Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Sky is the Palate

     One thing that makes the Florida Keys so special is the sky.   Whether it be at sunrise, sunset clear or cloudy, it is always very impressive to my eyes.  Today it was the clouds that make the day a very special one.    When the sky touches the land and the sea there is art in my eyes.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Bermuda's Most Famous Drinks

     When in Bermuda, there are several famous items associated with cocktailing.  The Rum Swizzle, Barrett's Ginger Beer and of course Gosling Rum.  When it comes to a must have cocktail when it Bermuda, you head for the Swizzle Inn and order a Rum Swizzle.  The Swizzle Inn of Bailey’s Bay whose motto is "Swizzle Inn, Swagger Out."  The Swizzle Inn is known as "the home of the Rum Swizzle" and Bermuda's oldest “watering hole”.  The Swizzle Inn pub sold its first Rum Swizzle in 1932 and the rest, as they say, is history.   Now it's the perfect place to whet your whistle with Bermuda’s national drink, the very potent Rum Swizzle cocktail.!

The Swizzle Inn's Rum Swizzle Recipe
  • 1 ½  Oz. Goslings Black Seal Rum
  • 1 ½  Oz. Goslings Gold Seal Rum or Barbados Amber Rum
  • ½  Oz. Triple Sec
  • 1 Oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 1 Oz. Orange Juice
  • 2 Oz. Bermuda Falernum or Sugar Syrup
  • Juice Of ½  Lemon
  • 6 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

Mix all ingredients with ice and shake vigorously until a frothing head appears. Strain into stemmed cocktail glasses.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Saint James Creates Bitters for Agricole Rum Cocktails

     Saint James Agricole rhum brand has created new cocktail bitters following two years of research and development.   Saint James Aromatic Cocktail Bitters was created using a base of sugarcane alcohol, which is macerated with plants and spices such as wormwood, gentian, quinquina, angelica flower, caraway, coriander and ginger.

     Saint James brand ambassador Stephen Martin used historical pharmacist, distiller and bartender manuals to come up with the final recipe.   The mix of ingredients is said to offer a “perfect balance” of four flavor characteristics – floral, herbal, spicy and bitter – resulting in an “organoleptic profile perfectly adapted for white rhum-based cocktails”.

     Produced in Martinique, Saint James is the world’s best-selling agricole rhum, with a distribution footprint in more than 50 countries.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Pelicans are Back

     Sometimes I really don't appreciate all of the sights that are right in front of me here in Sunset Marina.  I was walking in front of the ship's store yesterday and I looked down and saw this beautiful bird.   If you "don't slow down and smell the roses," you really miss out on a lot in this life.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Mount Gay Celebrates 316th Anniversary Of Making Rum

     This is exciting news, Barbados has long been in the rum business and one of the original distillers of rum, Mount Gay has been continuously been making rum since 1703.  This is one of the premier rum companies in the world and still making so many fine rums.  Mount Gay has marked its 316th anniversary as the world’s oldest operating rum distillery by showing appreciation to its valuable staff members, clients and customers.

     The company celebrated in fine style with a series of events including visits to clients and customers at bars and rum shops, a staff appreciation event and a massive product sale for the public.   Speaking at the staff appreciation, Managing Director Raphael Grison said that 316 years was a great accomplishment and explained that the company wanted to say a huge ‘thank-you’ to all who made it possible to mark the significant milestone.

     “The rum shop crawl gave us the opportunity to meet with our customers one-on-one to thank them for pushing our brand and to also get a better insight into what is happening in the trade,” he said.  “The sale at our distribution center was our way to say thanks and give-back to our loyal customers and clients, by providing the opportunity for them to purchase their favorite products at a reduced price.”

