Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Where Did the Name Rum Come From?

     “The origin of the word "rum" is overall quite unclear.    In an 1824 essay about the word's origin, Samuel Morewood, a British etymologist, suggested it might be from the British slang term for "the best", as in "having a rum time." He wrote: As spirits, extracted from molasses, could not well be ranked under the name whiskey, brandy or arrack, it would be called rum, to denote its excellence or superior quality.”  The harsh taste early rum was known for, Morewood would later suggested another possibility.  The use of the last syllable of the  Latin word for sugar is saccharum is an explanation commonly believed today.
     No matter what the original source, the name was already in common use by 1654, when the General Court of Connecticut ordered the confiscations of "whatsoever Barbados liquors, commonly called rum, kill devil and the like".   A short time later in May 1657, the General Court of Massachusetts also decided to make illegal the sale of strong liquor "whether known by the name of rumme, strong water, wine, brandy, etc.
     Currently the name used for rum is often based on its place of origin.   For rums from Spanish speaking locales, the word ron is used.   A ron anejo, Spanish for "old rum" indicates a rum that has been significantly aged and is often used for premium products.   Rhum is the term that typically distinguishes rum made from fresh sugar cane juice in French-speaking locales like Martinique.   A rhum vieux,  French for "old rum",  is an aged French style rum that often must meet several other local requirements.

     There are many other names that rum is known by like, Nelson's blood, kill-devil, demon water, pirate's drink, navy neaters, and Barbados water, Haiti has a moonshine like cane spirit known as Clairin.  Newfoundland rum is called screech and there are some low-grade West Indies rums are called tafia.

     Whatever you call it, rum is one the world’s most interesting and flavorful spirits.  Plus my favorite.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Prince Harry Visits the West Indies

Prince Harry of Wales
     Prince Harry of Wales is on a two week visit to the Caribbean as the Queen’s representative as the monarch no longer undertakes long distance engagements. Six of the seven countries the prince will visit are Commonwealths where the Queen is still head of state. Prince Harry will be stopping at  Antigua and Barbuda which are celebrating 35 years since the end of direct British rule along with a visit to Barbados and Guyana that are marking their 50 years since independence.

Prince Harry’s two-week visit to the West Indies will include visits to seven countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados and Guyana.   Prince Harry’s itinerary included the re-dedication for the island’s Clarence House in historic English Harbour.  It wasn’t the first trip to the island for Prince Harry, who first visited Antigua and Barbuda as a child with his mother, Princess Diana.   It will be Prince Harry’s second official visit to the Caribbean following his first trip to the West Indies in 2012, when he was representing Queen Elizabeth II during her diamond jubilee.

Prince Harry and Usain Bolt
     His itinerary will include a wide range of engagements, from meetings with conservationists to talks with well-known cultural figures and sporting stars.   Indeed, his last visit to the Caribbean saw a good-natured “race” between Prince Harry and Jamaican sporting legend Usain Bolt.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Appleton Estate Tour Gets $7.2 Million Dollar Renovation

     Gruppo Campari has revealed plans to invest $7.2 million to upgrade and renovate its Appleton Estate Rum Tour in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica.   The expansion of Appleton Estate’s visitor center will create new job opportunities for residents living in rural areas.   The expansion of Appleton’s visitor center will provide “a unique visitor experience”, plus an increase the number of tourists to the island.   The investment could also see the Appleton Estate Rum Tour become “one of the largest tourist attractions” on the south coast, according to the Jamaica Observer.
     The work includes the renovation of the existing facility, the addition of modern rooms to facilitate rum tastings, an expansive retail store, and a restaurant and lounge offering Appleton-infused Jamaica cuisine.   Gruppo Campari is also looking to revive a rail service for the tour by 2017 – which was dropped in the 1990's.  This will allow the number of visitors to be tripled.   The group is also looking at plans to offer a small-scale hotel in the near future.

