Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Thursday, June 30, 2016

500,000 Page Views for Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

     Yesterday marked a huge day for this little blog that could.  Offering the first edition of the blog on 3 January, 2011 to today there have been 1990 editions published nearly every day of the year.   Today Bahama Bob's Rumstyles hit its 500,000 page view.  This is a very proud moment for me, to have that many people who have shown a regular interest this little blog to be loyal and read it so regularly.   I really appreciate all of the support my readers.  It has been really fun to share my experiences from so many places that I have been lucky enough to visit and my experiences in the tropics and the world of rum.

     Over the years the best read articles have been very interesting, Friday, December 21, 2012
The Beginning of a New Cycle: Hopefully and Improvement was the most read of the articles with 3671 page views, and Friday, August 2, 2013 Back to the Thirties and the Tropicana, 2029 page views and Thursday, March 17, 2011 What is this Solera Rum Aging Process, 1860 page views. There have been so many other subjects that you have read that brought to the blog good readership.
Tropicana Havana Cuba

Abuelo Solera










    I have to thank you all again for your continuing support and spreading the word about the blog to your friends.  It is the fuel that gets me up early every morning to get the blog to you by 7am.  It is my hope that you continue to visit the blog and keep enjoying it.

Thank You so much
Bahama Bob Leonard









Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Refreshing Swizzle for a Hot Summer Day

There is nothing more refreshing on a hot afternoon than a really good Swizzle.  Watermelon is in season right now and really ripe and juice melons are in the market.   I enjoy watermelon and find it to be a really good ingredient for summer cocktails.   Here is a twist on the whole swizzle idea that comes out of Bermuda.

Bahana Bob’s Melon Barrel Swizzle
  • 1 ½ Oz.  Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
  • ¾ Oz. Agave Nectar
  • Juice of ½ Lime
  • ¼ Oz.  St. Germaine Liqueur
  • 4 Cubes of Seedless Watermelon
  • 2 Dashes Bitters
  • 1 Pinch Sea Salt

Place all ingredients in a blender filled with a cup  and a half of ice and quick on and off three or four times. Pour into a Collins glass and garnish with a watermelon wedge.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Living the "Jimmy Buffett" Lifestyle


   A lot of people come down to the Keys in search of the "Jimmy Buffett" lifestyle.  Key West and for that matter the entire Florida Keys are a perfect fit.   The warm weather link with the warm ocean and gulf waters that surround the them, the Keys are ideal for living in this wonderful fantasy.

     A combination of total acceptance of many different lifestyles, the availability of party venues plus a great selection for fun an unique cocktails and spirits.   These are the ingredients that make for a perfect paradise.   There have been many songwriters, poets, writers and other celebrities that have called the Keys home over the years, one of the reasons is the laid back atmosphere that allows them the anonymity to be real everyday people for the most part themselves.

     I'm in my eleventh year here and you couldn't pry me out of here with a crowbar.  All of the
elements that allow me to work, play and be creative makes this place my true "Garden of Eden".   I really believe that the salt air and waters get into your blood and leaves you with a new and wonderful outlook on life.  It is easier to accept things and enjoying the ways of other people as well.

     These keys are a lot more that just a place that has more bars, restaurants, and tourist per acre than almost any other place on earth, but more importantly it has an aura of life and understanding.  Everyone here has a different reason for being here, but most all of them can find a huge group of wonderful people that love to get together to share their fun with.

Monday, June 27, 2016

When is "Rum Not Rum"?

     An article in Liquor .Com that really bothered me.   It claims that there is a distillery in Colorado asking if you would you drink "rum" made from beets? Not from sugar cane. Not from molasses. Beets. Now you can. "Stoneyard Colorado Rum" is billed as the state’s first “farm to flask” rum."
They built their still from pieces from the old Florida Hostess Cake Company plant and is producing "Rum" from sugar beets.  Read More at http://www.liquor.com/articles/stoneyard-beet-rum/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=6.24+Unusual+Rum-ab&utm_term=Liquor%3A+Total+%28Consumer%29#gs._5gvNKQ   "

     What really bothers me is the fact that people don't understand that "Rum" only has one basic rule, it must be produced from a direct derivative of the sugarcane.  That means sugarcane itself, molasses or a blend of products made from sugar cane.   Beet Sugar is no more cane syrup than is high fruitose corn syrup.  There are sugars that come from most any plant, but when you make alcohol from them they are not all "rum".   Corn sugars make bourbon; rye makes whiskey; potatoes and other sugars combined make vodka and grapes make wine.   We don't call any of these "rum", even if beet sugar spirits are aged in bourbon barrels, they are a spirit with no name.

