Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween: A Spooky Day

     Here we are at the spookiest day of the year.  It is a day for all of the little demons to run through the neighborhoods collecting treats so that the adults don't have a mess to clean up.  It is also a day for the adults to get dressed up and  share their own creativity as they party into the night long after the little demons and princesses have gone to bed.


     Dressing up in everything from zombies to fairy tale characters the adults head out into the night for their fun evening evil doings.   This is a long love tradition that so many cant resist reverting back to their childhood and dressing up and living out their fantasies just this one time each year.


     The parties are filled with unusual foods and cocktails that look like gory body parts to ghostly foods and "finger" food.  All in all it is a night of scary faces and even scarier food and drink.  The adult Halloween party can be a very interesting spectacle and they happen each year all over the world.  Watch out, there might me one happening at the house next door to you.






Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fall Sunsets in the Key West Harbor

     A beautiful fall evening in the Key West harbor sitting at the Galleon Tiki Bar enjoying a unique sunset.   The silhouettes , sky and land come together here in such a astonishing way.  Enjoying the moment with good friends and a nice sip of rum.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bacardi Joins with Lubee Bat Conservatory to Build Bat Caves at Jacksonville Bottling Plant

"As part of its ongoing environmental efforts, Bacardi has erected three large bat habitats at its rum bottling facility in Jacksonville, Florida – capable of housing up to 500 bats."

     The bat caves are expected to be “full of tenants” very soon.   Crafted in partnership with Lubee Bat Conservancy, the habitats, branded bat caves are expected to be “full of tenants” within just a few months.   Standing 20 feet off the ground, the two single-chambered bat caves can house between 50-100 bats, while the triple-chambered cave can hold between 200-300 bats.
     Located on a 92-acre site, Bacardi Bottling Corporation bottles all Bacardi spirits for US consumption, and has received international recognition for its contributions to wildlife habitat conservation and education by the Wildlife Habitat Council.   Through the partnership, both Bacardi and Lubee Bat Conservancy aim to “preserve and provide crucial habitats” for the local bat population to help maintain the community’s natural wetlands, farming, and forest areas.   “Monitoring of the bat houses will be conducted in a responsible manner, so we do not disturb the bats as they take residence in the new shelters,” says Brian Pope, director of Lubee Bat Conservancy.
     “For this reason, we don’t have cameras inside the shelters. Acoustic surveys conducted in late spring recorded 716 identifiable calls revealing four bat species on the Bacardi property.”   Bacardi says the bat has “always been more than just a logo”, it’s also an “ecological partner” as well as a metaphor that embodies the brand’s ‘We Are The Night’ statement.  The brand’s link to bats hails back to 1862 when Doña Amalia Bacardí, the founder’s wife, spotted a colony of fruit bats in the rafters of the first Bacardi distillery in Santiago de Cuba.        In Spain, where the Bacardí family emigrated from, bats symbolized good health, family unity and good fortune, so it was ensured that the bats remained in the distillery and became identified with the brand.
     “Conservation and sustainability have been a part of who Bacardi has been since the very beginning nearly 155 years ago. We’ve now come full-circle with these bat caves as we live out this legacy,” said Julio Torruella, global environment director for Bacardi.
“Bats are vital to the health of natural ecosystems and human economies, so preservation of their habitats makes great sense with regard to sustainability.   “We work just as hard to find ways to preserve habitats and protect species as we do to reduce energy consumption and conduct business sustainability.”

Friday, October 28, 2016

Don Q is Celebrating 150 Years with Ultra Premium and Premium Expressions.

     Don Q is releasing an ultra premium and a premium expression as a part of their 150th Year Celebration to the United Kingdom.  Their 2005 Signature Release Single Barrel is the first single-barrel expression is to be released by Don Q and is part of this limited edition series, with only 6,000 bottles produced.   Aged in American white oak barrels for 10 years, the 2005 Signature Release Single Barrel is a departure from Don Q’s portfolio of blended rums, the company says. The 80-proof light rum has a deep woodiness with sweeter notes and an aroma of heavy oak, leather and dried fruit.  
The first being the Single-Barrel 2005 expression, with 3,000 4.5-liter cases allocated to the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and the remaining 1,000 cases destined for Europe.   A 2007 Single-Barrel variant will follow in 2017.   Don Q Signature Release Single-Barrel Rum is 80 proof, available at select liquor stores throughout the US, and is priced at $39.99 for a 750-ml bottle.

