Monday, August 31, 2015

Bahama Cafe Especial

     I was sitting at the bar the other day when it was very empty, dog days of August, and thought about an idea for a new coffee cocktail.   It had to have a real coffee flavor, yet be more along the idea of a daiquiri style cocktail.  I know that lime in your coffee is not a really good idea, but I think you get the idea.

    I have to start with Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coffee Rum, and I want a dry rum like Brugal Extra Dry as well to level it out.   I toyed with some chocolate liqueur, but that would just loose the flavor of the coffee and get to far away from what I was trying to do.   I thought a little further, and remembered that many people like a bit of cream in their coffee and a little bit of sweetener.  So I put them with it and I was ready for a cocktail "wake me up".

Bahama Cafe Especial

  • 2 oz. Brinley Gold Shipwreck Coffee Rum
  • 1 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum
  • 3/4 oz. El Dorado Rum Cream
  • 1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
Place all ingredients except the El Dorado Rum Cream in a shaker filled with ice.  Shake until fully chilled.  Strain into a cocktail glass and float with El Dorado Rum Cream.  Top with fresh ground nutmeg and enjoy.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Early Morning with Thunder Rumbling in the Background

     Summer time in the Keys has its thunderstorms.  The intense cloud formations that are sometimes very ominous looking can be very beautiful as well.  This morning is one of those days.  Enjoy all of the beauty of these ominous clouds as they reflect off of the water to create a beautiful picture.  ;o)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Selvarey Rums Expand Their Distribution

Selvarey Cocoa
     Selvarey Rums has announced that it is expanding its distribution to Florida, Hawaii, South Carolina, California, Nevada: (Southern Wine and Spirits), Georgia: (Savannah Distributing), New Jersey: (Fedway Associates), New York: (Empire Merchants)Tennessee: (Lipman Brothers), Washington DC: (Washington Wholesale).  This means that these fine rums will be available very soon on many more shelves and cocktail lounges  here in the US.  Previously only available in California and Nevada, this is very welcome news.

     Brought together by a lifelong passion for rum, Bruno Mars teamed up with three rum aficionados to change people's perception of what rum can be. After years of searching, they finally found legendary Master Blender Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez, former "Maestro de Ronero" for Havana Club who carved out a distillery from the jungles of Panama known for producing some of the finest rums in the world. Together they created Selvarey.

     Selvarey White  a blend of three- and five- year-old rums, is aged in American Oak casks and carbon-filtered to remove most of the color without losing the deep flavors imparted during the aging process. Unlike many white rums, Selvarey has been crafted with the distinct goal of being fine enough to sip on the rocks. Yet it makes a superlative cocktail..

     Selvarey Cacao  the world's premier chocolate spirit, boasts a rich five-year-old Panamanian rum whose inherent character is brought out by the infusion of natural chocolate. SelvaRey Cacao Rum can be sipped neat or on the rocks.

     These are very nice rums and ones that are welcome additions in many fine places, be sure a try them if you haven't had the opportunity before.  Especially those of  you that are of the chocolate persuasion.   ;o)

Friday, August 28, 2015

So You Think You Want to Start a Craft Distillery?

Cayman Spirits Distillery
     I was once asked how do you make a million dollars in auto racing, you start with 5 million and when you get down to 1 million, you quit.   Starting up a "craft distillery" is much the same.  The expense of purchasing equipment, securing space that has zoning for a distillery, water and power requirements available and that is before you start looking at all of the legal hoops you have to jump through.

Small Copper Alembis 10 Liter Still
     This is a very glamorous idea, but like auto racing to do it well is very expensive.   I'd love to be able to create my own rums, and introduce them to my friends to share, but it is not that simple.  Here in the United States owning a still for anything other that producing alcohol for external use is strictly "verboten".   Besides the legal issues involved, there are also health concerns to worry about. Home mad alcohol can become tainted with toxic liquids, especially methanol, the form of alcohol reputed to cause blindness and death. Making moonshine also poses obvious risks of fire or explosion.  Alcohol made at home with out the proper legal permits and licences is known as moonshine and the laws against moonshine may place those who wish to make their own line of commercial rum or other spirit in a tricky situation. 