     The raw materials are what give rum its flavor and it will not be the same if it is made with anything other than sugarcane.  Richard Seale of Foursquare Distillery in Barbados makes it perfectly clear.   "The raw material is what makes the wine (or beer) and gives the wine/beer its flavor and the distilled spirit must retain the character of the wine (or beer) to have an identity (no flavor = alcohol aka vodka). Distilling wine made from sugar cane is what makes it rum. It is the flavor that decided it. Distilling beer from cereal is what makes it whisky. Again it is the flavor that decides it and the flavor is derived from the raw material."

       Let's keep "Rum" clearly "Rum" and not a hybrid or something that because it is made from some other variety of table sugar we can call it "Rum".  This also applies to those companies that are using neutral spirits from other materials blended with the cane distillate and calling it "Rum".

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Old Man of the Clouds

    The other evening there was a very unique sighting in front of me as I watched the skies paint their evening colors and images.  Out of a wind swept thunderhead, appeared an old man with the sun in his face abd the wind whipping his hair behind him.  What was really cool was that he hung around for 15 or 20 minutes.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Demerara Distilling Ltd. Reveals their El Dorado 50 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

     Demerara Distillers Limited on Monday unveiled its El Dorado Grand Special Reserve, a 50-year-old rum with an 18 carat premium Guyanese gold medallion.  This special edition is in honor of Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary. This edition, fondly called “Liquid Gold”, is not only special, but is limited; there are only 600 bottles up for sale.   “I believe this is the best bottle of rum money can buy anywhere on planet earth,” Samaroo further posited.



President Granger, in applauding Demerara Distillers Limited on maintaining a rich historical legacy within the rum industry, not only locally but internationally, said: “Guyana’s Rum Industry thrives because it is committed to high standards and quality assurance; it has devoted the time, the energy, and resources necessary to developing a strong brand.”

     Four casks were signed by President David Granger, the three containing El Dorado 50 Year Old Special Reserve Rum, will be placed into storage for another 25 years, the other cask will be filled with mementos.   These casks will be opened when Guyana celebrates its Diamond Jubilee, in the next 25 years.
     Before handing over the first bottle of the limited edition rum, Samaroo explained that “each bottle of the 50th Anniversary Rum has an 18 carat gold pendant with an El Dorado Logo specially crafted by a Guyanese jeweler.”   He further explained that each of the 600 specially crafted bottles of rum was certified by the Master Blender, Sharon Sue-Hang.   “The selling price is $500,000 per bottle plus Sales Tax,” he posited.

He noted that $100,000 from each bottle sold will be donated to the Demerara Distilling Ltd. Foundation to assist young, bright but unfortunate Guyanese in acquiring a high standard of education.
Port Mourant Still,

     Two-thirds of the blend of the Special Edition comes from barrels of rum that were distilled on the transferred still, known as the Port Mourant Still, and laid down to preserve in 1966.   The 1966 batch was then augmented with rums that are 40 to almost 50-years-old.   The Port Mourant Still comprises two large wooden vats constructed from Greenheart. It was first erected in 1732 at Port Mourant.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Watermelon Pina Splash

Summer means that there are a lot of fresh fruits and melons that have ripened and make for great refreshing cocktails.  Here is an idea that will spark you palate and keep you smiling for hours.  Watermelon is a great cocktail base when mixed with other great ingredients.  This one really works thanks to the help of Plantation Pineapple Rum.



Watermelon Pina Splash

  • 2 oz. Planation Pineapple Rum
  • ½ cup Fresh Watermelon Piecess
  • Juice of Half a Lime
  • ¾ oz. Cane Syrup


Combine lime juice cane syrup and watermelon in a mixing glass and muddle lightly, add Plantation Pineapple Rum with ice and vigorously until chilled.   Pour into a tumbler, garnish with a watermelon slice.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bacardi Visitors Centre Offering Oak Barrel Sunglasses

