A Mountain of Crushed Ice is Rum Blogger of the Year 2013 UK Rumfest Golden Rum Barrel Awards

Rum barrel award 2

How a Mai Tai should NOT be and how it should be

Rhum Arrangè de Cèd

Ced bottle

Rhum Arrangè Zwazo

zwazo label for blog

El Dorado the Liquid Gold…

el-dorado-15

Demerara Rums from Guyana

demerara-private-bottlings1

Demerara Rums Part One

dem-rums-port-royal

Demerara Rums Part Two

demerara-part-2

Cachaca and Rhum agricole, what`s the difference?

cachaca-and-rhum-agricole

Havana Club

havana-club-2

Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum

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St Nicholas Abbey 12 yo

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum

Blackwell Rum

Denizen Rum

Plantation Original Dark Overproof

Tiki Lovers Rum

Tahitian Vanilla Syrup

vanilla-syrup

Hibiscus Grenadine

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Sugarcane!

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Gomme syrup

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Learn how to easily open a coconut and mix up a tasty Coconaut.

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August 2014
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Categories

TOTC 2014 – Tastings – Plantation Pineapple Rum, Appleton Rum Brunch and Bulleit New Fashioned!

Plantation Pineapple Rum L pic2

Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy – Picture Laura Godel

Plantation Rum in Shades of Dark, White and Pineapple!

I was waiting with great excitement for the tasting and launch of the Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy by Plantation Rum – which I need to make it clear right away, is NOT for sale…..because this rum was an experiment by Alexandre Gabriel and David Wondrich….to be launched and tasted at the Tales of the Cocktail….

Well….I was not disappointed, the rum was delicious! with a deep well matured and slightly smoky pineapple flavor in the background of Plantation rums original dark rum. And the bottle is beautiful!! I asked Alexandre what made the flavor so deep and he told me it”s coming from that the pineapple skin has been distilled – together with pineapple fruit, which also has been macerated.

For being just an experiment I think the outcome was really delicious and very interesting!

Plantation Pineapple tasting queue2

The queue….a nightmare for anyone with a hangover….luckily I was not…and don’t mind all the yellow hats….it’s a Tales thing….

Yep the queue to the tasting room was pure madness and the warm air stood still, but eventually we got in there….and deliciousness awaited…

Plantation pineapple tasting 2

Plantation rums, pineapple, white and dark as shots and in daiquiri cocktails…

Plantation Pineapple Rocky

Here served by Rocky – appropriately painted….I don’t know how he does it, but Rocky really is everywhere…

Plantation pineapple collage

Yours truly with pineapple rum in hand, Alexandre Gabriel – Cognac Ferrand proprietor and spirits mastermind – and more delicious pineapple rum!

Plantation pineapple DTO collage

The DTO – Daiquiri Time Out coin, a treasure/token that was handed out, and which a certain man did drop inside a cab and had the entire cab floor torn up to find it…wherewith the cab driver in utter amazement said that this gotta be a very valuable coin…..

But there’s more to the coin than just a token for the fun of it, according to what I’ve heard, navy officers carried a special coin. When drinking, everyone showed their crew coin. If one person did not have their coin, they had to buy a round of drinks. This gave value to the coin and the tradition.

Now I have one wish….that plantation rum makes more of this fine pineapple rum….I could make use of a bottle…launching a delicious rum like this only for the Tales is really a teaser…!

The Appleton Estate Jamaican Bartender’s Brunch – Rum, Reggae, Food, Sun and Fun!

Appleton brunch pool pic2

Oh my….this was a nice event! a yellow school bus fetching us up outside of Monteleone and serving cocktails on the way to the brunch filled with rum, reggae, Jamaican foods like jerked chicken, lots of fresh fruits and fresh cocktails, Jamaican fizzes, fixes & swizzles made with island flavors and fresh cane juice pressed on site.

And of course one of my favorite rums was there – the JWray overproof – paired with Sanpellegrino!! (to sub Ting) plus Aperol…all by the pool at the Country Club. Very very nice on a hot sunny summer day down here in New Orleans.

Appleton brunch 5 pic 2

Rum, fruits and fun in the sun!

