Friday, August 31, 2018

The Thump Keg What It Does and How It Does It!

Mid 1700's Caribbean Double Thump Keg Pot Still

      While generally associated with the backwoods whiskey still, the thump keg, or “doubler”, is a very old design element that probably arrived with the early settlers and was incorporated into the stills they built on arriving in North America. Indeed, some older European stills made use of what appears to be chambers that functioned as thump kegs, so the principle was surely well known to colonists from the British Isles and the continent. The thump keg is one of the most clever and iconic design elements of the traditional hillbilly still whose purpose, briefly stated, is to distill the output of the pot still a second time, without having to run the distillate through the still twice.
Flow Diagram of Double Thump Keg Pot Still
An ordinary pot still, without a thump keg, is capable of distilling a wash to a “low wine”, which will be about 40-50% alcohol. A second, or even a third, distillation is needed to achieve the high alcohol content necessary to make high-proof whiskey, rum or other spirit.   Most European distillers still use swan-neck pot stills and will have both a “beer stripper” to distill the wash to the low-wine state, and a second “refining still” to rectify the low wine to a high-proof spirit. In the hillbilly still, the thump keg serves the same purpose as this second, refining still.
A Glass Double Thump Keg shows How Gases Heat and Boil Contents
 of the Keg, Distilling the  Contents 
     The thump keg does this in a very clever manner, utilizing waste heat from the still pot for its
function. Many shiners in fact prefer to use a wooden barrel for the thump keg, precisely because it loses less of this useful heat than would a metal one. As the hot vapor comes out of the still, it exits the arm into the low wine that placed at the bottom of the thump keg.  The low wine vapors condense as the bubble into the keg making a thumping sound periodically erupting out of this pipe that creates the characteristic bumping noise giving this piece of equipment its name.   This hot vapor continuously heats the low wine to the boiling point of alcohol, thus distilling it a second time, and producing a much higher-proof product than could otherwise be obtained in a single run through a pot still.  Many of the distillers will add another thump keg to the system allowing the vapor to distill a third time before entering the condenser to turn it back to liquid.
     Some, including traditional moonshiners and the connoisseurs of single-malt, pot-distilled Scotch whiskeys, would probably argue that this separation is a bit too good, and that the column strips out too many of these tasty cogeners, producing a bland, albeit strong, spirit. They would maintain that properly-managed pot still set up with a thump keg can deliver just the right amount of these compounds to create a full-flavored, robust spirit that indeed has tastes rather than being a neutral spirit like vodka.   To what extent this is true and how much is folklore is debatable, but it is inarguably the case that the flavor-changes between cuts that are less sharply pronounced and more of these flavors will be present in the final product. 

     In the Discovery Channel series, “Moonshiners”, former shiner Tim Smith maintains that his old family recipe, made in a modern distillery and distilled using a column still just doesn’t taste the same, and even invests several thousand dollars to install a high-tech thump keg to replace the fractionating column.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Shaken Drinking with James Bond and Ian Fleming

     Johansson, Hiddleston and Weil, who founded acclaimed London bar Swift along with Rosie Stimpson, collaborated with The Ian Fleming Estate and Ian Fleming Publications on the project.  The book, titled Shaken – Drinking with James Bond & Ian Fleming, the 007 official cocktail book includes 50 cocktail recipes inspired by both the author’s life and the adventures of James Bond.
     Cocktails are at the glamorous heart of every Bond story. Whether it's the favored Martini, which features in almost every book, or a refreshing Negroni or Daiquiri, strong, carefully crafted drinks are a consistent feature of the Bond novels. Recipes are divided into five categories: Straight Up; On The Rocks; Tall; Fizzy; and Exotic. Sip on inventions such as Smersh, Moneypenny, That Old Devil M and Diamonds are Forever, as well as classic Bond cocktails such as the Vesper and, of course, the Dry Martini. Each recipe is accompanied by extracts from Fleming's writings - be it the passage where the classic drink was featured or a place, character or plot that inspired one of the drinks.
     Ten of these serves come from the books themselves, while Johansson and Hiddleston created 40 new recipes inspired by the “people, places and plots” of the original novels. Weil, meanwhile, produced the copy.  In addition to the recipes, Shaken looks at the history of the world’s most famous spy, with anecdotes from Fleming’s real-life inspirations. 
     “We were thrilled to be thrown into the world of Mr. Fleming and Bond, were completely engulfed by the mysteries and mayhem Fleming created,” said Johansson.  “We wanted to bring the classic cocktail history within it up to the modern day. It is an honor to showcase what we think Fleming and his characters would be pictured as drinking in 2018.”
     Ian Fleming’s nephew, Fergus Fleming, has written the book’s introduction. He said: “These cocktails reflect that behind everything there is a story waiting to be told.  “So take comfort as you raise the glass that it contains no ordinary drink. You have mixed a measure of Ian Fleming’s imagination.”
     Explore Bond creator Ian Fleming's writings on the pleasures of drinking and sample 50 delicious cocktail recipes inspired by his work - developed by award-winning bar Swift.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Making a Rum Sour

