Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wishing All a Safe and Fun 2017

     With the arrival of 2017, we have an opportunity to start again.  Everyone will try to live up to their resolutions that will in general slip by the wayside within a month or so, but what can we expect from this New Year?   So many people have been saying they are glad to see 2016 over with, but what are we going to do different to make the new year a better one.     We can hope this year will be a fabulous one filled with so many wonderful things .  There a lot of people predicting new and wonderful things along with those predicting doom and despair.   In the spirits industry I have run across three very interesting predictions .

“A Rum Revival”
Colin Asare-Appiah, East Senior Portfolio Ambassador
     Often seen as a warm weather spirit, or to be sipped only while on a sandy beach watching the sunset, rum has faced a stigma in the past with very little consumer awareness or interest existing outside of “occasion based” drinking. Luckily, the tides seem to be shifting with a new wave of a demand for expertly prepared tiki inspired cocktails and bartenders are seeking out rum brands that have an authentic story and unique taste that give them reason to include them on their back bar and on their cocktail menus.

Guilty Pleasure Drinks

Jaymee Mandeville, West Senior Portfolio Ambassador
     There was a time when 70s, 80s and 90s style cocktails were a no go in craft cocktail bars. They were looked down upon for their call of artificial ingredients or thought to be too sweet and unsophisticated. Bartenders have recently begun to revisit these decade old cocktails (Pina Colada’s, Appletini’s, Sex on the Beach) and re-imagining them with fresh, quality, housemade ingredients transforming them into delicious, complex and well-executed drinks. Craft cocktail bars around the country are stepping up to the plate and showcasing their adaptations on these classics and we have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this trend in the coming year.

“Libations of Luxury”

Duane Fernandez, Texas Portfolio Ambassador
     In a time where exceptionally rare spirits regularly grace bar shelves with their presence, bartenders are breaking free from the notion that these spirits must be sipped alone and without interruption from additional spirits or modifiers. Ultra Premium Scotch Whisky, in particular, has been used more and more in cocktails. With delicate attention to detail and respect for the liquid coming from these revered, nearly sacred bottles, there is a new trend that has taken flight, where bartenders have begun featuring these spirits on premium and super premium cocktail menus. Rather than leaving the bottles to gather dusts, bars are presenting these cocktails as a beautiful way to enjoy what might be a once in a lifetime cocktail.
"Rum Based Luxury and Feel Good Cocktails"
Bahama Bob Leonard, Key West Rum Guy
     What I see for 2017 is exquisite rums being used in sophisticated cocktails.  Rum has a reputation as a “feel good” spirit that mixes well with others and yields so many high quality cocktails.   What the category needs is to continue moving into a better class of consumers.   I keep finding is rum being used in place of other spirits in traditional and fine quality cocktails throughout the spirits world.  I see this becoming more prevalent and being enjoyed by more and more customers and bartenders following this trend.   The use of what was once felt to be sipping rums is finding itself in ultra -premium cocktails.  Rums that people would tell you should only be sipped do lend themselves well to cocktails as well.  Great rums like other great spirits can be a part of a great cocktail by imparting its unique flavor to the mix.
     Here is to a happy and safe New Year to all.  I’m a believer in pushing the positive and hopeful that thing will do well and be fun and wonderful.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Peak Drinking Season in the United States. Where are the Biggest Drinkers?

     I ran across this article in The Charlotte Observer, it has a lot of very interesting information I thought you might enjoy reading.

     While we don't recommend that you "binge drink through New Year's," there's no doubt that the holidays have traditionally been a time for boozing it up. For instance, considering the total monthly alcohol sales in the United States, you may detect a seasonal trend - the spikes in December of each year.

     We're not just buying booze during the holidays, of course - we're guzzling it down, too. Various direct and indirect measures of alcohol consumption, including breathalyzer data, Web searches for hangover relief and alcohol-related traffic deaths all suggest that peak American drinking happens between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

     New England is home to the nation's heaviest drinkers - New Hampshire, where about 64 percent of residents age of 12 or older drink monthly, is tops in the country. Vermont, Maine and Connecticut also come in at drinking rates above 60 percent. Hard-drinking cheeseheads in Wisconsin see to it that their home is the only Midwestern state in the top tier of American drinkers.