Copper Alembic "Thumper"  Pot Still
     Robinson, at Moonshine Still Pro, likens existing distillation laws to a sort of Catch-22.  You can't learn to operate a still with out a still, but most who start in the business start with a small "secret  still" in their basement or garage.   While most states prohibit making home made alcohol for consumption, state laws sometimes conflict with federal law.   In Missouri, for example, a person 21 or over may produce  up to 100 gallons of spirits per year for personal consumption without a permit.   But federal law trumps state law, and to the feds, distilling at home for personal consumption is illegal, period.   "If you distill without permits, you're looking at roughly a dozen felonies," says Tom Hogue, spokesman for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. "It's not something you want to be doing."

Troy Roberts at Drum Circle Distillery
     The odd part is we haven't even began to talk about the cost of the materials, supplies and equipment you are going to need.    Stills depending on the size can go up into the hundred thousands alone, no to mention the other necessary stainless vats etc.  Barrels are in short supply these days and very expensive.   Troy Roberts of Drum Circle Distilling in Sarasota, Florida has spent since 2003 making his dream of making his fine craft distillery a reality.  Today his fine rums are very hard to find, but the search is definitely worth the effort for the rewards of his rums.

      As I said start with 5 million, it's not easy, but if you are good at running a still, blending, marketing, legal stuff, health stuff, and have the patience, you will be able to open a craft distillery.  You might want to add another attraction like a restaurant or gift shop to help off set some of the costs of the distilling and aging of you rum.  ;o)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cartavio XO and Rat Key, What a Combination.

     It is another dog day of August and headed out of the sun to Rat Key with a bottle of Cartavio XO
for the perfect rum sipping afternoon.   Light breezes beautiful blue water and a bottle of fine rum make these afternoons of a pirate perfect.  Wish you could all join us in this wonderful experience.

Cartavio XO
     The Cartavio XO Rum from Peru is a very unique expression that has so many connections to great rums from around the world.   From the 18 years spent in French and American Oak Barrels to tall of the experience of Federico Schultz, master distiller and blender, this is a Thoroughbred rum.    Frederico Shults is another graduate of  Havana Club and an apprentice to Don Pancho Fernandez, bringing great expertise to Cartavio's rum making.  Classic packaging with the wire cap retainer makes this an attractive eye catching expression you can't walk past.

     I have to say that a perfect day is being made better as I lean back at the water's edge and enjoy the beautiful mahogany color and sweet and lightly spicy aromas that are flowing from my glass.  There is an initial sweetness that grows warmer and spicier as it carries itself to the warm and spicy finish that seems to linger and linger.

     All you have to do to enjoy your life like a pirate as I am is find a water's edge and a wonderful bottle of your favorite rum, Cartavio is a great example.  Just put "your ass in lawn chair and your toes in the sand" and call out a hearty "ARGH" and enjoy the rum and the moment.  ;o)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Plantation Rum Adds Plantation Pineapple to its Core Range of Products

Guillaume Lamy introduces Plantation Pineapple
     This is a great bit of news for us at the Rum Bar in Key West, because I didn't think that we were going to be able to enjoy this wonderful expression here in the United States because of its very limited production.   I have bought a case of it for the Rum Bar and we are now serving it.   The unique method of production gives it a very special flavor unlike any other flavored rums.

     First unveiled at "Tales of the Cocktail" in New Orleans last year, Plantation Pineapple Rum – Stiggin’s Fancy was initially planned as a “one-off” launch, with just 1,000 bottles sold in New Orleans and a small number of other US markets.   Cognac Ferrand founder Alexandre Gabriel has now added the expression to Plantation Rum’s core range as a limited edition due to the seasonality of the Queen Victoria pineapples it uses.   Gabriel first created the rum in collaboration with cocktail historian David Wondrich, inspired by several traditional recipes used in the 1800s.   
     Plantation Pineapple Rum – Stiggin’s Fancy is produced by first infusing the rinds of Queen Victoria pineapple with Plantation 3 Stars white rum for one week before they are distilled in pot stills.   Separately, the flesh of the Queen Victoria pineapples are infused with rich, aged Plantation Original Dark Rum for three months. Then these two liquids are married together and the rum is put into casks where it rests for three months.   
“David and I did this project in part out of sheer curiosity,” said Gabriel. “Mostly, however, we did it because the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality.    “The 1824 Journal of Patent Inventions notes that it was customary in the West Indies to offer pineapple rum to visiting European friends. Following the West Indian tradition, Plantation Pineapple Rum is our gift to you.”
The expression is named after the Reverend Stiggins, a character in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers whose favored tipple was pineapple rum.
Plantation Pineapple Rum – Stiggin’s Fancy will be available in April, May, July and August each year at an RRP of US$34.99. It is now rolling out nationally across the US.
The variant was named by The Spirits Business as one of the most innovative spirits launches of 2014.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What Alcohol Really Does to Your Body on an Airplane

     I found this very interesting USA Today article and thought it was worth sharing.  I travel a fair amount on aircraft and I find it interesting to see how quickly people who order a cocktail or two get a bit tipsy.  This is a good explanation of what is going on with their bodies.  