     The upgrading of the facility and its expansion by another 25,000 square feet is expected to be complete by October 2017.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fall's Sunset Over the Mangroves

The Sunset has moved to the south with the change of seasons.  Today it is setting in the southern part of the sky instead of the more traditional western area.  The resulting location makes for a new and interesting picture as it is setting into the mangroves instead of the ocean.  I think that I like this view equally as well as watching it drop into the waters.  The hues and silhouettes  make for an interesting picture.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

November 25, 2016 Marked the Passing of Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz,

     Fidel Castro's passing has brought out many emotions for those who have lived for nearly six decades of his rule in Cuba.  There were strong emotions seen last night in Miami's Little Havana and many other places where Cuban Americans live.   Castro was born on August 13, 1926 and passed away on November 25, 2016 at the age of 90.

     President Obama's Statement on Fidel Castro's passing.  "At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans - in Cuba and in the United States - with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him."

     "For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends - bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba."

     "Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro's family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America."
      President Obama's statement I feel was well said and showed the true feelings between the people of the United States and Cuba.  It is my hope that the events of the past can be put aside and relations with Cuba will return to a normal and we will be able to visit and share with the wonderful people of Cuba.

Diageo to Move Rum Aging Warehousing to Maryland

Diageo St. Croix Captain Morgan Distillery
       Diageo USVI that they would be moving its U.S. Captain Morgan rum aging warehousing to Relay, Maryland, in its continuous efforts to improve efficiency.   According to a statement by Diageo, the move enables more efficiency in its supply chain and also saves the firm money by improving logistics costs. The transition will begin in the coming months and expected to be completed before the end of 2017.

       Crucially, Diageo says the change of location for aging warehousing would not come at the cost of approximately 10 jobs at the distillery.   During the transition, those who choose to continue working with Diageo will be offered other opportunities at the distillery.   "Everyone currently working in maturation and warehousing who wants to continue working at Diageo USVI will have an opportunity to apply for other roles within Diageo USVI”.

Cruzan USVI Distillery on St. Croix
     Diageo's presence in the territory has come to play a crucial role in the U.S.V.I.'s financial well-being. Along with spirits produced by Cruzan Rum, the territory collects just over $200 million in federal excise taxes annually, which the USVI uses to pay for its bonds.   The federal government collects $13.25 in taxes on every proof gallon of rum made in the territory and sold in the U.S., and returns most of the funds to the local government in the form of rum cover-over revenues.

Friday, November 25, 2016

What is Holding Rum Back from a Stronger Position in the World of Spirits?

     It’s a shame there is no rum authority that is the equivalent of the Scotch Whisky Association.  During the past year there has been a movement within the rum industry to standardize rum expressions.  This is being set up to allow the consumer to have a better idea of what they are getting.  Education is needed to circumvent lingering consumer confusion, especially where many of today’s rum drinkers are “very curious” an nowhere to go to find out what the rum they are buying really is.

     “In Jamaica, legislation is very clear: you cannot use the solera method.” This ensures any age statements on the bottles are the minimum age, rather than an average. And it would seem the discrepancies across the category are proving frustrating.   Much of the other dark rums frankly use the solera method, where there is no way to put a honest age statement for.  What is holding the category back from a full and meaningful premiumization?   The problem of rum is that it is perceived by the products of a few very large brands that have no category wide regulation.  This is dragging down the whole category.  Once you take out of the age statements, and taste all of these aged rums, the differences will become clear.   The way to address this issue is through the education of the customers.

     Richard Seale of Foursquare Distillery in Barbados is trying to put rum into classifications like those of the whiskey producers.  For years Richard Seale has been on a campaign to purify the rum category.  He wants rum to become an honest spirit with rules.   We can still make rums like we are with his system, but the public will better understand what they are really getting in the bottle.   Richard Seale and others have devised a new structure for the way rums are labeled.   Seale said, "We are proposing a new rum classification”, we have to get away from talking about rum in terms of color and country styles, which are meaningless.
     With a strong system to insure that the customer knows and understands what they are buying, the rum will be able to satisfy its wide variety of customer tastes.  Rum is in a unique situation in that rum’s customers run the range from entry level drinkers that only want the taste of additives like spices and flavorings to effecianatos that want to taste the pure flavors of the spirit and what the skills of the distiller and the barrel can add to it.  There is a place for all of these styles of rum; the thing that it will take to make the category grow is honesty, not only in age statements, but in additives as well.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving from Key West

    Thanksgiving in different places around the United States yield many different pictures.   Along the northern tier of states might be a white landscape of snow covered land. or the colors of fall for the middle tiers, but for us in the southernmost part of the country it is a tropical day that is expected to be in the high 70's or low 80's.