     The second release is an ultra premium expression.       Only 1,865 bottles of the Gran Reserva de la Familia Serralés  were made.   Puerto Rico’s Don Q has one of the richest histories in the rum making industry.  Now they are capitalizing on it with one of the finest rums ever made.   Company founder Don Juan Serrallés founded and named his Puerto Rican Hacienda Mercedita sugar cane plantation named for his wife, Mercedes.  In 1865 he produced his first rum using fresh sugarcane in a copper pot still imported from France.  He would later name the company for Don Quixote.  Don Q rum received global attention when bartender Ramon Marrero used it to create a popular new cocktail he called the Piña Colada.


     Now the company is making headlines again as it celebrates 150 years of rum making with the release of the Gran Reserva de la Familia Serralés, its their most elite bottle ever offered.  Don Q is marking the 150th anniversary of its 1865 founding last year with the very limited-edition bottle, blending 20-year-old rums from its oldest warehouses, hand-selected by sixth-generation distiller Roberto Serrallés. The elixir is being compared to cognac and in keeping with the company’s birth, only 1,865 bottles will be produced, with each costing $1,865.     




Thursday, October 27, 2016

Belated National Pumpkin Day Celebration

      I missed National Pumpkin Day yesterday, but there is no reason not to celebrate it today.   We cannot wait for the big November holiday for some pumpkin stuff, we need pumpkin every-thing now.   Pumpkin Chunkin’, pumpkin patches and festivals. Jack-o-lanterns carved for Monday is a must too! This fruit grabs American’s attention in the fall every year.  We love our pumpkin cocktails as well. 
     This squash is native to North America.   A 2,145-pound pumpkin from Streator, Illinois holds the current North American record.  Grown by Gene McMullen in 2015, the”great pumpkin” weighed in a few hundred pounds lighter than the current world record pumpkin from 2014.  At 2,323-pounds, from Switzerland that still holds the world record.
 
     What would the “Great Pumpkin Day” be without a “Great Pumpkin Cocktail”?  Let’s put an end to that problem with a brand new cocktail for the occasion.

The Great Pumpkin Day Cocktail
  • 1 oz. Rhum JM White 
  • 1 oz. Rhum JM VO 
  • 2 oz Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 oz. Bahama Bob’s Pumpkin Syrup
  • 3 Dashes of Fee Brother's Black Walnut Bitters

Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until really chilled.  Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and garnish with a lime zest.
Bahama Bob’s Pumpkin Syrup
  • 1 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ Cups of Water
  • 2 Tbsp. Pumpkin Puree
  •  1 Tsp. Allspice
  • 1 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • ½ Tsp. Lemon Juice


Place all ingredients except the water in a pan and heat at 375 degrees stirring until all melts into a liquid.  Slowly add the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to 240 degrees and allow to slow boil wile stirring for 5 minutes.  Pour into a dish that will not melt or crack and place in refrigerator for about an hour.  Pour into a dispensing bottle and put into refrigerator until ready to use.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Real McCoy Rumtini

I was in a mood for a nice relatively dry cocktail yesterday afternoon, I just had gotten a bottle of Dolin Vermouth, and a bottle of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur for the bar in the boat.   Starting with a nice flavored dry rum like Real McCoy 12 year old rum and balancing the sweetness of the Luxardo with the dryness of the Dolin Vermouth yielded a really nice sophisticated sipping cocktail for this afternoons aft deck cocktail hour.


Real McCoy Rumtini

  • 2 oz. Real McCoy 12 Year Old Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Place all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled.  Strain into a chilled large cocktail glass filled with ice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016 We Cycle "Zombie Bike Ride"

     The 2016 Zombie Bike Ride that went off Sunday evening, is only the zaniest, most creative and colorful bike ride anywhere!   If your alter ego is a zombie, ghoul, ghost, sugar skull, or other member of the undead, then this is the event for you!   This family friendly event has grown from 70 people in 2009 to more than 5,000 in 2013 and celebrates bike culture along with our fascination in all things zombie. This leisurely four-mile bike ride took the participants down the scenic South Roosevelt Blvd with beautiful ocean views, before winding through Old Town Key West and ending with the block party on Duval Street. 