   While on a flight, if you've only had a couple drinks and already you're trying to convince your neighbor there's a monster on the wing, you might not be entirely crazy - it might just be that the booze has gone to your head a little more than usual.

    At cruising level, the altitude inside the plane cabin is different than it is on the ground, even though the cabin is pressurized. According to the World Health Organization, Air pressure inside the cabin is actually equivalent to the pressure at 6,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level - roughly the same as Bogotá or Yosemite National Park. The higher up you go, the thinner the air gets, and when you rise in altitude fast the body doesn't get as much oxygen as it needs, which can cause symptoms of altitude sickness. There's plenty of oxygen onboard, but the atmospheric pressure is lower so the body absorbs less oxygen into the bloodstream. Depending on the person, that could be a 5% to 20% decrease in oxygen, according to USA TODAY. People with heart and lung conditions might also be susceptible to hypoxia.

     While scientific studies have shown that drinking alcohol at a higher altitude does not actually increase your blood alcohol level, it might make you feel more drunk than usual. Suddenly after going up to 8,000 to 10,000 feet increases dizziness; lightheadedness and drowsiness, which are the symptoms of altitude sickness. These are also sensations associated with being drunk (in case you can't recall).  So, altitude + alcohol = dizzy times two.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Look What Has Happen to Rum in the Past 10 Years

     Ten years ago, blended Scotch whisky was described as an “old man’s drink”.  It was viewed with a mix of suspicion and contempt by the glitterati.    Now it’s so fashionable that even David Beckham is associating himself with it.    10 years ago the only rum deal to be done was for light or white rums.    Today, big bold dark rums are back in vogue.   All spirits categories, the most surprising renaissance has been dark rums.    Rum is in a unique position in that, while other spirits are overwhelmingly dark, light or white, rum can be all three.    Throw in category distractions such as spiced and flavored rums; you have the most versatile spirit categories ever. 
     “Our view is that the general outlook for rum has never been so good,” he says. “In each of our markets, lights are turning to green, with a surging interest from professionals and individuals, and more especially for premium and ultra-premium aged rums.”    There is more and more interest in the premium range of fine dark rums and more and more producers creating expressions for this growing interest.  In talking with many of the better master blenders and distillers, I find that there is little interest but the public in new standard white rums, but rather premium quality rums in the white, gold, and dark expressions.
     As a purchaser of rums for the Rum Bar in Key West, I find it easier to sell the premium and ultra-premium lines than the lesser expressions.  In the past seven or eight years this is beginning to be more and more noticeable.   The days of dark rums an coke or some other disguising mix are disappearing in a hurry, being replaced by “dark rum neat or with maybe a cube or two of ice. 
Tito Cordero with Diplomatico Single Vintage
     There have been a good number of very interesting single vintage and single estate rums appearing on the market these days.  These are all very nice sippers, and rums that really are becoming popular with the rum lovers from everywhere.    Rum’s long history from the days of being called “kill devil” because of its horrid taste and burn, to today when it is one of the finest tasting dark spirits around.  Rum has few rules and the creativity of the producers has led to very unique flavor profiles that seem to find a palate for every one of them.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunset from My Home to Yours

     Summer sunsets in the Florida Keys are absolutely the most beautiful anywhere that I have been.   I always enjoy shooting pictures of them where ever I happen to be down here in the Keys.  This day found me on the back of my boat in Sunset Marina.  It is all about the timing to get all of the colors to appear, and this one was absolutely beautiful.   ;o)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Appleton Estate Launches "From Jamaica with Love"

Marking Jamaican Independence Day on August 6, Appleton® Estate Jamaica Rum, the only premium rum crafted in the heart of Jamaica, unveiled its new brand campaign,

 “From Jamaica With Love.”