     My picture of Thanksgiving is one of blue skies and blue waters, but most of all I'm just thankful to be with the people that love me and make my life wonderful.   I'm hoping that your Thanksgiving is just as warm and wonderful even if it is freezing outside.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

United States Report Signals Shift in Alcohol Policy

Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General
     A “landmark” report from the US surgeon general that signals a shift in alcohol policy towards reducing stigma surrounding addiction has been welcomed by trade associations in the country.   Published 17 November, 2016, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, marks the first time a US Surgeon General has dedicated a report to substance misuse and related disorders.
    “Alcohol and drug addiction take an enormous toll on individuals, families, and communities,” said Dr Vivek Murthy, US surgeon general.   “Most Americans know someone who has been touched by an alcohol or a drug use disorder. Yet 90 percent of people with a substance use disorder are not getting treatment and that has to change.”
     The report calls for action to reduce the stigma associated with addiction, to change the way people perceive substance abuse disorders, to better recognize substance misuse and to expand access to treatment.  “It’s time to change how we view addiction as a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, urgency and compassion. The way we address this crisis is a test for America.”       “We are pleased to see the surgeon general’s report acknowledges that moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy diet for adults,” said The Distilled Spirits Council, Beer Institute and Wine Institute in a joint statement.

     “We also welcome the Surgeon General’s efforts to destigmatize treatment and recovery for those for whom alcohol consumption is a concern.   “The prevailing and widely accepted research shows that one-size-fits-all policies, including advertising bans and tax increases, fail to effectively address the problem of alcohol abuse, divert resources from more targeted approaches, and unfairly and negatively impact moderate and responsible consumers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hard Cider from Rum

     Here is an idea to warm you up as the winter temperatures approach.  Try this rum based cider made with a really flavorful syrup.  I think you will really enjoy this fun fall cocktail that doesn't have any pumpkin in it.

Bahama Bob's Hard Rum Cider
  • 2 oz. Papa Pilar Dark Rum
  • 1 Bar Spoon of Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Bahama Bob's Cider Syrup
  • 2 oz. Unfiltered Apple Juice
Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice and a cinnamon/nutmeg sugar rim. Top with Fresh ground nutmeg.

Bahama Bob’s Cider Syrup
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Sugar in the Raw
  • 2 cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. Whole Clove
 Lightly toast cinnamon and clove. Add water a steep spices until water starts to boil. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Simmer at 200 degrees for another 7 to 10 minutes. Cover and allow to cool back down to  room temperature. Strain out all spices. Refrigerate and should be good for about 2 weeks.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Independent Stave Company Builds a Barrel Research Center

     Independent Stave Company has begun construction of a research center dedicated to oak innovation and experimentation for the spirits industry. It is being built in Lebanon, Kentucky, as an addition to the company's Kentucky Cooperage campus. Once complete, the new research center will serve as a cutting edge resource on oak maturation for ISC's distillers in Kentucky and around the world.   "We are passionate about spirits, including working closely with distillers to foster innovation and develop new products," said Andrew Wiehebrink, ISC director of spirit research and innovation.

     The research center will include a laboratory, a library of experiments, a tasting room, and offices for ISC's Kentucky-based research and customer service team.   "We don't want to just talk about what is possible," said Jeff LaHue, ISC's director of strategic partnerships. "Instead, we can demonstrate through blind tastings, sensory science and chemical analysis."   Since the 1990s, ISC has conducted hundreds of barrel experiments and the company, working with its distillery partners, continues to lay down barrels every year. The company's innovation team has increased the number of experiments in play for the past three years and many of these projects will come of age for evaluation as the research center becomes fully operational.

