Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween from Key West to You

     Ancient Origins of Halloween, its origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France.  Here in the United states, during Christian times, it became a celebration of the evening before All Saints' Day. Immigrants from Scotland and Ireland brought the holiday to the United States. The commercialization of Halloween started in the 1900s, when postcards and die-cut paper decorations were first produced.

     Today here in the United States it is another over commercialized day that is more about the sales of costumes and other decorative stuff.  The old traditions of kids visiting the neighborhood and collecting candy as part of “trick or Treat became way to dangerous and now it is all private parties and events like that.  This being said, it is also a chance for the adults to visit their favorite drinking establishment dressed like a zombie, witch, or ghost and probable drink a bit more that usual and have a lot of fun. 

     Here in Key West, that is what it is s for the most part.  There is everything from ghost tours, pub crawls, water adventures and family-oriented event at the Botanical Garden on Stock Island.  I’m really sure that you can find an event that will be right for you.  Happy Halloween All !!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October is Manhattan: Month How Do You Like Yours

     The drink originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s, where it was invented by Dr. Lain Marshall for a banquet hosted by Jennie Jerome, Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston Churchill in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden.

     Like many pre-Prohibition cocktails, the Manhattan is supposed to be made with rye whiskey. Thanks to modern interest in “them old-timey ways,” it often is nowadays. Often, but not always.   The trick to a good Manhattan is basic Manhattan recipe as a baseline: two ounces of bourbon whiskey, one ounce of sweet vermouth, two or three dashes of bitters, a slice of orange zest, and a cocktail cherry.  Once you get your balance of the ingredients down to yield the taste you are looking for, then you can begin to experiment with the different rums to create your favorite Rum Manhattan.

     There are a number of good candidates for making a really good Rum Manhattan, Doorly’s XO, Mount Gay Black Barrel, Seven Fathoms, Flor de Cana Seven Year, and many other rums that have strong bourbon notes.  Rum adds a little bit of sweetness on the front of the palate that bourbon does not, giving the Rum Manhattan more palate feel than bourbon or other whiskeys do.  The decision as to which one works for your Rum Manhattan is up to you and your taste buds.

     If you want to develop your own signature Rum Manhattan and needs a sweeter or softer base, then choose a sweeter rum like Zaya or Diplomatico for your base, likewise a standard younger expression for a dryer result.  The decision is yours, giving your signature Rum Manhattan a taste that is as unique as you are.  I prefer a dry vermouth rather than a sweet one when using rum to counter a little of the sweetness of the rum.

Bahama Bob’s Rum Manhattan

  •  2 0z. Good Aged Dark Rum to fit your taste
  • 1 oz. Dolin’s Dry Vermouth
  • 3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Orange Zest
  • 1 Cocktail Cherry

 Place all of the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir well, about 20 seconds, then strain into cocktail glass. Add cherry then twist orange peel directly over drink to release essential oils from the zest and serve.


Monday, October 29, 2018

New York Prohibition Party Pusshing to Ban Alcohol in the State of New York

     They believe all alcohol -- beer, wine and liquor -- should be banned. It's the major long-term objective for the people behind a newly reorganized political party in New York.  They belong to the appropriately named New York Prohibition Party. Founded in 1869, it went dormant in the 1940s, about a decade after the end of America's big experiment with national Prohibition.  In 2017, a small group of true believers set out to re-establish the state party. They followed in the footsteps of a re-emerging national Prohibition Party, the oldest continuously operating third party in the country.  The ultimate goal "is to establish a lasting prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcohol, to abolish the alcohol industry, and to establish a teetotal culture," party officials said in a set of answers to emailed questions from

     This is an ongoing battle that first appeared in the 1800’s, there will always be people that believe that alcohol is the root of all evil and should be banned.  The “Noble Experiment of the 1920’s and 1930’s failed completely.  All it did was to put the criminal element into the imbibing of alcohol.  It did nothing to stem its consumption.  Enough is enough, we have legal controls of the manufacturing, sales and use of alcohol, we don’t need to add the criminal element to it again.  We are finally moving out of that era with Marijuana, we don’t need to slip back into it with alcoholic beverages.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

     Fantasy Fest 2018 in Key West and a full moon, what could possibly go wrong with that?  Nothing, it is what makes it all happen.  Hope all have a really great time this week.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Caulddron Punch Bowl

     Halloween Parties are always a great place for a party punch bowl in the middle of the table.  This is a perfect cauldron to offer your guests.  It promises to make you the hostess with the mostess at your party.