     Sours are an old favorite classic cocktail.  Whiskey is the usual spirit found in sours, but rum makes a wonderful one as well.  Here is an idea for a really nice rum sour.  Yolo 10 year old rum is a great rum for this cocktail, it has strong notes of whiskey, but so much more depth.  It makes a great mixer for any whiskey based cocktail as well.

Bahama Bob's Yolo Rum Sour

  • 2 oz. Yolo 10 Year Old Rum
  • ¾ oz. Cinnamon Simple Syrup (Recipe Below)
  • ¾ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice 
  • 1 ½ oz. Dolin’s Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Egg white 
Place all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled.  Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a lime and a cherry.

Bahama Bob’s Cinnamon Simple Syrup
  • ¾ Cup Sugar in the Raw
  • ¾ Cups of Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
Place the water and cinnamon stick in a pan and heat at 375 degrees until it boils, reduce the heat to 250 degrees and stir in the sugar until it has all dissolved.   Reduce heat to 220 degrees and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Place in the refrigerator for about an hour to cool before using. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Here is a New Taste for Whiskey Drinkers

Bacardí Ocho
     There has been a lot of people that have become something of “whiskey snobs” in the past years, be here is a rum that can offer you a chance to try something else that will widen your horizons in the area of brown spirits.  This is one of those rums that gives you a lot of the satisfaction of whiskey with more layers of flavor.
     Created in 1862, BACARDÍ OCHO remained the sole preserve of the Bacardí family for seven generations. Used only for the most special occasions, this golden sipping rum is one of the oldest private rum blends in the world.     Each batch is made from a special selection of barrel-aged reserve rums and aged for a minimum of 8 years, giving it a refined flavor with notes of prune, apricot, nutmeg and vanilla.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Jamaican Rum Apple Pie

     There is a great recipe that comes from the mountains of Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee called Apple Pie Shine.   I've had several opportunities to enjoy this wonderful concoction on several occasions when I was living in North Carolina.  There is not any moonshine here in Key West, but my friend Nicolas Feris, importer of Rum Fire Overproof Rum has sent me a bottle to experiment with and I decided this would be a perfect fit for my Jamaican Style Apple Pie.  Give this a try, I think that you will enjoy it.  You might want to make more than just one quart, because it does disappear quickly.

Bahama Bob’s Jamaican Style Rum Apple Pie
  • Granny Smith and Gala Apples
  • ½ Cup of Raisins
  • ¾ Cup of Cinnamon Dark Sugar Syrup (see recipe below)
  • Top the Jar with Rum Fire Overproof Rum 

     Cut up apples into medium chunks with core and seeds removed, but do not peel.  Put raisins and sugar syrup in jar first.  Put equal amounts of both kinds of apples in the jar filling to the top
Top the jar to the brim with the RumFire Overproof Rum, close tightly and shake.  Repeat the shaking daily until ready to be served,  It will be ready to drink in a week or so.  However, leaving it for up to a month or more will make better.   If you like it sweeter, add some of the simple syrup to sweeten to taste.   This recipe is for one quart, but you can multiply the recipe by as many quarts that you choose to make. use a Ball quart glass jar for the container.