     The historic and haunted Fort East Martello is the perfect backdrop to this year’s Zombieland from as early as 2pm to mingle with fellow zombies, getting your face or body painted, and enjoying the live music.  Food and beverage vendors keep the zombies hydrated and happy. Beginning at 6pm the hoard starts the four mile ride toward the block party on Duval Street.  Bike traffic flow was significantly improved this year, zombie ride participants will be able to use all four lanes of South Roosevelt as the group departs Fort East Martello headed west. They were able to have smooth riding as they wound through the south side of Key West this year!  

     Parade viewers lined up along the beach along South Roosevelt and all along Duval Street.  The voyeurs had a great view of the ride as it passed along the route   There are no official Zombie Bike Ride stops on our way to Duval Street, but several bars along the way did have “Unofficial” Pit Stops for spectators and tired riders.  I know all of the people involved and spectating had a really fun time watching the parade of zombies move smoothly along the route to the block party at the end where three blocks of Duval Street were closed from 7pm til 11pm for the party.
   

Monday, October 24, 2016

After 55 Years in the Rum Business, Evon Brown has Announced his Retirement

Evon Brown
     Evon Brown has been a prominent rum industry figure who has held leadership roles in National Rums of Jamaica and WIRSPA (West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association Inc.), announced his retirement after 55 years in the business.   Brown served as a director of the WIRSPA for 31 years with several terms as the chairman.  He went on pre-retirement leave on the first of October and will officially retire in January 2017.
     Over his career, Brown held the role of director of the National Rums of Jamaica Group of Companies for 36 years, chairman of the Caribbean Molasses Company for 39 years, and chairman of the Spirits Pool Association for 20 years.   One of Brown’s many career highlights includes the development of a plan to inject capital in the National Rum Group from Caribbean distillers including the West Indies Rum Distillery of Barbados, Demerara Distillers Ltd from Guyana, and Diageo. As a result, the Group now operates one of the most modern rum distilleries in the region and is now poised to become a more significant player in the international rum market.

   In a statement, National Rums of Jamaica said: “The Directors of National Rums expressed their deepest gratitude to Evon Brown for his unswerving dedication to the rum industry for more than a half century.   His hard work and deep insights in overcoming numerous challenges the industry faced over those years.   “The Board  wishes to convey its tremendous appreciation for the magnificent job which Evon Brown has carried out both for the rum and spirits industry in general and the company in particular over his 55 years in the business.  As of this time, there has not been an announcement of a successor to Evon Brown's position.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Clear Fall Evening in the Marina

     The Humidity is dropping along with the temperatures, fall has truly arrived.  The sunsets of fall are so pretty with an almost perfectly clear sky behind it.   Looking out from the aft deck of the boat and enjoying the silhouettes of the other boats in the marina make for a beautiful fall sunset to enjoy with our cocktail hour.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bring Me Back Cocktail

Perfect for the day after all of the fall parties, this pumpkin flavored cocktail is a great afternoon recovery cocktail to warm you up during this cool fall weather.  Fall is such a good time for a tummy warming cocktail while you can still be outside on the patio.


Bringing Me Back


  • 2 oz. Real McCoy 12 Year Old Rum
  • 3/4  oz. Dolan's Dry Vermouth
  • 3/4 oz. Bahama Bob’s Pumpkin Syrup


Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled.   Strain into chilled rocks glass and garnish with fresh ground nutmeg and cinnamon.


