Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Kill Devil Colonial Cocktails

     Rum during the Colonial times here in America was still for the most part in the "Kill Devil" quality.   It really had to be mixed with something to be drinkable.  This was the birthplace of some very interesting cocktails from the era.  

Flip, The Cocktail
     Flip was a vastly popular drink, and continued to be so for a century and a half.  I find it spoken of as early as 1690. It was made of home-brewed beer sweetened with sugar, molasses, or dried pumpkin, and flavored with a liberal dash of rum.  It was stirred in a great mug or pitcher with a red-hot loggerhead or bottle or flip-dog, which made the liquor foam and gave it a burnt bitter flavor.

     Landlord May, of Canton, Mass., made a famous brew, he would mix four pounds of sugar, four eggs, and one pint of cream and let it stand for two days.   When a mug of flip was called for, he filled a quart mug two-thirds full of beer, placed add four great spoonfuls of the compound, then thrust in the seething loggerhead, and added a gill of rum to the creamy mixture.   If a fresh egg were beaten into the flip the drink was called "bellowstop," and the froth rose over the top of the mug. 

     "Stonewall" was a most intoxicating mixture of cider and rum. "Calibogus," or "bogus" was cold rum and beer unsweetened.  "Black-strap" was a mixture of rum and molasses. Casks of it stood in every country store, a salted and dried codfish slyly hung alongside, a free lunch to be stripped off and eaten, and thus tempt, through thirst, the purchase of another draught of black-strap.

     No one knows, or ever will know, what New England rum tasted like.  The generic roots of rum extends deep into the misty past before there were bottles and labels and such.   This is probably a blessing if some of the written descriptions of the early rums are even close to being true.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Copper Bottom Distillery of Holly Hill, Florida

     East Volusia County’s rum history dating back to the 1750’s. A historical marker at 715 W. Granada Blvd. in Ormond Beach is the site of the Three Chimneys, home to the oldest British sugar plantation, sugar mill and rum distillery in the United States.   And in the early days of Prohibition that ran from 1920 to 1933, Bill McCoy used a Holly Hill boatyard as a base for his ships that ran rum and other spirits from the Bahamas up the U.S. east coast. According to New York Times articles, he was arrested in late 1923, pleaded guilty and served nine months in jail.   With East Volusia County’s history of rum, the Craig family wants to add their name to it.  The family has converted an old laundromat into the Copper Bottom Craft Distillery, located at the western base of the Seabreeze Boulevard bridge in Holly Hill, Florida.  It is the first licensed craft distillery in Volusia County.
     Copper Bottom Craft Distillery initially made vodka, several types of rum and also put up bourbon in charred oak casks to age the required two years.   “With this being Florida and the local history with rum, we have to have different rums,” said Jenni Craig,.
Copper Bottom Distillery
    The distillery has tours for tourists and locals that will end in the tasting room where bottles will also be sold, but not for consumption at the distillery.   To grow the business, the Craigs hope to contract with a distributor to sell their liquor in stores, restaurants and other retailers.  Those tales will be part of the story and décor at Copper Bottom Craft Distillery, said Jenni Craig.   “I think it will help bring people to that area and that’s what’s needed to spruce up that area for redevelopment,” Holly Hill City Manager Joe Forte said. “This could be another incentive there. It’s a step in the right direction.” 
     Their white rum is one that is an excellent example of craft rums that works very well as a base for the cocktail mixologists and I wish the well in their business.  I hope that I get the opportunity to tour the plant in the near future on a trip to the Daytona area.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Spirit that Carried Colonial America to a Revolution

Christopher Columbus Voyages
     Sugar culture in the Americas in turn began with Columbus who brought sugar cane to the Caribbean in 1493. where, it flourished.  The popular and profitable sugar refineries had two major problems: rats and molasses. Rats, whose sweet teeth could do in up to 5 percent of a given sugar crop per year, were variously dealt with by poison, ferrets, dogs, and slaves armed with clubs.   Molasses, though less damaging, was messier. It was a by-product of the sugar-making process: the boiled cane syrup was cooled and cured in clay pots with drainage holes in the bottom; as the syrup crystallized to form sugar, the leftovers–in the form of dark, caramelized goo that oozed out of the holes. 