Bahama Bob’s Cinnamon Simple Syrup
  • ¾ Cup Sugar in the Raw
  • ¾ Cups of Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick

Place the water and cinnamon stick in a pan and heat at 375 degrees until it boils, reduce the heat to 250 degrees and stir in the sugar until it has all dissolved.   Reduce heat to 220 degrees and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Place in the refrigerator for about an hour to cool.  Pour into a mason jar.  Again, multiply this recipe by the number of jars that you are making.

Notes on Apples: A firm apple works best in this recipe. I like a mix between a sweet and sour apple.
  • Tart Apples:   Granny Smith, Jonathan, Jonagold or Winesap
  • Sweeter Apples:  Red Delicious, Honey Crisp, Gala or Rome Beauty

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Port of Spain, Trinidad from the Mountain Hotel

     Port of Spain as viewed from our Hotel atop the mountain in 2012.  There was a lot of damage to the buildings in Port of Spain as a result of the earthquake on Tuesday, but the view of the city is very awe inspiring.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Venezuelan Earthquake Hits Trinidad and Tobago Hard

The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center reported that there were at least seven aftershocks from the earthquake, about one every three minutes. The quake was measured at a magnitude of 6.9 in Trinidad and lasted 90 seconds, seismic specialists said. They also noted that it was one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the country since 1968.
“Based on the observations so far, Trinidad suffered minor damages,” Illias Papadopoulos, a seismologist at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center told the Miami Herald. “It should be noted, though, that the information collected over the years indicates that this is not the biggest possible event we expect in the vicinity of Trinidad & Tobago.
“Historically, we have evidence of even larger events, which are expected to cause higher levels of ground shaking, and consequently more damage. ‘’
The Trinidad Express reported that the country was “stunned” by the quake as residents fled their homes.
“That was so scary,” Vaughn Ramdeen, who lives in Arima, Trinidad, tweeted. “Couldn’t do anything but remain in one spot. Still trembling. The house was shaking like crazy. We ran out. Thankfully there are no power lines so didn’t have to worry about anything falling on us. It lasted about a minute.”
Electricity and telephone outages were reported in some parts of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago’s capital. Videos circulating on social media showed groceries falling off store shelves, buildings with cracks, and a piece of a mountain in Chaguaramas along Trinidad’s northwest peninsula falling into the ocean.
There were no immediate reports of casualties as the country waited to hear back from disaster and preparedness workers who fanned out across the country to provide a report.
Read More at 
Hoping that things are alright for our friends at the House of Angostura in Trinidad and at DUSA and Sana Teresa Distilleries in Venezuela.  Earthquakes of that magnitude can lead to finding many buildings unusable, the long term damage is rarely seen at first.  Best wishes for your safety.

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Algae Blooms Are a Real Problem, Even for the Keys

A/C Filter Filled With Algae
This year we have had an additional amount of algae down here in the keys.  How do I know, the best scientific indicator I have at my access,my Air Conditioner.  Living on a boat, my A/C unit draws seawater into the condenser to chill the gasses and algae clogs this system.  I have had to clean the filter and back flush the system more often this year than normal.  Not a highly scientific instrument, but a good indicator.  
   Here in the Keys, where many take the preservation of our natural resources so seriously, blue green algae is cause for alarm even though it isn’t in the Florida Bay.  But it is closely related to local problems in Florida Bay — specifically the drought of 2015 that killed approximately 50,000 acres of sea grass. The algae to the north, and the high salinity conditions of Florida Bay. Both connected to the reconfiguration of the Everglades in the early 20th century to “drain the swamp.”
Blue Green Algae
Can the “blue green algae” bloom spread to the Keys?
The short answer is NO.  “Once it’s exposed to saltwater, it dies. The idea that it would make it all the way down to the Keys is not plausible,” said Shannon Estenoz, a Key West native and chief operating officer for the Everglades Foundation.  The algae clogging the Caloosahatchee River to the west of Lake Okeechobee, and the St. Lucie River to the east, is a freshwater bacteria that is able to photosynthesize. The nutrients, or agricultural fertilizer, are the fuel of the crisis.
Have there been algae blooms in the Keys?
Yes, but not like that.  Algae blooms in the Keys are the result of “die-offs” or temperature spikes. When the water gets too salty, or too warm, seagrass dies. Its nutrients are then released into the water column, acting as a natural fertilizer for algae.  “That sets off a chain reaction,” said Tom Van Lent, of the Everglades Foundation and a resident of Key Largo. “Small algae clogs the pores of sponges which clean water, and when the sponges die, that blocks even more light and kills more seagrass.”
What about the red tide?
Red Tide
It’s a naturally occurring algae bloom, first reported in the 16th Century by exploring Spaniards. It only occurs in saltwater and it originates offshore, so the connection to man made pollution is unclear Scientists monitor red tide. There is no reported bloom in the Florida Keys currently. Scientists can forecast red tide movement using wind and water current data. In addition to killing fish, it can also affect the human respiratory system. Not to sound too technical here, but it feels “burny”, both in the lungs and in the eyes.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Walking Dead’s Tom Payne to Star in Kraken Rum Ad