Bahama Bob's Pumpkin Syrup
  • 1 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ Cups of Water
  • 2 Tbsp. Pumpkin Puree
  •  1 Tsp. Allspice
  • 1 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • ½ Tsp. Lemon Juice


Place all ingredients except the water in a pan and heat at 375 degrees stirring until all melts into a liquid.  Slowly add the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to 240 degrees and allow to slow boil wile stirring for 5 minutes.  Pour into a dish that will not melt or crack and place in refrigerator for about an hour.  Pour into a dispensing bottle and put into refrigerator until ready to use.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Tasting ARÔME 28 True Rum







    I received a wonderful gift box of ARÔME 28 True Rum yesterday.  I have to say that I was honored to receive this fine rum for tasting.    The rum was the vision of Andrew Troyer, founder and CEO of ARÔME Spirits Corporation.   “We set out find the exceptional and then package and present it in a way that meets our distinctive standards of excellence.  We designed our packaging to compliment the exquisite rum it was designed to hold.”   


This is a rum that exudes quality from the first time you set your eyes on it.  Even the sample package they send is elegant and won't let you just put it aside.    My first impression came with the dark mahogany color that was very inviting.  This medium viscosity rum. On the nose you pick up the aromas of the wood, leather, tobacco and nutty spiciness.    Upon your first taste, you are immediately greeted with the flavors of vanilla, oak, tobacco and leather.  There is a subtle sweetness in the front of you mouth followed by a long lasting smooth, rich and dry finish.   The blend stands up very well when a small amount of water or a cube of ice is added, opening the flavor up even more.   ARÔME 28 is a TRUE barrel aged blend of rums 28 years and older. 

     With only 500 bottles of the ARÔME 28 True Rum, this is a rum that will disappear  very rapidly, even though it is quite expensive, if you are an efficientado of fine rums, you might want to look for this one.    Each bottle is numbered, serialized, and includes a "Certificate of Authenticity" from ARÔME Spirits Corporation.  


  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Calories From Alcoholic Beverages Have Surpassed Those From Soda According to Euromonitor

     I ran across  a story of a study showing that many countries people have a higher intake from The research, which could shift obesity fears surrounding sugary drinks on to alcohol, claims that in 23 out of 24 countries studied by Euromonitor, alcoholic drinks account for more calories per person than soft drinks. In South Korea, 168 calories per person, per day, come from alcohol compared to 44 from soft drinks, while in Germany the ratio was 145 to 118 in favor of alcohol.  alcoholic beverages than they do from sugary sodas.  In a story in the Guardian, Of 24 countries tracked by the data analysts Euromonitor International, all but one have higher daily calorie consumption from alcoholic drinks than sugary beverages. In the UK, adults are consuming more than 106 calories per head every day from alcoholic drinks, compared with 98 from sugar-sweetened drinks.   

Read More at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/17/brits-calories-alcohol-sugary-drinks 


      As a barman, I can understand this, but it is my feeling that it is not the calories from the alcohol.  Most people don't drink their alcohol straight.  The majority of the calories come from what is mixed with their alcohol.  Whether it be cola, lemon-lime soda or fruit juices, these all add a lot of calories to the cocktail.  Most servings of spirit have about 100 calories, but when you start mixing up some of those delicious cocktails, the calories go right through the roof.





10 High Calorie Cocktails

1. Long Island Iced Tea: Serving Size: 7 oz Calories: up to 780

2. Margarita: Serving Size:  8.5 oz. Calories: up to 740

3. Piña Colada: Serving size: 6 oz. Calories: up to 644

4. Mai Tai: Serving size: 9 oz. Calories: up to 620

5. Mudslide: Serving size: 12.5 oz. Calories: up to 594

6. Grasshopper Martini: Serving size: 7 oz. Calories: up to 525

7. Chocotini: Serving size: 6 oz. Calories: up to 438

8. White Russian: Serving size: 5 oz. Calories: up to 425

9. Brandy Eggnog on the rocks: Serving size: 7 oz. Calories: up to 422

10. Key Lime Pie Martini: Serving size: 5 oz. Calories: 323

     It is important to understand what makes up an alcoholic drink in order to understand why you are taking in so many calories from them.  If you keep your cocktail to a straight spirit on the rocks or with a diet mixer, you can cut down the calories significantly.  This is important when you are dieting to loose weight, but still want to enjoy a cocktail when you out and about.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bahama Bob's "White Pumpkin"

Here is a really tasty afternoon fall cocktail that is really easy to make and is loaded with fall flavors.  A relative of the "White Russian", but so completely different in the flavors.   If you can't find Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, you can use Grand Marnier or Triple Sec.  Best with the Dry Curacao though.   Fall is one of my favorite cocktail seasons, because you can start making some really rich and flavorful expressions that are too heavy for the summer heat.  Give this one a try, I think that you will really enjoy it.

