Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Prohibition and Key West's Economy

     Beside the obvious speakeasies and rumrunners of the period, a lot of other interesting events happened during this period.    It was prohibition that really gave Key West's economy a boost that it really needed at the time.    Wrecking was gone because of maritime law change and the cigar trade had moved to Tampa.    The Navy had limited their personnel from many of the downtown bars and clubs, so business was fading.     Prohibition profits were a definite shot in the arm for Key West's economy.

     Rum from Cuba and whiskey from the Bahamas and the British Isles mad many Key West businessmen wealthy during the era, but the interesting part was how several smart entrepreneurs set up transportation for the wealthy to travel to Havana, Nassau, and other open countries for the purpose of party and booze.     Aeromarine Airline (Pan American Airlines), a Key West based operation became known as the "Highball Express" because it was known for taking "dry" wealthy Americans to "Wet" islands of the Caribbean during the prohibition years.

     Several charter boat operations would travel the 90 miles to Havana for the same purpose.    Joe Russell (Sloppy Joe) and Earnest Hemingway would often make the crossing to fish and hit the bars of Havana.   Many of these adventures were inspiration for some of Hemingway's books like "Islands in the Stream" and "The Old Man and the Sea".     May of these trips were made on Joe Russel's boat the Anita and others made on Hemingway's Pilar named after his wife.

As you can see, the days of Prohibition were colorful and gave people a chance to use their ingenuity for profit in many many ways.   Still one of the most colorful eras of our history, Prohibition provide us with much more that gangsters and pirates.     ;o)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva

The taste of a fine brandy on the palate and the warmth of a Grand Marnier at the finish, makes this one of the classic premium quality rums in my collection.    This Venezuela produced rum will grab your attention from the first sniff.    The aroma of orange peel, molasses, oak and cinnamon will draw you in to your first sip.    The brandy like taste of aged oak is very elegant and enjoyable to the palate.    The big warm finish leaves you recalling the experience of the entire flow from aroma to palate to finish.

     The premium rum is double distilled in copper pot stills by experienced artisans of the distillation arts.     Blended with the expertise of the master blender, these rums provide you with a very unique experience of character, body, and delicate aromas.     You will not likely forget this exquisite "Antique Rum" and will be going back to it again and again.     This is a complex 12 year old rum that has earned the respect of rum lovers throughout the world and will surely dance on your palate as well.     ;o)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rum Renaissance Festival 2012 Getting Close

     The 2012 edition of the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival is just over two weeks away.   If you haven't gotten your tickets yet you need to soon.  Your tickets can be purchased on line at http://rumrenaissance.com/Tickets.html .     This event is a great time for all involved and an opportunity to develop your rum knowledge as well as enjoy the fine rums that are being displayed and available for tasting.     This is an annual event and one that has no rival in the United States.     It brings together the very large and the small batch rum producers from all over the world to talk, drink, and enjoy the rums from all over this planet.

     The event is being held at the Deauville Beach Resort on Miami Beach, perfect place and atmosphere for rum lovers and producers to get together and enjoy their favorite spirit.   Don't miss this opportunity to taste and enlighten your horizons about the wonderful world of rum.   By the way there are a great number of beautiful spokes persons there to serve you these fine rums and tell you all about their attributes.   ;o)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Boca Chica Channel: Birds and Birds

     Yesterday afternoon, I hopped into my dinghy looking for something interesting to go out and photograph.     It was a bit windy and choppy on the water, so I found this little mangrove key in the middle of Boca Chica Channel that gave me a photo opportunity that I have rarely ever come across.    I was as usual photographing some of the birds that were headed back to their "base" on little island when an eagle (F-16 fighter jet) came over my head and made a tight high banked turn to final and landed on it's "base".    



     This gave me an idea for a pictorial and story of how this little channel in home to all types of birds and their "bases".     I find the resemblance of the birds to the planes in the way they arrive and approach their "bases".    They arrive in packs and split off making a high bank turn to get lined up for the landing in a very similar manner.   The interesting part was how they seemed to be doing this right around where I was sitting in the dinghy at anchor.   Sometimes you just get lucky and drop your anchoring the correct place.

