Sunday, September 30, 2018

Wednesday Night Sundown at the Hurricane Hole

     My Wednesday nights are usually spent at the Hurricane Hole here on Stock Island, across the bridge from Key West.  It is our karaoke night with a few rum cocktails to make the whole evening great.  Last Wednesday the last of the sunset reflected off of the water along with the floating tiki boat made for a really beautiful end of the day.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Angostura Releases No. 1 Cask Series Sherry Cask Finished Rum

Angosture No. 1 Oloroso Sherry Cask

     The House of Angostura® is thrilled to announce the newest addition to its award-winning Cask Collection, No. 1 Oloroso Sherry, which will arrive this month, on 26 September, 2018.    Bottled at 40% abv, Angostura Cask Collection No.1 Oloroso Sherry has been created with a combination of techniques from the Old World and New World.  Only 16,200 bottles will be made available in select markets worldwide.  No. 1 Oloroso Sherry.  The predecessors in the No. 1 Cask Series Collection are No. 1 First Fill Bourbon (2013), No. 1 French Oak (2015) and now No. 1 Oloroso Sherry.

     This is the third edition from Angostura's Cask Collection, a range of limited edition which is entirely dedicated to rums matured in different types of casks. "Angostura® Cask Collection No.1 Oloroso Sherry is a masterwork, a one-of-a-kind rum that reaches the highest achievement in the rum world – an exquisite roundness and smoothness without sacrificing personality," says Angostura's Chief Executive Officer, Genevieve Jodhan.

     Bottled at 40% and the first rum that Angostura has matured in sherry casks, Angostura Cask Collection No. 1 Oloroso Sherry has been created with a fusion of techniques learned from the Old World and perfected in the New World. This silky smooth, complex rum is a beautiful amber with superb clarity. Warm, rounded aromas and a delicate nose of cocoa, molasses, oak and sweet prune inform the well-rounded blend, which offers flavors of woodiness, roasted nuts and hints of sherry, and a medium rounded and oaky finish.

     "The House of Angostura® has been experimenting with ageing rum in different types of casks and techniques for many years, but this is the first time we have used Oloroso Sherry Casks to mature one of our rums.  We wanted to explore the results of a rum aged in American oak with extended time in an Oloroso Sherry Cask,  the blend of aged rums was finished for nine more months in Oloroso Sherry Casks."

Friday, September 28, 2018

Bahama Bob’s Smokey Papa's Pilar Old Fashioned

     Here is an idea for a wonderful way to enjoy a cocktail as the weather begins to cool a bit and we light the fireplaces and enjoy out evenings with this idea for a different kind of Old Fashioned.  This has a very unique taste and aroma and I know I found it to be just perfect to sit and sip in the evening.

Bahama Bob’s Smokey Papa's Pilar Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz. Pilar Dark Rum
  • 1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 4 dashes Angostura  Bitters
  • Apple Wood Chip
  • Mesquite Wood Chip

Take an old Fashioned glass and put ice in it and the rum, simple syrup and bitters in and stir until mixed,  Wit a torch of some sort, light a apple chip on fire until it starts to smoke.  Hold your shaker tin inverted over the smoking chip until the smoke rolls out around the bottom.  Place it inverted over the old fashioned glass and turn it over and shake very gently.  Remove the old fashioned from the shaker and top up with ice.  Repeat the smoke filling of the shaker tin and set it over the glass.  Remove the tin as you serve it and the smoke will remain in the glass giving you a unique aroma and taste.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

All Shook Up Today Launches Its Newest Flavor Exclusively into Tesco Flamingo Colada

