bahia Honda State Park always provides a new and exciting experience, which is why I tend to spend a lot of time down here these days.  Enjoy the visions and drama of the skies.  ;o)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

People Are “Most Attractive” After Just One Cocktail

     I ran across this article in the Spirit Business the other day that I found to be most interesting.   I
guess that you are the most attractive to others after one cocktail, and it slips downhill from there.   
Drinking only a moderate amount of alcohol give you an appearance of being  more attractive to others, according to a new study.
     Research at Bristol University found that the intake of a single alcoholic drink could make people seem more attractive due to the relaxation of facial muscles, dilating pupils and flushed cheeks - indicating good physical health characteristics.    
The study, published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, required a group of sober students to rate photographs of another group of 40 students who had consumed different levels of alcohol based on how attractive they looked.
     Researchers photographed their faces three times: when sober, after drinking one glass of wine, and then after drinking a second alcoholic drink.     Photographs taken after just one drink, equivalent to 250 ml of wine at 14% alcohol by volume for a 70 kg individual, were judged as more attractive than sober photos.   Note: those who had drank 500 ml were judged the least attractive.
     "It suggests that, if it's true, people are rated as more attractive once they've consumed a small amount of alcohol," said the study's senior researcher and professor of biological psychology, Marcus Munafò."But if they go on to consume more alcohol, they're no longer rated as more attractive."
     I find this to be very interesting, enlight of all of the YouTube  videos that people find the drunker ones to be funnier and more attractive.    It is an interesting read and one worth a few minutes to scan.   ;o) 


Friday, March 20, 2015

The 10 Most Expensive Rums in the World

Ron Facundo Paraiso
     The Spirit Business published its list of the 10 most expensive rums in the world Tuesday and there are some very interesting ones included.   I have had an opportunity to taste some of them and others I don't think I will ever get the chance to try.  They are just way beyond my budget . 

Brugal Papa Andres

10.    Pyrat Cask 1623             $343.00

 9.     Bacardi Paraiso              $343.00

 8.     Brugal Papa Andres        $1,200.00

Havana Club Maximo
 7.     Rhum Clement 1952       $1,307.00

 6.     Havana Club Maximo     $1,789.00

 5.     Bacardi Millennium        $1,789.00

 4.     Appleton Estate 50 Year
         Jamaican Independence
         Reserve                             $5,000.00

 3.     Legacy by Angostura      $ 25,000.00

 2.     J. Wray and Nephew
         1940 Rum                        $38,760.00  (The most expensive per bottle)

 1.     Harwood Rum
         Collection  (28 bottles)   $318,981.00  (Note: This is only $11,392.00 per bottle)

Harwood Collection
     These are some very impressive rums and even more impressive price tags.  The other factor is
that they are in the cases of the most expensive nearly impossible to get your hands on.     I often get asked how expensive are really good rums, and I try to explain, that rums are as a whole, are not really that expensive as compared to other spirits. 

You can read more about each of these rums at  http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2015/03/ten-of-the-worlds-most-expensive-rums/

Thursday, March 19, 2015

From Whiskey to Rum, Very Good and Very Different

     Searching through some old whiskey cocktail recipes, I ran across this one that was an update of the venerable old Manhattan.   Called a Saratoga, I found the idea perfect for a rum conversion.  It has a sweet and spicy flavor that sparks the palate and leaves you with a flavorful finish.  Give this one a try, I think that you will really enjoy it.

Ron Saratoga

  • 1 oz. Cognac
  • 1 oz. Zafra Rum
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Put all the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish as desired.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Papa Andres Releases Latest Expression

     Papá Andrés 2015 Alegría Edition  the latest expression from the private reserves of the Brugal Family of the Dominican Republic has been released to the Duty Free Travel Market.   Looking to tap the lucrative American Travel sector, the latest expression will be selling at about $1500.00 per bottle US.  Your next trip out of the United States will give you the opportunity to get your hands on a bottle of this truly exquisite rum expression.

     Spanish designer Javier Mariscal has created a collectors’ book for this edition, the second-ever release of Papá Andrés.   “Papá Andrés is the ultimate expression of Brugal quality, craft and skill – a truly rare and extraordinary rum.”