     As the afternoon went on, I found myself amazed by the number of birds that had made this little mangrove key their home and how it was just off of the end of the runway for Key West NAS.    The two "bases" provided me with a great afternoon of "bird" watching.    Three pelicans approached their "base"in the mangroves split apart from the flock, made some steep turns, and perched on the mangrove branches.     Right behind came a pair of "raptors" (F22's) approaching Key West NAS  in the same manner.    It is always interesting to me how man mimics nature in so many things that he does.


     All in all, this was a great way to spend an afternoon.    The little flask of rum, and bird watching took on a whole new meaning as I sat in Boca Chica Channel in the fabulous Florida Keys.   I have to keep pinching myself to see if what I am doing is real or "just Memorex".     I did enjoy the day and it was time to cruise back to the marina, hope the waters have calmed down for the return trip.     ;o)



     

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pango Keys Cocktail

Here it is for all of you to enjoy, how to make this favorite from last Friday's Barbancourt Pango Tasting at the Rum Bar in Key West's favorite cocktail, the Pango Keys Cocktail.   See the video in the Rum Connection blog of how we create this fine cocktail.   http://rumconnection.com/uncategorized/pango-keys-cocktail/.     This was a fun event for all of us and looking forward to the next event where we can combine the use of the Rum Lab with a Rhum Tasting to create custom cocktails for another enjoyable event.   

   Thanks for all the help from the people at Rhum Barbancourt to make this program possible.    ;o)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Barbancourt and Pango Tasting a Big Success

     The Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn in Key West hosted a very successful tasting that showcased Barbancourt Three Star and Pango Rums on Friday afternoon.      The rums were the highlight in a series of newly developed cocktail designed specifically for these rums and the tasting.     Our guests were able to taste and enjoy these wonderful rums in fine quality cocktails in a warm and fun filled atmosphere.

    The top selling cocktail of the day was the "Pango Keys Cocktail", closely followed by the "Barbancourt Surprise".     All five of the cocktails were very well received and helped introduce the group to the unique tastes of Barbancourt Pango and Three Star rums.

  

Barbancourt Surprise

·          1 ½ oz. Rhum Barbancourt 3 Star

·          ¾ oz. Rhum Barbancourt Pango

·          ¾ oz. Cream of Coconut

·          ¾ oz. Pomegranate Liqueur

·          ¾ oz. Lime Juice

·          1 oz. Pineapple Juice

·         Dash of Bitters

Pango Keys Cocktail          

·          1 ½ oz. Rhum Barbancourt 3 Star

·          ¾ oz. Rhum Barbancourt Pango

·          ¾ oz. Falernum

·          ½ oz. Lime Juice

·          ½ oz. Grapefruit Juice

·          Few Drops of Agave Nectar

     Try these fine cocktails at home, but remember it is the Barbancourt Rums that really make them work.    They are really great tasting cocktails that are relatively simple to make in your home bar.   ;o)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Demolition Key: New Life Abounds


     From the disaster that was Hurricane Wilma in October, 2005, new life is abounding.  Howerver there is still the stark reminder of the past and it's woes.   ;o)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Florida Manatees and Their Recovery

Female Manatee and her Calf
     The Florida Manatee has been on the endangered species list for years, but one of the highest counts of the manatee happened in January of 2010.    At that time there were approximately 5076 of the mammals counted by aerial survey.     Changing weather and manatee behavior are problems for the people that are trying to determine the exact population of these unique mammals.   Though they have few natural enemies, cold temperatures, hurricanes, and red tide poisoning are their greatest threats.     Though these wonderful creatures normally will live for several decades, they seem to be most threatened by the collision with water craft.

     Conservation efforts to protect include manatee area speed zones and the protection of the sea grass areas.     There is also a program of sea grass restoration under way in several areas in Florida that will help the specie survive.     Pollution of the water that kills the vegetation that the manatee's depend on is another factor that controls the population.

Ain't Love Grand
     A couple of weeks ago while having lunch at the Hurricane Hole Marina, a pair of Florida Manatee's appeared in the middle of the boat basin.    The pair were snuggling and cooing, obviously in love, in the shallow warm water of the basin.    It seems that an adult manatee female will have one calf approximately every three years.   This is a factor in the growth of the population too.