      From cane to cup, Appleton Estate owns and manages each stage of the production process at the Appleton Estate in the Nassau Valley. This valley, also known as ‘Cockpit Country’ located in the St. Elizabeth Parish of Jamaica, was formed 12 million years ago, providing a fascinating terroir of unique limestone hills, rich soil and deep, clear springs, imparting a unique character to the rums of the Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum expressions. “From Jamaica With Love” encourages consumers to venture off the beaten path and explore beyond the beaches to find the heart of Jamaica, the true Jamaica well beyond the stereotypes.

     “Appleton Estate Jamaica Rums are carefully hand-crafted in the lush, sun-drenched Nassau Valley, which has superb natural resources that contribute to the defining essences of our award-winning rums’ taste and character,”   “This new marketing campaign allows us to offer consumers a window into an authentic Jamaica – a Jamaica that delivers rum with a distinctive, rich and complex flavor found nowhere else in the world.”
“In order to be successful with this campaign, we made it a priority to send a team to Jamaica to experience first-hand the splendor of Appleton Estate and the Nassau Valley to capture the authenticity of Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum,” said Jordan Warren, President, ARGONAUT. “As a result, the ‘From Jamaica With Love’ campaign gives a glimpse into the people, the beautiful Estate and the unique methods that create the only premium rum from Jamaica.”

     Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum unveiled the new marketing campaign on August 6, a day of national pride for Jamaicans, as they celebrate the  Jamaican Independence Day.   

     This is a really well don video, one that I hope you enjoy as much as I did.    It is a refreshing change in the rum advertisement and one that truly shows the pride of Jamaica.

See the Video at

Friday, August 21, 2015

Lunch with Malcolm L. Gosling II

Malcolm Gosling and Myself at the Casa Marina in Key West
     A phone call from John Wells of Southern Wine and Spirits and I'm off to the Casa Marina Hotel in Key West for a lunch with Malcolm L. Gosling II.  Malcolm was here in Key West, and an opportunity to meet with members of the world wide rum family is always one that can't be missed. Malcolm is a well educated young man who seems to really enjoy his place in the company.  He is a really great spokesman for the products and a fine all around person.  A Boston resident since 2004, and a full time employee of the family business.

   Malcolm's father  E. Malcolm B. Gosling has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Gosling-Castle Partners Inc., since April 2005, an export venture of Castle Brands Inc.   As President of Gosling-Castle Partners Inc, Mr. Gosling oversees the global exports of the Goslings rum brands into the United States and various other markets.   Since 2003 he served as President of Gosling Export (Bermuda) Limited, responsible for the production and shipping of Goslings rum, and serves as a Director of the Bermuda holding company.   Since 1989, Mr. Gosling also served as the Vice President and Managing Director of Gosling Brothers Limited, the parent company of Gosling Export (Bermuda). Mr. Gosling has been active with the family business for over 20 years, and represents the seventh generation of his family to be active in the business. Mr. Gosling received a bachelor of arts degree from Boston College in 1985.

    The family has been in the wine and spirits business since the the late 1700's in England.  In the spring of 1806 James Gosling, the oldest son of William Gosling, wines and spirits merchant, set out from Gravesend, Kent, England on the ship Mercury, with £10,000 sterling worth of merchandise, bound for America.     After ninety-one desperate days on becalmed seas their charter ran out, and they put in at the nearest port, St. George’s, Bermuda. And the rest, as they say, is history.

New packaging of Black Seal
   Black Seal claims an ancient Bermuda lineage, but it’s complicated. Generations of Goslings have indeed been blending rum in Bermuda since the middle of the 19th century. But only blending, the raw material, rum distillate, comes from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad — Caribbean islands where sugar cane grows.   Bermuda doesn’t have enough arable land for a cane crop, and the climate’s not right.   The distillate arrives at 9 Dundonald St. in Hamilton in stainless-steel tanks, where it is aged between three and six years, then blended according to an old family recipe.   The portion destined for the local market stays behind. The rest goes back in the tanks, journeys by sea to Port Elizabeth, N.J., and thence by rail to Bardstown, Ky., where it is diluted, bottled, and cased for shipment coast to coast.
The New Gosling Gold Seal

     It was such a pleasure to spend some time talking with Malcolm and getting to know more about the family and the business that they have spent more than 200 years developing.  I see great things coming in the future for the Gosling Brand including the introduction of Gosling's Gold Seal coming around September.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rumsploring Rat Key

     Yesterday was one of those beautiful August afternoons in the Florida Keys.  It was hot and
perfect for some water time.   My friend Mike Streeter and I decided to grab a bit of rum, good sippin' type from Siesta Key and Santiago de Cuba and explore a small uninhabited key just off of Key West.   Upon landing at the edge of Rat Key, we found it to be a wonderful little place to hide from the sun under all of the pine trees, add the cooling breeze off of the water and you have a perfect paradise.