     "Papá Andrés 2015 Alegría Edition – ‘alegría’ meaning joy – hails from a limited number of casks which are carefully guarded in Brugal’s warehouses in Puerto Plata.    Only occasionally a small amount is extracted and used to blend a special limited edition bottling. The cask is then replenished with a selection of that year’s best aged rums and laid down again."

     "Traditionally enjoyed at important family celebrations, the private reserve rum is named in in honor of the company’s founding father, Don Andrés Brugal Montaner. The Alegría Edition will mark only the second time it has been released for sale, giving rum drinkers, connoisseurs and collectors a rare opportunity to savor this ‘ultimate expression of the rum-making art.’"
     Juan Gentile, Commercial Director LatAm & Duty Free Americas, comments, “Papá Andrés is the ultimate expression of Brugal quality, craft and skill − a truly rare and extraordinary rum.
“By introducing this exceptional super-premium rum to a wider audience, we are changing the way people perceive the category and we are reaching a new generation of luxury spirit consumers.
     “We are particularly proud to unveil Papá Andrés 2015 Alegría Edition, which is the pinnacle of luxury rum from the very heart of the Brugal family.”   Just 1,000 of the Brugal Papá Andrés 2015 Alegría Edition decanters will be produced, priced at US$1,500 each, and available to order from April 2015.   All profits will go to the Brugal Foundation, established in 1988 to support development and reduce poverty in the Dominican Republic.
     Brugal's  Papa Andres 2015 Alegria Edition is the pinnacle of fine rum making, rarely released for public purchase.  This is one of the rare opportunities for the dedicated collector to own a bottle of this fine rum.   ;o)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rum Bahamas Awards Announced

   The results of the rum tasting competition at the 2nd Annual Festival Rum Bahamas.   The panel of 10 judges from the Bahamas and the United States evaluated these wonderful rums back at the end of February.    From the 50 total entries these are the top three in each of the category have become the medal winners.

     The Festival was attended by more that 4000 people, a great accomplishment in its second year.  This is a Festival that is rapidly growing and one that shows real potential for the future.

These are you Winners for the 2015 Festival Rum Bahamas Tasting Competition.

Dark Rum
Gold – Plantation Original Dark
Silver – Koloa Kauai Dark
Bronze – Goslings Black Seal
White Rum
– Doorly’s Macaw White Rum
Silver – Appleton White
Bronze – Tanduay Silver
Amber Aged
– Abuelo 7
Silver – Ron de Jeremy
Bronze – Plantation Nicaragua 2000
Extra Aged
– Abuelo 12 Year
Silver – Plantation 20th Anniversary Rum
Bronze – El Dorado 15
     Congratulations to all of the medal winners.

Monday, March 16, 2015

American Craft Rum Distillers Among the Most Highly Recommended

     The American craft distillery business is growing with leaps and bounds.  it wasn't long ago tha the only quality rums came from the Caribbean regions, or so it was thought.  This is rapidly changing with the men and women here in America that are turning out fine quality craft distillery rums from throughout the US.   There are distilleries from the Rocky Mountains to the east and west coast of the United States that are producing fine quality craft rums.

     This week the category got a bit of a boost as The Spirits Business announced it most recommended spirits and two US Rum expressions were named.  Thomas Tew and Privateer True American Rum were both named.   Both of these rums come from New England and can be proud of their nominations.

     Thomas Tew is produced by the Newport Distilling Co., based in Rhode Island, in a traditional style of rum made from Backstrap Molasses and tempered with local water before distillation in an 88 gallon copper pot still. The rum, said to have notes of coconut, vanilla, butterscotch and toffee, is named after a legendary pirate.

     Privateer True American Rum a pirate-inspired craft rum brand Miles urges readers to taste is Privateer True American Rum, created in Ipswich. The rum comes in two variants, silver and amber, which have been aged in a combination of American, French and Hungarian oak.

     It is a proud moment to have our own American craft distilleries of which there are many to be honored is such a manner.  I'm proud to know many of these find craftsmen here in the US and glad to see that the group is being recognized for their efforts.  ;o)