     Bacardi is endeavoring to be as green as possible in it operations.  In this light they have come out with sunglasses that are made from oak rum barrels that have run their course as aging barrels.  The barrels are disassembled and the staves are cut into the pieces for the sunglasses.   BACARDÍ at the rum factory outside San Juan, Puerto Rico, they chip up some old barrels for mulch or reused for planters an chairs among other uses. Today they are transforming them  by hand into artisan-crafted eye wear so customers can both drink and wear BACARDÍ.
     “With sights set on seeing a net-zero impact, the Company’s eco-friendly, reclaimed-wood eyewear innovations metaphorically promote our eco-focus and allow clients to take a new, ‘greener’ view with wearable, sustainable art that actually protects their eyes,” says Maggie Matias, managing director for the Bacardi Visitor Centre, who is based at the world’s largest premium rum distillery.   Certified craftsmen make the eye wear manually in a time consuming process of assembling, sanding and finishing the frames producing these unique wood framed sunglasses.   There are four exclusive and stylish lines of sunglasses, each pair features a carved BACARDÍ bat logo at the temple as well as Italian polarized lenses.   The wooden-framed BACARDÍ eye wear hits the mark with several designs that highlight the wood grain and texture.    Details like sharp lines, soft curves and green materials make the line of sunglasses universal for all.    The lenses come in cobalt blue or sunrise orange, while the frames, each unique, come in blond wood and dark chestnut hues.   The sunglasses will retail for US$195 each, are light and comfortable to wear and are only sold at the Casa BACARDÍ Visitor Centre Store in Cataño, Puerto Rico.
“At Bacardi, our challenge is to think in new, creative ways to help the environment and our consumers. This is just one example of how we recycle materials to give them new life and ensure that nothing goes to waste, and this is part of our long-term view for the future,” adds Eduardo Vallado Moreno, vice president for Supply Chain and Manufacturing for Bacardi in the Americas, whose responsibility includes the Puerto Rico facility.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Rum Sales Champions for 2016

     The Spirit Business has just announced the winners of the "Brand Champions of 2016.  For the rum category in general, it has not been a really good year, with the exception of Appleton Estate, the other large international producers has posted a loss in sales.  The rum category is undergoing a huge change these days to bring more premium expressions to the market place.  Whiskey is strong right now and it is a great time for the rum people to step up to the next level and bring some attention back to the world of rum.
     Gruppo Campari’s Appleton Estate was one such brand and was the only international rum to witness any growth last year, after four previous years of flat-lining volumes. The Jamaican rum benefited from a new naming classification and packaging redesign for its core range.   “In addition, our markets also introduced a number of exciting initiatives that focused on educating both bartenders and consumers on premium rum and what makes Appleton Estate so unique,” claims KK Hall, director, global strategic marketing – rums, at Gruppo Campari.
      “Rum is one of the key major spirits categories that has not demonstrated significant  
premiumisation on a global level,” continued Hall.   “The advent of new brands in this premium space, coupled with the increased level of trade and consumer education, lends to our strong belief that the time is ripe for the category to premiumize, and we intend to get our share of this action.”
     McDowell’s No.1 Celebration, meanwhile, has clung on to the world’s best-selling rum title despite losing volume and Bacardí – rum’s former number one – continued its decline. In total, the brand has lost almost 2.5m cases since 2012.
Read More at http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2016/06/rum-brand-champion-2016/ 



Rum Sold in Millions of Cases
BRAND
OWNER
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
% +/-
McDowell’s No.1 Celebration
United Spirits
15.63
17.76
19.01
18.29
17.80
-2.68%
Bacardí
Bacardi
19.60
19.80
19.10
18.20
17.42
-4.29%
Tanduay
Tanduay Distillers
18.70
19.60
14.00
17.00
16.50
-2.94%
Captain Morgan
Diageo
9.20
10.00
10.30
10.40
10.30
-0.96%
Havana Club
Pernod Ricard
3.84
3.81
3.89
4.01
4.00
-0.25%
Barceló
Ron Barceló
1.69
1.61
2.12
2.17
2.04
-6.08%
Old Port Rum
Amrut Distillers
2.00
1.37
1.51
1.76
1.92
9.09%
Appleton Estate
Gruppo Campari
1.20
1.20
1.20
1.20
1.25
4.17%
Cacique
Diageo
1.70
2.10
2.20
1.20
1.10
-8.33%
Bozkov
Stock Spirits Group
0.86
0.73
0.93
0.89
1.01
13.71%

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How About a Quickie Sipping Cocktail?

     This is an idea for a very simple cocktail that will light up the evening .  Full flavored with a citrusie spiciness that will tantalize your taste buds.  This is a great evening sipper or just about anytime it you are looking for a refreshing little something something to chill with.