     "Independent Stave Company is committed to continuously improving the quality, consistency and variety of the barrels we offer," said Brad Boswell, ISC president. "This research center is further evidence of how we translate that vision into action to the benefit of our customers."   As part of its mission, the research center will also explore how to enhance structural integrity and recovery yields.

     "We are looking at all the elements to build a barrel-oak species, wood age, barrel shape and size, how we engineer the barrels, all the materials used-to optimize the barrels we craft," said Wiehebrink, who works directly with ISC's key spirits customers on innovation projects. "We encourage distillers to bring us their ideas and challenges. We know how to transform ideas into reality, with sensory and science-backed results."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Iconic Bahia Honda Railroad and Highway Bridge

     The double decker bridge at Bahia Honda State Park is one of the most incredible landmarks in the Florida Keys.   At sunset it becomes even more beautiful.
     The Bahia Honda railroad bridge was originally built by Henry Flagler is part of the FEC's Overseas Railroad.   Opened in 1912, Flagler funded the railway construction between Miami and Key West using his own personal funds.   It was purchased by the State of Florida and converted for highway use in 1938.    Rather than rebuilding the bridge, the top of the structure was redecked for use as the Overseas Highway, the existing deck inside the truss was too narrow for vehicular traffic.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Kraken Rum Unveils a New Black Ceramic Limited Edition Bottle

     The Kraken Black Spiced Rum has launched a limited edition ceramic bottle designed by Proximo Spirits.   Though the liquid and branding remain the same, the latest ceramic bottling is glossy black to show off the Kraken design and includes intricate raised and embossed details.   The design is based upon a Victorian rum bottle,    This glossy black vessel features two handles, like so many archival rum vessels that allow for easy portability.
     The Kraken Rum is imported rum from the Caribbean that is blended with 13 spices.   Named for the Kraken, a mythical sea beast, leading to the mystique of the legend ,   Kraken Rum delivers “hints of cinnamon, vanilla, cherry and coffee aromas”.   Suitable for vegans and gluten-free, Kraken is 40% abv and is often served with ginger beer and a lime wedge to make a wonderfully refreshing cocktail that takes you back to the turmoil of the sea..

     The brand said that “only a very limited number” of the ceramic bottles have been produced.   The new bottle is available now in the UK through Amazon.  Hopefully there will be other locals seeing this beautiful black bottle on the shelves before too much longer.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Americans, You Don't Need a Passport to Come to Key West

     Key West just feels like a Caribbean Island, fully tropical with the quaint styling of the buildings, attitudes of its people, and the history of the town.  It is truly a tropical island that you can drive to along one of the most beautiful roads in the world.  You can look out on the north side and see the Gulf of Mexico, and to the South the Atlantic Ocean.   Yes this is part of Florida in name only, because one you are here you just know that you should have to show a passport to get on the island.
     Many of the residents of Key West were immigrants from the Bahamas, known as Conchs, pronounced "conks", who arrived in increasing numbers after 1830.   Many were sons and daughters of Loyalists who fled to the nearest Crown soil during the American Revolution. In the 20th century many residents of Key West started referring to themselves as Conchs, and the term is now generally applied to all residents born in Key West, but those who have lived in Key West for seven years or more are called “Freshwater Conchs.   Many of the black Bahamian immigrants who arrived later lived in Bahama Village, an area of Old Town centered around Petronia Street.
     Key West is closer to Havana, 90 miles than it is to Miami, 129 miles .    In 1890, Key West had a population of nearly 18,800 and was the biggest and richest city in Florida.   Half the residents were said to be of Cuban origin, and Key West, Cubans were actively involved in reportedly 200 factories in town, producing 100 million cigars annually.  Jose Marti made several visits to seek recruits for Cuban independence starting in 1891 and founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party during his visits to Key West.   Key West was flooded with refugees from Cuba and continue to come ashore, on at least one occasion, most notably in April 2003, flew hijacked Cuban Airlines planes into the city's airport.