     “There is a pioneer mindset at Mount Gay and we intend to keep that going. Yes, we are the oldest but we do not intend to rest on our laurels. We intend to continue to be innovative, engage our customers and keep our brand visible as we look forward to celebrating many more years.” 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Gender Stereotyping in Spirits Marketing Can Lead to Problems

     #MeToo and the fight to combat sexism in wider society is being reflected in the spirits industry, with moves afoot to ban stereotypical advertising and promote inclusive. But there is still more to be done to put an end to gender bias in spirits marketing.   Over the last few years, the collective conversation about gender equality has shifted up a gear. In 2017, the worldwide Women’s March brought attention to issues such as women’s rights, healthcare reform and workplace parity. Meanwhile, discussions about sexual harassment in Hollywood, governments and big businesses catapulted the #MeToo movement into the mainstream.  The issue has become more prevalent in the drinks world as brands face a crackdown on gender stereotyping in advertising, with a number of initiatives and regulations unveiled in the past 12 months.

     Major brands have been criticized for their portrayals of gender in the past. Historically, it wasn’t unusual to see sexualized representations of women in spirits marketing, and images of scantily clad pin-ups are still used by some today.  Past examples include Bulgarian brand Flirt Vodka, famous for its series of raunchy posters, while sex has also driven publicity for Lust Vodka, Skyy Vodka, Evan Williams Bourbon, Bacardi rum and Cabana cachaça. “The whisky industry has come a long way since the advertising from the 1960s and 1970s, when we saw advertising being polarized as either ‘drink this and you’ll be successful’ or ‘sex sells’,” says Georgie Bell.  “Some of that sort of marketing still comes up in advertising today, but less and less so.”

     It’s not just specific products that are being assigned a gender, either – entire alcohol categories have been coded as either male or female too. Tom Harvey, co-­founder of alcohol marketing agency Yesmore, says the pink gin category “feels like it’s a movement to target women through a somewhat basic way of using a color that is stereotypically seen to attract women”.  Last year, several companies unveiled new products to coincide with Women’s History Month in March and International Women’s Day.   One of the biggest women-inspired launches was that of Jane Walker, a limited edition iteration of Johnnie Walker Black Label. However well intentioned, the launch backfired with a number of consumers and commentators arguing it was patronizing and unnecessary.   “What was intended to be a celebration of women was interpreted by many as Johnnie Walker trying to appeal to a female audience, and generated much criticism”.   Nevertheless, the brand was also praised for donating US$1 from every bottle sold to organizations championing women’s causes.
     “Targeting women with feminine brands or female celebrities doesn’t work”. She says: “How about doing more to celebrate the real people behind the spirit brands, whether that’s a re­telling of the founders’ and distillers’ stories that so many brands have in abundance, or a celebration of the real distillers and ambassadors these brands have today. Whether they be men or women, their stories would in many cases provide a perfect marketing opportunity.”

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day in Key West

     Key West is one of those towns that really make the most of St. Patrick's Day.  Saturday started out with our St. Patrick's Day Bar Stroll that began at noon from the Southernmost Beach Cafe and wound its way down Duval Street and finished at Schooner Wharf.  The event is always a lot of fun, and if you were here, you are most likely pretty hungover after participating.  Enjoy your day in the green in Key West.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Sittin' on the Dock of the Gulf Watching the Clouds Drifting Away

     Sitting at Marlyn's Bar looking out over the Gulf of Mexico.  I can't help but to think of that Otis
Redding song as I watch the day and the tide drifting away.  It is a n afternoon that will lead to Karaoke at the Hurricane Hole a little later on and then back to share the night here before calling it a day.

     Today there are boys fishing from the breakwater while the rest of us sit at the bar and watch the clouds and the wind paint another beautiful picture.  Though the temperature is in the low 80's here today the winds put a certain chill to the evening.

     A month ago I would be looking at another sunset at this time of the day, but on this evening it is still bright with the clouds and the blue of the sky creating the canvas for the evening.  As always it is a great place to sit and enjoy the end of the day before heading out to the Hurricane Hole for an evening of fun and song with so many of my friends.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Drinks to Avoid for Your First Impression

     I ran across an article about drinks that you don't want to drink on your first date, but it also
applies to your first time drinking with people you have just met.  I see so many people that go on a company picnic or get together with co-workers for the first time and head straight off "power drinking" and end up in a heap on the ground or just make a complete fool of themselves.  No one is impressed with that at anytime, but if this is who you introduce yourself as, it is really remembered.