Bahama Bob's Quickie Cocktail
  • 1 1/2 oz. Damoiseau VSOP Rhum
  • 3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 2 Dashes of Fee Brothers Old Fashion Bitters 


Pour all ingredients into a shaker half-filled with ice cubes and shake until well chilled.   Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with a twist of lemon and orange peels.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sharing a Close History, but Broken Up for Over 50 Years

     The United States has so many years of shared history with Cuba, but we just can't seem to bet it back together.  Even though there is a lot of rhetoric flying around right now and a lot of people in both countries that would like to see a normalization of relations, it a year and a half after the announcement that relations were being renewed and basically we have the same old separation.  There is no freedom of travel between the countries despite what you are hearing in the press.   It still takes special and expensive permits for very specific reasons other than tourism to visit.


     “The United States and Cuba, with their close proximity and shared history as European colonies, have been intertwined for centuries. However, after roughly two generations of U.S. embargoes against Cuba, few can remember a time when Americans and Cubans could travel back and forth freely and easily to explore their shared connections.”   As neighbors, the U.S and Cuba once enjoyed a close relationship, Both participated in trans-Atlantic trade before and after the American Revolution. As early as 1820, Thomas Jefferson wrote that Cuba would be “the most interesting addition which could ever be made to our system of States.” Cuba became a territory of the United States in 1898 for four years, after the U.S. defeated the Spanish in the Spanish-American War.    In 1902, the island officially gained its independence, although the Platt Amendment gave the U.S. the right to intervene in Cuban affairs.   In 1934, the U.S. officially relinquished its right to intervene in Cuban affairs and even made changes to its own economic policy to favor trade with Cuba above other countries. 
    Cuba became a popular destination for American tourists, who poured into the country on Pan American Airlines flights, enjoyed spectacular productions at the Tropicana, and tried their luck at the island’s many casinos. 
         In 1959 this all changed, between the revolution, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis, relations were at an all time low.  This bitterness has lasted more that fifty years and it is time to get back to normal.
     I'm looking to the day when I can jump on my boat and take the 90 mile cruise to Marina Hemingway and check in like I can into the Bahamas and when my stay is done, cruise home and check back into the United States at Customs.  I'm hoping that the politicians that are so worried about elections start working on completing the task of normalizing our relations with Cuba.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Colorful and Crowded: Port Au Prince

     Haiti and especially Port Au Prince are the highest density populations in the world.   I have to think back to my visit there when I start complaining about how crowded Key West can be at times.  The crowds of tourists that are here for special occasions are only a short term event, not like the daily situations in Port Au Prince.   Life in Key West is just fine, what crowding?



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Bahama Bob’s “Rhum Brooklyn”

     Taking an old classic recipe based around rye whiskey and converting it to a rhum cocktail requires an understanding of both spirits.  The Clément Rhum Vieux Select Barrel has a spiciness and fruity flavor similar to rye whiskey, but a purer flavor that brings the cocktail to life.   I really enjoy recreating classic cocktails that were originally based on some form of whiskey to rum or rhum, they most always have a richer and more full bodied clean flavor.  


     The unusual combination of ingredients, make this cocktail one that offers a complex and moderately dry drink that is best enjoyed in the evening.   It resembles a Manhattan, but with the addition of Maraschino liqueur and bitters. It largely fell into obscurity after the end of Prohibition, but it experienced a resurgence in the 1990’s.   Today it is again slipped into obscurity again, but none the less a very fine cocktail.   The Bahama Bob’s Rhum Brooklyn is a cocktail that lets the Rhum Agricole carry the load of the cocktail.   In a Manhattan the sweet vermouth is the prominent character, here the dry vermouth takes a more subtle role behind the dominant rhum agricole flavors.   The Luxardo Maraschino and Angostura Bitters roll in after the initial spice and fruitiness of the Clément Rhum Vieux Select Barrel and provide a lovely mixture of aromatics, and an unmistakable cherry and fruit funk.

   Bahama Bob’s “Rhum Brooklyn”
  • 3 oz.  Clément Rhum Vieux Select Barrel
  • 3/4  oz.  Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz.  Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz.  Angostura Bitters

     Combine ingredients with ice and shake until well-chilled.  Strain      into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with an Orange Twist.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Clément Rhum Vieux Select Barrel: Wonderful for Sipping or Premium Cocktails

     As a result of my exploration of the aged agricole rhums of late, I came across theis Clement Rhum Vieux Select Barrel expression.  I was very pleasantly surprised by the depth of the flavors and the long lasting finish of this really flavorful rhum.