Punch Straight from The Cauldron

  • ¾ liter Pomegranate Juice
  • 1 Liter Pineapple Juice
  • 2 Liter Ginger Ale
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • Pint of Pilar Blonde Rum

Place all ingredients into a punch bowl with ice and stir.  Float orange slices and lemon and lime slices for garnish and ladle to serve.  Note: cut down the pomegranate juice and increase the pineapple juice if you want a sweeter mix.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The UK Government to Ban the Sale of Single Use Plastic In England Hopefully in Force by Next Year

     The move comes as part of plans to protect rivers, oceans, and meet the UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan to eliminate “avoidable” plastic waste.  22 October, the government said it intends to introduce a ban, which would come into force at some point between October 2019 and October 2020, subject to a new consultation.  In England, it is estimated that 4.7 billion plastic straws and 316 million plastic stirrers are used every year. It is thought to take hundreds of years to break down the single-use plastic items and cleaning up their effects costs the government millions of pounds each year.
     The six-week consultation, which will close on 3 December 2018, will seek views on how to ensure those who need straws for medical and accessibility reasons can still use them. For example, restaurants, pubs and bars will be able to stock a number of straws for use on request.   The UK government has pledged $80,000,000.00) in funding to boost global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans.
     Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome this consultation on an issue of vital importance and one which hospitality has already taken significant action.   “Since UK Hospitality’s Unpack the Future of Hospitality summit in the spring, thousands of pubs clubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK have changed their straws and stirrers to biodegradables or adopted policies that cut or eliminate their use in their venues. 
“The government is seeking views on how we can cut plastic waste and we look forward to continued engagement to play a part in achieving that goal.”  Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “In England we are taking world-leading action with our ban on microbeads, and thanks to the public’s support have taken over 15 billion plastic bags out of circulation with our 5 pence charge.  “I commend retailers, bars and restaurants that have already committed to removing plastic straws and stirrers. But we recognize we need to do more.
     One by on the responsible countries of the world are stepping up in order to curb the pollution of our waters by the use of single use plastic.  I hope this will also spread to the use of plastic bags in stores as well as other single use plastic items.

Read More at 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Classic Cuban / American Cocktail el Presidente

     The El Presidente earned its acclaim in Havana, Cuba during the 1920s staying very popular through the American Prohibition.  One story is that it was created by an American bartender, Eddie Woelke who named it after Mario Garcia Menochal soon after moving to Havana.

     First accurately described in a 1919 article in the New York Evening Telegram, this Cuban mixture of “Bacardi, granatin and French vermouth” was apparently christened in honor of Mario García Menocal, president of that country from 1913 to 1921 and a man who didn’t mind throwing a lip over a cocktail.  Temperate people, the Cubans had only recently learned to appreciate the American mixed drink, but this one they liked. By the mid 1920s, the more discriminating among the massive influx of bibulous Yanquis that American Prohibition brought into the Queen City of the Caribbean had learned to like it too. 

    El Presidente 

  • 2 oz. Doorly's White Rum.
  • ¾ oz. Dolin’s Dry Vermouth
  • ¾ oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange Zest.

Place all ingredients except the orange zest in a mixing glass and stir.  Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange zest.