Appleton Brunch collage 1

Of course some of the usual shady rum suspects were there….The first refreshment was freshly pressed sugarcane juice before continuing to the bar for rum punches and JWray….Appleton also treated us with large red Appleton bath towels and flip flops :-)

Appleton Brunch collage 3

Well….I wouldn’t mind repeating this….that’s for sure. Just look at that pineapple!

Appleton Brunch collage 2

Or how about this….I dunno….can it get any better??

Appleton Brunch Collage

Jerked chicken, Coladas and sugarcane juice!

Appleton Brunch collage 4

And time for a JWray shot from the melon….Appleton Rum baby! Please come back next year….

And now to something totally different…..

Ruth’s Chris & Bulleit New Fashioned 1965-Style Luncheon

Bulleit New Fashioned 2 small pic

Bulleit Distilling Co needs no presentation….and this year they had a similar brunch as they did last year which then, was mint julep themed and absolutely fabulous! This years theme was the New Fashioned, a riff on the Old Fashioned…with Bulleit rye, Cherry Heering, orange rind, Italian Amarena cherry, Fee Brother’s black walnut and orange bitters.

The brunch was of course delicious…catered by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and if you haven’t tried their fantastic food it’s time you do if you have a chance. And the New Fashioned cocktail which will be served at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was very tasty and the garnish was so beautiful with a shiny black “filthy Amarena cherry” from Filthy Food Premium Drink Garnish, speared on to a dehydrated orange slice.

The wild Amarena cherries are slow cooked in copper pots to produce a wonderful all natural, dark red cherry with a sweet front and tart finish.

Bulleit New Fashioned 1

Hollis Bulleit, Helen Mackey, VP of Menu Strategy & Innovation for Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Tom Bulleit, founder of Bulleit Distilling Company presenting the event and their companies, while the crowd enjoyed an excellent luncheon.

Bulleit New Fashioned 3 food

The Crawfish Monica that was served was fantastic! and everything else too!

Bulleit New Fashioned ingredients2

The ingredients to make the New Fashioned….the only thing not in the picture is the jar of “Filthy Amarena Cherries”.

Bulleit 2

I get thirsty when I see this drink in the picture….and the cocktail WAS good! for people in the US – you can join Ruth” s Chris Steakhouse for a nationwide 5-course handcrafted cocktail dinner with the same menu across the US, participating restaurants and pricing vary, see more at Chris Ruth’s Steakhouse website.

Pictures Laura Godel

Next up….more tastings, parties, bars and restaurants…the last picture parade from the tales of the Cocktail 2014!

 

TOTC 2014 – The Tastings! Limited Edition & Vintage Rums and The House of Angostura!

 Vintage Rums Velier rums 3

Limited Edition and Vintage Rums

If I can….where there is rum and good company…I will be….

And so I camped overnight outside the Acadia-Madewood suite in the Sonesta to be sure to be there in time to catch the rums….well…no I didn’t…haha but I was there for sure!! This was an exclusive interactive tasting seminar featuring a selection of rare editions, vintage rums, limited bottlings and collector’s private stock.

The tasting was held by Robert Burr (Miami Rum Renaissance and Rob’s Rum Guide ) Leonardo Pinto (host of ShowRum, the Italian Rum Festival in Rome and the author of ISLA DE RUM web site) and the self proclaimed “high functioning rum-o-holic” from London Paul Mc Fadyen (co-owner of the iconic Trailer Happiness bar in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London and Brand Manager for Plantation Rum)

It was an entertaining and interesting tasting with rums found principally in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy, among them two fine demerara expressions from Velier and a new rum from Banks not even launched yet.

seminar tasting

Robert, Leonardo and Paul took us through the history of rum and about the rums selected for this tasting, and then we also got a bonus rum to taste before the official tasting of it, the pineapple rum from Plantation rums. Also we got a quick presentation of the Lost Spirits Distillery by Bryan.

It’s not so easy to take notes during an interactive tasting like this one but I tried to get a few anyway, we tried eight different rums (plus the pineapple rum from Plantation which will be in another post) and so here are some very quick tasting notes:

Bristol Cuban 2003

This rum was bought unaged and was then aged in bourbon barrels in Bristol for seven years. Light yellowish in color, with hints of citrus peel and raisin and the flavor is balanced with notes of light tropical flowers.