    While the production of most rums is unregulated, resulting in a veritable Wild West of methods and standards, rhum agricole is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, an appellation with standards defined by the French authorities in the same way as for example, Roquefort .  Making  for greater consistency than can  usually be found among other styles of rums.    Only rhum from the French West Indies (mostly from Martinique) can be called rhum agricole.

     Clément Rhum Vieux Select Barrel has achieved the depth of flavor and satisfying mouth-feel in their Select Barrel Rhum Vieux Agricole.   The Clément distillers in Martinique choose only the finest casks to create this expression.   There is plenty of natural sweetness, balancing the earthiness of the grassy notes of the rhum agricole perfectly.  This full-bodied rum is very dry and slightly vegetal, the agricole process yields more flavors from actual sugarcane juice than molasses-based rums.   I enjoy the intensity of the sugarcane and the select barrel aging process.  That has given you these silky notes of crème brûlée and burnt sugar, cocoa, cardamom and cinnamon making this such a fine tasting expression.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Manifesto Of Madrid by The Recovery And Defense of the Rum Industry.

This is what rum is made from and nothing else
     In the past couple of years there has been a developing controversy over adding things to the rum.  The one thing that I have really liked about rum was that there were very few rules, the only real rule was that it was the be made from a derivative of the sugar cane.   The addition of flavors, spices and color would not bother me as long as the manufacturer would label the bottle letting us know what they have added.   A rum's flavor has a different appeal to different people, with some people liking sweet rum or flavored rum and others that prefer dry  unaltered
rums.  What I really have a problem with is the cheating on the very basis of what makes rum rum.

     While others look at the "Manifesto" put together in Madrid last May as being hypocritical, I am seeing it as a start that might lead to a resurgence of real rum.  Bourbon has very strict rules, but you are seeing the appearance of flavored bourbons, but the basis of the spirit is very much in tact.  This is where I believe the industry needs to get their act together.  The basis of rum must be sugarcane, and nothing else.  Rum is not suppose to be a neutral spirit made from just about anything that ferments, but rather a very special spirit based on sugarcane.
   
MADRID MANIFESTO FOR RECOVERY AND DEFENSE INDUSTRY RON
On May 31 in the days of the V International Congress of Ron that was held from May 30 to June 2 in the capital of Spain, the rum sector both consumer and manufacturing joined around a manifesto, which includes the defense of this distillate, which can only be sugarcane.  This is the starting point from which this manifesto is born due to the use of alcohols are not sugar cane by other more profitable because their production costs. Alcohol sorghum, rice, beets, vinous, etc ... is used for mixing with cane alcohols, which produces consumer deception. This practice used, it is difficult to certify a product with this mixture of alcohol, today control mechanisms are insufficient to certify this practice to 100%.
The first to sign this manifesto was the master Ronero of Havana Club, Don José Navarro, followed by the Director of the International Congress of Ron, Don Javier Herrera and so different company representatives Legendary, Distilleries San Bartolome de Tejina, Savio, Decanter de Caldas , Centennial, Saint James, Bold, etc ...
In the V Congress Ron Madrid was a success both brands and professionals, this year attended Santa Teresa, Havana Club rums of Venezuela DOC (Santa teresa, Ocumare, Diplomat, Veroes, Old Oak), Cubaney, Quorhum, exquisite, President, Unhiq, Magec, Fortin, Origenes, Cihuatán, Malteco, Malecon, Legendary, Pampero, Centenario, Saint James, Dillon, JBally, Bold, Marka's, Neat Glass, Lallemand, Tomsa Distil, Applic Etains, Cubers, DeltaGrup, Cocktail Shop, Don Q, Trois Rivieres, La Mauny, HSE, LONGUETEAU, Lambreo, New Growe, Caliche, 1423, Worthy Park Estate, Tiger, Cool Cup, BarBusiness, La Ronronería, Bacardi, Guajiro, Cocal, Aguere, Davidoff Coco Real, Finest Call, Monin, Sanz and Leblon.
Read More at http://congresodelron.com/ 
     This is a good start that needs to be follow up on and the industry needs to be policing themselves to keep the quality of the rum high and especially with the trend toward premium expressions there is the chance that producers could be offering spirits that look like premium aged expressions that have never spent much time in a barrel.   The French have a set of rules for their rhums, and it might be time for the rest of the rum world to get behind a set of rules and good product labeling.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lemon Drop Daiquiri

