Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Things You See in Miami

     Thursday night was the RumJava Launch party, which was a real great evening, but leaving the Langford Hotel in downtown Miami, I ran across a real 16 foot tall. Jumbee.  Now the Jumbee is a very interesting figure that comes from Caribbean folklore and can be a very scary demonic creature if you believe in many of the Caribbean cultural beliefs.

          A Jumbee is a type of mythological spirit or demon in the folklore of some Caribbean countries.   Jumbee is the generic name given to all malevolent entities. There are numerous kinds of jumbees, reflecting the Caribbean complex history makeup, drawing on African, Amerindian, East Indian, Dutch, English, and even Chinese mythology.   Different cultures have different concepts of jumbee's, but the general idea is that people who have been evil are destined to become instruments of evil (jumbee) in death. Unlike the ghost folklore which represents a wispy fog-like creature, the jumbee casts a dark shadowy figure.

     It gives you an interesting feeling when you walk out on to a dark street and meet one of these Jumbee's.

     Results from the Rum XP judging will be published here on Monday. along with the other wrap up stories from this years Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.  Tonight the Yolo Rum Clear Launch Party.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Day 3 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

     These days are just flying by, the days turn into nights and the nights back to day before you even know it.  Especially today where we finished the night with the RumJava launch party and started today with breakfast presented by RumJava.  This is an interesting operation, founded in St. Johns along with Brian and Mindy Cunningham.  Fueled by Mindy's passions for fine coffee and  Brian's passion for rum, this is a real snapshot of their marriage.  Their flourishing coffee business, Java'mon was the basis of the RumJava and its creation.   They took rum produced in Citrus Distilling's Pot-column still and infused it with their "Signature Blend" coffee beans along with some added flavors to create their Rum Java Signature Rum.  They have created a total of 5 expressions that are now available here in South Florida and coming soon to the Caribbean.

     Round 5 of the rum judging was next with the aged rums with no age statement.  These are some of the more enjoyable expressions to judge.  The reveal had very few surprises, but an enjoyable session anyway as it contained many of the rums that I enjoy on a regular basis.

     Ok, its is lunch time and today it is brought to us by George Manska, the mastermind of Neat Tasting Glass.  George availed all of us of the latest scientific information about how we all taste things and the effect of the dropping the idea that your tongue can sense different aspects of flavor on different parts of the tongue.
Aroma makes up the  major part of what you taste and the flavors that you sense.  He covered why the NEAT Glass can give you a truer and more consistent evaluation of the aromas from your spirits compared to conventional glassware.

     The sixth and final session of judging paired us with the Gold Rums and the Overproof Rums.  Gold was really enjoyable as was the overproof.  Overproof rums these days have improved in quality tremendously over the past few years, but by the end of the session, my lips and mouth was numb.  Good thing they were saved until last.

     Tonight is the welcome party for all of the rum producers that are presenting their wares this year in the "Grand Tasting that begins tomorrow at 1 PM when the doors open.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Day 2 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

Our Diplomatico Crew
     Today is starting out with a bang.  Diplomatico Rum of Venezuela hosted out breakfast.  They are
here to tell us about their new packaging and the changes being made to two of their traditional rums.

Diplomatico Planas
     The Blanco is getting a complete make over and the Reserva is getting a more subtle makeover.

        The Blanco has become Planas which is named for the valley in
Venezuela where the Diplomatico Distillery is located.  It also has a new bottle that is modeled after the traditional bottle used for the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, their flagship traditional rum.  The rum is blended with rums up to six years old. and presented at 47% ABV.  The Planas was launched in the United States back in January and will be availablle throughout the US by years end.

     Reserva has been renamed to Mantuano, meaning a person with great taste and appreciates the finest things in life.   The new Mantuano has a richer taste and a higher percentage of pot still rum in the blend when compared to the Reserva and presented at 40% ABV.  The oldest rum in the blend is eight years old.  The label also has been redone to be more like the Reserva Exclusiva label.

     The Reserva Exclusiva has had no changes to the rum, but there is a slight modernization of the label.  Still the same fine expression that it has always been.

     There is a hint that in the fourth quarter of this year there will be a new technically innovative expression arriving from the rum masters at Diplomatico.

     Round three of the judging is in the books and the white rums fell under our scrutiny in this session.  Several really nice expressions again this year have appeared.
Richard Davis

     Lunch was one of those rare and wonderful experiences.  Richard Davis, Owner of Neptune Rum came here to the United States to give us an exclusive first ever here int states taste of his new Neptune Rum.
The Only Bottle in the US

     This is another of the Richard Seale Foursquare Distillery creation.   Richard Davis tells us that it is a 100% pure rum expression and that he is excited to have Foursquare Distillery producing and blending his rum.  He tells us that quality of the rum speaks for itself.

     The fourth judging session was very interesting, Agricole and Cachaca.   The Agricole's and the
Cachaca's are very unique expressions and require time to evaluate as they are very different and complicated.