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Ceramic Kraken 'Salvage' Special-Edition Rum Fights Plastic Waste

     In partnership with the Surfers Against Sewage charity, Kraken Black Spiced Rum launched a special-edition rum dubbed 'Salvage' that will help to fight plastic waste and pollution. The Kraken Salvage edition boasts a ceramic design and for every bottle purchased, the brand will be making a donation to the charity, which is devoted to protecting bodies of water and the wildlife that inhabits them.   Hugo Tagholm, chief executive at Surfers Against Sewage, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Kraken Black Spiced Rum who will be raising vital funds for our work to protect the marine environment through its special limited edition Salvage bottle.”  The spiced rum brand has announced plans to work with the charity on an ongoing basis to support its efforts to fight plastic pollution.

     Although Kraken Black Spiced Rum is known for its ceramic rum bottles, the brand unveiled a set of black metal drinking straws to further help consumers reduce the amount of single-use plastic they purchase.  As the amount of plastic that is ending up in the ocean can no longer be ignored, environmentally minded brands are launching entire campaigns and products based on bringing awareness to conscious consumption, material reuse and conservation efforts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

How Pusser’s Rum Became The Official Drink Of The British Royal Navy

     On the deck of HMS Fife, docked in Pearl Harbor, soldiers stood wearing black armbands as the sun rose on July 31, 1970. They looked somber , part formal, part grieving. Following a 21-gun salute, they held their glasses high, their last “tot”, and cried: “The Queen.” They tossed back the drink and threw the glasses into the blue water below. They were not alone.   Anchored near the International Dateline, HMS Fife was the last among the many British ships that lowered their oars for a moment to say goodbye to a tradition they had been following for around 300 years. Tot was the daily ration of rum the Royal British Navy had nursed in its long seafaring history.

     A British naval destroyer’s crew line up for an issue of rum after arriving safely at a port somewhere in England, 1941.  But the navy hardly figured in the scene when the drink took birth in the dark and sinister sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean some three and half centuries ago. Europe needed sugar in the 17th century. In plenty. And for planters from England, the vast, barren lands of the Caribbean islands looked perfect for growing sugarcane. As they made sugar from molasses, they stumbled across a more interesting by-product, thanks to the extreme heat and fermentation, rumbullian alias rum.   Prince William with a tot of rum

     The drink, which first quenched the thirst of workers and planters, eventually crossed the oceans to reach America and Europe. Demand increased, for sugar and rum. The planters needed workers who could be forced to work in such punishing conditions.   People in Africa were enslaved for it. As trade increased and money and merchandise floated in the ocean, traders attracted pirates. The water between the Caribbean and Europe turned red with violence. The traders had only one option — send an SOS to the British Royal Navy. The navy glided in, lured not only by the big money the traders offered but also by the dark liquid sloshing inside the barrels in their ships.  

     Till then, the English sailors had tried every drink they could get their hands on. Beer went stale during long voyages. Wine followed. French brandy was good for a while, but it turned anti-national once England fell out with France.  So rum fit into the role of the official drink of the British Royal Navy. It was a long honeymoon. The humid heat of the tropics could only be fought with some stiff drink. Add to that the squalid condition in the quarters below the decks where hundreds of sailors sweated away at the oars. The long tedious voyages needed some reprieve. Rum not only gave them that, but also imparted some sense of taste amid the cold porridge and salted meat that came in daily. They called the drink Pusser’s rum because the ship’s purser, for which, pusser is the slang for it was responsible for issuing the rum. Pusser’s became the original rum of the British Navy. But it did not take long for the British Navy to realize that if unchecked, the new habit could spell disaster to their authority on the seas. Meanwhile, the sailors suspected that the drink they were served had been watered down. They invented an ingenious method to prove its spirit. They poured a bit of their ration on gunpowder.   If it smolders and burned, it was proof. If it exploded, it was overproof, with a higher alcohol content. If nothing happened, the purser might himself be tossed into the sea. The term “proof strength” for alcohol originated from this suspicion of the daily ration of rum. Over the years, naval strength rum has become the stuff of legends.  Today you can taste many versions of the drink that served seamen for centuries, Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof, Pusser’s Rum Original Admiralty Blend, etc.   Produced from British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Guyana, Pusser’s is a blend of five stills. It is a veritable experience of Caribbean islands and cultures.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Havana Club Develops a New ‘Professional’ Range Formulated Specifically for Bartenders