Bahama Bob's White Pumpkin

  • 2 oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 3 oz. Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled.  Pour into a Collins glass and top with fresh ground nutmeg.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2100 Posts for Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

     Today marks the 2100th post for Bahama Bob's Rumsyles, It has been a really fun journey from 3 January, 2011 to this point and looking forward to many many more to come.  It has bee a lot of researching the stories and being able to travel to so many places in order to present the stories.   What's in a name, but it is really what the blog has been about and will continue to be, rum and the lifestyles of the people that are involved with the spirits.

    We have visited distilleries, historic and brand new ones, new distillers to some of the most experience and legendary ones.  Visits to distilleries that approach making rum in very different ways have provided some interesting stories.   Discussions with some of the most famous and innovative producers of rum in the world has brought a lot of knowledge about the methods and the history of the spirit.

    The travels throughout the Caribbean has provided a chance to share the lives and the lifestyles of the people of the rum producing world.  My live here in the keys has also allowed me to share one of the most interesting areas of the United States with you as well.  History and nature has endowed the Florida Keys with so many stories to tell.

     The stories of the problems and the responsibility of drinking and working in the spirits industry, from Prohibition to modern problems have been covered.

     It has been a chance for me to share recipes for cocktails that I have found or created.   Covering the changes in the seasons effect on cocktail making and the cocktails of different regions is one of the fun parts of the blog.

   



     Thanks to every one over the past five years for your support and readership of the blog.  I look forward to many more years and many more stories about the world of rum and living life in the tropics.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Healthier Alcoholic Spirits May be "Hard to Sell" Concept

     During The Global Drinks Forum in Berlin, this was a topic of one of the meetings.  The speaker had some  very interesting points that have come out of recent research.  Take some time and read the report that came out of the forum, it is rather enlightening.  It is interesting that the effect of the social media and being embarrassed is a big a part of the thinking.

     Alcoholic drinks that use healthy cues will struggle to break into the mass market, according to analysts at Mintel.   Speaking at The Global Drinks Forum in Berlin, global drinks analyst Jonathan Forsyth noted that today's younger generation perceives a healthy lifestyle as "desirable and cool". However, he warned that these consumers tend to drink alcohol more for "taste, fun and indulgence" and "not to benefit their health".   "When it comes to this strategy, it's a very hard sell," said Forsyth. "It's a bit like selling snake oil.
     "How can you say as an alcoholic brand that you're actually going to make people healthier? This is an area only really populated by niche brands."   Forsyth highlighted Vitamin Vodka, which contains vitamin K, B and C, as well as beers in the US such as Mighty Squirrel's 5g protein beer and Barbell Brew's 22g protein beer.   According to Forsyth, the trend offers drinks companies the chance to highlight their "natural" cues, which he said give a "health halo" without making any health claims.

     "The desire for 'natural' has made gin cool again," he said, referencing the segment's use of botanicals. Some of the larger vodka brands have also used these cues, such as the Absolut Botanik RTD, which launched in Australia last year, and Smirnoff Sourced, a flavored vodka range that is made with real fruit juice and has no high-fructose corn syrup.  

     The 'better-for-you' concept is also linked to using high-quality ingredients. "When consumers were asked to define 'craft alcohol', 'high-quality ingredients' came second and a 'unique flavor' came first," said Forsyth. "Healthier can be communicated indirectly by emphasizing the use of natural, real and premium ingredients that blend together to create a unique flavor."   Moderation is also a consideration within the 'better-for-you' trend, although Forsyth said "'balance' is probably a better word".