     All Shook Up cocktails launches its new flavor Flamingo Colada, hitting shelves this week. Flamingo Colada is a delicious, fruit flavored twist on the classic Pina Colada.  The RTS can is a mix of natural coconut, grenadine and lime flavors shaken with white rum and fruit alcohol making for a taste that transports you to an exotic paradise.   Priced at $1.65, Flamingo Colada comes in 250ml cans, with aesthetics tapping into fashion, beauty and social culture. The 4.5% ABV millennial pink liquid is paired with a chic and brightly patterned flamingo decorated ‘Instagramable’ can design.
     Successfully blowing up on social media upon launch, selling hundreds of thousands of cans per month, All Shook Up consumers went wild for the new flavor the Passion Fruit Martini variant. With All Shook Up social content and PR coverage already reaching 17,700,000 plus consumers, they predict Flamingo Colada will take the brand to the next stage of Instagram domination.
     All Shook Up Brand Controller Christian Sarginson, said: “Flamingo Colada marks an exciting time for Global Brands as we expand our All Shook Up brand in Tesco. Consumers are demanding new, on trend flavors to tie in with their fast paced, social media driven lifestyle. Through the launch of Flamingo Colada, we are combining one of the nation’s best loved cocktails, together with one of the biggest trends of this year; flamingos. Plus, canned cocktails are growing +30% in value and +28% in volume YoY in volume YoY as ease becomes one of the number one factors when 21-24-years old purchase drinks.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

David Wolkowsky Dies in Key West September 24, 2018 at 99

"Mr. Key West" - David Wolkowsky 1919 -2018

     Key West has lost one of its truly incredible people Sunday night, David Wolkowsky, whose   Born in Key West on August 25, 1919, his grandfather had opened a general store there in the 1880’s, attended the University of Pennsylvania, then built a career restoring buildings in Philadelphia. He returned to Key West at the age of 42, when his father died. He had planned to retire, but once he saw Key West’s buildings and its relatively blank canvas, he saw a world of possibilities.
vision for Key West contributed so much to the transformation from an island in in need of a “face lift” into a colorful tourist destination that draws artists, writers and so many other colorful people.

     He was known as “Mr. Key West” for the way he shaped the city’s downtown since the 1960s, renovating, restoring and even relocating the weathered buildings that created a quaint downtown for tourists and a haven for artists.  Wolkowsky opened the Pier House hotel in 1968, which began to draw visitors from around the country, including author Truman Capote, who noted its air of “elegant inefficiency.” Part developer and part preservationist, Wolkowsky renovated more properties than he could remember, including Ernest Hemingway’s original watering hole, Capt. Tony’s Saloon — which Wolkowsky and his sisters inherited from their father.  In addition, The Kress building, an old dime store in the heart of Key West. It’s now home to both Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe and the rooftop penthouse Wolkowsky had built for himself.  Much of Duval Street and Mallory Square, two major tourist areas, were originally Wolkowsky creations.        Wolkowsky summed up his drive to create: “I couldn’t bear to sit around and collect baseball cards,”

Ballast Key Today
     He bought Ballast Key, which once belonged to the U.S. Navy, and a current owner he negotiated with to secure the island in 1974. Over years, Wolkowsky would built his home on the island’s southern edge.  His “big metal shack” as he called it was assembled piece by piece, he carried out to the island. The four-bedroom home on Ballast is based on the Northwest Channel lighthouse, known as the “Hemingway Stilts,” that burned in 1971. Wolkowsky’s nephew, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, a
Ballast Key Home Early Picture
prominent photographer and filmmaker, calls it “a simple little family retreat — eight miles off Key West.”  “He put every single tree on that island,” along with plumbing, desalination tanks, and a 550-foot dock.  When asked what is out there on Ballast Key, he said, “I brought cashmere to Ballast Key.” 
Monroe County Commission voted to rename the island David Wolkowsky Key after his death, although the ultimate decision rests with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.  Wolkowsky watched as the vote was taken from a wheelchair in the audience, telling reporters in his dry manner, “I wanted to see the commission, en masse.”