      These very special mammals deserve our efforts to preserve the population and a few extra minutes of our time while operating a watercraft in the areas where they feed and live.    I for one would like to have future generations get the opportunity to see these marvelous creatures like I've had the opportunity to.    To see a pristine Florida Manatee and her calf is a pleasure and a sign that people at least in the Keys seem to care about them as well.   ;o)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pango and Barbancourt Three Star Rum at the Rum Bar Today

     Today is the Day to stop by the Rum Bar in Key West to sample some of the fine Pango and Barbancourt Three Star rums.    We have a special promotional menu with five really tasty premium cocktails that were developed in the Rum Lab just for this tasting.    The event will run from 1pm this afternoon until 5pm, and feature these fine cocktails for only $5.00.    Don't miss the opportunity to try and learn more about all of the fine Barbancourt Rums.

Pango Keys Cocktail

·          1 ½ oz. Rhum Barbancourt 3 Star

·          ¾ oz. Rhum Barbancourt Pango

·          ¾ oz. Falernum

·          ½ oz. Lime Juice

·          ½ oz. Grapefruit Juice

·          Few Drops of Agave Nectar


Haitian Sweet Tart

·          1 oz. Rhum Barbancourt 3 Star

·          1 oz. Rhum Barbancourt Pango

·          1 oz. Coconut Rum

·          ½ oz. Falernum

·          1oz. Sour Mix

·          1 ½ oz. Barrett’s Ginger Beer

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bahama Bob's Root Juice to Become Bark Juice

    Bahama Bob's Root Juice is about to be filled for the last time next month and replaced with Bahama Bob's Bark Juice.    This is a new and different combination of barks that I have collected from all over the Caribbean Islands over the past few years.    This one is currently soaking in a honey and white wine blend that will later be discarded and the the barks will be put into the 151 Rum for a couple of weeks before they can be tasted and introduced for public consumption.     This one has big shoes to fill following in the shadow of the success of Bahama Bob's Root Juice.
     I keep getting asked where did this idea come from.    I first got the idea at a bar called Fungi's on Water Bay on St. Thomas.     Throughout the world they have some version of the practice of infusing liquor with herbs, barks, roots, and almost anything else that is available through out the world.     In the Dominican Republic they have Mama Juana fro instance and many others throughoiut hte Caribbean.     As you can see, this on is filled with twigs and branches and stuff that I have no idea what it is.    This was a concern for me when making the original root juice.     I bought some cinnamon and agave from a vendor in St. Thomas, then when I got back to Key West, I went to the local grocery store and found the rest of the ingredients I needed.    This method has worked very well because there have been over 43 gallons of rum go through the roots in the past 27 months and the flavors are still going strong.

     The time has come to let the success of the root juice to give way to a new idea and introduce Bahama Bob's Bark Juice.    We are going to refill the root juice bottle and seal it when the change over occurs just after the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival in late April.     The original root juice may be auctioned off at one of the appropriate charity auctions, but we are not sure yet.    Keep your eyes open at the Rum Bar Key West where you will be able to sample the new Bahama Bob's Bark Juice soon.   ;o)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Barbancourt Rhum Tasting at the Rum Bar Key West This Friday

Big Rum Tasting at the Rum Bar on Friday, March 23rd from 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM.     Come on by and try any one of the five new premium cocktails all made wit Rhum Barbancourt Three Star and Rhum Barbancourt Pango for only $5.00.
Haitian Surprise
·          1 oz. Rhum Barbancourt Pango
·          1 ½ oz. Rhum Barbancourt 3 Star
·          ¾ oz. Triple Sec
·          1 oz. Grapefruit Juice
·          1 ½ oz. Pineapple Juice
·          ½ oz. Cane Syrup (Simple Sugar Syrup)
·          2 Dashes of Bitters

Barbancourt Mai Tai
·          1 ½ oz. Rhum Barbancourt 3 Star
·          ¾ oz. Rhum Barbancourt Pango
·          ¾ oz. Falernum
·          ½ oz. Orgeat Syrup
·          ¾ oz. Orange Juice
·          1 oz. Pineapple Juice
·          Dash of Bitters
     This is a premium event and one that you just don't want to miss if you are anywhere near Key West on Friday afternoon.    Look for the Pango flags and come on in to join the fun.    I'll be behind the bar mixing all five of the cocktails that were developed at the Rum Lab especially for this tasting.     The Rum Bar Key West, on Duval Street Friday from 1pm until 5pm, see all of you there.     ;o)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

KW Rum About to Make an Appearance Soon

Key West Rum Company is about to introduce their new line of rums created with the Florida Keys laid-back attitude in mind..    This initial offering of a Gold and White Rum will be available in the Keys very soon.
     We will be trying to create some new signature cocktails in the Rum Lab with KW Rum next week.     I am really excited about the possibility of first tasting this new rum and then creating some exciting new cocktails that I'm sure will be even better because we are using KW Rum.