      Cuban rum maker, Havana Club has developed a new and experimental range exclusively with bartenders in mind.  The Havana Club Professional Edition range, which has also been developed in collaboration with bartenders, was first unveiled at trade show Bar Convent Berlin a couple of weeks ago.  The first bottling in the small-batch series, Havana Club Professional Edition A, is the result of a collaboration with the Cuban Bartender Association as part of celebrations for Havana bar El Floridita’s 200th anniversary.  The white rum is a blend of three aged rum bases and pure aguardiente that has been matured in large oak barrels for up to four years. It is filtered using an “innovative approach that retains the character yet still lightening the color and palate”. 
     Havana Club Professional Edition B has been created in collaboration with cocktail authority Nick Strangeway. The rum is a blend that includes one component finished in smoky Islay whisky casks, along with three other Havana Club 7 Year Old rum bases.  “Since the launch of Havana Club 7 Year Old 40 years ago, we have been committed to inspiring bartenders to create new rum cocktail experiences and the Professional Edition range is our latest expression of this,” said Nick Blacknell, global marketing director at Havana Club International.  “It was through the world’s best mixologists that rum drinkers were introduced to the Daiquiri, Cancha and Mojito cocktails – we hope that our new range provides the inspiration, through new flavor profiles in rum, for bartenders to craft the next generation of authentic Cuban rum cocktails.”
     Further editions will be added to the Havana Club Professional Edition range in the future, created using input from leading bartenders. These will be made exclusively available to mixologists in selected cocktail bars around the world.   Havana Club previously experimented with smoky whisky casks for the creation of its Havana Club Tributo 2018 expression.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sometimes You Have That "Sinking Feeling"

     The Trip along the Rio Almendares outside of "Old Havana" I ran across this little boat that reminded me of so many boats that were in the path of Irma last year and Michael this year.  It is truly a sinking feeling that I really don't want to see repeated.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Clairin Casimir Rhum is Being Recalled in the United States for Lead Contamination

What you need to know about the TTB’s recall of the Haitian eaux-de-vie
     Clairin Casimir rhum is facing a voluntary recall. One of a select number of clairins—an eaux-de-vie similar to white agricole rhums—produced in Haiti and distributed in the United States, the Casimir brand is being recalled due to the presence of lead. The distributor, MHW, based in Manhasset, New York, initiated the recall on Wednesday.