Banks

Banks is coming out with a new rum soon and we got a taste of it….my notes says ” lively, fruity, a happy rum with a little wood, a bit of spice with a round nose with hints of honey, tropical fruit and wood. It’s a Connoisseur’s Cut Limited Release, made with Nicaraguan, Jamaican and Guyanese rums.

Mezan – 98 Guyana

I had never tried Mezan rum before. I found it sweet, a bit delicate, light and complex, some wood, tropical fruits and orange peel. It’s been aged in Europe.

Cuban Banks Mezan

Velier Port Morant 93

Now time for the big boys…two demerara expressions from Velier (Luca Gargano) both fabulous rums! note the little green label around the neck of the Diamond bottle…showing the rum was purchased at my favorite French rum shop in Paris, Christian de Montaguere.

Amazing nose….tropical fruits, wood, apricot, almond, cherry…and in the mouth an explosion of flavors….mashed tropical fruits, wood, spice, intense and warm.

Velier Diamond – 81

It gets even better……a 31 year old demerara that has been aged in the tropics (like all Velier rums) it’s a strong and a quite tannic rum and here we get wood, fruits, warm spices, apricot, molasses, the rum is amazing,  a stunning expression.

Velier rums

Plantation Guyana 2005

Demerara rum = Guyana Rhapsody…This expression from Plantation rum is a bit woody, on the dry side, “cool”, with hints of vanilla and fruit, a touch of smoke..

Plantation Guadeloupe – 98

Has a lovely nose, fruity, sugarcane, the flavor is balanced, slightly grassy and floral, a bit dry but has some sweetness, a big rum, very nice sipper.

Bristol Caroni – 96

A nice rum, woody and fruity. Long finish.

Plantation and Bristol rums

RUM! The Past, Present and Future of Cocktails by The House of Angostura

Angostura needs no presentation….and they had a tasting session that really was both entertaining, interactive and fun! we sampled different expressions of rum while John P. Georges (Master Distiller for the House of Angostura) and Philip Duff spoke about the history and making of rum. At the end of the session we got to blend our own rum…

We tasted a range of Angostura rums, the 5 year old, soft and round with notes of tropical fruits, the 7 year old with more robust flavors of chocolate, baking spices, chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, the 1919, a premium sipping rum, spicy, peppery, dark roasted nuts, and hints of smoke, and the 1824, aged for 12 years, a rich rum with notes of honey, fruits, chocolate and spices. All these rums are excellent.

But we also tasted a range of other rums to compare and try different styles and types of rum.

Angostura cocktail small

Here is the description:

Join John P. Georges (Master Distiller for the House of Angostura), Philip Duff (Creator of the Rum Institute education program and renowned spirits educator) and Daniyel Jones (Winner of the Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge 2013, Angostura® Global Brand Ambassador and native Trinidadian) for a unique, free Tasting Room seminar, covering the following topics:

Rum’s place in the history of cocktails, from the very birth of cocktails right through to the present day, with a never-before seen history – and tasting – of the legendary Queen’s Park Swizzle!

A comparative multi-brand rum tasting, to help you map the many different styles of rum. 

Making rum! From distilling to blending to aging to bottling, all the subtleties of production that accumulate into the personality of a fine rum, straight from the mouth of the man responsible for one of the Caribbean’s largest rum distilleries. Includes tastings of deconstruction samples never before made available to the public.

A snapshot of rum in the cocktail world today: The Tiki renaissance, rum in classic and neo-classic cocktails, and boundary-pushing rum cocktails from around the world.

Yes it was interesting and fun indeed…and the tasty Angostura bitters glazed nuts and chicken with BBQ sauce was incredibly tasty too! also I think Angostura is a very classy brand from the products they make (love them all) to the way they operate and their team is awesome people.

Here’s a picture parade….(photos for the Angostura post by Laura Godel)

Angostura presenters

Philip Duff and John P. Georges, and lurking in the background Joey from Rated R Cocktails.

Angostura Rum Institute small

This was a great session!

Angostura John P Master Distiller

Angostura Master Distiller John P. Georges

Angostura tasting rums small

Rum tasting and blending.