    Key West Rum is made here in Florida and is truly a rum that can wear the name Key West proudly.     It promises to be a great rum for your premium cocktails and even for everyday use.    It comes with a pair of flip-flops on a chain around the neck of every bottle that you will be able to wear proudly showing off your laid-back attitude.   ;o)

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Bar Stroll

    This past Saturday the St. Patrick's Day Bar Stroll in Key West brought out hundreds and hundreds of fun loving drinkers and partyers.     The streets of Key West were literally green as all of the strollers passed down Duval Street hitting bar after bar on their way to the Historic Seaport and Schooner's Wharf.     From the front porch of the Rum Bar, you could see the wave of green as it moved North on Duval Street coming from the Southernmost Resort where the stroll begins.

     Though we were not a part of the stroll, the Rum Bar was loaded with revelers and very green with some really fun loving people.    The party was almost overwhelming in our tiny bar, but Anne and I were able to take care of the huge crowd.    We all still had a great fun afternoon interacting with everyone at the bar.    The best part was watching all of the fun the strollers were having as they paraded in and out of the bars on their way down Duval Street.

     This is one of the most fun events of the year, because so many of the locals and tourists are involved in this event that virtually covers Old Town Key West for 6 or more hours.     Once it gets underway, about noon time, the streets and bars of Key West turn green and the zany people of Key West literally let it all hang out as the party up and down the city finishing at the harbor.

     If you missed this years fun, you might want to put it on the calender for next year as you plan for one of the years really fun days.    It was a great one this year and as usual I'm looking forward to next year's already.   ;o)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Drifting with the Tides

There is nothing so peaceful as just drifting with the tides on a beautiful warm day.   ;o)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Looking at Botran Solera 1893

     This is another of the family rum producers that has provided the world with fine rums for over six decades.     One of my favorites is the Botran Solera 1893.     Distilled from first pressing sugar cane grown on the Botran family estate in Southern Guatemala, this solera system aged rum is one of the finest out there.

     The solera system Botran uses combines and blends older and younger rums into a variety of oak whiskey barrels, re-charred oak whiskey barrels, sherry and port barrels.    This allows the distillate to take on the flavors of the barrels in which they are aged.    A portion of the final blend is bottled and the remaining older rum is later blended with younger rum in the future.

     The finished product is a beautiful rosewood colored  fine cane spirit.      On the nose you pick up hints of new leather, fruits and charred wood in the fairly intense aroma.     The palate has the sweetness of honey, clove, pepper, and nutmeg.   This finish is with the richness of coffee, cocoa, and some citrus.     This is a very rich and complex rum that has long lasting qualities both through the entire experience.

     The rums in the blend range from 5 to 18 years and the solera process of aging has really don its job well giving us a well rounded  and elegant rum.     ;o)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break is Still Going Strong

     This week the spring breakers are still here in full force.   They are out on the beach and having "tons of fun" there during the day and hitting the bars in the afternoon and night time.    These kids never run out of energy, and their metabolism just seems to eat up the alcohol and spit it out, as they never seem to be more that buzzed as they roam up and down Duval Street. 

     Each week we get a really fine group of college students here at the Rum Bar and they are all having a great time releasing the stress and tension of the academic world.      This is one of the great things that I remember about my college days back in the "stone ages", but it wasn't quite as cool as it is today, because I spent the evenings still working back behind the "redwood curtain" in Northern California.  

     Root Juice for all, this is the theme of this week's group, that doesn't change much from week to week as the returnee's come back remembering "Bahama Bob's Root Juice" and still wanting more.    It really surprises me to watch them wince as the swallow this "earthy concoction of rum, herbs, and roots", then come right back a half hour later wanting another one.