     The next tier of heavy drinking states are all in the northern part of the country. Some researchers posit that there may be a relationship between heavy drinking and latitude - at the country level, alcohol consumption tends to increase the farther you get away from the equator. This could be a function of the potential for boredom and depression during winter months when the nights are long, the days are short, and baby it's cold outside - for a prime example of this, see recent stories involving alcohol and misconduct among people who live in Antarctica.

Read more here:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

I Guess We are Descendants of Party Animals After All

     Could it be that monkeys and apes foraging in the tropical forests be the evolutionary reason for our attraction to alcohol?   In an interesting article in The Atlantic looks at the possibility that prehistoric apes and monkeys drinking from  naturally occurring pools of fermenting materials could be the source of our taste for alcoholic beverages.

     The 'drunken monkey' hypothesis proposes that alcohol, and primarily the ethanol molecule, is routinely consumed by all animals that eat fruits and nectar. As first worked out by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century, fermentation is a natural process deriving from the metabolic action of yeasts on sugar molecules. The molecules produce alcohol to kill off their bacterial competitors, and the booze accumulates at low concentrations within fruits and nectar. It also wafts into the environment, producing a downwind vapor trail that reliably indicates the presence of fruits and sugars. Any animal that can sense and follow this odor upwind will come to the source of ethanol and, of course, the sugars within the fruit. In tropical forests, ripe fruit occurs patchily, so any ability to find it over long distances is beneficial.

          Around 10 million years ago, as our ape ancestors progressively became more upright and began to walk about bipedally, an interesting change occurred in their physiological ability to process alcohol. Based on DNA sequence data and modern-day reconstruction of ancestral enzymes, we now know that the ability of these early apes to metabolize alcohol increased about 20-fold due to a single-point mutation in their genes, consistent with greater dietary exposure to this molecule. These animals were walking about the forest floor and within savannahs, and might have simply been obtaining greater access to fallen fruits that had been fermenting longer, and thus that contained more alcohol. Whatever the initial advantages might have been for this particular mutation, we have retained it into modern times.   What once helped to find food more efficiently in the wild has become a major part of human culture, with alcohol both loved and abused throughout the world.

     I find it to be very interesting that our taste for alcoholic beverages really seems to be a naturally occurring thing.  It looks as we evolved, we were able to find more places that alcoholic beverages were available.  This is a lot closer to our behavior than you might think.  The easier the access to the bar, the more often you might visit it.  Alcohol exposure is an ancient and persistent part of animal diets suggests that today's drinking behavior is motivated, in part, by deeply rooted reward pathways within our brain.   And these responses we share with creatures as diverse as fruit bats, flies and even chimpanzees.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cold Weather Means Hot Cocktails

     The weather is getting colder, even her in Key West, so it is time for a warm you up Hot Cocktail.  This will warm you with the strength of the Pusser's rum just like brandy does.  Warm on two fronts, perfect for the cold day.

Key West Hot Winter Grog
  • 1 1/2 oz. Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof Rum
  • 1/2 oz.Triple Sec
  • 1 oz. Bahama Bob’s  Honey Cinnamon Syrup
  • 1/4  oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 oz. Boiling Water
Place all ingredients except the hot water and the cinnamon stick in a coffee mug.  add hot water and stir until mixed drop in the cinnamon stick and serve.

Bahama Bob’s Cinnamon Honey Syrup
  • 2 Cup Pure Clover Honey
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 3  Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1/2 Tsp. Lemon Juice 

Place water and cinnamon in a pan and heat at 375 degrees and bring to a boil.  Add Honey and lemon juice and reduce heat to 230 degrees.   Bring to a slow boil and continue stirring for 5 minutes.  Remove the cinnamon sticks and pour into a dish that will not melt or crack and allow to cool.  Pour into a dispenser and refrigerator for about an hour.   Store in the  refrigerator until ready to use.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Grander 12 Year Old is Coming Soon

Grander 12 Year Old Panamanian Rum
     Dan Dehart has just sent me the newest member of his Grander Rum line, a 12 year old expression that has its origins in Panama and made without additives.  This is released at 45% ABV or 90 proof which means that it will have a big bold flavor that wasn’t lost in the reduction from barrel proof down to bottle proof.   This is the second of the family of Grander Rums, with the original being an eight year old expression.  The new Grander 12 Year old will be on the market in Florida first then Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, and Texas.  If all goes according to plan, you will see it on the Florida market in late spring or early summer.