     The lead discovery came in response to a consumer complaint placed with the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau (TTB) this summer. “The TTB receives consumer complaints on a regular basis,” says Tom Hogue, director of Congressional and Public Affairs for the TTB, all of which they investigate. Some of those complaints lead nowhere, suggests Hogue, while others end up in a recall. During this investigation, the TTB obtained a bottle of Clairin Casimir Rum from Vanderbilt Wine Merchants in Brooklyn, New York, on August 8, and analyzed it for the presence of prohibited materials. Upon determining that the Casimir had elevated lead levels of 138 parts per billion, they consulted with the FDA to determine whether lead at those levels, present within an alcoholic beverage, met the standard of being a health hazard.   On October 9, the TTB sent MHW a letter requesting their participation in a voluntary recall, which MHW initiated on October 10.
     While the value of 138 ppb sounds excessive, whether it meets the standard of high risk has—to some extent—to do with the delivery mechanism. Lead levels in apple juice, for example, which is commonly consumed by children face a lower threshold than lead levels in beverages whose consumption is limited to adults, according to the TTB. In 1993, the FDA established that lead levels should not exceed 80 ppb in juice packed in lead-soldered cans. Since then, Codex Alimentarius Commission, an international food standards organization that establishes safe levels for the protection of consumers, further established a maximum level of 50 ppb for lead in ready-to-drink fruit juices.    In response to the TTB’s request for analysis, the FDA affirmed that the lead levels in Clairins Casimir posed a health risk, particularly for women of childbearing age and for any developing fetus that might be exposed. The TTB’s October 9 letter explains that, according to the FDA, the blood lead level (BLL) in pregnant women should be no higher than 5 micrograms per deciliter to limit lead exposure to a developing fetus, and that 12.5 micrograms of lead per day would achieve this 5 BLL. Per the FDA’s calculations, the 138 ppb of lead would result in an intake of 17 micrograms per day. It also stated that lead and alcohol—which can cause toxicity to the brain of a developing child—could also be more hazardous in combination than as separate parts.   According to Herbert Linge, president of Berling S.A., the bottler of the Casimir, the company has also tested the rum and found lead levels to be lower than those reported by the FDA and TTB, and within acceptable limits. They are currently awaiting additional testing results from California, where the rum is also in distribution. La Maison & Velier, the importer who first brought clairin to the U.S. and Italy, had the Casimir tested in Italy and also found lower lead levels. Those reports have been sent to the TTB.
     “The bottles are also completely within the parameters of European safety, so this is a U.S. recall only,” says Kate Perry, U.S. market manager for La Maison & Velier. Allowable lead levels in Europe are 150ppb, therefore, the recall is limited to the U.S.   For now, bartenders and retailers should remove any Clairin Casimir from inventory. MHW is encouraging consumers who have bottles to call 516-869-9170 ext. 306 for instructions on returns and reimbursement.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum Best European Spirit / Bar Product at Mixology Bar Awards 2019 in Berlin

      Just released a few months ago, Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum has won its first Best European Spirit/Bar Product at the Mixology Bar Awards 2019 in Berlin.  The Mixology Bar Awards is the kickoff to Bar Convent Berlin, considered the world’s largest bar-focused trade show. 

     With Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum was a dive into the iconic culture that is unique to Jamaica rums.  Working with the complex flavors of overripe exotic fruits with an almost “animal intensity” this rum is a tribute to this ancestral culture of rum.  The name pays homage to the history of Jamaica and “Xaymica” the name that was given Jamaica originally by those that originally dwelled on the island.

     Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry revives the quintessential Jamaican-style, 100% pot still rums of the 19th century with an expression of intense flavors that reveal the traditional, legendary Jamaican “rum funk.” Plantation Xaymaca is a blend of rums distilled in the old John Dore pot still at Long Pond and the Vendome pot still at Clarendon, two legendary Jamaican distilleries, owned in part by Maison Ferrand, producer of Plantation Rums.   Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry is bottled at 43% ABV,86 proof, and a suggested price of $24.99.  It is available in the U.S. today.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Getting to Havana, a Great Part of the Journey

First Sight of Cuba From the Air

Baseball Field at a Factory
Amusement Park West of Havana
     We lifted off from Key West International Airport about 8:30 am banked to the right and we were off to Cuba.  The flight took close to an hour, which flew by very quickly and out the side window I noticed the Cuban coastline.   As we began our approach to Jose Marti Airport, I began to notice a lot of things on the ground as we dropped out of the clouds for our final approach.

Heading to Work
Getting to Work is Interesting
     After landing, we got aboard a car and headed from the airport to Havana.  The trip on the ground was as interesting as the flight.  People headed to bus stops and driving down the road headed for work.  Everything from cars, buses, horse drawn carts, scooters or walking; they do what they have to do to get to their jobs like we have to in the United States.

Waiting for the Bus
Traffic is beginning to Build as we Approach Havana
     It took almost as long to get from the airport to Havana as it did to get to Cuba in the first place.  The trip was an eyeful as we were in a traffic jam most of the way.  The part that makes the trip the most interesting is what you find on the road.  It is like we went through a time warp to 1959 and the cars and transportation seems to be like it was back then.  Once we got to Havana, the fun began, a story I'll fill you in on on a later date.