     I guess it is all a matter of youth and fun.    Plus it is an inexpensive way to get a buzz going.    Oh to have the energy of the youth again and be able to have all the fun they do, not caring about tomorrow, but just living for the moment and the fun.     I think that is one of the reasons I stay here in Key West is the way it keeps my youth in tact.    Added to how much I enjoy being around all of that energy.   It makes me feel young too.   ;o)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Bartender's Revenge

    As a bartender there are a million kinds of people that you always run across.     Most of them are really great people and it is really fun to spend some time with them.    Then the party is really on and every one is having fun, but every now and then there is this really rude person that can't wait their turn and must butt in line.    I know that I have seen them and so have most of you.    I'd love to be able to do this just one time.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iRAw4hU4ZE&sns=fb     I must have played this 6 times and It still puts a smile on my face.    I also guess it is better to live this vicariously instead of actually doing it.

     It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it kills the vibe of the whole bar and puts an end to what was a fun time.     In a small bar like the Rum Bar Vibe is everything and it is like the old adage says "one bad apple ruins the barrel".     I guess I must be very lucky that this doesn't occur very often and to say thanks to the majority of really fine and courteous people that I get to serve every day.     ;o)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When I Think About Rum: I Think About Florida.

Troy Roberts and Tom Clarke Owners of Drum Circle Distilling
     Florida you say?     Yes Florida, it has several distilleries that handle everything from the small batch distillers to a very large operation that bottles and flavors Caribbean Rum.  

     Drum Circle is a small batch distillery that is located in Sarasota.    This little distillery produces the "Siesta Key" line of rums.     There are three different rums that are produced at the distillery, White, Gold, and their newest edition, Spiced Rum.     All of these fine rums are available here in Florida at larger liquor retailers http://www.drumcircledistilling.com/Product/Purchase/local-retailer-list.html.      You owe it to yourself to try these fine Florida rums, you won't be disappointed.

     The other side of the spectrum is the Florida Caribbean Distillers, this is a huge operation located in Auburndale, Florida.    This distillery makes neutral spirits from citrus, cane neutral spirits, brandy< and rum.     They also produce something called "other than standard orange wine" (OTSOW) that is the basis for many liqueurs and cordials.    This huge distillery produces up to 10 million proof gallons per year.     In addition to the bottling services and the rum storage and aging facilities located in Winter Haven, Florida.      Florida also produces Florida Rum that is sells at 188 proof to a variety of bottlers from around the world.

     So as you can see, when I think about rum, I really do have to think about Florida.     I also have to think about the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival coming up next month in Miami Beach.    http://rumrenaissance.com/  Check the website for all of the details and ticket information about this very special event April 16 - 22.  

     Think about rum and you to can now think about Florida, the state that consumes the most rum of any state in America.   ;o)
 

        

Monday, March 12, 2012

Getting Close Enough to Smell the Flowers

     Some days are just a blurr, even here in Key West.   This past week really seemed like that to me, with all of the spring break activity and meeting so many new people all week long, I just kind of zoned out yesterday.   Today is the day that I am going to hit the brakes and take some time to smell the flowers and check out all the cool stuff that is around me.     Today is happening at a snail's pace, because I want it to be that way. 

     I guess that you have to park the car and walk about if you want to see anything.     I was headed to the office this morning and as I was walking along the walkway I noticed these flowers that have just began to bloom.     I took a bit of time and noticed that spring is in the air and it wasn't just a time change that took place yesterday morning.    

     I think that it might be my day to grab the camera and head out on the water to see what spring has got to show me.     It is time for me to visit the small mangrove keys that are located around Key West.     These days of a flask of nice rum and drifting with the currents is the most relaxing place for me.     I guess that it is the best part of living down here in my own little paradise.    I get to spend the time being like a leaf on a stream and just float along and take pictures of what I pass by on my journey.    A sip of rum and a nice breeze with some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere, what a treat.     It really doesn't get much better than this.     Thanks for a couple of days to chill.    ;o)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Week One of Spring Break Coming to a Close

     This year's first round of spring break has been  really fun  here in Key West.    It has been a mixture of people from Florida, Tennessee, Virginia and several other states all here to have fun and let off some steam after putting two thirds of a school year behind them.     The purpose for their visit, to PARTY and get together with friends.    All those goals seemed to be accomplished by the students that I have been around at the Rum Bar all week.     This has been a great group of fun loving people that were respectful and still had a great time on their vacation.