     He had celebrated his birthday on Aug. 25 in true Wolkowsky style: a house full of free-spirited guests, clouds of white orchids, popping champagne corks and his sister, Ruth Greenfield of Miami, a classically trained concert pianist and civil rights pioneer, playing happy birthday on the grand piano as the crowd sang along. He presided from the white couch, dressed in linen, his trademark Panama hats stacked nearby. And instead of receiving gifts, he gave them: a black pearl necklace in a jeweler’s box for each of the several dozen women who attended.

     He was known for his taste that mixed high and low. In the penthouse, an expensive Art Deco-style Aubusson rug lay on a floor of polished plywood. On Ballast Key, he happily served guests turkey hot dogs and chips — with a chocolate soufflĂ© for desert and a priceless view in every direction.

     His colorful life and vision for Key West is like no other and will be truly missed here in Key West.  Rest in Peace David Wolkowsky, you have earned it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

California Becomes the First U.S. State to Ban the Use of Plastic Straws in Restaurants

     California has become the first US state to enforce a ban on restaurants handing out plastic straws to diners unless specifically asked for them, in a move lawmakers hope will make customers “pause and think again” about their disposable plastic consumption.  California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Thursday which prevents restaurants from giving plastic straws to customers, but warned that the law, which comes into effect on 1 January, would be limited in its scope.  The law only applies to the state’s dine-in restaurants, excluding cafes, fast-food outlets and businesses which will be allowed to provide takeaway options.

     Brown said the law is still a good step towards challenging the widespread use of disposable plastic in the on-trade.  “Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous worldwide consequences, Brown said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.  “It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it, and it might make them pause and think again about an alternative.  “But one thing is clear, we must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products.  “Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc. — are choking our planet.”

A Sea of Plastic Waste
     The bill comes as many hospitality firms and restaurant groups in the US have already begun to phase out the use of plastic straws on their premises.   Hilton Hotel group has said it plans to remove plastic straws from all managed hotels around the world by the end of 2018, as well as axing plastic water bottles from its conference rooms.   Then in July, Marriott International announced plans to ban plastic straws from its hotels worldwide, months after the chain committed to cutting down waste in its UK businesses.  The chain said in May that guests get through around 5 million plastic straws each year, while people attending business meetings and conferences at Hilton hotels use up to 20 million water bottles annually.   Bacardi was among the first to call time on plastic straws and stirrers, banningtheir use across its events in 2016 in an effort to reduce waste as part of its ‘Good Spirited’ campaign, and Pernod Ricard followed suit in January of 2018.

Monday, September 24, 2018

An Italiam Style Daiquiri

     There are a lot of combinations of liquors and mixes out there that end up being cocktails, but there are only a few combinations that end up being great daiquiries,   Here is an idea for one that dmight be able to become one of your all time favorites.  There are so many combinations that are called daiquiri, but this one might be one that you put dinto your cocktail notebook to pull up every now and again.

Bahama Bob’s “Italian Style” Daiquiri 
  • 2 oz. Dzama Dark Rum
  • ½ oz. Amaro de Toscana
  • 1 oz. Lime Juice
  • ¾ oz. Orgeat

Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled, strain into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with mint sprigs.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Another Cuba Day Trip Ahead

     In October I'm heading to Havana, Cuba again to do a rum tasting.  I love these one day excursions to talk about one of my favorite subjects in a land where rum is a very important part of their economy.

     When I think about rum in Cuba I think about Santiago de Cuba, the area where the daiquiri was created and the original rum home of the Bacardi family.  There are still many reminders for the people of the "revolucion" on the walls throughout Cuba.  This one in in Santiago de Cuba.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Middle-Aged Adults Are More Concerned About Reputation Than Health When Drinking Alcohol