Barbados Sugar Plantation Circa 1600"s
     On average, about one pound of molasses was made for every two pounds of sugar, and nobody knew what to do with it. Some was fed to slaves and livestock; some was mixed with lime and horsehair to make mortar; and some was used to concoct a very ineffective treatment for syphilis. Most, however, to the tune of millions of gallons a year, was simply tossed into the sea.     No one knows who first noticed that molasses could be fermented to generate alcohol, but the breakthrough may have occurred on Barbados, a tiny pear-shaped island at the tail end of the Lesser Antilles. There, in 1647, a chatty visitor named Richard Ligon attended a party at which he was treated to a feast that included suckling pig, pineapple, and a throat-searing drink known as “kill-devil,” an early moniker for rum.   Though undeniably alcoholic, “Kill Devil” doesn’t seem to have been tasty, even the perennially upbeat Ligon describes it as “not very pleasant.”   More forthright critics called it “rough and disagreeable” or “hot, hellish, and terrible.” Nevertheless, it sold like hotcakes.

Medford, Mass Ship Building and Rum Distillery of Colonial Times
    Pirates, traditionally, accounted for a lot of it; excavations at Port Royal, Jamaica, a famous pirate hideaway  that was once dubbed “the wickedest city in the world”, turned up hundreds of rum bottles.   Even more was sold to the North American colonies. In 1699, a British observer commented that rum was “much loved by the American English” as “the Comforter of their Souls, the Preserver of their Bodies, the Remover of their Cares, and Promoter of their Mirth.” It was also a sovereign remedy, he added, for “Grumbling of the Guts” and chilblains.      By the early 18th century, nearly all the rum exported from the West Indies went straight to North America, between 1726 and 1730, Barbados and Antigua alone shipped out over 900,000 gallons.    American colonists were not only importing rum; they were distilling their own.  As of 1770, there were over 150 rum distilleries in New England, and the colonists, collectively, were importing 6.5 million gallons of West Indian molasses, and turning it into five million gallons of rum. One estimate from the time of the Revolutionary War puts American rum consumption at nearly four gallons per person per year. Unfortunately, most of it wasn’t very good, but it did have the advantage of being cheap.
      The Molasses Act of 1763 had called for a tax of sixpence per gallon on non-British sugar and molasses imported into the North American colonies. This measure had been proposed by sugar growers in the British West Indies who wanted Parliament’s assistance to force the colonies to buy their produce, not the less expensive sugar of the competing Spanish and French islands. The sixpence tax was high and, if strictly enforced, would have caused severe hardship for the New England distilleries. Rum was a great social lubricant of the day and was much in demand throughout the colonies, but heavy taxation could put the beverage out of the reach of many in the lower reaches of society.  The problem with this Sugar Act was they could not really enforce it.  The colonists were smuggling the non-British molasses into the country.  Later, the Sugar Act of 1764 was passed.   The ever-frugal New Englanders worked their way around the tax by bribing customs officials.   British enforcement officers were aware of what was happening, but followed the “salutary neglect" of the colonies. Merchants on both sides of the Atlantic were prospering, so why rock the boat?  
     It would be these kind of taxes that would eventually lead the colonies to war with the British.  Even the start of the war began with rum.  Did you know that during his ride Revere made a little pit stop in Medford, Massachusetts at the home of Captain Isaac Hall. Captain Hall happened to be a distiller of rum, and Medford happened to be the rum capital of America at the time. Being a good host, Captain Hall started pouring flagons of rum, and the rest, as they say, is history.   By the time Revere saddled up again, he’d "sampled his fair share" of Captain
Paul Revere's Ride 1775
Hall’s hospitality and “he who came a silent horseman, departed a virile and vociferous crusader, with a cry of defiance and not of fear.” Not surprisingly, Revere was “pulled over” by the authorities (Redcoats) and detained for an hour before being released.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Atlantico Introduces a Bold New Look for the Line