     From the first look at this new Grander 12 year old expression, you know that you are in for a real special rum expression.   The deep golden color is beautiful and your eyes draw you straight to the to the glass.  There is an attractive, slightly sweet aroma that draws you right into the glass where there is some oak, tobacco, dried fruit, nuts and spices.    On the palate an immediate warmth of the 45% ABV with a sweetness that quickly fades to a dry and slight peppery taste at the finish.  This is a very smooth expression that leaves a lingering finish of wood, subtle fruits and a hint of pepper.

     I found this to be a really nice rum for sipping, either neat or on the rocks.   The warmth and the smoothness makes Grander 12 Year Old a wonderful cocktail time choice.  Upon its release it will become a regular on my shelf.   Watch your favorite liquor store, Grander 12 year old will be making an appearance there in the near future.  Don’t miss this one, it is a true and honest rum with wonderful flavor that has not had anything added to it.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Caribbean Journal Rum Awards

     It’s hard to believe we’re celebrating five years of the landmark Rum Awards, Rum Journal’s annual celebration of the best in rum around the Caribbean and the world. A lot has changed in the rum world since then, with awareness of the diversity and quality of rum at an all-time high and showing no signs of decline.   Rum-makers continue to innovate, as new distilleries emerge and existing ones get more creative, the latter nowhere clearer than Martinique, the Caribbean’s most innovative rum production hub.
     This year’s Rum Awards, our Fifth Edition, celebrate our favorites in 12 categories, from the Rum and Rhum Agricole of the Year to the Rum Bar of the Year, along with a special new category. After tasting almost 300 rums, here are the 2016 Rum Awards, or, as some like to call them, the Rummys.

Congratulations to all the winners.

Rum of the Year: Mount Gay 1703
The rum world continues to expand, but this year the Rum of the Year award heads to one of its birthplaces: Barbados. Mount Gay has taken its legendary rum to a new level in the last few years, trying out new formulas, unveiling new limited editions and taking its existing blends to another level. And that’s precisely what happened with its halo 1703 rum, which is drinking better than ever before. This is a simply exquisite rum, with the robustness one expects from Mount Gay but an exacting, almost impossible smoothness and a remarkably delicate finish.
Runners up:  Ron Santiago de Cuba 11 años (Cuba), Ron Zafra Master Series 
30 Años(Panama)

Rhum Agricole of the Year: Dillon 1998 Édition Limitée
It isn’t the most famous variety from Martinique, but it’s time you heard about Dillon, made on the outskirts of Fort-de-France and one of the globe’s best rhums agricoles. And the company’s 1998 vintage is a superstar, with notes of wood, dried fruit, apricot and a hint of white wine and an oh-so-luxurious texture. It is elegant, sophisticated and, well, out of this world.
Runners Up: Rhum Damoiseau XO (Guadeloupe); Rhum Depaz VSOP (Martinique)

Best New Rum: Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof
The name Pusser’s is a legendary one in the Caribbean (particularly in the British Virgin Islands), so we were rather enthused to see how good the brand’s newest launch was. The rum is a navy-style rum (and a blend of rums from Trinidad and Guyana) at what the brand says is the original Admiralty strength (back when the British Navy used to give out a daily rum ration), at 54.5 percent ABV. It’s powerful, robust and an authentic tribute to the Navy rums of yesteryear. This is what Pusser’s should taste like.

Best New Rhum Agricole: A1710 Nuée Ardente
It isn’t often a new rum brand launches in the Caribbean – and especially in Martinique. But entrepreneur Yves Assier de Pompignan has done just that with A 1710, based at the Habitation du Simon in Martinique. Right now, A 1710 rums are a blend of rums from across the French Caribbean, including Martinique and Guadeloupe (with three varieties of varying blends), and the result is something special, led by our New Rhum Agricole of the Year, the A 1710 Nuée Ardente, an intoxicatingly complex blend of rums between 9 and 17 years of age.