Angostura bitters glazed nuts

Try this….it’s delicious…

Angostura cajun chicken strips small

Cajun Chicken Strips….

Angostura BBQ dip

With Angostura Bitters BBQ Dip Sauce…scrumptious!

Amaro di Angostura

But Angostura had more up their sleve….apart from a orange bitters pool party they also had a spirited brunch and a launch of a new product which turned out to be – amaro - bottled at 35% with aromas of cinnamon, dark chocolate and angostura aromatic bitters. Great on it’s own and in cocktails. Presented by the Angostura brand ambassador Daniyel Jones, people got to sample cocktails and shots with the new amaro made by Ivy Mix (Clover Club NYC) Mike Tomasic (House of Angostura Global Brand Ambassador) Daniyel Jones (House of Angostura Brand Ambassador) and JJ Goodman (The London Cocktail Club, UK).

It’s a very nice product indeed! look out for a few cocktails and a review later.

Angostura amaro cocktail small

Doesn’t this look tasty?

Angostura Daniyel making amaro cocktail

Daniyel Jones mixing up delicious cocktails.

Angostura Amaro shot 2

A shot of Amaro di Angostura..

Next up….more tastings! and more rum!

 

TOTC 2014 – Which Rum, What Cocktail and Why? and Floridita – Cradle of the Daiquiri

Plantation rum samples 2

Picture Laura Godel

Which Rum, What Cocktail and Why?

This seminar was presented by Plantation Rum and held by Jeff Berry, Alexandre Gabriel, Martin Cate and Philip Duff and the room was packed and of course all the usual suspects were there :-)

They took us through the history of rum, the tiki era, Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic… and then a very interesting theory about the rums Trader Vic used in his Mai Tais, or rather the Martinique rum part. Most of us (if not all ?) have always thought that the Martinique rum Trader Vic used was an agricole rum, but there is a new theory on this that the rum actually was a molasses based rum and not an agricole.

How’s that and why?

Well, there seem to be some things that points to that, for example the Martinique rum was described at the time as a rum with a “heavy coffee color”, here is the points according to Martin Cate including a pic of the jet-black Barum bottled in Jamaica:

1. Very few agricoles were exported to the US at that time. Only brand I can see in the US is Saint James. Don Beach had no agricoles at all on his 1940s rum menu. Don describes Martinique rum as “Heavy-bodied, medium pungency” and “Not as dry as the Cuban nor as rummy as the Jamaican” – no word about grassiness or a different raw material at all.

2. His first Adjusted Mai Tai recipe uses Coruba- lightly aged black Jamaican rum. Heavier bodied, but no depth of character.

3. He described using Trader Vic’s brand Martinique rum in the 1950 to match the desired “nutty” flavor of the older Jamaican.

4. Trader Vic’s 1946 Book of Food and Drink (and 1947 and 172 Bartenders Guide) describe Martinique rum as “Commonly known as French rums, they are usually heavy in body, coffee-colored, very similar to Jamaica rums, but in many cases have the dry burned flavor of the Demerara.”

There’s just no way that’s agricole. Also, Vic cited and used Negrita- a black rum from the French islands that is molasses based.

Vic’s Martinique Rum List: Outstanding brands: Bellows Martinique* Black Head* Rhum St. James Barum* Casa Grazia (?) Gosling’s Martinique* Rhum Charleston* Rhum Chauvet* Rhum Risetta* Rhum Negrita*

*All Traditionelle

Then: Creation of Vic’s Brand Mai Tai Rum – 1960s:

“This rum was made to recapture the characteristics of the original 17-year-old rum. First he skillfully blended Jamaican rums and then added Martinique rum for its elusive and wonderful nutlike flavor (ed – that’s got to be rhum traditionelle) and a bit of light Virgin Island rum for the smoothness of body. (ed. – that’s just padding to keep the cost down) This combination became the Trader Vic Mai Tai rum as we know it today.” (“Today” being the 1960s)

BARUM

Picture courtesy Martin Cate

So to me it looks like it’s true that the Martinique rum was actually molasses based. The rum world is really interesting stuff…Sure I wrote a note about this when I reviewed the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve rum which is a blend with both Jamaican rums and molasses based Martinique rum (Grand Arome) but being at this seminar and Martin Cate helped me get more and deeper understanding of the details.