      Atlantico Rum, from the Dominican Republic, is introducing a bold new look. It is inspired by classic ceramic tiles found throughout the Caribbean, creating a fresh, distinct design that clearly stands out from other rums. 
     "We love the Caribbean, particularly our home in the Dominican Republic. The people, food, culture and lifestyle are simply incredible. We wanted to find a way to capture the vibrancy and flavor of the Caribbean in our packaging while doing it in a classy way that is different than any other rum," said Brandon Lieb, Atlantico's Co-Founder. "With our new look, we are communicating Atlantico's hand-crafted credentials, unique process and flavor notes while transporting the imagination as much as the palate," adds fellow Co-Founder Aleco Azqueta.
     Atlantico sourced materials from all over the world to achieve its design goals.  The bottles, produced in France, are rounded with a heavy glass base. The wood and cork closures come from Portugal and are debossed with an updated Atlantico logo. All labels come from Northern California and include tasting notes, raw material information, barrel types used, individual bottle numbers and the signatures of the two founders. The designs are the work of Los Angeles-based luxury design firm M+.    "I couldn't be happier with the new design," adds singer Enrique Iglesiaswho is a partner in Atlantico. "It has a timeless, sexy look that captures the spirit of the Caribbean." 

Travel Day to Boston then Mooresville

Mom Leonard
     Today is a travel day for me, I'm heading to Boston and then drive down to Taunton to visit for the day with my Mother.  I make this trip every year to spend a little time with my mother and catch up on what is going on with her.

     She turned 96 last February and is doing very well, she still lives alone and manages everything for herself.  I'm very proud of her and her stubbornness to live life on her own terms.  Determined to make 100, it is always a joy to travel up and spend some time with here each year at this time.

     It isn't a bad thing either for me to get off of the rock for a few days either.   After a visit with mom, it is off to Mooresville, North Carolina for a few days to take care of some issues at the house.  There are a couple of things that I need to take care of to help make it more salable in the current market.  Once I get the work done there it will be back to Key West on Friday and back to work on Saturday.  Looking forward to a fun and productive trip.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ron Barceló And Artist Ruben Ubiera Launch Limited Edition Bottle for Barceló Añejo Rum

Ruben Ubiera
     Announcing a first-time collaboration for the Dominican Rum producer as part of an artist series.   Blending art, spirit and the proud Dominican heritage.   Ron Barcelo has partnered with neo-figurative artist Ruben Ubiera who has created the first of the limited edition bottle for Barceló Añejo Rum.   Inspired by his own personal experiences, the Dominican born, New York raised and Miami based artist created this energized design on a metallic gold background in his signature Postgraffism style.

     The interpretation best personifies Ron Barceló Añejo, a golden, amber rum whose bold, rich notes hold woody aromas of butterscotch and toffee with flavors of vanilla, caramel and spice.  The Ruben Ubiera Limited Edition Barcelo Añejo 750ml bottle is now available at retail stores in the east coast markets of Florida, New Jersey and New York.   It will begin rolling out in other U.S. markets by July 2017.   Quantities of the Ruben Ubiera bottle are very limited; only 1,000 cases will be available for the U.S.

     Special bottles like this that bring out the taste of good rum with the heritage is a great thing not only for the brand and the artist, but brings an opportunity to share it with the world.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Beautiful Day on the Water at Bahia Honda

     This week for the first time in over a month we got to return to Baja Honda State park.   It was a beautiful sunny day that we spent out on the Kayak and the boat just soaking up the sun and the sea.  I just wish that schedules and weather would get back to normal soon and we can spend more time out on the water and specifically at Baja Honda.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Antigua Distillery Hit by 2500 Metric Ton Molasses Spill

Molasses Flows Down into the Streets
    Antigua Distillery, producer of English Harbour Rum, Cavalier Rum and Kokocaribe Rum, discovered the molasses leaking from the distillery’s 2500 metric ton capacity storage tank, which was delivered the previous day. A thick layer of foam had formed on top of the molasses and was found to be leaking through the vents under the roof of the tank.   The ship was then immediately notified to stop pumping.  Once the overflow of foam subsided, pumping resumed and was completed by 10.30 pm.
    Sunday morning, the main storage tank located at the deep-water harbor began foaming over again. The foaming later subsided after a vacuum truck removed the spill-over molasses and additional truckloads of backfill were brought in.  Efforts to remove the spill have been underway since Saturday evening. Truckloads of backfill and a backhoe have been brought in to spread the fill, and to absorb the excess molasses both inside the distillery compound, and on the main road in front of the distillery.
     A water truck was also brought in to wash the main road of any residual molasses that may have traveled onto it from the storage tank.   The primary concern is the pungent odor emitted by the spill. The distillery is working to ensure that the situation will be fully contained by this weekend.  The distillery’s managing director Anthony Bento admitted “full responsibility” for the “unusual” incident, which is the first of its kind in the company’s 85-year history.
     “The company has always placed an emphasis on ensuring the environment is not endangered as a result of our activities.   For the past two years, the company has been involved in a pilot study with a US biotechnology firm to find ways of managing its effluent. This is a Caribbean-wide problem in the rum industry.”  Antigua Distillery are currently conducting further investigations into what caused the accident.