Best White Rum: Santiago de Cuba Carta Blanca
We always like to say that the primary test of a white rum is whether it gives you a headache. But the test of a great white rum is whether it can be enjoyed neat. And right now, there’s no better white rum than that of Cuba’s Santiago de Cuba brand, which is, right now, producing the island’s best rum expressions. It’s light, sweet and remarkably smooth.

Best White Rhum Agricole: Rhum Bologne Black Cane
There are no greater white rums in the world thn the white rhums agricole of the French Caribbean, floral, complex expressions that are sometimes even better than aged molasses-based rums. Our favorite this year? Guadeloupe’s Rhum Bologne Black Cane, made from difficult-to-grow “black” sugarcane and a simply astonishing white rhum, with notes of tropical fruit, mango, cane and anise and a sweet finish. Most importantly, it’s so good you don’t even need to put sugar in your ti’ punch.

Best Gold Rum: Rum-Bar Gold Rum
It’s nice to see a Jamaican rum on this list, thanks to the efforts of the island’s Worthy Park Estate Ltd rum plantation. This year’s winner is Rum-Bar Gold rum, a classic gold rum aged for a minimum of four years with a profile marked by fruit, coconut, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar — it’s a terrific mixing rum and sippable, too, on the rocks.

Best Spiced Rum: Siesta Key Distiller’s Reserve Solera Blend
One rum brand has won more of our Rum Awards than any other, and it’s a boutique distillery in Florida called Drum Circle Distilling. Distiller Troy Roberts’ Siesta Key Rum has won this category every year since the original Rum Awards in 2012, and thanks to creativity and continued, overwhelming qualty it’s hard to see that changing. The latest Distiller’s Reserve is another spiced rum using natural ingredients that is, without a doubt, the world’s best spiced rum.

Best Flavored Rum: Siesta Key Toasted Coconut Rum
The flavored rum category has all kinds of varieties, though too often one finds rums long on artificial ingredients and short on quality. That’s not the case with Siesta Key’s Toasted Coconut rum, a superb expression infusing white rum with real shredded coconut. The result is, well, spectacular.

Best Overproof Rum: Rhum Neisson Esprit Bio
This rum is significant for two reasons: first, it’s the Caribbean’s first-ever certified organic rum, thanks to the work of the always-enterprising Neisson distillery in Martinique’s Le Carbet. Second, at 66 percent ABV, it’s a full-fledged overproof rum with a robust, decidedly vegetal taste that’s unlike any other Overproof you’ll find in the French Caribbean or beyond.

Best Bottle Design: Rhum Clement Canne Bleue 2016
Martinique’s Rhum Clement redefined rum bottle design when it began commissioning high-profile artists to design its now-famous black-hued limited edition, something that led a host of brands to begin doing similar projects. But in this regard, Clement is still king, with another beautiful design for this year’s Blue Cane variety.

Rum Bar of the Year: Rum Bar at the Cooper Island Beach Club
You’re sailing the British Virgin Islands and the rum is getting low, so you find a mooring ball and swim in to the nearest tiny island you can find. Steps from the sand you find something magical: a bar filled with 100 rums from around the Caribbean. But it isn’t a mirage. This is the Rum Bar at the Cooper Island Beach Club and it remains one of the Caribbean’s best, with a great mix of molasses-based and agricole rums and great cocktail creations, too. It’s a Mecca on the Caribbean rum trail. 

Rum Journal Hall of Fame
This year is the fifth edition of the Rum Awards, and to celebrate our five-year anniversary we’ve create the Rum Journal Hall of Fame, which celebrates those doing the most to honor and spread the gospel of rum and contribute to the rum industry. We’ve launched the Rum Journal Hall of Fame, with five inductees, as listed below.
Allen Smith, Master Blender, Mount Gay Rum
Lorena Vazquez, Master Blender, Ron Zacapa
Gregory Vernant, Master Distiller, Rhum Neisson
Benjamin Jones, Regional Director, North America, Rhum Clement/Rhum JM

Robert Burr, Publisher, Rob’s Rum Guide

Read all about this at 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas From Our House to Yours

 Marta and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, here is to a great day with those closest to you.  Hope all your Christmas wishes come true.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Winter Solstice Cocktail

     With the start of winter upon us, it is time for something that fits the season.  This is a frozen daiquiri style cocktail with a taste of the Caribbean.   Snow is for the people that live up north, I'll take my "snow" in a daiquiri.