     The analyst cited Heineken's research, released earlier this year, that suggests Millennials prefer to moderate their drinking in order to avoid embarrassment on social media.
Read More at http://www.just-drinks.com/news/functional-alcoholic-drinks-a-very-hard-sell-analyst_id121484.aspx

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Billowing Fall Clouds in the Keys

After Matthew cleared out of the Atlantic the temperatures and the humidity have dropped significantly.  Beautiful billowy clouds form in the sky, highlighted by the sun make for wonderful afternoons on the waterfront.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Obama Lifts the $100 Rum and Cigar Limit for American Travelers

     American traveling to Cuba and other parts of the world that sell Cuban Rums and Cuban Cigars, because we can carry them home with us without the $100.00 limit.  In an announcement made last Friday, Obama has lifted the limits for Americans traveling abroad bringing home these wonderful items.

     The Obama administration announced Friday a new round of executive actions designed to increase trade and travel with the communist island. This is the one many Americans have been waiting for — no more restrictions on the island's famed rum and cigars. Under the new rules, travelers can purchase unlimited quantities of Cuban rum and cigars in any country where they are sold so long as they are for personal consumption. Sorry American couch potatoes: You can't order Cuban rum and cigars online and have them shipped to your home.

     The regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department will make it easier for U.S. companies to import Cuban-made pharmaceuticals, U.S. agricultural companies to sell their products to the island and Cubans to purchase U.S.-made goods online.

     The changes follow a series of steps taken since President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced on Dec. 17, 2014, that the Cold War foes would normalize relations after more than a half century of enmity. "The Treasury Department has worked to break down economic barriers in areas such as travel, trade and commerce, banking, and telecommunications," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said. "Today’s action builds on this progress by enabling more scientific collaboration, grants and scholarships, people-to-people contact, and private sector growth."

     One more step bringing Americans closer to being able to bu Cuban products in our stores here in the states again.  Very encouraging.

Friday, October 14, 2016

2016 International Old Fashion Week Begins October 14, 2016


     "Launched in 2015 on the initiative of the Maria Loca bar in Paris and Cyrille Hugon, the Old Fashioned Week is now international. The Old Fashion Week is a week dedicated to the most popular cocktail in the specialized bars of the planet.   The Old Fashion Week is an event that is open in all the establishments that lay claim to a quality cocktail culture and of course to all the people who are old enough to drink it. The Old Fashion Week involves activations, evenings and master classes organized by the participating bars and or the affiliated brands of spirits."
          During Old Fashioned Cocktail week we will celebrate the venerable old cocktail with the spirit of your choice, mine being rum, ron or rhum if you will with a recipe that makes you smile as it slides across your palate.  During the week I will introduce you to some "new" Old Fashioned Cocktails from my devious mind here in the bar on the boat.
     Keep the week in mind and help us celebrate one of the first ever cocktails recognized around the world.   This year’s festival is also promoting a charitable cause, with donations collected by the organisers sent to The Isla Foundation – an NGO based in Nicaragua that endeavours to provide better working conditions to cane cutters in the global sugar industry.

Read More at http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2016/09/old-fashioned-week-launches-internationally/ 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dead Rabbit from New York Wins Title of World’s Best Bar 2016 Held in London

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of Dead Rabbit
     The Drinks International-officiated awards, took place in Christ Church Spitafields on  October 6th, saw a new winner, after a four-year winning streak by London bar, Artesian, came to an end.   Dead Rabbit, operated by Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, finally took the number one spot after finishing second on the list two years, they also won the award for Best Bar in North America   Upon winning the award, McGarry said: "For myself and Sean, we feel an overriding sense of completion. When we were in New York during the very dark days, when we were flat broke and there was absolutely progress, only one thing kept us going. We knew we were about to open something special, something that would be our version of The World's Best Bar.

     There were a number of other great bars that did very well in the competition, including The American Bar in London second, Dandelyan in London, third.   The rest of the list is also very impressive as well.  The Connaught Bar, also from London, made up the top four, just ahead of Attaboy of New York in fifth.    In sixth, and the highest new entry to the list, was The Gibson from London, while Employees Only of New York was awarded the Legend of the List, having had the best record of any bar over the eight years of the World’s 50 Best Bars.