     I'm going to miss this group, they provided a lot of laughs and great conversation during their stay here in Key West and I hope all goes well for them and I will get to see them again.   We had 21 Virginia Tech gals staying with us at the Speakeasy Inn that all had a great time on and by the sea and partying on Duval Street.

     I got to see several other guys and gals that I had met the year before and returned again this year.    It really was a fun week with a really great group of students down here in the "Second Trashiest Spring Break Destination".  

     Week two is about to get started and if the new group is half as much fun as the first, it's going to be another fun week in Key West.     Spring Break lasts about 3 weeks down here in Key West and usually it's a blast for me and the people that come by .    Here we go again, let her rip, PARTY ON Key West Style.   ;o)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Falernum and Caribbean Cocktails

     One of the most asked questions behind the bar is "What is Falernum?"     I guess it is time to look at this wonderful ingredient that has made such a difference in the "Tiki" and Caribbean cocktails.     This special liqueur gets it's name from an old roman wine called "falernian", also known as "falernum"in Latin.     This is a sweet/tart spicy blend that is at home in most any tropical style cocktail.

     R.L. Seale and Company, LTD of Barbados is the producer of John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum.     It is said to been invented by John D. Taylor of Bridgetown, Barbados in the 1890's, but like so many other things in the spirit industry there is controversy about that too.     It doesn't really matter at this point, what matters is that this fine mixing spirit is available here and now.

     This Liqueur is a sweet yet tart combination of almond, lime Juice, Sugar, Water, Clove Essence, and White Rum.     The combination brings to life a great number of fine cocktails.

Corn 'n Oil
  • 1 1/2 oz. John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum
  • 3/4 oz. Bajan Aged Rum
  • 2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
Float the Rum on the Falernum and drop the bitters on top in a Highball Glass filled with ice and Garnish with a Lime Wheel.


Buccaneer
  • 1 oz. Spiced Rum
  • 1/2 oz. White Creme de Cocoa
  • 1/2 oz. Falernum
  • 3/4 oz. Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 1 dash of Angostura Bitters
Place all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until chilled.   Strain into a Martini Glass and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg and a lime zest.

Bahama Bob's Ginger Storm
  • 1 1/2 oz. Plantation 5 Year Old Barbados Rum
  • 1 oz. Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum
  • 3/4 oz. John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Top Off with Barrett's Ginger Beer
Place all ingredients except the Ginger Beer in a shaker with ice and shake until chilled, Strain into a pint glass filled with ice.   Top off with Barrett's Ginger Beer and garnish with a Lime Wheel and a Sprig of Mint.

This is a magical ingredient that has possibilities in so many places, take the time to experiment with it and you too will be pleased with the creations that you can come up with.   ;o)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

When I Think About Rum: I Think About Panama

     Panama is one of the rum producing countries that really intrigues me.   There are several different distilleries in Panama, all of which produce some really fine rums.     I was the guest of Valero Hermanos while I was in Panama last February.     I got the opportunity see some of the most beautiful countrysides and oceans I have ever seen.    Seeing the Panama Canal for the first time was  just one more thing that made this trip so special.     Valero Hermanos produces many fine rums and is the home of Seco Herrerano a wonderful neutral spirit that could set the vodka world on it's ear once it is truly discovered here in America.

     Ron Abuelo Centuria, one of my all time favorite rums is a celebration of the family producing rum for over 100 years.   It is a tribute to the rum making abilities of the family.    This is a limited edition rum and if you haven't tried it you need to before it is gone.

     The Canal and the countryside only added to my wonderful trip to Panama.    The absolute beauty of the oceans and the spectacular skyline of Panama City held my attention as I traveled around Panama and visiting the distilleries, restaurants, and cantinas.    

     I had the opportunity to meet Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez Perez, the master blender and company director of PILSA.    They are the ones that gave us "Zafra Master Reserve", still another fine quality rum of Panama.

    I found that in Panama that rum making is a real family oriented industry.   for instance, Don Pancho worked for many years for Valera Hermanos, and the still hold him in very high regard even through he has moved on and become a major part of a competitor.    This is a very fine trait that I was surprised to find as I became acquainted with the distillers of Panama.

     I really find myself thinking of Panama when I think of rum, because of the many friends that I have made around the rum industry of Panama and the fine quality rums they all produce.   Looking forward to seeing these friends again this year at the Rum Renaissance next month in Miami.   ;o)