Martin Cate is still of the opinion though, that making a Mai Tai with half Jamaican and half Agricole is delicious regardless! I tend to agree…

Next up, more about rum….yeah I have a hard time staying away from any seminar talking about my favorite cane spirit….

FLORIDITA – The cradle of the Daiquiri

Floridita seminar Jeff and David

Picture Laura Godel

This years Tales did not disappoint, I think it was even better than last year. One of the seminars I went to was “The Floridita: cradle of the Daiquiri” held by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and David Wondrich and presented by Bacardi Rum. The seminar took us back to the 1930′s Havana and head bartender Constantino Ribalaigua Vert who even taught Trader Vic how to make tropical drinks! (Trader Vic also went to New Orleans to learn how to mix drinks – after all Nola is the birthplace of the cocktail…)

The recipe for the classic daiquiri was 2 oz white rum, juice of 1/2 hand-squeezed lime, 1 tsp sugar and the drink was mostly stirred but sometimes shaken – “thrown Cuban style” that is. The limes used were the large limes most of us are used to, not the smaller key limes and they were squeezed by hand.

Hemingway who moved to Havana and there discovered the Floridita asked his daiquiri to be changed – double the rum, eliminate the sugar (he had diabetes) and adding grapefruit juice and maraschino and the Papa Double was invented, also called the Hemingway daiquiri.

His record of Papa Double consumption was 17 drinks from the morning to the evening – he really loved his daiquiri! But he didn’t drink just daiquiris, he also used to drink for example, a cocktail called “Ideal” while reading his daily paper. The Ideal was 1 oz Italian vermouth, 1 oz French vermouth, 1 oz dry gin, 3/4 oz grapefruit juice and a tsp maraschino.

Floridita daiquiris 123

One of Constantinos trademarks was the combination of grapefruit and maraschino and he used a lot of fresh mint, sugar instead of syrup, dashes of curacao and lime peel – as ingredient. He became known for consistency and a generally high quality on his cocktails.

Constantino also had an “ice program” where different styles of ice were grouped into four: 1 – Menudo (cracked) 2 – Menudito (chpped) 3 – Afeitado (shaved) 4 – Frappe’ (snow) and when the daiquiri was made simple syrup wasn’t used because syrup adds a different texture and taste and instead the sugar was stirred into the juices. So you can see with what great care he took the attention to details in his drink mixing.

FLORIDITA DRINK

And from Hemingway Floridita got fame, fortune and became one of Esquire’s top seven bars in the world at the time.

Now, Trader Vic, who sat at the bar Floridita to study how tropical drinks were mixed took Constantino’s daiquiri recipe with him when he left and put it on his menu and called it “Trader Vic’s Daiquiri’………and his book the 1940′ s Bar Guide was the result of his studying in the Floridita and Constantino’s work.

The seminar taught us about the history of Floridita and the history of the daiquiri but there were more things than that mentioned, among them Don Beach, Trader Vic and of course, the Mai Tai, how can you not hear something about the Mai Tai when Jeff Berry is one of the panelists?

FLORIDITA SEMINAR JEFF BERRY

And to wrap it all up – I would recommend anyone to go to the Tales! it’s such an experience, it’s fun, you meet fun and interesting people and you learn a lot!

Next post coming up soon – the tastings!

TOTC 2014 – Winners of the Spirited Awards!

TOTC Spirited Awards Logo

This years Tales of the Cocktail has been a blast and on the Saturday the 2014 Spirited Awards Winners were announced:

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2014 SPIRITED AWARDS

Best New International Cocktail Bar: White Lyan
Best New American Cocktail Bar: Three Dots And A Dash (Chicago)
Best International Bar Team: Artesian (London)
Best American Bar Team: Trick Dog (San Francisco)
Best International Hotel Bar: Artesian (London)
Best International Hotel Bar: Clyde Common (Portland)
Best American Brand Ambassador: Neyah White (Suntory Whiskies)
Best International Brand Ambassador: Giuseppe Gallo (Martini)
Best International Restaurant Bar: The Bon Vivant (Edinburgh)
Best American Restaurant Bar: The NoMad (New York)
Best American High Volume Bar: Polite Provisions
Best International High Volume Bar: Schuman’s Bar (Munich)
Best New Product: Del Maguey Iberico Mezcal
World’s Best Cocktail Menu: The Aviary (Chicago)
World’s Best Drinks Selection: The Dead Rabbit NYC
American Bartender of the Year: Shaun Kenyon (Denver)
International Bartender of the Year: Simone Caporale (Artesian, London)
Best Bar Mentor of the Year: Dushan Zaric
Best International Cocktail Bar: 28Hong Kong Street (Singepore)
Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication: Imbibe Magazine (USA).
Best new Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer: Paul Clarke
Best new Bartending Book: Beachbum Berry Potions of the Caribbean.
World’s Best Bar: Artesian (London)

Congrats to all the winners!!

Rum Nation CARONI 1998

Rum Nation Caroni 98

Not too long ago i wrote about the excellent Jamaica Pot Still Limited Edition rum from Rum Nation which i`m very impressed with and now they are launching their next rum which is none other than a Caroni….

I hold the Caroni rums and especially the heavy types very dear to heart because they are so incredibly GOOD! and i`m so sorry about the fact that the old Caroni distillery is no more making these fabulous rums and unfortunately one day they will be nothing but a sweet memory.

But luckily we are not yet there….and so there is still time to enjoy them and they really are true treasures to sip and savor both neat and in cocktails.

The Rum Nation Caroni is 16 years old have been aged both in the tropics, thus imparting the thickness the angels share produce…(the tropical conditions causes a 60% loss of the distilled spirit due to evaporation) and then aged further in Europe in American Oak casks that contained bourbon then rum Peruano 8yo.

It`s distilled in 1998 and bottled this year, in 2014. The sugar content is only 5 g/l and the alcohol proof is 110 or 55%

The result is an intense dark rum with notes of wood, cloves, cola, coffee and aromatic herbs.

The bottle is a beauty to behold…and the label a work of art - it has the characteristic stamp on it – the stamp on the bottle is due to Fabio Rosso being an avid stamp collector in younger years and now adding a touch of class to the bottles with the stamps and a nod to the country of origin – which i find lovely.

Rum Nation Caroni 98 3

The Caroni Sugar Factory

There were originally more than 50 different rums brands produced in Trinidad – by 1950 it was only 8 and today only Angostura is left. Caroni was established in 1918 on the site of the old Caroni Sugar factory and operated until 1993.

The Caroni sugar factory started to operate a cast iron still in 1918 and at that time there were some eight or ten other sugar factories operating, each producing different types of rums and these rums were bought up by merchants and sold to rum shops all over the island. There were all kinds of “blends” and concoctions being made by both the merchants and the rum shop owners and sold over the counter as “petit quarts”

Eventually Caroni increased the quality of the distilling process and went from the original cast iron still to use a wooden coffey still – until 1945 when they got a copper still which was followed by a single column in 1957 and then a four column Gerb Herman still in 1980.

They produced a number of products like Superb White Magic Rum, Creole Punch Rum, Special Old Cask Rum, Felicité Gold Rum, Caroni Puncheon Rum and Caroni Bay Rum.

For nearly 100 years Caroni has had large sugar estates on the island and was the major producer of molasses. Sadly now since it`s closed no more of their magnificient rums are produced and when it´s gone it´s gone.

And that is sad because the Caroni rums are unique. That said i must confess i haven`t yet tried many but the ones i`ve tried have all been outstanding and original in the same way as the demerara rums are.

And i must say the flavor of the so called heavy Caronis DOES remind me quite a bit of a demerara rum, it has the same full bodied character but without the demerara flavor – but there`s something similar…it has the same type of character despite of being a totally different rum.

My taste notes:

Nose – In the nose i feel wood, orange peel, sugarcane and tropical fruits.

Mouth – It`s smooth with hints of wood, kola and toffee, aromatic spice and tropical fruits.

A few drops of water mellows it out and brings out more fruitiness and i get the flavor of apricot. I like the fruitness in it and it´s not too sweet either with a sugar content of 5 g/l.