     Molasses spills are rare but can be incredibly serious, not only for the environment, but to people close by.   The most famous molasses-related incident is the Great Molasses Flood, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster, which happened on 15 January, 1919 at the Purity Distilling Company in Boston, Massachusetts.  A large molasses storage tank burst spewing forth a wave of molasses through the streets at an estimated 35 mph, killing 21 and injuring 150. Almost a century after the incident, residents still claim that on hot summer days the area still smells of molasses.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The One That Lost the Least is the Winner!

Bacardi Takes Back the Number One Sales Position for Rum
     Bacardí has reclaimed its title as the world’s best-selling rum brand.   The Spirit Business has released its The Brand Champions 2017 data, which ranks the world’s best-selling rum brands. Bacardí’s sales fell 1.09% in  to 17.23 million cases, however it was still enough to return the brand to the top spot.  Philippines-made rum Tanduay is the world’s second-largest rum brand, recording sales of 16.6 million cases in 2016.   Mc Dowell’s No. 1 Celebration finished third with sales of 14.9 million cases.  It is not a good omen for the category that the company with the smallest decline in sales becomes the sales champion.

     McDowell’s No.1 Celebration – owned by Diageo subsidiary United Spirits Limited (USL) – took the top title from Bacardi in 2014, but figures now show that McDowell’s took an 8% drop – making it the world’s third best-selling rum brand.   USL was hit by the complete ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in India's Bihar region as well as operating model changes.

     William Grant & Sons has confirmed that Sailor Jerry rum passed the mark of one million cases sales mark for the first time in 2016, a volume sales increase of 3.8% making it the second best-selling spiced rum after Captain Morgan. “The US remains our biggest market and they have done a great job in growing our share of the spiced rum category through consistent visibility in the off trade, grass root partnerships led by our local brand ambassadors, and impactful experiential partnerships,” said Chin Ru Foo, global brand director, Sailor Jerry, told the spirits business.

     Earlier this week, global rum ambassador Ian Burrell told Drinks International the rum category would benefit from having regulated classifications around the world.   There is no regulated classification of rum, even though some areas do have their own rules and regulations on the spirit".   There are lots of different interpretations of what can be called rum.   Rum has an old man stigma, a pirate’s drink which can only be drunk with coke.  But some of the rum cocktails produced here have been amazing and that can only help the image of the category.   The one area of growth in the category is the premium and ultra-premium expressions.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rum Made Right!

It is not often that I run an entire article, but this one merits your attention.  Jan Warren has done a good job of covering the subject of honest rums very well.  This is a great read.