Winter Solstice

  • 2 oz. Siesta Key Toasted Coconut Rum
  • 1 oz. Siesta Key Gold Rum
  • 1 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 3 tbsp.  Crème de Coconut
  • Juice of 1 Lime

Combine all liquid ingredients in a blender with ice; Blend until smooth.  Dip rim of a martini glass into coconut flakes, then pour in the contents of the blender.   Garnish with twist of lime.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Florida Senate Bill Gives Craft Distilleries Several Needed Breaks

Senator Greg Steube
     Senate Bill 166 filed by Senator Greg Steube of Sarasota, if passed will drastically curtail the restrictions on the state's craft distilleries.   SB 166, which would allow distilleries the freedom to sell more of their own product on-site and reduce the license fee for craft distilleries by 75 percent.   A craft distillery will be defined as one that is a licensed distillery that produces 250,000 or fewer gallons of distilled spirits on its premises in a year.  

     Such a business would pay just $1,000 a year for a license under the new bill, while those "engaged in the business of rectifying and blending spirit liquors and nothing else will continue to pay $4,000 license fee.   More importantly, the bill would remove restrictions on how much distilleries can sell directly to customers.  Currently the law only allows customers may purchase two bottles of each expression per year.

     St. Augustine Distillery co-founder and CEO Philip McDaniel, said he likes what he sees in the language.   "Passage of the 2013 law that first allowed Florida craft distilleries to sell their product on site in face-to-face transactions, has already grown the industry by a five- fold factor," McDaniel said. "It has helped keep many new businesses afloat."  McDaniel said he simply wants the same ability that wineries and micro breweries have to sell directly to customers.   The spirit businesses will still require the services of a distributor to sell liquor at retail outlets.  

     There has not been any other action on the bill, which was filed Tuesday. But St. Johns County Sen. Travis Hutson said he's seen the bill and likes what he sees.  Hutson said, "I am a strong proponent for parity in the industry, and the current language as I've seen it helps even the playing field to allow these local, small businesses to survive or fail on their own merit without government picking winners and losers.”

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter Kayaking in the Florida Keys

Heading out under the bridge into the Atlantic
     One of the great things about living in the tropics is that you can do so many outdoor and especially water related things pretty much year round.   Marta and I love to jump in our Hobie Kayak, pedaling or paddling out to the small mangrove keys in the area around the Bahia Honda.
Sponges and Coral

Some days are better than others, winds and high seas can make it a bit uncomfortable, but other than that you can head out most anytime.

Eek, Shark
     Last week we saw young sharks, rays and many types of fish on out ride.  There are always a wide variety of birds that fill the skies, that the species change with the seasons.  Now it is a lot of pelicans, egrets and vultures, summertime is seagulls and terns and frigates and ospreys year round.  The surprise of the day was when a manatee surfaced as we returned to the harbor.  Our evening sunset cruises seem to find a pod of dolphins that come through the area between the bridges.

     Speaking of sunsets, they rarely disappoint,

and even when they don't happen because of clouds the cocktail cruise is always enjoyable.   Sunsets and cocktails are probably the most relaxing thing that I do.  These change with the seasons also in the spring and summer the sunsets migrate to the north side of the bridge giving a completely different look than those of the winter when the sun sets on the south side of the bridge.  The view of the sunset through and under the old rail bridges are so intense and colorful.

      Life in the Florida Keys is wonderful in so many ways and 80 degrees in December is one of the best.

Winter sunset cocktail cruise at Bahia Honda

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Richard Seale on Age Statements and Value of Rums

     An age statement is a very valuable and useful indicator of value.   Never confuse value with preference.   When a premium price is demanded, the consumer is entitled to know what might have driven the value.  Time drives value and increases rarity so age is one (acceptable) answer to the consumer.   We dismiss (authentic) age statements at our peril because multinationals are only too happy to sell us perceived value over real value - think vodka.   Lifestyle brands over authentic brands.   It is more profitable.