Tom Payne

     The Kraken Black Spiced Rum has launched a new campaign to celebrate “epic storytelling” starring The Walking Dead actor Tom Payne.  “It’s hard to beat the cinematic approach of an epic television ad, and Tom Payne really dove into this role.”
     British actor Tom Payne, of The Walking Dead fame, stars in Kraken’s latest ad.  The 30-second television spot features an encounter with the titular creature – a mythical giant squid-like sea monster – which is recounted in “tavern tall-tale glory” by Payne.  The ad “capitalises on the cultural appetite for epic storytelling” and is targeted at the brand’s audience of comic book, video game, sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero fans.
     The scene opens in a dimly lit bar, with the audience transported into a weathered, shadowy atmosphere reminiscent of old maritime haunts.  The campaign will also include tastings and fan appreciation activities at live gatherings such as Big Adventure Music Festival and Turner E-League competitions.
     “Since we first introduced The Kraken Rum years ago, the dark mystery of the character – and the rum – struck a particular chord with passionate fans of sci-fi and fantasy. That sets a high bar, because we’re in a golden age of storytelling and this audience has unfettered access to fantastic, cinematic stories in comics, on TV, at the movies, and on their video game consoles,” said Michelle Yukhtman, senior brand manager for The Kraken Rum at Proximo Spirits.  The ad will run from 20 August until 31 October.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Making Your Booze from Spontaneous Fermentation

     Spontaneous fermentation is what happens when a distiller leaves the inoculation, the moment when yeast and bacteria come in contact with the wash.  Whatever organisms happen to be in the air or on the fruit that they are fermenting are the ones that make the fermentation work.   This is different from the process of most mass-produced booze, where industrialized, controlled yeast strains or blends are deliberately poured into a sugary liquid. All they know is that the fermentation will be, as advertised, spontaneous.
Classic Spontaneous Fermentation in Haiti for Clarin Production
     As we learned more about yeast, the more regulated and controlled it became. The goal of any alcohol producer was to deliver a consistent product, and the more they refined yeast strains, the easier it was to replicate the exact recipe of a beer or wine. But as any post-punk enthusiast will tell you, humans were born to rebel. After all this control in the world of fermentation, the focus has started to shift back toward the unexpected, the spontaneous. We're embracing ancient fermentation methods, and it's something to get excited about.

     100 percent exciting is the right word to describe spontaneously fermented booze, each sip pushes you closer to the edge of your seat. There is no right or wrong flavor. There is no certainty, no clear path to perfection. A second after the glass leaves your lips and is lowered to the table, you're already lifting it back up for clarification. What am I drinking? What was that flavor? Where can I get more?

     This fermentation method is nothing new. In fact, it's the oldest method of booze making there is. Before humans knew what yeast, bacteria, or ride-sharing apps were, they made party liquids by letting fruit juice or sugary water hang around in big jugs until something happened. It wasn't until the 17th century, when a Dutch scientist named Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (great name, btw) observed microorganisms under a magnifying lens that we even knew that these little bugs existed. And it wasn't until Louis Pasteur actually discovered how yeast works in 1859 that we realized the role it played in fermentation.