     Alcohol can negatively affect your health in several ways, but middle-aged drinkers aren’t very concerned about the risks. They are more worried about their reputation, according to a new report.  Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia recently conducted a study, published in the BMC Public Health Journal, to explore drinking patterns among “non-problematized” middle-aged adults.   To do so, they examined nine previous assessments from Britain, Austria, Japan and Norway and investigated how drinking is influenced by four essential themes: gender, play, identity, and learning to drink.
     After analyzing the results, they found people aged 30 to 65 did not identify health as a significant concern in relation to alcohol consumption, unless they were likely to harm another. “Health was either described as a minor concern or not considered at all,” the team said in the study.  Instead, they cared more about displaying the negative effects of drinking, such as having slurred speech, vomiting or experiencing a hangover. They believed these behaviors were associated with those with drinking problems. The participants also often mentioned the need to be able to meet work and domestic responsibilities, particularly among parents and caregivers.

     “Acceptable drinking was framed as respectable drinking that was appropriate to one’s age or stage of life and which allowed participants to meet their responsibilities,” the authors wrote. “By contrast, unacceptable drinking was drinking that was inappropriate to one’s age or stage of life and/or prevented one from meeting their responsibilities.”

     When it came to gender, they discovered women were more likely to be scrutinized for how much they drank compared to men, while men were more criticized for what they drank. For example, some subjects “drew on the social capital of wine connoisseurship to construct alternate masculinities, and other men stated that drinking outside of the ‘pints in pubs’ model could be done in ‘exceptional circumstances’ such as holidays and special occasions,” the team stated.

      “Our results offer insights into how public health messages about the health effects of alcohol consumption may be received by middle-aged non-problematized drinkers,” the authors concluded, “and the barriers that may prevent this group from receiving and acting on these messages.”

Friday, September 21, 2018

Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique Announce the Ban on Styrofoam Products

     Grenada is joining a number of Caricom Caribbean Community countries that have, in the recent past, announced plans to ban the use of styrofoam.   The Keith Mitchell Administration has given September 1, 2018 as the deadline for a ban on the importation of the product as the initial step in a phased approach to the eradication of styrofoam and reduction of single-use plastics, in keeping with the Non-Biodegradable Waste Control Act, which was passed in Parliament this year.

      The second phase will be a ban on the sale of styrofoam in the tri-island state, effective March 1, 2019, and by April 1, 2019, prohibiting the sale and offer for sale of food in or with these products. According to Climate Resilience and the Environment Minister Simon Stiell, ultimately, there should be “zero styrofoam across Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique”,     Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting, Stiell said that the ban is not being instituted arbitrarily, but in consultation with importers and other stakeholders.

The environment minister said it is encouraging to note that “many restaurants and many stores have already transitioned to alternative products, and the stated timelines are agreed upon by both importers and Government”.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Interesting Distilleries to Visit in the Caribbean

 River Antoine Distillery - Grenada

     You will find Rivers Rum 'up north', near the beautiful (but treacherous) north east coast. Not  far from Tivoli, not far from Lake Antoine. The place dates from 1785, though there may have been distilling activity there even further back, but this is a distillery that runs all year. 
     A bit of a contradiction: the concentration of sugar in cane is at its highest during the dry season (Jan to May), but the water wheel which powers the cane press is obviously more likely to work when there is plenty of water in the river, during the rainy season (June - Dec.)   The simplicity and antiquity of the place is what makes River Antoine so interesting.. Bundles of cane are crushed twice, then placed in the island's only railway truck which is trundled along the island's only railway line for the very short trip to a tip. Here the cane dries in the sun and, now known as 'bagasse', is used as fertilizer for the cane fields.

Foursquare Rum Distillery & Heritage Park - Barbados

     Hidden in the southern countryside region of Barbados, on a former sugar plantation of about 8 acres, sits the Foursquare Rum Distillery and Heritage Park. This working rum factory that Richard Seale masterfully operates is world renown for its rums, producing a wide range including the flavorful brands like  Doorly's, Old Brigand, E.S.A.Field and many more. Foursquare Rum Distillery is the proud winner of the Rum Distillery of the Year in November 2016 at the IWSC in London, UK.  
     This working rum factory, the Heritage Park with its historic buildings, colonial architecture and folk museum, offers a step back in time and a tribute to the important role that sugar and rum has played in Barbados' history.