     Key West is located at 24°33′33″N 81°47′03″W.  The maximum elevation above sea level is about 18 feet, a 1 acre area known as Solares Hill.  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles, of which 5.9 square miles is land and 1.5 square miles is water.  Since the 1940's, the island has more than doubled in size via landfill.   The new section on the eastern side is called "New Town." It contains shopping centers, retail malls, residential areas, schools, ball parks, and The Key West International Airport.

     In 1982, the “Conch Republic” seceded from the Union. Not Really, but they were very upset about a border patrol blockade set up on the only highway in and out of the Florida Keys.  The secession was a little tongue-in-cheek, but the roots of the battle live on, especially during the annual Conch Republic Days.   This town is one part tourist mecca, and one part residential, Duval Street and a better part of “Old Town” is the crazy fun filled part of town, and the eastern side in general is the residential area, where it is only half as crazy as “Old Town”

     Key West has a tropical savanna climate, similar to that of the Caribbean Islands.  Like most tropical climates, Key West has only a small difference in monthly mean temperatures between January,the coolest month and July, the warmest month.  The annual range of monthly mean temperatures around 15 °F. The Florida Keys are one of the only locations on the mainland United States known to never have had a frost or freeze.  The lowest temperature on record is 41 °F on January 12, 1886 and January 13, 1981. Prevailing easterly trade winds and sea breezes suppress the usual summertime heating, with temperatures rarely reaching 95 °F. There are on average, only 55 days per year with 90 °F or greater highs, with the average window for such readings June 10 through September 22, shorter than almost the entire southeastern United States.  However, low temperatures during this period often remain above 80 °F. The all-time record high temperature is 97 °F on July 19, 1880, and August 29, 1956.
     It is easy to see why many people that arrive for the first time in Key West, they feel like they are in some exotic Caribbean island.  This island in 100% America, and a really great place to live if you enjoy the fun loving atmosphere of the people who visit and live here.   Be careful, many of the residents came here on vacation and never returned home.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What is the Difference Between a Wine and a Rum Drunk? Nothing!

     Here's the thing, a 'Gin drunk' isn't real. Neither is the idea that tequila turns you angry, or the stereotype of beer making you loud.   Plenty of people think of alcohol as a sort of personality management tool, you may turn to X liquor when you want to be the liveliest version of yourself, or steer clear of Y drink if you want to avoid sulking in a corner of the bar.  The result is more a product of your own psyche than a result of the specific type of booze you're drinking.   Here are some things to know about the drinking myth that just won't die.

     All alcohol is created equal - but the same can't be said of all drinking session     In the U.S., a standard drink is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as 14 grams of pure alcohol, the equivalent of about 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or a single 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor (though that definition varies pretty dramatically from country to country). Chemically, the alcohol in any one of those things is the same as the alcohol in any other alcoholic beverage, it's all ethanol, and it works the same way whether you gulp it out of a shot glass or sip it from a bottle.  "Fundamentally, alcohol is alcohol whichever way you slice it."

     The difference, then, is in when and where you drink it, and whom you're drinking it with. "It depends on what mood you were in when you started drinking and the social context." If you're doing tequila shot after tequila shot, you're probably geared up for a wild night anyway.  On the other hand, if you're slowly working your way through a bottle of wine, odds are higher you're settling in for a more mellow evening and, by extension, a more mellow drunk.   Contrary to the way we see things, it's the context, not the drink, that matters, because the context often determines the drink.   When it comes to alcohol, we're mind-bogglingly susceptible to the power of suggestion.  Thinking you're drunk can be enough to make you act drunk, even when you're stone-cold sober.    In one 2003 study, for instance, half the subjects were led to believe that the tonic water they were drinking was actually vodka; compared to the people who knew what was really in their glass, these faux drinkers could be more easily swayed to remember false events surrounding the session, and more confident in their responses.