     We decided on a great spot where we immediately broke out our "Red Solo Cups" and added a couple of cubes of ice followed by a nice pour of Santiago de Cuba Anejo Rum.   With rum in hand, like good explorers we started to wander around this wonderful little place and found a great area that some of the local sailors have been known to frequent.  This place had all the amenities for a great afternoon on a "Gilligan's Island" type of adventure.  There were chairs, benches and a fire pit.

     This was a pristine place for the most part, after exploring for a while it was time to add another cube of ice to the now empty "red solo cup" and  refill it with Siesta Key Limited Edition beer barrel aged rum .  Most of you know that I love doing a bit of exploring while sipping good rum.  It makes me feel like a pirate, especially when I find a great little uninhabited key to roam.

     We finished up our rum and grabbed the trash bag and walked about the key again and picked up some trash that had drifted up on the edges of the island.  I always like to leave a place better than I found it.  I love the saying, "take in all the place has to offer and leave behind only foot prints".  While we were picking up our stuff and getting ready to head back to the boat, we met a local on the island.  The good size hermit crab strolled by, greeted us and went upon his way.

     It was a great afternoon in a world removed from the usual and
one I will most likely visit more often.  ;o)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rum an Affordable Sip Worthy Spirit

     I had to repost this article, I think that it just covers the subject of rum and its growing up to be a very fine and serious spirit that can hold its own with the whiskeys and the rest of the "classier " spirits.

By: Christine Sismondo Special to the Star, Published on Wed Aug 12 2015
Forget the cola and embrace a short glass of smooth rum that you can find without hurting your wallet.
 In the beginning, there was single malt. Then came tequila. After that, the bourbon boom.
What could possibly follow these tough acts? Even though forecasting trends is tricky business, it’s hard not to notice that there sure is a lot of buzz about rum. Not that stuff you spiked your cola with — instead, smooth and sip-worthy rum.
One of the reasons people are increasingly reaching for premium aged rums is that, in comparison with other high-end products, it’s pretty decently priced. You can find an excellent 12-year-old rum for under $40. Try doing that with scotch.
Delve into rum with this little premium rum primer:
It’s all in the name
Although there are exceptions, the vast majority of premium rums fall into one of three categories: agricole “rhum” from former French colonies; dark, aged “ron” from former Spanish colonies and “rum” from former British colonies, which was traditionally made in a pot still.
Aside from the (French) spelling, the main distinction that sets agricole rhum apart is that it is made from fresh sugar cane juice, not the molasses that is used to make most other rums. It’s typically a little lighter-tasting and more expensive than other rums. Although the LCBO has carried the Haitian Barbancourt Rhum in the past, at the moment, there is no rhum at the LCBO.
Taste: To sample this absolutely delicious and refined spirit, head to Rhum Corner at 926 Dundas St. W, which has a steady supply of Barbancourt thanks to a private importer.
Rums from former Spanish colonies are typically made in a column still, then aged for a smooth character. Many distilleries in Latin America use the “solera” method, which involves blending old and young liquids to accelerate the aging process. Unlike an age statement on a cognac or whisky that guarantees a minimum length of aging time, a 23-year-old solera rum might contain some spirit that is only six years old. Some consider solera a shortcut, others are too busy enjoying the exceptionally rich and smooth flavor to care.
Taste: Made in Nicaragua, the rich, toffee-ish Flor de Caña Centenario 12-year-old is a bargain at $39.95 that makes for an excellent substitute for dessert. For a splurge, try the Ron Zacapa 23-year-old Centenario ($79.95), a solera rum from Guatemala that is liable to convert even the most stalwart whisky aficionado.
Some distilleries in former British colonies stick with tradition and continue to use a pot still, a less efficient and far more labour-intensive process that produces heavy, rich and flavorful rum. Most distillers blend the distillates from pot stills and the more efficient column still for a final hybrid product. Typically these rums have a lot of fruit, chocolate and coffee flavors.
Taste: Orange, chocolate and coffee come through loud and clear with Jamaica’s Appleton Estate 12 year-old ($39.95), a sweet (but not cloying) rum with a smooth body. To sample a blended rum (pot and column), try Guyana’s El Dorado 12-year-old, one of the most exceptional rums on the market ($38.65). The bar staff at Splendido agree and their “rum board,” a small bottle of El Dorado with two glasses, is served to every table for dessert as part of their acclaimed $170 tasting menu.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cruzan Announces New Summertime Flavor