Subtraction by Addition

05 June, 2017
Jan Warren sings the praises of properly made, flavorful rum.
     Once upon a time, some brave soul in the Caribbean decided that his industrial waste could be turned into a cash crop. Maybe the sun had gotten to him. Maybe the heat had cooked his brain, but he was convinced that the foul smelling muck left over after boiling cane juice to make crystallized sugar could be fermented, and the resulting liquid distilled into a purer liquid, high in alcohol.
     Greek alchemists were using the process of distillation as early as the first century AD, with the Chinese on basically a parallel timeline. We see the alembic as early as the third century, but it takes almost another thousand years for some intrepid Italians at the University of Salerno to make alcohol proper, again, with the Chinese perhaps independently on the same path. We first see a reference to ‘burned water’ served as a beverage in Germany in the 15th century, but it is likely that both Germany and Ireland were serving potent distillates as early as the 12th century.
     The tradition of fermenting sugar cane juice into a wine or beer-like liquid came down from Chinese and Indian antiquity, and when the technique of distillation caught hold in the world, you can bet that any and all fermented liquids were passed through an alembic, somewhere. We don’t know exactly where fermented cane juice or molasses was first distilled, but you can be pretty sure it was in the new world, and likely either Brazil or Barbados. By the mid 17th century, rum was beginning to be made as far north as Staten Island and Boston. The world caught fire with the desire for rum. Why? Because the liquid, squeezed out of properly grown cane, artfully fermented with wild yeast, batch distilled in pots or small columns, and carefully aged (and sometimes blended), is as quaffable as the finest whiskies, mezcals, and eaux de vie.
Jan Warren
     Admittedly, and my fiancé will confirm, I spend a little too much time on social media, and the internet in general, trying to learn as much as I can about various types of alcohol. I’ve always been fascinated by the history of rum, as that story is directly tied to the saddest and most shameful segments of my country’s own.
     In my learning process, I’ve been lucky enough to stumble on to Richard Seale. In the early days of my crush on rum, I traveled to Barbados, and while I was there, happened on to a bottle of rum in the shape of a crumpled leather bag. I thought it was interesting, and I bought it. The liquid inside was the best rum I had ever had. It wasn’t close. I really had only been familiar with the lighter and more commercially available Spanish style rums, and the depth of flavor in that bottle wowed me. It was called RL Seale and I was awestruck.
     I’ve been lucky enough to read a lot of stuff written by Richard Seale, and one of his constant mantras is that rum should be made the right way. That means not continuously distilled in industrial facilities that produce a neutral liquid upwards of 90% alcohol. That means not tossed into barrels with actual sherry left in them so as to flavor the rum. That means not adding sugar syrup in the blending process. I’m a bartender. I make a damn good cocktail, and I’d prefer to use spirit that doesn’t come pre-mixed with sweetener.
     There are rums out there that have been lab tested and shown to have up to 98g/l of sugar. For a little reference, Coca-Cola comes in at 108g/l. I’d have to believe that adding that much sweetness must take away from the actual flavor of the distillate.
     For my part, I’m just happy that people are out there making rum that I think is delicious, and with methods that can be considered traditional and authentic. The market for more neutral rums won’t be going away anytime soon, but the market for flavorful liquid with an honest method behind it is expanding rapidly in Europe, and coming to America soon. Thank you Mr. Seale!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cocktail for the Early Riser

     In the case the ones that are early risers with a taste for some spark in your coffee, this is an interesting idea.  I some times love a coffee cocktail in the morning when I'm trying to write and my mind just doesn't want to work.  It opens the eyes without the hype.

Bahama Bob's Early Riser

  • 3 oz. Brinley Shipwreck Coffee Rum
  • ¾ oz. Licor 43
  • 1 ½ oz. CoffeeMate Cinnamon

Preparation: Place all ingredients into a Shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled and pour into a coffee mug.  Top with fresh nutmeg.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bacardí Donates Studio Time Through Spotify Link Up

     Through Bacardi’s partnership with music trio Major Lazer, Bacardí has teamed up with music streaming service Spotify to donate studio time to aspiring Caribbean artists.  This is part of Bacardi’s new Music Liberates Music program.
Major Lazer
    Here is how it works, every time fans play Major Lazer’s new track Front of the Line, featuring Machel Montano & Konshens, Bacardí will fund studio time, with 50 plays the equivalent of one second.   Bacardí says this will soon add up, considering Major Lazer has notched up more than 40 million plays – the equivalent of 222 recording hours.  The recording time will be donated to emerging musicians from across the Caribbean.  Bacardí announced the year-long collaboration with Major Lazer in January, with the Sound of Rum creative partnership aiming to bring fans of reggae, dancehall, soca, hip-hop and electronic music together.

     I like this program because it is set up to work where Bacardi lives, in the Caribbean, and Spotify is readily available for free.  Keep up the good work.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bacoo Rum at the Rum Bar Wednesday

Bacoo 12 Year
     Stop by the Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn on Wednesday from 4:00 PM until 6:00Pm for a fun tasting of this very interesting rum from the Dominican Republic.  “Bacoo Rum is good for your soul and great for your Spirits!”   It is bottled in the heart of the Dominican Republic for you to enjoy and share with your friends.
     Quality, consistency, legitimate age statements and character.  Bacoo Rum is estate grown, produced and bottled on the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic providing exceptional consistency, quality and an age statement that is based on the youngest rum in the bottle. Bacoo is a farm to the table rum, worth giving a try.     Created from fresh cane juice, Bacoo Rum is balanced and has a clean profile, that is aged in oak barrels, Bacoo Rum takes on the desirable elements from the barrel, color, taste and aroma. Oak barrels add to the magic of the fertile earth and sugar cane of the Dominican Republic.
Bacoo 8 Year
     There are three expressions of Bacoo, Bacoo 5 Year, Bacoo 8 Year and Bacoo 12 Year.  The 5 Year has a light copper color, with candied, funky aromas and flavors of caramel, botanicals with an oily soft off-dry full body and a warming finish.  A rich mouthfeel and desert-like flavors shine in the aged rum.   The 8 Year  Has a copper color, with a mature, toasty, inviting aromas of fruit and candy, with a round full body peppery and fruity finish with ample barrel character for sipping.   The 12 Year features a brilliant bronze color, with aromas and flavors of toasted nuts and fruit and crème brulee with a velvety, bright, peppery and fruity medium-to-full long finish, a lightly herbal aged rum.