Cayman Spirits - Grand Cayman
     Opened in June 2013, our new Cayman Spirits Company Distillery is Grand Cayman’s largest 
Distillery, and the only source of handcrafted spirits in the islands. We’d love to show you around.  Come get a behind-the-scenes look at our unique approach. Inside the custom-built 5000 square foot facility you’ll see our 1200 gallon Vendome copper pot still, the 30 foot tall Gun Bay Vodka tower, and our original Christian Carl pot still we use to perfect Seven Fathoms Rum.
St. Lucia Distillery - St. Lucia

     St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies emerged from a tradition of the on-site, house-special rum production that was a common feature of the West Indian sugar plantation.   By the late 1950s, two distilleries remained, one at Dennery, the site of the Barnard family plantation, and the other Geest-owned at Roseau, the location of the now St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies.   St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies was formed in 1972 when the two distilleries amalgamated.    The Barnard family bought out the Geest shares in 1992 and in 1997 sold shares to Trinidad-based Angostura Ltd.  In 2005 the Barnard family, planters and rum distillers for over a century sold to CLICO, with third generation rum-maker Laurie Barnard staying on as Managing Director.
St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies, in the thirty nine (39) years since its inception, has grown from producing a single-label mass-market rum to a portfolio of premium rums and liqueurs.

St. Nicolas Abbey – Barbados
St Nicholas Abbey has always been a sugar plantation house. The exact origin of its name is not known but rumored to have been named after George Nicholas, husband to Berringer's granddaughter, Susanna.  Berringer was killed in a duel with his neighbor, Sir John Yeamans, who then married Berringer's widow and claimed the abbey as his property.  The abbey was no longer a functioning plantation after 1947.   Sugar has been grown on the plantation since 1640 and there is still the evidence of the mill and sugar making edifices. Sugar was processed on the property until 1947.  Since 2006, the abbey is owned by local Barbadian architect, Larry Warren. Warren has restored the abbey as well as the rum making distillery on the sight.  YoWarren is currently developing a small private railway system on the property, the St. Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway, to be completed by the end of 2018.  St Nicholas Abbey is currently a well-preserved museum, successfully recreating 18th-century plantation life.  There is a rare 1930s film of life on a sugar plantation that is available for viewing in the museum. Listed by the Barbados Tourism Authority as one of the "Seven Wonders of Barbados.   The property has attracted several thousand visitors a year.

     This is only five of the ones that I have visited. Id will have to cover so many of the others that I have visited over the years.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Rum is Not Just For Cocktails: It is Great for Sipping as Well

     In any number of cocktails are the most popular way to drink rum.  That’s perfectly acceptable, but why are you are just limiting yourself to a mixed cocktails?   Great rum is like other great brown liquors, they need to be sipped.  Aged rum like aged whiskey, needs to be sipped to appreciate all the nuances it offers. But navigating the category and all its different expressions can sometimes be as complex like a premium aged rum’s flavor profile.

     Keep it simple by starting with a product that sums up everything there is to love about aged rum.  You don’t need to start out with a $100 bottle of premium rum.  There are several  fine rums for $15 to $25 that are great to begin you journey through premium rums.  Brands like Doorly’s, Mount Gay, Abuelo, Flor de Cana or Diplomatico  are good starting places .  These are very different tasting, and you will be able to take a direction for your palate.  

     These aged rums have a subtle and luxurious flavor profile, with a perfect balance of caramelized vanilla, oak and fruits, in every sip.   That alone is not what makes it an ideal sipping rum.