Arriving in Downtown Havana With the Jose Marti Memorial in Front of Us

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

United States Supreme Court to Revisit the Issue of Interstate Wine and Spirits Shipping

United States Supreme Court

     For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. government has shown a willingness to reevaluate how wine and spirits are sold, both within and between various states in the country.  In fact, the case of Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Clayton Byrd (Tenn. v. Byrd) represents only the second such move by the high court since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.  When Prohibition was repealed, the U.S. government decided that the safest way to regulate alcohol sales was by giving each state the right to decide how wine and spirits were sold within its borders. That resulted in a fractured legal arrangement in which almost every state handled the sale and shipment of drinks differently.

     Whether major retailers will be able ship into adjoining states, or across the country, as a result of this case is the most important question that will be answered by the Court’s judgment. Its ruling will define consumer access to wine and potentially provide more competitive pricing.  Retailers may soon be able to ship into more states depending on how the court votes. This is all contingent on whether, “the case is upheld in the Supreme Court and if the states start to pass amendments to their direct shipping laws.”   “Retailers have long been saying this principle of nondiscrimination should apply to them as well as wineries. It seems to me impossible that the Court will not answer this question in the coming case. If the court applies the principles of Granholm to retailers, then many states will need to change their laws and decide if they want out-of-state retailers to ship.

     However, whatever changes the court case may bring will take some time to implement. “The change won’t be immediate. States would still need to adopt legislation and regulations to allow for shipping, delivery, and collection of taxes.” 

     The outcome of this case will make a huge difference in the wine, beer and spirits business.  For the consumer, it is a chance to get a hold of brands and expressions that have not been available to get in their home town or state.  I for one,  have to travel many miles to get some of the rums that I enjoy.  If it was like everything else in this country, that I need I just order it on line and it is delivered to me even here in Key West.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fantasy Fest 2018 Starts This Friday

     Fantasy Fest 2018 begins on Friday October 19th with the famous Bahama Village's annual Goombay Festival and comes to and en on Sunday October 28th with the "Fat Lady Sings Tea Dance".  

      2018 Fantasy Fest offers you an endless pool of ideas for putting your personal touch the its theme, “The Games We Play”.  What a great concept. Whether you are a single player, multiplayer, or just a player, this year's theme is sure to get your cranium creating some costume ideas. Become your favorite game show host, bring to life your childhood board games, or transport yourself into your most loved netherworld. The ideas are endless, so roll the dice on your favorite game to play and meet us in Key West for a game worth playing!

     The Schedule for this years festivities are here for you to get to work on your costumes and get down here to enjoy this great week of craziness and fun.
 All the information you will need is at

Monday, October 15, 2018

Steampunk Spirits Introduces Its First Rum

     UK-based spirits maker Steampunk has expanded its portfolio with the launch of Voodoo Spiced Rum, the company’s first rum expression.   The firm, which currently makes Steampunk Gin, has created the expression using a blend of Caribbean rums infused with vanilla, ginger and black pepper.
    Charlie Gibbs, managing director of Steampunk spirits, said: “More and more people are seeking new and interesting taste experiences, and we’ve come up with something that offers an alternative and contemporary take on a classic drink.  “Our unique bottle design sets us aside from any other brand on the market – it tells a story – channeling the voodoo mysteries of Baron Samedi, who dwells in the realm between life and death, and is known for his fondness of rum and a good time. Yes, we’re a little out of the ordinary here at Steampunk.”
     Bottled at 40% abv, Steampunk’s Voodoo Spiced Rum is currently available at and The Rare Drop, in Gateshead, retailing at $32.00.  Unfortunately, this is not available yet in the United States, but it does sound interesting.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Along the Rio Almendares in "Old Havana"

     A new place for me, The Marina along Rio Almendares is another trip back into the days of wooden boats and rugged mariners.  Most of the boats here have been around for a lot of years and are still very serviceable. Many of these are out on a daily basis.  I love finding these eclectic places that can be seen throughout "Old Havana".