     Similarly, a lot of your reaction to what you're drinking comes down to how you think you should be feeling, it is like you are acting from a script.   But it's not all in your head, the mixers, not the booze, are to blame for any side effects beyond drunkenness itself.   Let's compare two common combos, a rum and Coke and a vodka-soda, Think about how you'd feel if you drank each of those mixers on their own, taking booze out of the equation - a sugary, caffeine-y Coke is going to give you a buzz that plain old tonic water won’t.    A lot of this is a fine line difference depending on how your body reacts to the mixers that you choose to blend with your alcohol.  I know that personally I tend to stay mellower sipping straight rum and am able to last longer into the night compared to drinking mixed cocktails.  The simple fact is that your body on average will metabolize about 0.016% BAC per hour.   If you are at the legal limit of .08% BAC, it will take about 5 hours to get back to a 0% BAC.  Remember a standard drink will add 0.02% to your BAC and your body will metabolize it at a rate of 0.01% per hour.  If it takes you an hour to sip straight liquor versus 30 minutes to finish a mixed cocktail containing the same amount of alcohol, you will raise your BAC at the end of an hour to 0.03% versus 0.01% drinking straight liquor.

     What you drink has little to do with your drunk, it is more about your attitude and what you drink it with.  This was an interesting thing for me, but I believe that it is correct.  You don't get drunker on rum than beer, unless you drink more of one than the other.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cognac Fernand and Friends Have Come up With an Overproof Rum for Punches and Cocktails

     Plantation O.F.T.D. Overproof Rum – a blend of rums from Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados bottled at 69% abv.   The rum has been created by Alexandre Gabriel, founder of brand owner Cognac Ferrand and master blender of Plantation Rum, with input from David Wondrich, a spirits and cocktail historian; Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry, proprietor of Latitude 29 in New Orleans; Martin Cate, proprietor of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco; Paul McFadyen, proprietor of Trailer Happiness in London; Paul McGee, proprietor of Lost Lake in Chicago; and Scotty Schuder, proprietor of Dirty Dick in Paris.
     The rum, which was brainstormed over a “secret meeting” in New Orleans last summer when the group tasted a number of historical overproof rums and research samples, has been created for use in cocktails and punches.   The group gathered at Chateau de Bonbonnet in December 2015 to taste samples created by Gabriel, unanimously selecting the rum that would become Plantation O.F.T.D Overproof Rum.
The acronym O.F.T.D. stands for ‘Old Fashioned Traditional Dark’.   “At Maison Ferrand, I often feel that we are a team of misfits having fun,” said Gabriel. “With the O.F.T.D. band of rum geeks, I felt at home.
     “I will never forget the special moments we had creating this rum: the secret meeting at Arnaud’s, the week in Cognac, the many samples tasted and the discussions about the true nature of overproof rum spoken with the same gravitas and intensity of statesmen discussing peace treaties. And all the time we were having a ball!   “These special moments of communion with a talented and passionate team are the reason I love my job. These guys are my rum brothers for life.”

     Plantation O.F.T.D Overproof Rum is available across the US at a suggested price of $31.99.   Earlier this year, Cognac Ferrand released its pineapple-infused Plantation Rum, "Stiggin’s Fancy as a permanent annual limited edition in the United States following its successful debut last year

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Superboats to a Supermoon, What a Week in Key West

     Things seem to keep happening here in Key West, This week we had the Superboat Championship Races all week long, and to cap off the week, we have the visit of the supermoon.  This was not just any supermoon, it is the closest the moon has been to the earth since 1948.
     There will be an amazing spectacle tonight as the first supermoon in almost 70 years appears in the night sky. In fact, if you’re younger than 68 you have never witnessed this record-breaking supermoon in your lifetime.
     The technical term for a Supermoon is perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. In astronomy, the term syzygy refers to the straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies.  When the Moon is close to the lunar nodes of its path during syzygy, it causes a total solar eclipse or a total lunar eclipse.  Tomorrow morning, November 14, 2016 the moon will be the closest it has been to Earth since January 26,1948.   It will appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the average monthly full moon. Of course that’s dependent on hopefully viewing the supermoon without the obstruction of a cloudy night. Thankfully it appears most of the United States will remain mostly clear for tonight’s supermoon.