     Cruzan® Rum announces today the addition of Cruzan® Blueberry Lemonade Rum to its impressive portfolio of premium, flavored rums. Available nationally, this refreshing new flavor blends fine Cruzan Rum with the essence of ripe blueberries and vibrant citrus to create a well-­rounded spirit bursting with the taste of fresh fruit.

     Cruzan Blueberry Lemonade Rum takes lemonade, a classic summertime staple, to the next level by infusing it with the bright flavor of freshly picked blueberries. Like all Cruzan rums, Cruzan Blueberry Lemonade Rum is crafted by Cruzan Master Distiller Gary Nelthropp, whose family has been making rum on the island of St. Croix for generations. It is made from natural ingredients including cane molasses and tropical rainwater, using a unique five-­column distillation process, staying true to Cruzans dedication to creating the cleanest-­tasting, highest-­quality rum on the market.

     “Cruzan continues to be a leader in the rum category and we see the demand for refreshing rum drinks continue to grow. This year, we created a new rum that would appeal to our loyal fans and new rum drinkers looking for a fun flavor option,” said Brendan Lynch, Senior Director of Rum & Cordials at Beam Suntory. “The combination of Cruzan Rum with sweet blueberries and fresh lemonade makes this perfect for anyone looking to create a refreshing cocktail that captures the spirit of the season.”

     Cruzan Rum recommends enjoying its newest flavor in an ice cold cocktail while embracing Cruzan’s “Don’t Hurry” mindset, which encourages rum fans to take the time to sit back, relax and savor every sip.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Vestige of Changes in the Florida Keys

     The Bahia Honda Bridge is one of the vestiges of change that has taken place in the Keys over the past century.   Before Flaggler built his railroad, all supplies came to the keys by boat or possibly aircraft.   Flaggler's railroad built a series of bridges connection mainland Florida with the Keys.   After the hurricane of 1936 that bankrupted the railroad, the railroad bridges became the overseas highway.  The train and the highway gave the keys a connection that was reliable and practical to transport people and supplies the entire length of the keys.

     Today there is a modern highway to the north of the original Bahia Honda Bridge that exhibits both the rail bed and the highway on the same historic bridge.   The bridge is in very bad shape at this time and pieces are rusting and falling off of it regularly.  It is a doomed relic that you should see on your next trip up the keys.    It is not very likely that it will be around for too many more years.  They are not allowing people on the end of the bridge any more because of the deteriorating structure's instability.   ;o)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

2015 National Rum Day

     Today is going to be a very special one, It is National Rum Day.  Today's "Rum Church" at the Rum Bar in Key West is celebrating all of the fine rums we have on our shelves these days.  If you are around today stop by and enjoy some the 246 different expressions that we have to offer you.

     The still below is a wood fired pot still that goes back to the early days of rum making in the Caribbean.  This is the basis of how we are able to enjoy all of the fine rums we have and enjoy every day.  

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chillin' Time with Siesta Key, Rum That Is.

     Taking a couple of days off just east of Key West at Bahia Honda State Park, I felt this was a
perfect place and time to try the two new bottles of Siesta Key Rum that just arrived yesterday.  Siesta Key Distiller's Reserve Solera Blend and The Beer Barrel Finish Limited Edition Spiced Rum Series are on the agenda for today.

     There is no better place to enjoy some nice rum than on the boat at a beautiful locale like Bahia Honda.  Today is a beautiful sunshine with blue skies and a few wispy white clouds to add dimension to the skies.  All of this feels good with the fine tastes of these two rums.  Neat is ideal, but in the warmth of the tropics a couple of cubes of ice doesn't hurt the flavor one bit.  The creamy flavor the honey and spice adds to the flavor of the smooth rum makes both of these rums wonderful as I let the day drift away in the sun.

     It seems that these guys at Siesta Key can't do anything wrong these days.  First the Distiller's Reserve, then the Toasted Coconut, and now the Limited edition Beer Barrel Finish.  I'm always excited when Troy and the gang at Drum Circle Distillery sit down and create a new expression.   Thanks, these two new expressions really made my days off in Bahia Honda just perfect.