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Famed Hotel Presidente in Havana

Famed Hotel Presidente in Havana
Surf Breaking Over the Malecon

     The Hotel Presidente was opened by the then President of the Republic Gerardo Machado, on December 28th 1928.  It was at Calzada street and G Avenue, in El Vedado.  The building was the  masterpiece of Architect Tella & Son providing everything a hotel could expect in comfort and luxury. Steel structures were used during construction, the first two levels stone built and the rest with bricks.

     In 1981 a 2 million pesos renovation was undertaken adding additional services on the ground level including a bar, shop and a modern cabaret. A central air conditioning system was also installed, providing a new level of comfort in the hotel.   A complete restoration in the year 2000, lifted this  hotel to a level of comfort that is expected in a modern hotel.  Tdhe Hotel Presidente where many famous political, business and artistic figures have stayed, still echoes a bygone era. Meticulous care has been taken to preserve all the historical details of its original construction and décor.  Visitors will immediately be struck by the 400 works of art, an impressive Cuban legacy, housed within its walls.

     Located in downtown Havana, only 200 meters from the famous Pier of  the famous Havana Malecon, on the well-known Avenue of the Presidents and flanked by the Cuban Forign Office, the 10 story Hotel Presidente with its striking vermilion and beige colors is a building steeped in history. 

     Being able to wander around the streets along the famed Malecon on the northern edge of Havana, where the city meets with the sea.  I love to run across many of the truly historic building that make up the mystique that is "Old Havana". 


Friday, October 12, 2018

Glasgow Gets First Rum Distillery in 300 Years

     Wester Spirit Co. is set to open a new rum distillery in Glasgow’s Partick in November – the first for the city in over 300 years, say the company.  Wester Spirit Company is the brainchild of Zander Macgregor and Allan Nairn, who are both based in Glasgow.

     It has moved away from conventional copper stills in favor the multi-faceted future of stainless steel. The Still is equipped with fully programmable technology to increase the efficiency of the distilling process and has the option of manual control to allow changes to the smallest details in the flavor profile.  According to the distillery, the Genio still will allow Wester Spirit Company to reproduce its recipe with “unrivaled accuracy”.

     Combined, this helps to create a spirit hand-crafted with intuition, expertise and enhanced flavor with guaranteed consistency.  The distillery will also provide the opportunity for the brand to meet the growing demand for spiced rum by increasing the production limit from 250 bottles per month to 6000. 

Learn more about Wester Spirit Company at

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Demon Alcohol: What Will They Blame on it Next?

     It seems that never does a week goes by that a new report that tries to demonize the moderate use of alcohol.   It is beginning to sound like the days leading up to Prohibition in the 1920’s.  The latest one came out this week by Washington University linking moderate use of alcohol with “premature death”.  Unfortunately, most of these studies are more about binge or power drinking and being related to a moderate use of alcohol.

     Use of alcohol is being made responsible for just about every affliction to mankind as well condition of the world today.  The devil himself could not do all of the things that alcohol is being blamed for.  If we spent as much money researching cures for known diseases as we do looking for trouble where there is very little, the world would be a lot healthier.

     We have tried to use the law to get people to stop drinking and it doesn’t work. The recommendations of all these “new studies” included the same dusty proposals that have been pushed by anti-alcohol activists since the end of Prohibition.   The calls for more taxes, advertising restrictions, and further limitations on alcohol availability. These policies might all sound good on paper, but they do little to curtail legitimately dangerous drinking habits.  They have tried all the same tactics related to the use of cannabis and now they are legalizing it and people are not using it any more or less than they did when it was illegal, only differences is they don’t have to be “outlaws” to enjoy it.

     The good news for those of us that do enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage is that many of these assertions are overblown and not backed up by the available science.  It is like most everything else in this world including food, a little bit is fine, but over do it and you will suffer.