Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Things You See in Miami

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Day 3 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Day 2 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Day One of the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

What is Aquafaba?

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

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

Bahama Bob's Vegan Rum Sour

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

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Back Out on the Water Again

     It has been a while since I've been out on the water and I had the opportunity to finally get out and do a bit of cruising around.  The skies did not disappoint me at all.   Having been up in the Carolina's for the past month or so it was really great to be on the water and enjoying an afternoon of boating.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

After the Easter Egg Hunts Are Over and the Easter Bunny is Done

     Saturday evening after all of the Easter egg hunts are over and it is time for the adults to have a little fun, the Easter Bunny can chill out with this really flavorful rum cocktail.   Give this one a try it will put a nice cap to a day of jelly beans, Easter Eggs and chocolate bunnies.

Happy Bunny

  • 1 ½ oz. Pilar Blonde Rum
  • ½ oz. El Dorado Rum Cream
  • ½ oz. Brinley’s Shipwreck Coffee Rum
  • ½ oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 1 ½ oz. Cinnamon Coffee Mate

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake over ice cubes until chilled and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.  Top with Fresh Ground Nutmeg.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Key West Hemingway Rum Company Coming Soon

     I stopped by the new Hemingway Rum Company Distillery, Museum, Retail Store and Tasting Bar yesterday, and the place is getting very close to the opening.   Things are coming along very fast now and the opening can't be to far away.  There isn't an exact date been set as of right now, but it will not be to much longer.

     Pack your bags for Key West…Papa’s Pilar Rum is getting ready to announce their grand opening date of the Hemingway Rum Co. Distillery & Experience Center! Be sure to sign up so you are the first to know - 

     The still is in place and all set up along with the laboratory, the aging racks and most everything else needed to start producing rum.

     They just about have the museum, retail store and tasting room done as well.  The place is very impressive and I know that once it opens you won't want to miss stopping by and seeing the place in full operation.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Admiral Nelson Introduces its New Pineapple Rum

     Heaven Hill Brands has expanded its Admiral Nelson’s rum range in the US with the release of a pineapple flavor.   Admiral Nelson’s Pineapple Rum is made with natural fruit flavor and blended with light Caribbean rum.  “Admirably Smooth. Perfectly Pineapple”, Admiral Nelson’s Pineapple Rum is made with natural fruit flavor and blended with light Caribbean rum.   “Admiral Nelson’s continues to chart its own course with offerings that deliver a smooth, premium taste that consumers look for at an approachable price,” said Hannah Venhoff.  
“Admiral Nelson’s Pineapple is a natural extension, capitalizing on the flavor trend and providing a fresh, tropical flavor profile suited for dynamic and everyday experiences.”   The Admiral Nelson’s family of rums is also comprised of the flagship Admiral Nelson’s Spiced, Black Patch Black Spiced, 101 Proof Spiced, Cherry Spiced, Coconut, Vanilla, Dark, Silver and Gold varieties. The range is bottled between 35-50.5% abv.

Admiral Nelson’s Pineapple Rum is available in the US at a suggested retail price of $10.99 for 750ml.   Admiral Nelson's Pineapple Rum will also be available in 50ml, 750ml, 1L and 1.75L sizes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Miami Rum Festival is Next Week!!!!!

      If rum is your passion then you need to put it in gear and get your tickets for this year's Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.  This year promises to be better than ever.   The Grand Tasting, the Trade expo, the highlighting of the American Made Rums, and of course the seminars.

     This year's event is a must attend, I'll be there to enjoy the fine rums and see so many of my friends in the industry.  You don't want to miss this opportunity to meet the people that create your favorite rums.  You will have a great chance to learn more about the category and what  makes the different expressions different.

     Really, if you can don't miss this year's Miami Rum Festival.  I'm looking forward to meeting so
many of you there.  Tickets are available online at

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lost Spirits Has Received Patents for Their Maturation Process

     Lost Spirits Technology LLC is pleased to announce that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has awarded the company two key patents governing its revolutionary distilled spirits maturation process.    The US patent applications 14/594,944 and 14/795,841 have been issued notices of allowance by USPTO.  They describe processes for maturing distilled spirits involving heat driven esterification and photocatalytic polymer degradation of oak barrel staves.  Lost Spirits has shown that its patented process creates chemical reactions in distilled spirits similar to those that take place in oak barrels over the course of decades.  

     Bryan Davis, the inventor named on both patents, has published data demonstrating that the new technology can nearly identically match the chemical signature of a 20-year-old rum, but do so in under a week's time.  Since 2010, US-based Lost Spirits Distillery has been refining a process that rapidly accelerates the ageing process of spirits such as whiskey, rum and Tequila.   Co-founded by Bryan Davis, Lost Spirits publicly unveiled its Thea One reactor in 2015. The technology forces a chemical composition within new make liquid that it is near identical to that of an aged variety.