     Stop by Wednesday for a taste of the Dominican Republic at the Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn between 4:00 PM and 6: PM for a chance to experience these fine rums.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Damn Those Traffic Jams

Port au Prince Morning Heading to Work
     Sometimes I find myself complaining about the traffic here in Key West, but a trip to Haiti a few years back reminds me of what over crowding and traffic problems really are.  Even Miami can't compare with the issues facing the city of Port au Prince in Haiti.  In many places the cars can't move because there are so many people filling the street.  It is more of a people jam rather than a traffic jam.  Port au Prince has one of the highest population densities in the world.

     When I get frustrated by what happens here when there is an event in town is nothing compared to what the people of Port au Prince have to deal with every day.

Port au Prince from Above

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Campari & Yolo 10 Year Old Rum, "Works for Me"

     This is a good summer bitter/sweet cocktail that will go along good with your afternoons by to pool or out on the boat.  For me, this is a great early evening aft deck cocktail for the summer months.  It is refreshing and not too sweet yet not bitter either.

     The characteristics of the Yolo 10 year rum and those of the Campari marry well, with just a touch of sweetness from the Orgeat.  Give this one a try, I think that you will find it very satisfying.

Bahama Bob's Bitter/Sweet Delight

  • 1 1/2 oz. Yolo 10 Year Old Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Campari
  • 3/4 oz. Orgeat
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime

Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Spirits Industry Welcomes NFL Lifting Spirits Ad Ban

     The US National Football League’s (NFL) decision to allow adverts for hard liquor is “welcome news”, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.   Last week, the American football league changed its advertising policy and will now allow its TV partners to air spirits commercials.  Adverts will last no longer than 30 seconds, must include a “prominent” social responsibility message, and cannot target underage drinkers.  Television networks will only be allowed to broadcast four ads per game, and will be limited to two per quarter or during half time.  It will be the first time spirits producers will be given access to game time advertising spots in what has otherwise been an almost exclusively beer-dominated arena.
     While the move is a “one-season test” for 2017, it is expected to become permanent, a report in The Wall Street Journal“This is welcomed news but not too surprising given spirits companies have partnered with individual NFL teams, and other major professional sports leagues began accepting spirits advertising more than a decade ago,” Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz said.   “Adult fans realize alcohol is alcohol, and our responsible spirits sports marketing has been met with broad public acceptance.”
Several spirits brands already sponsor or back NFL teams.    
     Big beer dominates alcohol advertising and sponsorship in the NFL. AB InBev, especially with its Bud Light brand, is the league’s official beer sponsor and partner of the majority of the teams, while Miller/Coors is also a key advertiser.   One concession to the inclusion of spirits advertising during games is that the brewers will now be able to advertise their ‘flavored malt beverages’ for the first time – products such as Bud Light’s ‘Lime-A-Rita’ – but they will also be governed by the rules that cover spirits.      So far there does not appear to be any indication that any of the drinks giants has been chosen as an ‘official partner of the NFL’, presumably leaving the way clear for the likes of Pernod Ricard, Diageo, Bacardi and Beam Suntory to jockey for position.  Advertising in the NFL does not come cheaply, a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl now costs over US$5 million.  The companies in question are not tight for money, all of them command multi-billions worth of portfolios, spirits consumption is growing in the US and as the NFL is the most-watched pro-sport in the US and with growing following around the world.   The UK, Germany, Australia and Mexico in particular – one can be sure the opportunity hasn’t passed the big spirits producers.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A New Look for Chairman’s Reserve

     St. Lucia Distillers under the new ownership of Group Bernard Hayot is unveiling new packaging for its flagship export rum brand, Chairman’s Reserve.  The new look is coordinated with the scheduled relaunch of the brand in the United States in July of 2017.  