     My friend Martin Cate's Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco got twenty-ninth, and The Broken Shaker in Miami Beach received sixteenth.  Congratulations to all of those that were recognized in the World's 50 Best Bars.  The entire list can be seen at http://www.worlds50bestbars.com/fifty-best-bars-list-2016/ 


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What is a "Standard Drink" in Most Bars and Restaurants?

     There is a real lack of knowledge when it comes to consuming alcohol.   People feel that they can drink beer one after another, and not be consuming much alcohol into their systems.  This is simply not true.   The reality of it is that the person drinking is very likely to e consuming the same amount of alcohol as the person having a shot is they go one for one.   I've heard people tell me that they can drink a six pack of beer and think they are not impaired, but if they drink 2 or 3 cocktails they would be "smashed"   the truth is that there is less pure alcohol in three standard cocktails than there is in the six pack of beer.  In fact there is twice as much pure alcohol in the beer.

      Here is a comparison of beers, wines and spirits volume of pure alcohol basted on what is known
as a "standard serving" of each.   Look at it like this a 12 oz. cocktail with 1.5 oz. of 80 proof spirits has about 0.6 oz. of pure alcohol, and a 12 oz. beer which is rated at 5% (10 proof) alcohol also contains 0.6 oz. of pure alcohol.  Below is a chart that shows how much alcohol there is in a "standard serving" of alcoholic beverages.

12 fl. oz. of regular beer = 5% alcohol = 0.6 fl. oz. Pure Alcohol
12 fl. oz. of malt liquor = 7% alcohol = 0.7 fl. oz. Pure Alcohol
5 fl oz of table wine = 12% alcohol = 0.6 fl. oz. Pure Alcohol
 3 fl oz of fortified wine = 19% alcohol = 0.6 fl oz. Pure Alcohol
2.5 fl oz of cordial, liqueur, or aperitif = 24% Alcohol = 0.6 fl. oz. Pure Alcohol
1.5 fl oz of brandy or cognac = 40% Alcohol = 0.6 fl. oz. Pure Alcohol
1.5 fl oz shot of 80-proof spirit = 40% = 0.6 fl. oz. Pure Alcohol

0.95 fl. oz.  shot of 151 proof spirit = 75.5% Alcohol = 0.7 fl. oz. Pure Alcohol

     As you can see from the chart, if you are consuming alcoholic beverages of any kind, you are taking in a very equal amount of pure alcohol from any category.   Don't fool yourself into trouble by believing that beer has less alcohol that 151 proof spirits, because standard servings of any of these is really about the same amount of pure alcohol content.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Where Does the Rum Value Come From?

     What Rum to buy, I’m looking for the best buy for the money?  What do I really want, which one gives me the biggest bang for the money?   These are the things that cross my mind every time that I go into a bar or liquor store to by rum.  For myself, I’m going to be drinking it either neat or on the rocks, so my considerations will be different from someone that is going to be mixing it with something.
     The first thing I look for is a good eye appeal through the glass bottle.  Color and clarity are very important to me.  This is an indicator of the way that the producer took time to give you a good first impression.   I’m not talking about “eye catching” labels, but a true pure product.  I tend to steer away from products that are in opaque bottles, unless I am familiar with the rum, it makes me wonder what they are trying to hide.
     Secondly I’m looking for a brand that I know something about.  This is important, because I don’t want rum that is contrived from an unaged neutral spirit and then artificially colored and flavored to taste like real aged rum.  Most of the time, I’ll choose a rum that is made by a small batch distiller, because they are more personally involved with the rum.  I find that I can really enjoy rums that range from about 2 to 3 years in a barrel.  I do like a number of rums that have been sweetened, but what bothers me is when it is claimed not to have additives, but really does.