     Spontaneously fermented liquor is seen much less frequently than other alcoholic beverages, but that scarcity is what makes spontaneously fermented liquor so special.   Clairin, a spirit that has been made in Haiti for hundreds of years and recently started being imported into the United States, starts with sugar, as rum does, but the liquid is inoculated through spontaneous fermentation. The resulting spirit tastes something like drinking a plantain smoothie through a straw made from just-chopped sugar cane. The fermentation technique brings a fruity, vegetal element, part palm leaves and caramelized bananas. From a flavor standpoint, it's a most captivating flavor from a liquor, Clairin makes many other rums seem boring.

But here's why spontaneous fermentation is something to seek out right now: It's a sign that the makers are so confident in their technique and understanding of fermentation that they're willing to forfeit control of the most vital part of the process. And they're having fun doing it. "I love the dedication it takes to start up a spontaneous program.  The results can be so beautiful."
Spontaneous fermentation is equal parts obsessive mastery and blind trust, and it's as much a result of the makers as it is the places, plants, and soils from which the ingredients come. It's about getting as close to the word natural as you can. It's a finger in the face of an industry obsessed with control, industrialized production, and a dogmatic adherence to tradition.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Depaz VSOP Reserve Speciale

     Depaz VSOP Reserve Speciale is noted as being a complex agricole, perhaps the taste of the reddish brown rhum deriving from the Plantation de la Montagne Pelee, in the words of Alain Ducasse, a unique signature in the world of premium spirits.      The spirit is bottled at 45% ABV, of which the strength alone leads you to believe it will have some intensity to the profile.  

    Depaz VSOP  hit with a sharp and fast shot like blast and then faded a bit before you could take in all of the notes.  There was underlying aromas of fresh cut grass, crushed cane, rosemary, some subdued hints of flowers. The taste in the mouth elevated the drink.  The mouthfeel was stronger and more assertive than the aroma would have indicated, very nicely warm without the subtle spiciness of the nose, more body, entering cleanly with nice notes of oakiness, light fruits, licorice, fresh cut cane, and a hint of vanilla and caramel.  The complexity was hinted to, but had to be coaxed to come out in the open.   Allowing it to stay on the palate for a while allowed it to blossom and make an appearance.  A little water or ice will bring out the additional flavors that lay hidden.  The finish was a bit different, there was a strange taste of metal and cane, with some sweetness, vanilla, a little oakiness.  The finish sensations happened so fast that there was little left after the taste on the palate was past.  
     This is a nice expression, that I do like overall, but its quick disappearance of the flavor would be my only criticism. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

London Rum Week Arrives This October

Ian Burrell

     The organizers of RumFest have launched London Rum Week, a week-long celebration of the spirit across bars in the capital.   The 12th RumFest will be the lead event for London Rum Week, which runs from the 15-21 October 2018.  Activities that will take place across London during the week include the launch of Hampden Rum at Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records restaurant, a Q&A with film producer Bailey Pryor, and a showcase of rare rums and cigars at La Casa del Habano with Richard Seale.  RumFest will take place on 20-21 October at the ILEC Conference Centre, with more than 400 rum brands, masterclasses, seminars and tastings.
     Brands holding masterclasses include Angostura, La Hechicera, Appleton, Flor de Caña, and Real McCoy.  A new addition to the festival will be a one-off tasting, held by RumFest founder and global rum ambassador Ian Burrell. The tasting will showcase five rare rums with a combined retail value of £1,500.  “RumFest is a fantastic chance to get the inside track on the next big thing in rum as well as try some hidden gems on the market,” said Burrell.
     “Last year proved once again that this is THE event for anyone in the business of rum, with the world’s best brands, master blenders, distilleries and aficionados from across the globe. 2018 promises to raise the bar again with a few more surprises!”
     RumFest tickets are available from £44.95 per day, which covers entry to all masterclasses and seminars.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Haitian "People Jams"

     Haiti is one of the more interesting countries that I have visited.   People jams crowd the streets during "rush hour" instead if cars.  From the top of the hotel I looked down on the crowds heading out to work at 7:00 in the morning.  Very different from the jams that we encounter here in the United States.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Adam Devine is Captain Morgan’s “Chief Party Officer”