    A unique blend of aged rums blended that originated from pot and column stills, Chairman’s Reserve “is the meaning of enjoying the fine life to St. Lucians, according to the company.   “The juice in the bottle speaks for itself,” said Benjamin Jones, director of North America for the brand. “Chairman’s Reserve has always been recognized among the finest rums in the world, and now with an elegant refreshed look, Chairman’s Reserve will return the spotlight to St. Lucia as an island with a rich and an original legacy for producing world-class rum.”

     Chairman’s contracted the services of an international designer, well known for their work with other brands in the spirits industry.   While revamping the look of the brand, the new labels are still recognizable by the current Chairman’s Reserve’s rum enthusiast of the rum community.  The new label will lead the brand toward the embodiment of the “true essence” of St. Lucia and compete more effectively at the international level in the premium rum category and against all premium aged spirits.   St. Lucia Distillers will re-label “1931” as a limited reserve expression in the Chairman’s portfolio, as “Chairman’s Reserve 1931” as well.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Rum Sidecar

     I was looking for a classy premium rum cocktail last night.  It finally hit me that a sidecar was a really nice cognac cocktail that could be reworked with some rum and be right for what I was looking for.
     The Sidecar is a cocktail that has its origins to  an American Army captain in Paris during World War I and named after the motorcycle sidecar that the captain rode.  Original recipe called for equal parts of Cognac, Cointreau and Lemon Juice, today this is known as "French School".
Bahama Bob's Rum Sidecar
  • 1½ Oz. Doorly’s XO Rum
  • 1 ½ Oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • Juice of ½ Lemon
  • Dash of Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker, strain and serve in a chilled Roly Poly Rocks Glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Goslings Rum Rolls Out First TV Ad

     Gosling-Castle Partners have unveiled the first television advertisement for its Goslings Rum brand, in honor of the 35th America’s Cup sailing event in Bermuda.   The advertisement stars Malcolm Gosling, 7th generation president and CEO of Gosling-Castle Partners, and depicts him strolling among rows of barrels.   The Ad cuts back and forth between his quiet footsteps and the loud chaos of the America’s Cup racing action..

      Malcolm Gosling said, “I said, if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it first class”. “We put a world of care into our products; we need that to come through in the look and feel of this television commercial.”  The advertisement will be screened at the 35th America’s Cup during the races and on the NBC and NBCSN networks televised coverage of the grand event.   Two additional television commercials were shot and produced featuring Goslings Rum, the trademarked Dark ‘n Stormy Cocktail and Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Senators Begin a New Fight To End Cuba Embargo

      The long-running legislative effort to liberalize U.S.-Cuba trade began anew as a bipartisan group of 14 senators introduced a bill to lift the Cold War-era embargo on the island nation.  The latest iteration of the embargo repeal effort was Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who urged to finish the job begun by former President Barack Obama.   "This bipartisan legislation would benefit the people of both our countries by boosting American exports and creating opportunity for the Cuban people," according to Amy Klobuchar. "We need to turn the page on the failed policy of isolation and build on the progress we have made to open up engagement with Cuba by ending the embargo once and for all." 

     "While there are no guarantees, engaging with Cuba economically is more likely to nudge Cuba toward democracy than a half century of trying to isolate the island," It's long past time we move ahead."   Unfortunately, it remains highly unlikely that the bill will pass as introduced, given how divisive the issue of Cuba trade still is.   This bill will certainly function as a test for the new Congress and for the administration.  

John F. Kennedy signing the Cuban Quarantine in October, 1962
     Among the strongest supporters for freeing up U.S.-Cuba trade is the powerful U.S. farm lobby, which has consistently argued that Cuba imports up to 80 percent of its food at a price of roughly $2 billion a year and the United States is a natural export market because it is only 90 miles from Cuban shores.   Although the farm lobby has not been enough to generate legislative movement in the past.