     When it comes to cocktails, a new survey from showed that the worst thing you could order is Vodka and Red Bull, (30 percent of respondents) according to women, while men say it’s a Sex on the Beach (35 percent).  Wine was considered the best drink to order on a first date, according to 47 percent of surveyed Americans, followed by beer and a Margarita.   The survey also identified the 20 most popular alcoholic drinks, with beer taking the top spot, as well as which common drinks are considered upscale . Champagne and wine topped the list as the most classy drinks, while Vodka Red Bull and beer were considered the least classy.

     This is something to keep in mind as you head out on your first date or get together's with new friends.  Your first impression is a lasting one and you don't want to leave them with the impression of you laying on the ground passed out or having to leave your car behind because you had too much to drink,  That is not a bad idea if you do, but its not the first impression you want people to have of you.

Read more about this subject at 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Rum Point Grand Cayman

     After a visit to "Stingray City", it was off to Rum Point for some lunch and an adult rum beverage before heading back to Georgetown.  Reminds me a lot of hanging out in the keys on the boat for the afternoon.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Havana Club Announces the 2019 Tributo Rum Expression

     Pernod Ricard-owned Havana Club has unveiled its 2019 Tributo bottling, a blend that includes rum aged in Cognac casks.  Tributo 2019 was created by three generations of maestros del ron Cubano – masters of Cuban rum – including don José Navarro, primer maestro del ron Cubano; Asbel Morales, maestro del ron Cubano; and Salomé Aleman, the first and only female maestra del ron Cubano.
     Each master selected a rare and extra-aged rum base that was deemed representative of their individual styles, which were first left to mature in the 1970s, 1990s and 2010s.  These rum bases were blended with a rum that has been matured for more than 25 years in French oak barrels.  A total of 2,500 bottles of Havana Club Tributo 2019 have been created at 40% ABV.
     The rum will be available in more than 20 markets from March, priced at a suggested price of $455 per 700ml bottle.  Tributo 2019 is said to have notes of oak and dried fruits on the nose, with flavors of vanilla, dried fruits and toasted almonds on the palate.  Morales said: “Once again, the Havana Club Tributo collection praises the richness and variety of styles that form the base of the authentic Cuban rum category.
     “Each rum in the Tributo range uniquely focuses on a different element of the production process, from our ancient rum bases to cask experimentation and the 2019 edition continues this story by honoring the craftsmanship of three of the maestros del ron Cubano.”  The 2018  Havana Club Tributo edition was a rum finished in smoky whisky casks.  Pernod Ricard first launched the annual limited edition Havana Club Tributo Collection in 2016.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Ron Del Barrilito Reveals its New Two Million Dollar Visitor Center


     Puerto Rico’s oldest rum brand, Ron del Barrilito, has opened its visitor center at Hacienda Santa Ana in Bayamón.  Almost US$2 million has been invested in the visitor center. Guests will be able to enjoy guided tours that will also delve into the history of the Fernandez family, which owns the company.  Visitors will also learn about the wider history of Puerto Rican rum, and will be able to taste different expressions of Ron del Barrilito and create their own cocktails using the rum.

     Hacienda Santa Ana started out as a sugar plantation when it was established in the 1700s. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that rum production commenced.  Luis Planas, Ron del Barrilito master blender, said: “The new visitor center is a monument to the arsenal tradition of the oldest rum in Puerto Rico.   “Tradition that has survived almost intact, transferring from generation to generation, the deepest secrets of its original recipe and its elaboration process, which was first crafted by Don Pedro Fernández and perfected by mother nature through the aging process, which is much more than what it takes to age traditional rum.

     “I feel great satisfaction in ensuring that the visitor will have a very intimate encounter with the product and will be able to understand why we have been recognized as the world’s finest sipping rum.”

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Trinidad's Port-of-Spain as Seen From the Mountain

     Port-of-Spain, the capital city and primary port for Trinidad and Tobago.   Located on the west coast of Trinidad on the Gulf of Paria, in the southeastern part of the West Indies.  The Gulf is all that separates Trinidad from Venezuela.

     This is a view of the Port and the Gulf of Paria on a rainy day.  The view is from the mountain resort that we stayed in while visiting the House of Angostura Distillery.