     Age statements in rum have been shamelessly corrupted - from outright false to downright misleading.   The proliferation of corrupt age statements should not diminish the value of real age statements.   Quite the contrary, shun the 'frauds' and invest in real value.

     Never combine the use of 'new barrels' with quality and value.   Refill barrels have an equal or sometimes more important role to play in spirit making.   A seasoned used barrel is not available 'off the shelf, it has to be created.   It is not like a second hand car, it may even be a classic.  It is an irreplaceable part of the spirit maker's wood library.
Moreover, there is a beautiful world of aged, yet distillate driven spirits to be appreciated and those are not made with new barrels.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Are Top Rums Moving into Whiskey Territory?

     Rum seems to be making strong in roads in the “top shield” area of brown spirits.   Many top quality rums can be purchased at a savings of 40 to 80 percent savings over equivalent age Whiskeys and Cognacs.   This is something that I have been telling customers for years working behind the bar.   I have had the pleasure of introducing many bourbon, scotch, Irish and Canadian whiskey drinkers to mid to upper end rums leaving most pleasantly surprised hoe good that the rums really are.  

     This is a scene that keeps repeating itself around the world.  Whiskey drinkers are being turned to quality rums.  There are different rums that match up to different whiskeys and Cognacs, you can’t just pick one rum to offer all brown spirit drinkers.   I have surprised many bourbon drinkers with a 12 year old El Dorado or Flor de Cana, and the Plantation Trinidad or Real McCoy 12 Year lends itself to Scotch drinkers.  I have also found that once you break the seal if I may, the are willing to do some tasting other upper end rums.
     In an article in Forbes, it was noted.  “The friction that has manifested itself is due in large part to common misunderstandings among consumers about rum. As with any spirit, ingrained perceptions are difficult to break. Rum, with its history of having been marketed as a fun-time drink, best mixed into cloyingly sweet and often fruit-heavy concoctions, or otherwise infused with enough spices and flavorings to cover up whatever character the spirit itself may once have possessed, has historically been uniquely susceptible to this sort of stereotyping.”

     I am glad to see so many people being willing to take the brave step outside of their “Whiskey Box” and introduce themselves to rum.  Those with an open mind will find that there are a number of great rums out there that ill fit into their palate range and will continue to enjoy them at a later time.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Angostura States All is Well After Age Statement Allegations

     Angostura, a Trinidad rum and bitters producer has “reviewed all internal processes” and found all is “in order” following allegations about the “integrity” of its rum age statements.   Acting CEO Genevieve Jodhan confirmed that all bulk rums exported by Angostura conform to the importing country’s rules of origin, citing compliance with internationally accepted manufacturing process standards.  In a statement released by Angostura, the business confirms it is “audited three times per year by an external accredited business standards company”.

     Genevivieve Jodhan  stated that all is accurate regarding the brand’s international rum portfolio.    Angostura Reserva, Angostura 5 YO, Angostura 7 YO, Angostura 1919, Angostura 1824 and Angostura 1787 all carry the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ARC) marque.   The marque is accredited by the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) and guarantees products bearing it are made from fermented molasses, distilled, aged and bottled according to Caribbean Common Market and the age statement is that of the youngest rum in the bottle.
     Claims of Angostura “buying bulk rum” and repackaging it for sale, “in breach of the European Union’s rules of origin” are simply not true.  Internal records and documents indicate that we have not breached any country’s rules of origin.”


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Kayak Life

     Here we are in the final weeks of Fall, 2016 and we are still able to be out in the kayak for a sunset cocktail cruise.  It is so beautiful here in the keys at sunset when the days keep getting shorter.  December 21 marks the shortest day of the year and the beginning of the Winter.  Here is to many more days of kayak cocktail hour at Bahia Honda this winter.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Bahama Bob's Cartavio After Dinner Cocktail

     Cartavio rums yield a very special flavor profile that lends itself very well to this the profile of this cocktail.   Tis is a wonderful semi sweet cocktail that lends itself to a wonderful after dinner cocktail for your holiday enjoyment.

     Cartavio Solera has a very smooth and balanced taste that reveals the skillful blending in the solera of 12 year old reserves matured in  Slovenian, Bourbon and Sherry white oak barrels, it’s dark amber color with slight aromas of toffee, nuts, banana and spices.