     Caribbean Aged rums are a great place to start, they get their irresistible flavor from being aged under the tropical sun for 5 to 10 years. That may not seem all that long, but aging happens more rapidly in the tropics.  Location and climate influence rum’s maturation process as much as time does. The warm tropical climate speeds up evaporation, resulting in 8 to 10 percent of the liquid being lost to the angel share every year. By comparison, that number would hover around 2 or 3 percent if the same rum were aged in colder climates.
     Rum experts aren’t satisfied with knowing how long a rum has been aged. They need to know where it’s aged to really understand its true maturation level. The investigation continues from there, examining what kind of wood is used in the barrels and whether or not the aging process was continuous.  These rums are a great place to start your journey, because they are not expensive, you will have the opportunity to try different expressions and find where your palate takes you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Virgin Island Governor Says No To any More Rum Deals Like the Diageo and Cruzan Ones

Cruzan Plant on St. Croix

     U.S. Virgin Islands Governor, Kenneth Mapp said on Wednesday night that he refused to do business with two rum companies, because the companies wanted an agreement similar to Diageo USVI’s and Cruzan Rum’s, and that was something the governor said he was not willing to do.  The response to Mr. Johnson’s revelation that Mr. Mapp had turned down rum companies came during the governor’s Virgin Islands Political Consortium interview on Wednesday, held at Government House, where the governor fielded questions on a number of matters of importance to the Virgin Islands.

     “We don’t have any interest because we’re not in the business of giving away the revenues of the treasury and then putting the burden on the citizens that live and work in the Virgin Islands and conduct business here”.   Mr. Mapp, though expressing no intention of revisiting the deal, has nonetheless spoken vehemently against the agreement, contending that the administration of John de Jongh gave up too many concessions, which he contends has cost the local government dearly.

     Internal Revenue Matching Fund, known as the rum cover-over funds that the territory receives annually from the U.S. Treasury, hover between $225 million to $250 million, most of which go towards paying the territory’s bondholders. Of the remaining funds, Diageo USVI and Cruzan Rum receive the lion’s share for promotional fees and molasses subsidies, as per the government’s agreement with the companies.   That does not benefit the USVI, and he would not offer any other rum company a deal that mirrors the current. He also reminded that the local government paid $250 million to build the Diageo plant.

Diageo Plant on St. Croix
     This year, the governor said the rum-cover funds to be received from the federal government jumped from $227 million to $251 million. He said the rum revenues to the general fund this year will be $24 million, $20 million of which will go to the rum companies, while $4 million will remain with the local government.  
     “The molasses subsidy on rum is 16 cents a gallon by the rum company, and the people of the Virgin Islands pay the difference. It takes one gallon of molasses to produce one gallon of rum. When the Diageo deal was ratified in 2008, one gallon of molasses was $1.68, so when you took out the 16 cents, the people of the Virgin Islands paid $1.52 for molasses. You multiple that by Diageo’s 9 million gallons of rum, and that’s about $13 million a year in rum subsidy,” Mr. Mapp explained. “Today in 2018, a gallon of molasses on the spot market to produce one gallon of rum is $2.98. Diageo pays 16 cents, and the people of the Virgin Islands pay $2.82 for that gallon of rum… So when you bring rum companies to the territory under that regimen, we, with the rum companies that exist today, could find ourselves going to the general fund to take money out to pay to the rum companies.”

     I can understand his position, things are tight enough there in St. Croix and to add more negative cash flow to the territories is not something of a real benefit.  They have had some issues with Diageo as well during its tenure on the island.

Read More at 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Plantation Brings Back Jamaican Funk in Their Newest Rum