Adam Devine

     Captain Morgan rum has recruited comedian and actor Adam Devine for the latest iteration of its Live Like a Captain campaign.  This is part of a partnership, Devine, known for his appearances in The Lego Batman Movie and Pitch Perfect 2, has been dubbed Captain Morgan’s ‘chief party officer’. 
     Captain Morgan vice president, Linda Bethea, said: “Captain Morgan needed a chief party officer who can not only dominate a game of corn hole, but is the first to order a ride home for the group.   “There is no doubt that Adam brings an unprecedented level of energy and fun with him wherever he goes.”  
The global campaign launched last year with an appearance from Rio Ferdinand.  In the newest iteration of Live Like a Captain, Devine visits Captain Morgan’s house party in a new video that will begin running online today to mark National Rum Day (16 August). The spot will make its television debut in October.   “I’ve been living like a Captain for many years,” said Devine. “I’m glad my love for the brand has evolved from demanding everyone call me ‘The Captain’ at parties to now being the chief party officer for the Captain himself.
Adam Devine, Your "Chief Party Officer"
     “I look forward to throwing many parties together in the future and spreading the Captain Morgan lifestyle.”  In his first role as chief party officer, Devine crashed the 30th birthday party of Tyler Tills, who is a diehard fan of the comedian.  Devine posted a clip of the encounter on his Instagram feed earlier this week and the full video can be viewed below.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Bacardi is Pushing Apple for a Mojito Emoji

     Whisky, wine and beer lovers can all express their preferred tipples with the click of an emoji, but if you’re partial to a Mojito you’re currently out of luck – something Bacardi is looking to change, Bacardi is calling on tech giant Apple to create an ‘Emojito’ for those who enjoy the Mojito.
     Bacardi’s campaign comes in light of the fact that the Mojito is one of the most popular cocktails in the world and really deserves to be represented like so many other fine cocktails,  Shervene Shahbazkhani, UK head of advocacy at Bacardi, said: “With the Mojito being one of the best-selling and most widely loved cocktails around, it only seems natural to add it to the emoji list

    To support the campaign, Bacardi is calling on rum and Mojito fans alike to show their support on social media byy using the hashtag #MakeMineAnEmojito.   “We’re surprised it doesn’t exist already and hope Apple consider it as a new addition after reading our letter.”

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Happy National Rum Day America and Tenth Anniversary of The Speakeasy Inn and Rum Bar

     In addition to it being National Rum Day it is the Tenth Anniversary of the Speakeasy Inn and Rum Bar.  What a perfect Combination.  I'm planning on being there for "Rum Church" between 4 and 5 pm then stay around for awhile for the "Papa's Pilar" party between 5 and 9 pm tonight for the celebration,

   The Rum Bar first opened Ten years ago, and I was lucky enough to be one of the bartenders back then.  I spent seven plus years behind that bar working for Ann Perina, the owner.  Thjis is goingto be a really fun party and hopefully a chance to see some of my old customers and co-workers.

     National Rum Day is a day of celebration for the Spirits of the Sugarcane.  It is a chance to try some of the more than 300 rums they stock at the Speakeasy Inn and Rum Bar.  I know that I'll be there to enjoy some of their wonderful rums and to celebrate both events.  Come by and join in the fun.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Diageo Has Launched a Series of Flavored Edible Straws

     Drinks giant Diageo has launched a range of flavored, edible straws to accompany its line ready-to-drink canned serves, as drinks and hospitality firms look for new ways to advertise their eco-friendly credentials to consumers.  Each straw is made to complement one of the company’s RTD offerings, with four flavors on offer including lemon, lime, strawberry, and chocolate. They will be sold through retailer 31Dover later this year.
Enjoy Your Gordons Gin and Tonic With a Lime Straw
     The launch comes after Pernod Ricard announced its intention to launch a similar product earlier this year.  Back in April, Pernod Ricard announced plans to collaborate with edible plastics company Loliware to produce the “straw of the future”. The firm produces a plastic cup made from edible materials derived from seaweed and has just launched a drinking straw made from the same hyper-compostable matter.  During the launch last month, UK marketing boss Caspar MacRae highlighted the influence of television shows such as Attenborough’s Blue Planet II on consumer interests. “The show changed everything.”
     A number of firms within the industry like Diageo, as well as bars and hotel groups including Hilton and Marriott, have pledged to remove straws from their businesses.  Pernod Ricard and Diageo both announced they would be bringing an end to the use of plastic straws and stirrers, banning them within all parts of their operations worldwide while encouraging their affiliates to do the same.  Marriott began rolling out a no plastic policy at its United Kingdom hotels back in February.More than 60 hotels in the United Kingdom have already eliminated plastic straws and are now offering consumers alternate straws upon request, including Le Meridien Piccadilly, Grosvenor House, and the W in Leicester Square.Hilton announced it would phase out plastic straws and water bottles in its own premises back in May, 2018.  The UK government has also tabled a nationwide ban on the disposable plastics.