Friday, August 14, 2015

2015 California Rum Festival

     The 2015 California Rum Festival will be taking place on September 12th at the Terra Gallery in San Francisco.   This is shaping up to be a great event with seminars by Ian Burrell, Richard Seale, Nicholas Ferris and Dean Serneel.   The tastings of so many fine rums, and getting to talk to the ambassadors from the rum produces from all over the world.

     The festival is broken up into two sessions.   The Spirit Industry Session consist of a 2 hour program offering industry professional the opportunity to: Network with brand representative, attend training seminars, taste a wide variety of rums Mingle with industry colleagues.    The Rum Aficionados "General Admission" Session consist of a 3 hours program offering the attendees the opportunity to Taste new rums, attend brand seminars, enjoy pleasant music and view mixology/flair show.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area on September 12th, make an effort to get by the Terra Gallery and see this fun and educational event.  This is a brand new tum Festival and has the potential to be one of the premier events here in America.  ;o)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Saint James Rum Will Celebrate 250 Years with a Commemorative Bottling of Saint James Cuvée 1765.

     St. James is celebrating their 250th Anniversary this year and has announced a very special launched the commemorative Saint James Cuvée 1765 bottling, in homage to the original 1765 style and recipe.   It is described as the “epitome” of the brand’s range. Saint James’ Rhum Agricole is still produced on the Caribbean Island, which has the only rum AOC – a decree for the “controlled destination of origin” – in the world.
expression for the occasion.   They
     St. James, which is one of the oldest in the world , will also host a series of festivities on its home island of Martinique, where it first began producing rum in 1765.   This, the brand claims, “ensures the quality” of the rum, which can only be produced from cane grown in the decree’s authorized areas.   Saint James says it was the first rum to create vintage-specific blends, and the first to design the square bottle, in order to “maximize storage and minimize breakage” on sea voyages to its primary export markets.   A statement from the brand read: “Saint James Rum is and has always been committed to quality, heritage, innovation and traditional expertise.
    One of the oldest rum makers in the world and still to this day producing high quality rums  250 years later.  This is a wonderful expression and a proper on to the occasion.   I hope that you get the opportunity to taste this fine example of the AOC rum process.  ;o)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Visit to Cayman Spirits Company Distillery

     No trip for me would be complete without a visit to the Cayman Spirits Company Distillery in Georgetown.  It was good to see my friend Walker Romanica and the crew again.  It looks like we are
going to be able to bring the Seven Fathom Rum back to the Rum Bar in Key West very soon.  The Distributor is in Florida and as soon as all of the formalities are taken care of we will be putting it back on the shelf again.

     There has been some expansion of the stills and they are making some other spirits as well as the rums.   They have added a line of liqueurs and vodka to their inventory.  This is a unique vodka, because it is made from sugar cane.   The are in the process of adding a single estate rum to the list of rum expressions as well.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Museo del Ron - Santiago de Cuba

Bacardi Rum Factory Model
     This is one of the most interesting museums of Rum that I have visited.  It is not a glamorous
place, but rather austere, but has a lot of historical information that I haven't been able to find in other places.   I covers the rum industry not only in Santiago de Cuba, but the rest of Cuba as well.   There is a lot of good information about the Bacardi family's contribution as well as several other rum producers.  There is a great display showing the Cooperage tools and the "cooper" at work cutting barrel staves.

     "Encased in a handsome townhouse, it has a bar below so hidden away it's reminiscent of a speakeasy, but with a knowledgeable bartender on hand to serve you up their 'recommendations"

Maestros de Ronero in Santiago de Cuba
     The host was very knowledgeable on the history and the people that made Santiago de Cuba the true rum capital of Cuba.  It seems to be true even today.  The former Bacardi factory is still producing the finest rums in Cuba including the newly released Havana Club 15 Year Old.  The Santiago de Cuba brand rums are definitely among my favorites.  His knowledge of not only the Bacardi family's history, but the rest of the families that made Santiago de Cuba and the rest of Cuba a great rum country.

Ron Palau an early Rum Producer in Santiago de Cuba
     With Cuba becoming more and more accessible to Americans, Santiago de Cuba is a city that needs to be put high on the list of places to visit.  Whether your interests are rum or history, this city is packed with both.  The Museo del Ron is located in Santiago de Cuba at Bartolome Maso Number 358. 

Rum Distilleries in Cuba