     The latest Plantation expression is being created using liquid distilled at Jamaica’s Long Pond and Clarendon distilleries, Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry has been ‘double-aged’ – first in Bourbon barrels in Jamaica and then in Cognac Ferrand casks in south-west France.   According to Maison Ferrand, Jamaica’s authentic pot still rum is famous for its aromas and flavors of black banana and flambĂ©ed pineapple, locally called “rum funk”.
    According to  Alexandre Gabriel, founder of Maison Ferrand, said: “With Xaymaca Special Dry, I wanted to dive into the iconic culture that is unique to Jamaican rum. I wanted to work with these complex flavors of overripe exotic fruits with an almost animal intensity.   “We can still find certain white rums with this famous ‘rum funk’. I think, however, that this great terroir expresses itself perfectly in an aged rum. That is why we are launching Xaymaca Special Dry – a tribute to this ancestral culture of rum.”
In 2017, Maison Ferrand acquired West Indies Rum distillery,  a Barbados distillery that became co-owner of National Rums of Jamaica, which owns the Clarendon and Long Pond distilleries.  “The access to these two emblematic distilleries, with their retort stills that look like ancient pachyderms, is the realization of a dream. It allowed me to dive into this ancestral tradition and create a rum that I had wanted for a long time.”
     Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry will launch in the US this month at an RRP of US$24.99.  Bottled at 43% abv with no added sugar, the expression’s Xaymaca name refers to the title Jamaica’s first inhabitants, the Arawaks, gave to the Caribbean island.  
     A fire at the Long Pond Distillery earlier this year destroyed 65,000 liters of newly made rum and 92  fermentation vats.   The distillery’s pot stills and muck pit had not been affected and that his team hopes to start distilling light pot still rums again very soon.  No one is sure when” distillation of high-ester rums will resume.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Bahia Honda, Still as Beautiful as Ever

     After a little more than a year,   It was a great though a rather short visit on Thursday and Friday, but looking forward to being able to keep visiting on a regular basis again.  It never ceases to amaze me how the evening never seems to be the same, but beautiful none the less.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bahia Honda Marina is back in Operation

     After a year of restoration, Bahia Honda Marina has it doors open to overnight boats.  All of the
amenities like electricity and water are back in operation and you can spend the night here in all of the comfort of the pre- Irma enjoyment.

      This week was the first time that we were able to return for for an overnight stay here since Irma a little over a year ago. The marina is in full operation with electricity and water for the first time since Irma hit a little over a year ago.

     The past day and a half has been so great fr Marta and I, because it was the first time that we have been able to be out on Lil Sanity since Irma.

     The sunset was awesome and we got a chance to take the kayak out for the first time in over a year.  Things are finally back to a somewhat normal for us.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Introducing Soggy Dollar Rums

     One visit and you get it.  There are few places in this world that are as freeing as White Bay.  Surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, white sand beaches and palm fronds dancing in the tropical breeze.  Wake to the unmistakable beauty of the perfect sunrise.  Chart a course of worry-free sun-filled thoughts listening to the perfect song as the sun fades on another perfect day.  What a great idea to offer two rums that possess all the warmth and fun this island offers.

     Soggy Dollar Dark Rum is triple distilled with natural cane sugar molasses and aged in oak casks to bring you a smooth rich flavor and deep golden color with notes of vanilla and caramel.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Haitian Clairin: Haiti's Traditional Rhum

Commercial Clairin Vaval

     Clairin, a traditional rum made in Haiti, the spirit is beginning to appear in the United States.  Clairin is a regional spirit that is unregulated in its home country, Clairin occupies a distinct place the spectrum of rums   It even stands apart from other sugarcane distillates like rhum agricole or Brazilian Cachaca.    Caribbean rum culture is well known, but little is said about Haitian Clairin, despite the country housing more than 500 local distilleries. This booming doing it yourself distilling scene makes Haiti home to some of the most diverse rum production in the world. 

     To make Clairin, sugarcane is hand-harvested and carted to the press. The resulting juice is moved to tanks where it ferments for the most part spontaneously.  There is no certification for Clairin, but it is largely organic because there is commercial farming or pesticides used in these remote villages.  Natural inoculation of wild yeast from the plant requires longer fermentation than commercially produced yeasts.   Longer Fermentation time allows for more complex flavors and there are no two batches of Clairin that taste the same.