   The next point I look for is if there is an age statement on the bottle, what does it really mean.  Age statements to be really useful to determining the value of the rum should reflect the portion of the blend that has spent the least amount of time in the barrel.  Aging is very expensive, and truth about the age of the rum is paramount to the value of the rum.   True aged rums loose roughly 2% of the barrel per year and the cost of storage makes the rum more expensive and contribute to the real value of the rum.
     For me, it isn’t where the rum is made, but rather how it is made.  The way that it is fermented, how long the fermentation is allowed to go on.  I prefer rums that are fermented in batches rather than through a “continuous” fermentation, better flavors remain in batch fermentation.  Rums that are pot still or combination still tend to retain more of the flavor before they are put into the barrel.   Multi column stills leave almost pure alcohol or neutral spirit, thus relying on the barrels to get the flavor.  This is the method used by the large bulk rum producers; they are in the business of producing alcohol rather than rum. 
     I feel that the best tasting rums are going to be made from cane juice, or high sugar content molasses, but there are a lot of rums out there that taste very good that are made form a wide variety of sugarcane derivatives.  The source of the fermented cane derivative is less important to me that the way that it is fermented.   The rums that are made with cane juice are going to be more expensive that those from molasses or sugars, but you have to decide how much money you want to spend on a bottle of rum.  There are value factors for all price range rums.


      Your first decision is how much money you want to spend on the bottle of rum, the next is to look at the expressions in that price range.   After that it will take a little bit of research on the ones that fall into your price range.   Narrowed the list down to 3 or four and go out and try to find them in a bar where you can taste them.  It is the easiest way to make your final selection on which one is the best value for you.  You are the only one that matters, is you are after all the one that is going to be drinking it.  Do your research very carefully; there is a lot of misinformation out there, so get as much information on the rum as you can.   Once you find your “best buy rum”, sit back and enjoy it.
 

Monday, October 10, 2016

What is Needed to Market Spirits in the United States?

    The United States is different when it comes to marketing spirits.   There is a different approach to things that make it necessary to “work outside of the box” to get to the customers here.   “Alcohol is a lifestyle industry,” says Spiros Malandrakis, senior industry analyst for Euromonitor International. “It’s not about flavors at the end of the day. It’s about music, it’s about movies, the Mad Men effect. It’s what people aspire to or dream about. Sometimes these things can easily be lost when just looking at dry figures.”   If ever there was a market more apt for such a lofty, dreamy, fantastical but also very true analysis, this is it. America – manufacturer of dreams, purveyor of the aspirational lifestyle – is a region where drinks trends are as diverse as the ethnic and cultural make-up; as nuanced as the individual state laws that govern consumption and production. And crucially, it is where consumers – and consumer trends – can be as fickle as Hollywood.
     In the United States, we are driven by our “lifestyle” rather that logic when it comes to our spirits.  We are looking for a brand or category that speaks to us about how the way that we live is the cool way.  We don’t need scientific data we want to be shown the way to fun and the right places to be.   So while US consumers seem to be in an exploitative mode, they are seeking out niche expressions and are willing to spend more on premium products.   Categories are becoming less important than the quality of perceived quality of the products. Drinks companies looking for growth now have to target an occasion, a moment or a demographic in order to draw new customers
     Several major factors stand out when you talk about appealing to Americans.  First is branding and promotions that are directed to specific cultures.   Ultra-premium Tequilas and Mezcals are expected to grow 16.5% by 2020, while the celebrity-backed Brandy and Cognac category, which continues to be name-checked in songs sung by the likes of Jay-Z, is set to grow by 14%, according to Euromonitor.   Perceived value is another major factor.   Things like imported spirits are felt to be more valuable than domestic ones.  This has led to the hybridization of many spirits.  Blending of local and global brands giving a perceived international flavor to the spirit seems to be a current trend.
    Americans prefer lighter and sweeter spirits, the addition of flavors to the spirits creating a new way to get customers to move to a different spirit.   Seasonal flavors at a feeling of freshness that is also big in the eyes of Americans.
     It is my feeling that all of those ideas are very true, but the most important in my mind is the authenticity of the spirit.  Is it a true aged product or something that is colored with sweeteners added to give this “looks like aged”?  Real premium spirits are fermented, distilled, and finished legitimately and not contrived.   New expressions that take aged spirits and finishing them in different types of barrels are very popular now, and are a great way to provide new premium flavors that are true to the spirit.   This is what I feel is really necessary before you start marketing a product that is really not “real”.
A great article was written on this subject recently and you can read more on the subject at http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2016/10/lifestyle-is-key-when-marketing-us-spirits/