     Cartavio Black Barrel that is being used in the syrup has a special flavor that makes it work so well in the syrup.  It is 2 years old, this dark gold color with light sweet barrel aromas, that yield a flavor of oak and a slight touch of dried fruit on the palate.
Bahama Bob's Cartavio Cocktail
  • 1 1/2 oz. Cartavio Solera Rum
  • 1 1/2 oz. Bahama Bob's Cartavio Black Honey Syrup
  • 3/4 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

Place all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake until fully chilled.   Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and serve.
Bahama Bob's Cartavio Black Honey Syrup

  • 2/3 cup Cartavio Black Rum
  • 1/2 cup Pure Clover Honey
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
Place all ingredients into a pan and heat at 275 degrees until it begins to biol.  Make sure that you are stirring all of the time.  Reduce the temperature to 125 and keep stirring for another 5 minutes.  Allow to cool until it reaches a temperature that won't burn you to the touch and put into a dispenser.  Store in a refrigerator until needed.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Sugars in Rum that Get There from the Aging Barrels

Former Bourbon Barrels Filled With Rum
     There are small amounts of sugar in all rum. Most aged rums will have some sugars dissolved from the oak cask and often some from optional Caramel coloring.  Total amount of sugars are quite low, usually well below 1 gram/liter, but in certain cases it is quite possible to reach a few more grams per liter.   The sweet aromas of rum matured in used bourbon or new oak casks mostly come from sweet aromatic vanillin and fruity esters, not from the sugars.  However, sugars can have a significant role in the case of casks previously used for sweet wine or a sweetened spirit.

Barrels Repaired in Cooperage
     Another source of sugars in rum is wood. Oak is composed of three main macromolecules; cellulose, Hemicellulose and glucose.   Cellulose breaks down very slowly in alcohol-water solution extracting very small amounts of glucose to the rum.  Most sugars extracted from the cask come from hemicellulose, most of which are 5 carbon sugars.  

Large Aging Warehouse in Trinidad
     Probably the most important factor considering the amount of sugars in rum is the previous content of the cask. The most common type of cask is an ex-bourbon cask.  These will impart minimal amounts of sugars, often well under 50 mg/l/year and overall well below 1 gram/liter even during a long maturation.  The charred American oak cask used for bourbon is quite low on sugars to start with and the bourbon will extract a major part of the available sugars.  
      Rum can, and often does, contain added sugar or other sweeteners.  Most sweetened rums are sugared at the bottling phase, but sometimes sugar or molasses, cane juice, fruit etc has been added already into the cask and some of that sugar is bound to get into a cask that was used previously for rum.  Up to 40 grams/liter sugar contents have been reported in rum and up to 100 g/l in spiced and flavored  rums, but when the sugar added directly to cask the finished product is usually in the range of 5-20 grams/liter. 
Oloroso Casks Filled with Rum
   Significant amounts of sugar can be extracted from a sweet wine cask.   Sherry is by far the most used ex-wine cask in the rum industry.   Most sherries, such as fino, manzanilla, amontillado, palo cortado and most olorosos, are dry wines in the range of 0-5 grams/liter of sugars and add very little sugar to the cask.  The sweetness perceived in the olorosos often comes from high amounts of glycerol, not as much from sugars.  A notable exception is Pedro Ximenez wine, which nowadays is produced almost exclusively in Montilla-Moriles, a Spanish Denominación de Origen.  It is a sweet wine produced from late harvested dried PX grapes and it typically contains by law over 212 grams/liter of sugars. It is quite sweet even compared to other sweet wines, such as port that has 100-150 grams/liter, Sauternes at 100-200 grams/liter or a Tokaji that has 60-500 grams/liter.
    What does this all mean in the finished product?   It basically that sweetness in you rum may not be coming from added sugars.  By aging in final finishing in casks that were used for finishing sweet spirits and wines can impart their sweetness to the rum as it is being aged.  This is a process that takes time in the barrel, but it does give you not only a sweetness, but picks up some of the previous fill in  the barrel.  I love rums that have been finished in wine casks, they add a really nice finish to the final product.
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