      “We haven’t made something approximating the flavor of an aged rum – we actually made an aged rum,” Davis has said that “Our technology is the only one that can stand up to forensic chemistry as there’s a big difference between just replacing parts of the process with creating a molecule-by-molecule map.”   Now, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has awarded the company key patents governing its maturation process associated with Thea One.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Buffalo Trace Experiments with 300 Year-Old Oak

     As part of its latest endeavor in experimentation, Buffalo Trace Distillery is experimenting with barrels made of 300-year-old wood. This venture is one of many wood-specific experiments that the Distillery has led. Previous wood experiments have utilized wood harvested from around the world, analyzed the differences between barrels created from different parts of the tree and many more.
     This experiment, however, will allow the team at Buffalo Trace to observe what effects the age of an oak tree itself could have on the taste of the bourbon. The barrel wood used in this trial came from 300-year-old trees previously cut in Kentucky, the oldest oak trees the Distillery could find that had already been harvested. This was a rare find as an average oak tree will end its life cycle before reaching 200 years. Working with the barrel manufacturer the East Bernstadt Company, it took more than a year to procure the 300-year-old wood and then a year of stave seasoning before the barrels were made.  The team at Buffalo Trace is eager to see what effects the drastic age of the wood will have on the bourbon. “It’s a unique opportunity to be able to experiment with a variable that is even older than our Distillery, which is 244 years old,” Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley said. “We are really looking forward to seeing how extremely old wood might affect the taste of the bourbon, and hopefully will make some interesting observations along the way that will be useful going forward.” The 300-year-old barrels were filled and rolled into an aging warehouse in December where they will remain for at least the next six years, likely longer, until ready.

     This is an interesting experiment that will have an effect on all spirits that are aged in wood.  The more that you know about the barrels that you are using to age the spirits, the better the quality of the finished spirit that you get to enjoy in your house.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Hammock, A Beach and Me

     This week has been on of rest and relaxation and dreaming of a return to the Caribbean and some relaxation and visiting of so many friends who live there.  This week has been very relaxing and and needed.  Here is to a more productive in a different way for next week.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

750,000 Page Views of My Blog Happened Today

     Today is a day that allows me to celebrate and thank all of you that visited my site over the past six years.  This is a milestone for the blog and makes me very happy that so many of you are reading it on a regular basis.

     As a result of writing this fun little blog, I've been asked to do so many fun things and given the opportunity to visit so many great places and see so many wonderful things.  I've seen the history of rum and the wonderful places that it comes from.

     To write a daily blog requires a lot of time,
but to know that so many people take the time to read it on a regular basis makes it very worth while.   Thank you all so much for your continuing support of the blog and I hope that you continue to enjoy the stories.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Lawmakers Looking for a Review Of Havana Club Trademark Renewal

     A bipartisan group of Congress members asked the federal government Wednesday to review and explain the Office of Foreign Assets Control's decision to grant a Havana Club rum trademark to a company owned by the Cuban government.   In a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a group of 25 lawmakers, led by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., asked for a review of the license granted to allow Cubaexport to renew an expired trademark registration for Havana Club rum in the United States.

     The lawmakers said the Cuban government confiscated the trademark without compensation from Jose Arechabala SA and the renewal should not have been granted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control because of a longstanding policy to protect intellectual property owners from piracy. Bacardi says it purchased the Havana Club name in 1994 from Arechabala.   The lawmakers asked for clarification as to why OFAC did not apply Section 211, a provision passed in 1988 that effectively denies legal protection to trademarks of properties seized by Fidel Castro's government, in the most recent application for renewal of Cubaexport's license.

     In a statement, Ros-Lehtinen said OFAC's decision to grant a license to Cubaexport "was an unprecedented decision with alarming implications for American intellectual property rights holders."  "It was a decision made for political expedience that ignored standing U.S. law and potentially opened a Pandora's box that could see U.S. intellectual property rights holders subject to unlawful and unjust foreign confiscations," Ros-Lehtinen said.

     Cubaexport had no trouble renewing the mark for decades, until Section 211 was wedged into a 1998 appropriations bill. That prompted a World Trade Organization case against the U.S. from the European Union on behalf of Pernod Ricard. Though the body ultimately faulted Section 211, there have been only minimal attempts by the U.S. to comply with the ruling.   In March 2011, the D.C. Circuit ruled that the U.S. government could refuse to allow Cubaexport to renew its trademark because of Section 211.

     Last year, Bacardi renewed the fight with a lawsuit arguing that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office wrongly allowed Cubaexport to renew the registration.  Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman-Schultz, who have both been skeptical of former President Obama's effort to normalize diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba, sent a similar letter last year, accusing the administration of ignoring Section 211.

Read More at 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rum's Diversity is Becoming a Huge Problem for the Category

     There has been a lot of discussion about different styles of rum.  From the start, rum has really only had one rule, and that is it must be made from a derivative of the sugarcane.   Today with the growth of the premium side of the spirit there has been a lot of disagreement as to what is rum and what is not.   The real issue is not what is added to the rum, but the idea of things being added to the rum to fool the public into thinking that it is a premium aged rum when it is not.

     I have no problem with people adding color or sweeteners to their tum, but what does bother me is when these are added without letting the public what is being done.  There are a number of mass producers that take distillate and add a few drops of old rum, caramel, and sweeteners and pass it along as a premium aged rum.  This is just out and out fraud.   Newer distilleries that haven't been in business long enough for their rums to have been aged, often produce flavored or colored and sweetened rums to be able to compete in the market place.  This is not a problem for me as long as they don't try to pass it off as aged premium rum.

     Good rum is a product of time in the barrel and good blending practices.  There are many rum producers out there that don't make a drop of rum, but rather buy aged rums from other producers and blend and bottle them within their operation.  There are some very fine rums out there produced this way.  I see this a legitimate method of producing rum as well.  There are a lot of really fine rums on the market that are produced this way rather that trying to operate a distillery at a loss, buy the aged rums that they need to create the expression they are looking for.

     The thing I love the most about rum is its diversity.  It appeals to the young drinker that needs the
sweetness of the flavored and the sweetened rums, but there is a fast growing group of true people with a very sophisticated palate for fine rums as well.  Both of these portions of the the market and everything in between need to be provided for if rum wants to grow to it's deserved place in the market.  The real key is to make the expression honestly what it is and not something that is deceiving the public.  There is a niche in the market for all styles of rum, They just needs to be marketed that way.