     Earlier this month, drinks giant William Grant & Sons released its annual market report, which highlighted the rise of the “Activist Consumer”.   Drinks and hospitality firms, it said, are having to re-think their approaches to sustainability and how they are presented in order to keep a new generation of environmentally and politically-aware customers walking through the door.  “Consumers want value for money and something that aligns with their ethical and political views, is transparent, and good for them,” marketing director Matt Billinghurst added. “And they want it fast.”


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Here is a Summer Cooler Just for You

     As we head into the dog days of summer and the hot August nights, here is a cooler that is refreshing and a real thirst quencher.  Based upon a very ice aged Koloa rum, and a mango and pineapple rum from Barbancourt that blend together wonderfully to give this cooler a nice and refreshing flavor.

Bahama Bob’s Summer Cooler
  • 2 oz. Koloa Kaua’i  Reserve Rum
  • 1 oz. Barbancourt Pango Rum
  • Juice of ½  Fresh Lemon
  • ½ oz. Orgeat
  • Pinch of Salt to Taste

Shake briefly and strain over fresh ice in a Collins glassTop with Club Soda and garnish to please your happening

Monday, August 13, 2018

Strong Demand for Rum in the United Kingdom Gets Cornish Distilling Company to Open Rum Distillery

     UK-based Cornish Distilling Company has started work on a new distillery in Cornwall to increase its rum production.  Cornish Distilling Co has begun work on a new distillery in Bude, Cornwall.  Work on the new site in Bude, North Cornwall, began last month and will allow the company to expand distilling capabilities to 12,000 bottles a month to meet demand.  It is expected to open by the end of October 2018 and will be operational at the start of 2019.   “Our existing plant could not accommodate a larger still, fermentation area and ageing room so we have embarked on a new purpose-built plant. The new unit will incorporate a viewing and tasting area as well as a space to run distillation classes. This has been made possible with help from the RDPE Growth Program.”

     The distillery is part of a cooperation of Cornish food and drink producers at Norton Barton Artisan Food Village, owned by Fionagh and Richard Harding.  The Cornish Distilling Company produces Kalkar, a blend of rum and cold drip coffee brew, and Morvenna British White Rum and Spiced Rum.
     Richard Harding, chairman of the Cornish Distilling Co, said: “Sales growth of the existing white, spiced and coffee rums have outstripped expectations and we expect to see demand outstripping our capacity in the near future.  “Our products are made from scratch and unlike those blending we need additional space to ferment the molasses and to cask age our dark rum.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Early Morning in Havana

     One of my favorite times during my visits to Havana was walking around town early in the morning.  On this particular morning, it was overcast and a thunderstorm had just passed through.  People were stopping at their favorite "walk-in" for coffee and a breakfast sandwich as they head for work.  This is a peaceful and enjoyable time for me watching the people of Havana as they go about their daily lives.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Official Guidelines Are Based on Morality, Not Evidence So Will Never Admit That There May Be Benefits to Drug or Alcohol Use

     I found this to be a very important article,  I also find it interesting that there could be such a cover-up of truth in this day of so much media availability to everyone.  We don't just have "mass media" any more, we have so much social and private media, I really can't believe that this information is being hidden.

     Alcohol has been getting a pretty bad health rap in recent years. Recommended weekly maximums have gone down from 28 units for men and 21 for women to 14 for both, which is not much more than a bottle of wine.   Moderate boozers had a rare opportunity to raise a virtuous glass yesterday when research was published suggesting that complete abstinence in middle age was associated with higher risk of dementia in later life. Moderate drinkers were at the lowest risk, with the benefits starting to be cancelled out with each drink above 14 units.