     Later in the evening it was off to the Pawnbroker Bar at The Langford Hotel for the Launch Party for Rum Java Brand with its group of new expressions.  I love these special events that the rum companies set up for the judges.  WOW!!! What a great evening, tin pan steel drums and Havana style dancing lovelies.  Great time enjoying the rum, food and the entertainment.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Day One of the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

     The day started at 9:30 am with the welcome breakfast hosted by the Rob and Robin Burr.  After a nice breakfast and a chance to get together for the first time with all of the judges, many of who we haven't see each other since last year.  All of the particulars were discussed and it was time for for the opening round of the judging.

     Off we went into the judging room for the first round of tastings and low and behold, it is spiced, flavored and rum creams.  29 of them to be exact.  These categories are usually saved for last, but this year we get to start with them.   This is a segment of the rum category that is tough on the judges because it is very hard to properly cleanse the palate between expressions.  This means a lot of water and bland crackers to wash away the taste of the previous one.  One by one the tasting moved ahead until they were all evaluated and it was time for a little break before lunch.

Robert Elliott
     Robert Elliott, owner of Marauda Rum filled us in on his Marauda Steelpan Blend Rum.  This is an interesting rum that has its roots in Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica.   A three year old column still rum from Angostura in Trinidad is blended with a three year old column still rum from Demarara in Guyana and a three year old pot still rum from Worthy Park in Jamaica to give you the very unique flavor. All of the rum is aged in first filled American Oak barrels and blended at barrel strength before it is reduced to 80 proof at bottling.  The three rums unite to give this rum a unique full flavor with a little bit of funkiness.

     Round two of the judging was premium aged rums.  This was an improvement over the flavored and spiced rums of the first round.  Only 10 expressions to judge made it a lot easier on us compared to the 29 in the morning session.

     Many of the gang are headed to the Mai Kai for the evening, but I feel like staying in and doing some writing and rest up up for the next few days when things will be getting a bit wilder and a lot more rum involved.  I'm looking forward to the Diplomatico breakfast tomorrow morning along with sessions three and four of the six total.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I'm at the 2017 Miami Rum Festival This is Going to be Great

Rainy Ride Down the Keys
     I rolled out of Key West in the pouring rain at about 11 in the morning.  The rain persisted until I got to Islamorada, the rain came to a stop, but it stayed overcast all of the way to Miami.    The traffic moved a a steady pace and there were no real slowdowns anywhere along the way.  The weather took a lot of the usual fun of "Conchy Tonkin'" my way to Miami.

The View  from the ninth floor is a nice one of the airport
     As I arrived at the Doubletree Miami Airport and checked there were several of the judges that had already arrived.  It is always good to see everybody at the start of the festival each year.  Tonight will be informal gatherings at the bar in the lobby to see who is arriving tonight. For me, it is an evening here at the hotel doing some writing and getting my act together for the rest of the week.

      The day starts out tomorrow bright and early at 9:30 am with breakfast with the Burr's welcoming all of us to the festival.  Then we are off to the first judging session at 11, Lunch with Marauda Rum, and tonight many of the judges and friends are loading onto a bus and heading to Fort Lauderdale for an evening at the world famous Mai Kai Restaurant and show lounge for dinner, cocktails and the great Polynesian dancing show.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Conchy Tonkin'" Day - Traveling up the Keys to the 2017 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

     Today is the that I get to drive up the keys on the way to the Doubletree Inn at the airport for a week of rum, parties and good friends.  This is a trip that always seems to turn out as an adventure rather than just another traversing of the keys.

     Even if there are no stops along the way it is a great drive.  The Overseas Highway always manages to give me a glimpse of something new every time that I drive up it.  Looking through the windshield on this road will give you a new outlook on the world.

     Hopefully I'll see many of you at the 2017 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival on Saturday or Sunday.

Monday, April 17, 2017

What is Aquafaba?

     I have a number of friends that are Vegan, and this creates some problems for me when I’m creating cocktails for them.  Today I ran across Aquafaba, this is the answer to take egg out of your cocktails.  Aquafaba is the thick liquid that results from soaking or cooking legumes, such as chickpeas, in water for an extended period of time.   It's the translucent viscous goop you probably rinse down the drain when you open a can of chickpeas.   In vegan cooking circles, it's become the silver bullet to making airy meringues and expert rum sours without any eggs.

      You can find many uses for this and you can substitute Aquafaba for eggs and egg whites wherever needed, the rule of thumb is: 1 Tbsp. for one yolk, 2 Tbsp. for one white, and 3 Tbsp. for one whole egg.   The consistency of your Aquafaba makes a difference. You can thicken it by reducing watery Aquafaba about 25 percent on the stove to thicken it up.  If it's already thick (as it sometimes is from canned chickpeas), you don't have to reduce. With some trial and error, you'll get a feel for it.

Bahama Bob's Vegan Rum Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz.  Pilar Dark Rum   
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
  • 2 Tblsp. Aquafaba

Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with  5 to 7 ice cubes and shake until chilled.  Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.