     If you happen to miss the moon tonight, you’ll have to wait until November 25, 2034 so take some time to go outside tonight and witness the impressive moon.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Volume Two of Mount Gay Origin Series has Arrived

Mount Gay Origin Series Volume Two
     Volume One of the Origin Series featured a chance to understand the differences between aging in Virgin Casks versus being aged in Charred Casks.    Volume Two allows you to further understand the distilling process and how it effects the flavor of the rum.
     Volume two of the Origin Series is a pairing rums with identical ingredients, fermentation and maturity, but different in the way that they are distilled.    Both are distilled in copper stills, but one is a pot still and the other is a column still.   This is a great chance for you to answer the question of the difference between these two distilling methods.     Allen Smith, told us , "We created the Origin Series collections so that we could give rum drinkers the unique opportunity to experience rum by tasting the pure essence of the distinct distillation methods and a deeper understanding of how each part of the process can change the taste of rum entirely”.
Mount Gay Pot Still

     Pot-distilled rum is derived from the old-fashioned copper pot with the big coil attached to it, basically like those used by the moonshiner's.    This style of still will produce between 60 and 80 percent pure alcohol.   The remaining materials consist of water and various flavorful organic compounds, some really good and others not so good.  The output from a pot still is thick-textured and can be really flavorful as a result of the remaining materials.   The richness of the pot stilled expression makes it clear that there is a lot more than just the barrel giving it the full and rounded flavor.   A column still is a tall, very efficient copper column similar to those used to refine crude oil into gasoline.    Capable of refining the fermentation to well over 90 percent pure alcohol through this method.  The output from these stills is a lot purer, but not much flavor or texture.  When distilled to over 95%, the output is called a neutral spirit, because it has virtually flavorless.   The flavors that are tasted in the column still expression are mostly from the barrels, because there is little to no flavor in the alcohol that comes out of the still 
     Mount Gay Rum’s flavor profile is partially obtained by the blending of pot stilled and column still produced rums, Origin Series Volume Two was made to offer those interested in a deeper understanding of the subtleties created by each still, allowing rum drinkers a better understanding of the differences. Rum aficionados can explore the different aromas and taste of the two rums side by side the Mount Gay way, neat or with a single cube.
The collection became available in  October 2016 at top end liquor providers throughout the United States and will generally be price at about $95.00

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Today is the Finals of the 2016 Superboat International Championship Races Here in Key West

     The First Race goes off at 10:00 am followed by Race 2,3, and 4 beginning at 12:30.  Today's races are the ones for all of the marbles in the championship.  Wednesday and Friday races were for 1/2 normal points, but Today is  for full points in each race.  The results of this weeks races will have an effect or the final points tally for the 2016 championship in each of the classes.

Sunday • November 13 , 2016 – Race Day #3
7:30 am
Racer Physicals: Truman Waterfront Registration Tent
Race Morning Drivers Meeting-Truman Waterfront Registration Tent
7:00 am
5:00 pm
Race Village Open – Race Boats on Display: Truman Waterfront
7:00 am
4:00 pm
Passes – Credentials: Truman Waterfront Entrance
7:00 am
5:00 pm
Launch & Recovery of Race Boats: Truman Waterfront
8:00 am
1:00 pm
Fueling: Official Fuel Southern Racing Fuels – Truman Waterfront
Start of 1st Race – Off Truman Waterfront
12:30 pm
Harbor Open for Commercial Traffic
Start of 2nd Race – Off Truman Waterfront
1:30 pm
Start of 3rd Race – Off Truman Waterfront
Start of 4th Race – Off Truman Waterfront
7:00 pm
9:00 pm
Race Award Presentation: Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel 3841 N Roosevelt Blvd- Racer Pass, Guest Credential or VIP pass required