     Can we expect official government health advice to start recommending moderate drinking? Of course not. One study into one condition does not cancel out many other studies into the deleterious effects of boozing. But even if the evidence overwhelmingly supported the view that moderate drinking was best for our health, the government would not advise us to do it.  The proof is that this was indeed the case until very recently. For some time, studies repeatedly produced graphs with a J-shaped curve, showing both abstinence and excessive consumption associated with the worst health outcomes, with moderate drinkers enjoying the best health. It was only in January 2016 that the Department of Health revised its guidelines and claimed the best evidence now suggested that there was no "safe" level of alcohol consumption and every glass increased cancer and heart disease risk.

     These new guidelines have been contested, but whether they are right or wrong, the point is that for years people who looked at the data repeatedly found the J-shaped curve, but no official source ever recommended the lifestyle it pointed to: one of moderate drinking. Changes in evidence don't change the general tenor of anti-alcohol advice, they merely change how forcibly the authorities dish it out.

     Why should this be so? One reason is that we like to think in clean, clear categories of good and bad. With our puritanical Protestant history, alcohol has always fallen on the dark side of this divide. When the truth turns out to be complicated, rather than accept this maturely, we refuse to acknowledge the good and carry on as though it were all bad. Because drunkenness is sinful, moral condemnation of it trumps any other redemptive qualities it might have.   Indirect evidence of how powerful this process of moralization is can be seen in the way authorities have dealt with other illicit drugs. It took the recent scandal in which Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley were denied much-needed medicines for the government to finally accept what all qualified experts already knew: that there was a vital role for medicinal cannabis.

     There is no moralizing here, just a sober assessment of what is beneficial. Christian morality, in contrast, treats everything as though it were inherently good or bad, and once something is labelled wicked, it takes a lot for people to accept it might be good for us after all. 
Aside from the pure moralizing, a more understandable but no less erroneous reason for refusing to recommend any consumption of intoxicants is fear of the slippery slope. Even if 21 units of wine a week does turn out to be healthy, 21 bottles of wine is not. Similarly, drug use can slide into drug misuse. Give a green light to moderate drinking, so the fear goes, and heavy use is sure to follow.

     Health advice too often follows the principle of the noble lie. Rather than being told the plain truth, we are told what the authorities believe will lead us to behave properly, when "properly" means not just in the way that is most prudent for ourselves, but what is seen to be morally appropriate. This means that whatever the truth about healthy drinking or drug-taking is, we can't trust government health advice to provide it. When the best current scientific evidence meets moralizing paternalism, it is truth that starts to bend.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Wray & Nephew Rum Sales Surpass $6 Billion at Half-Year

     Sales of the Jamaica rum brands owned by Campari Group rose above $6.1 billion over six months ending June.  Through J. Wray & Nephew Limited, JWN, Campari holds the largest stake in the local market and as such, the performance of its brands, led by Appleton and Wray & Nephew, gives a measure of the activity in the overall rum sector.   Campari said Jamaica's sales increased 14.8 per cent in the first half of the year "thanks to the double-digit growth recorded in the period by all the main brands, such as Campari, Wray & Nephew Overproof, Appleton Estate and other rums and local brands, especially Magnum Tonic".

     Globally, the Jamaica rums portfolio represented 5.1 per cent of total sales for Campari group. Sales from the local rum portfolio are up globally, but sales of the group are down some 4.4 per cent to €778.2 million as at June 2018. Despite the dip in sales, group net profit before tax increased to €166 million, up from €108.5 million a year earlier.

     "Wray & Nephew Overproof recorded a good result in the first half, thanks to healthy performances in Jamaica, the brand's core market, the US and the UK," the spirits company said.  Within the Americas, Jamaica's double-digit growth was only bettered in Mexico, where sales rose 16.1 per cent.   "The Americas region closed the first half with organic growth of 4.6 per cent driven by good performances by the US, up 5.9 per cent; Jamaica, up 14.8 per cent; Mexico, 16.1 per cent and other markets in the Americas region, which made up for the decline in Brazil and Argentina," said Campari.