     Single distillation also helps, retaining flavors that would be lost from further refinement. Clairin is also an unaged spirit much like the Cachaca once was in its local origins in Brazil.
In this world of unlicensed distillers, unlike commercial bottling sold by regulated producers, raw material varies between Clairin distillers, as does the quality of the spirit.   Bad Clairin can simply lack character, though in extreme scenarios, if poorly made, could contain poisonous levels of methanol.  To be productive and make the leap to a commercially successful operation, many of the methods and facilities will have to be improved to get a consistency to the product.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum Has Been Named the Official Rum the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

     The world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, Ultimate Fighting Championship  announced a new marketing partnership agreement with Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum, in which the distilled spirits brand will serve as the organization’s first-ever “Official Rum of UFC” in the United States. Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum is owned by Heaven Hill Brands®, America’s largest independent family-owned and operated distilled spirits company.

     “We’re thrilled to have Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum join us as an official partner,” UFC Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships Paul Asencio said. “UFC takes pride in aligning itself with top tier brands that offer exciting products and Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum is a great fit alongside our other partners.”  “As Blackheart Rum continues to outpace the category in growth, we are always looking for ways to elevate our presence through engaging, innovative experiences with fans.

     As part of this collaboration, Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum will have a branded presence inside the world-famous Octagon® and at UFC VIP Experiences during key events throughout 2018-2019, beginning with UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: EDGAR vs. KOREAN ZOMBIE. The event, which takes place on Saturday, November 10, at Pepsi Center in Denver, will be the focus of attention as it also marks UFC’s historic 25th anniversary celebration. The fast-growing Spiced Rum brand will also be integrated across multiple UFC-based social and digital platforms. 
“We are thrilled to step into the Octagon as the Official Rum of UFC. As Blackheart Rum continues to outpace the category in growth, we are always looking for ways to elevate our presence through engaging, innovative experiences with fans,” said Hannah Venhoff, Heaven Hill Senior Brand Manager. “The alignment with UFC expands our involvement in MMA and further supports the spirit of the brand.”

     Starting in September, UFC and Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum will be featured on co-branded retail point of sale materials in locations across the U.S. and in various digital and social media co-branded promotions. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

We Will Never Forget September 11, 2001

     Here is a look at the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001   Nineteen Men hijacked four fuel-loaded US commercial airplanes bound for west coast destinations. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  The attack was orchestrated by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
     At the World Trade Center (WTC) site in Lower Manhattan, 2,753 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were intentionally crashed into the north and south towers, or as a result of the crashes.  Of those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority. The victims ranged in age from two to 85 years. Approximately 75-80% of the victims were men.
     At the Pentagon in Washington, 184 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
     Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93 died when the plane crashed into a field. It is believed that the hijackers crashed the plane in that location, rather than their unknown target, after the passengers and crew attempted to retake control of the flight deck.
As of July 2018, 1,642 of the 2,753 Victims at the World Trade Center have been positively identified, according to the medical examiner's office.
This is the order of things as they occurred on September 11, 2001, 8:46 a.m. ET, American Airlines Flight 11 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.  At 9:03 a.m. ET - United Airlines Flight 175 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.  At 9:37 a.m. ET - American Airlines Flight 77 (traveling from Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles) strikes the Pentagon Building in Washington. The South Tower collapses in about 10 seconds at 9:59 a.m. ET.   Moving on to 10:03 a.m. ET, United Airlines Flight 93 (traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco) crashes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Finally at 10:28 a.m. ET - North tower of WTC collapses. The time between the first attack and the collapse of both World Trade Center towers is 102 minutes.

    This is only the losses on that day, but when you factor in all the lives lost chasing bin Laden all over the world and the woes in Afghanistan, and Iraq that were so closely related to the events on September 11th, 2001. Since then there have been memorials to all of those that lost their lives as a result of the events of this day.  Like most Americans, I have a vivid recollection of that day and watching the coverage of the events as they played out.  Never forget those who lost their lives as a result, and be vigilant for others that might try them again.