     Sitting in a bar the other day, a group of ladies on a bachelorette party, sat down at the bar and ordered the classic vodka cocktail called a lemon drop.  Thinking about this as I watched the bartender fix them, I thought this mike make a really good and simple daiquiri.  I headed back to the aft deck bar on the boat and went to work.  It has actually turned out to be a really tasty and refreshing cocktail.  It is a sweet-tart citrusy refreshing cocktail that lends itself very well to the hot weather that has suddenly been set upon us.  This is a great addition to your summer cocktail menu.




Lemon Drop Daiquiri


  • 3 oz. Matusalem Platino Rum
  • 1 1/2 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Sirop JM


Place all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice.  Shake until chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass that is rimmed with "Sugar in the Raw" and garnish with a lemon wheel.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bar Brawl Breaks Out Because Someone Farted.

     This could only happen in Key West; where else would a fight break out over flatulence.   I guess it is the weather, still rainy from Colin and all.  This is the craziest excuse for a fight that I have ever come across.  When you mix alcohol with stupidity, you end up with this kind of happenings. 
     A bar fight at Sloppy Joe’s, one of Key West's most famous watering holes wasn't over a spilled drink or sleazy advance on someone's wife, but rather someone’s flatuation (fart) that led to the scuffle.  According to the police report, a fight broke out between two couples this week when someone, remained unidentified, allegedly broke wind inside Sloppy Joe's, on Duval St. Key West, FL.  "The argument was due to someone farting," police were told by Richard McBride, the man who went to the hospital for a dislocated shoulder after the Monday night scrap.
     Richard McBride, 53, and his girlfriend Sandra Stoner, 55, both of Naples, said they were caught up in a physical altercation after the argument arose "over a fart," Officer Igor Kasyanenko noted in his report.  The couple said they were drinking with friends at the bar when Stoner traded words with an unidentified woman before getting out of her seat and confronting her in "an aggressive manner," police said.   An unidentified man tried to pull the woman away as others began to step into the dispute, including McBride, who pushed the man, according to the police.   The man retaliated by striking McBride in the face and McBride responded by tackling him, Stoner told police at the scene.       The unidentified couple took off and police said they couldn't find them.  


Monday, June 13, 2016

Cuban Bartender Wins Havana Club Grand Prix



Bartender Amaury Cepeda has been crowned winner of the 11th biannual Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix, held in Havana, Cuba.


     Amaury Cepeda of Taberba Yaybu Bar in his hometown of Santi Spiritus,Cuba, impressed the judging panel winning the two-day final with his cocktail “Cunyaya”; made with Havana Club 3 Year Old, Havana Club Essence of Cuba Island Fruit, honey, sour orange, and fresh sugar cane juice.   Thirteen finalists were tasked with creating “the next rum classic serve” by combining Cuba’s cocktail tradition, authenticity and local ingredients with their own personal experiences.  Cepeda’s winning cocktail was inspired by the traditions of the slaves brought to Cuba in 1515, and created after a five-day brand experience with seminars, workshops and masterclasses.   Of his win, Cepeda said: Of his win, Cepeda said: “Cuban cantineros must have all their senses in their cocktail; their heart, their soul and a profound respect towards bartending. I am very proud to have won the 11th Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix and I am very looking forward to starting my collaboration with Havana Club. Above all, I am excited about having the opportunity to continue to better myself!”    He will now undertake a global rum project with Havana Club, where he will have the freedom to create his own rum, write a book on the spirit or even launch his own rum pop-up. 
     Second place went to Veilandas Povilas, from Lithuania, one of the few women present in the competition, who showed great charisma and skills during the two-day contest   Manan Krause, from Germany, won the third place while the People´s Choice award went to Danish Kleist Terkel.
     Havana Club International and the Cuban Bartenders Association organized this event that is held every other year, and has won steadily a reputation as a hard to win competition.
     The judging panel featured mixologists from the World’s 50 Best Bars including Hidetsugo Ueno from Japan; Renato ‘Tato’ Giovannoni from Argentina; Alejandro Bolívar from Cuba; and Thanos Prunarus from Greece; along with cocktail and tiki expert Scotty Schuder; winner of the 2014 competition, Andy Loudon; and renowned spirits writer, Dave Broom.