     I feel that this quarantine that has been in effect since October 23, 1962 is lifted.   It will be interesting to follow this piece of legislation to see how the atmosphere in this senate.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Florida Keys Tidal Pools

     Kayaking around the keys has brought us up close and personal with a lot of these tidal pools.   The marine life that calls these beautiful pools is amazing and always introduces me to something new and interesting.   Spend a little time around them no matter what ocean is near you will be amazed what you can see at low tide.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Bahama Bob's Summer Cooler

     Here is an idea for a great summer evening cooler that is really creamy and flavorful.  Give this one a try, you're going to love it.

Bahama Bob’s Summer Cooler

  • 1 ½ Oz. Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum
  • 1 ½ Oz. CoffeeMate Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ Oz. Vita Coco Lime Coconut Water
  • 1 ¼ Oz. Cinnamon Syrup
  • Juice of ½ Lime
  • ½ Oz. Pineapple Juice

 Combine Place all ingredients except the rum into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled and Strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Float the rum on top Garnish with fresh ground nutmeg and an orange zest.

 Bob Bahama's Cinnamon Syrup
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 1 Cup of Demerara Raw Sugar
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract 

Place a saucepan over high heat, combine water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks.  Stir continuously until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to a slow boil and stir for another 5 minutes until syrup thickens.

Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla. After cooling, strain the syrup to a clean dispenser.  Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Bacardi and Jillionaire Announce Major Lazer Limited Edition Rum

Major Lazer
     The latest part of the “Sound of Rum Campaign”, Bacardi has created this limited edition rum in collaboration with Trinidadian DJ and music producer Jillionaire, who has been appointed as Bacardi’s ‘minister of rum’.  Bacardi has forged a relationship with the American electronic music trio Major Lazer that launched an experiential campaign featuring multimedia events, music offerings and rum releases.
     Major Lazer took a trip to the Bacardi distillery in Puerto Rico, where they worked alongside Maestro de Ron Manny Oliver to develop three different blends – one of which later became Bacardi’s latest Major Lazer Limited Edition.
Unveiled in Berlin at the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition, the liquid is a blend of light and dark rums aged between three and four years, offering notes of tropical fruit, cedar, almonds and vanilla. 
Major Lazer Rum
Speaking of Major Lazer’s visit to the Bacardi distillery, the brand’s global advocacy director Jacob Briars said: “There are lots of people who are fascinated by the process of making spirits, but Jillionaire was passionate about it”.   At the same time as debuting the new expression, Briars announced Jillionaire as Bacardi’s ‘minister of rum’ – someone who “shares the brand’s unique passion and spirit to help revolutionize the rum category”. “I’m truly passionate about rum, its craft and its Caribbean heritage. I grew up in Trinidad, where rum is a big part of the culture, and I worked in bars for many years learning how to master the perfect rum cocktail,” said Jillionaire.   “As minister of rum at Bacardi, I hope to further deepen Bacardi’s connection to music and embed the Sound of Rum into broader culture.”
      ‘The Sound of Rum’ concept is a way to “connect Bacardi’s island roots to modern music”, and has since become a “cultural and creative movement”.   “It’s been exciting working with Jillionaire over the last few months – we’ve seen his talent first hand and he’s a true rum aficionado,” said Zara Mirza, global head of creative excellence at Bacardi.

     Bacardi Major Lazer Limited Edition Rum will be available across the US in summer, and is slated to hit retail shelves in June at a suggested price of $19.99. Bacardi expects to be rolling it out to select international markets in September.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Now We’re Dealing with Hurricane Season

     The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins today, Thursday, June 1 and ends on Thursday, November 30.   This season will hopefully be as calm for us here in the Keys as the last few have been.  If prognosticators are right, 2017’s hurricane season will produce fewer storms than normal.  Plus the storms will be of less intense and less of a chance that they will make landfall.

     El Niño is the determining factor for 2017, Pacific weather phenomenon could once again determine how rough the Atlantic hurricane season gets.   We could see a repeat of an active 2016 season, or the return of the sedate years that preceded last year.
     El Niño is a weather phenomenon is when warmer than average water temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific creates high-altitude winds that move across the tropical Atlantic Ocean making it harder for storms to form and strengthen.  If El Niño performs as expected in the Pacific, it should tamp down on storm formations in the Atlantic.  Remember, the Atlantic has already seen its first storm of 2017, back in April, when Tropical Storm Arlene formed east of Bermuda, lasted only three days and did not impact land.

     Let’s hope that it is a calm season, we don’t need another year like last year where hurricanes did so much damage to the Eastern Florida coast and the Bahamas.