Cocktails…

I tried it in a daiquiri and as expected it made a great daiquiri and what i call a “Caroni daiquiri” with it´s distinct flavor from the Caroni rum.

But i have had so many daiquiris posted on this blog that i lost count, so i opted for something else and here`s my take of a really nice cocktail called Creole Fix which i found on Pinterest and which led me to this post (this awesome cocktail was created by Ania Robbins for Texas Tiki Week)

Creole Fix

Rum Nation Creole Fix 2

2.0 oz Rum Nation Caroni-98

0.75 oz fresh orange juice

0.75 oz lemon/lime juice

0.5 oz rich cinnamon syrup

A couple good dashes of Bitter Truth creole bitters (or Peychaud`s) on top of the ice gives the drink both a pretty color and a layer of spicy “creole-bitters/peychaudish” flavor that you`ll feel the taste of by the end of drinking.

Speared cinnamon powdered orange slice and maraschino cherry for garnish!

Shake and pour into tall glass filled with crushed ice.

This is a refreshing fruity-rummy drink and it got a wonderful aroma from the cinnamon powdered orange slice…it`s rummy, fruity, a little spicy and the Caroni rum flavor does shine through.

Rum Nation Creole Fix 3

My conclusion:

The Rum Nation Caroni-98 is a excellent sipping rum and also equally good for various cocktails thus making it a versatile rum fit for a king or queen:-)

If there´s anything i could think of that could make it even better would be a bit higher proof, like 61% to give it some more punch – but in that case, not really for sipping – more for say…tiki drinks :-) – but at 55% it´s good for everyone. And besides, nothing stops a tiki drink maker from adding a overproof float if you wish…i think we are quite notorious for that…

If this rum was on the shelves here i`d definitely buy it as a staple for my homebar. I must say that Rum Nation does not disappoint me!

MxMo LXXXVI, Pineapple!

Pineapple ready for cocktail mixing

The Hawaiians call me hala-kahiki, meaning hala from a foreign land….. who am i?

The PINEAPPLE !!

The mighty pineapple is the topic for this months Mixology Monday hosted by Thiago of the BartendingNotes blog. I haven`t participated in the MxMo in a very long time and so it´s long due…but who can resist such a topic? i love pineapples!

mxmologo

Here´s what was said in the MxMo announcement: Let’s bring the king of fruits back! After being canned, mixed with all sorts of sugary liquids and blended into… some 80s dreadful cocktails, the pineapple needs more respect! Once a symbol of hospitality, the King of Fruits might be know misunderstood.

One of the greatest non-citrus souring agents, used for crazy garnish ideas, infusions, old gum syrup flavoring, the pineapple is a fruit to be reckoned.

Be in a tiki cocktail, an old school classic like the Algonquin, a crazy flavor pairing or just mixed in a delicious Verdita, get creative and make a cocktail using any part of this delicious, juicy fruit or share you favorite pineapple cocktail with us!

The pineapple is called the “King of Fruits” for a reason – there is NO other fruit that has become so famous as the pineapple, not even banana! there is even pineapple houses built! And it´s so incredibly versatile, you can do so much with it, in drinks and food in a million ways….use as serving bowl, lamp, it´s sung about, painted, photographed…and no wonder, the fruit is beautiful! and a fabulous cocktail ingredient, and that`s where i use it the most and i use it extensively.

King of Fruits Swizzle

MxMo pineapple King of Fruits Swizzle 3

0.75 oz Koloa Kaua`i Coconut rum

0.75 oz Plantation overproof rum

0.5 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style rum (float)

1 oz Pineapple juice

0.5 oz honey-mix - equal parts honey and water, heated up to dissolve the honey and mix, then cooled to room temp

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

2 dash Bitter End Jamaican Jerk Bitters

Top with a little Sanpellegrino limonata

Swizzle all ingredients and top with Sanpellegrino limonata (sub Schweppes lemon)

Garnish with two pineapple leaves and a cocktail cherry.

A robust and typical tiki swizzle!

Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea

1 oz Rhum JM agricole blanc

1 oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Style rum

0.75 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

1 oz pineapple juice

dash Mozart Chocolate bitters

1 egg white

Shake hard to emulsify the egg white, preferably dry shake first, then strain into a glass filled with cracked ice and partly rimmed, (with brown sugar) and top with grated nutmeg and cinnamon powder and then garnish with a pineapple leaf and speared cocktail cherry.

This drink is strong since the Lost Spirits rum is overproof but it´s still like drinking rum flavored silk…

And here´s a bonus – the rum sauce for pineapple skewers – as simple as it´s delicious, just rum, honey and cinnamon!

Last year at the Tales i went to a pineapple seminar and learnt a lot about this fruit and at the Angostura Rum pool party they served this rum sauce in pineapples to dip pineapple skewers in, a recipe i took with me, very tasty.

Rum Sauce to dip pineapple skewers in

RUM SAUCE

Fill a hollowed out pineapple fruit with rum, dissolved honey and cinnamon sticks. I first placed in a pan 4 oz aged rum (or rums) of choice, 2 roughly crushed Mexican cinnamon sticks (canela) and 2 tsp honey and slowly heated it up (carefully) just to dissolve the honey and let the cinnamon sticks start giving off their flavor.

Then leave to cool and sit for 15-30 min to let the flavors intensify. Then pour in the pineapple and dip pineapple skewers in the rum sauce, it´s delicious! and a perfect party or movie snack.

MxMo pineapple limonata

The limonata is one of my favorite soft drinks…

MxMo pineapple King of Fruits Swizzle 2

This awesome tiki mug is created by Scott Taylor who lives on Maui, Hawaii. if you want to see the awesome and very detailed mugs he makes you can go and check out his pictures on instagram ( type the name tikipop ) 

His shop “Beach Bumz” is one of the stops of Maui Tiki Tours owned by another great tiki mug artist – Rob Hawes – who`s Kala mug i featured in this earlier post. You find his pics on instagram too, (type tikirob) 

King of Fruits Swizzle

A loaded pineapple bowl..

MxMo Pineapple the rums

With potent delicious rums…

Happy Monday!

TOTC 2014 – A peek at some of the seminars

tales-monteleone8

That the Tales of the Cocktail is the world`s biggest cocktail and spirits event there is no doubt, all you need to do (apart from being in the Monteleone hotel lobby….) really is taking a look at the seminars. There´s so many seminars that it´s hard to pick which ones to go to. Also many are during the same times, making it even harder…you WILL miss more than a few…but the good thing is that there´s something for everyone, here are a few i hope to attend:

THE FLORIDITA: CRADLE OF THE DAIQUIRI

daiquiri

Without Havana’s Floridita bar there would be no Hemingway Daiquiri and possibly even no Mai Tai. In the 1930s, head bartender Constantino Ribalaigua Vert not only counted Ernest Hemingway and Errol Flynn among his regulars, but taught “Trader Vic” Bergeron how to make tropical drinks. Sample the menu and explore the legacy of Cuba’s legendary “Cradle of the Daiquiri” with cocktail historians (and Floridita customers) David Wondrich and Jeff “Beachbum” Berry.

I love daiquiris…and their history, it´s one of my favorite cocktails so i cannot let go of this seminar! and Jeff Berry and David Wondrich together is a lethal combo.

Thursday, July 17th at 10:00am – 11:30am, Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone.

WHICH RUM WHAT COCKTAIL AND WHY?

RUM Legends MG Black Barrel

Did you say rum? if you said rum, i`ll be there…and if it´s the Bum, Martin Cate, Alexandre Gabriel and Philip Duff having the seminar…i`ll be there!

Which styles of rums go best in which cocktails? What rums were the Gods of Tiki really using when they created landmark drinks like the Mai Tai, the Zombie, the Cobra’s Fang and the Pina Colada? What are the closest equivalents today?

And which rum actually tastes the best in which cocktail, regardless of whether it’s historically accurate or not?

Join tiki’s chief historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (author of “Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them”), Martin Cate (owner of Smugglers’ Cove, widely seen as America’s best modern tiki bar), Alexandre Gabriel (award-winning distiller and creator of the Plantation Rum range), and moderator Philip Duff (who once had a rum and coke by mistake and hated it) for a rollicking rum-soaked exploration of the real history of rum in cocktails and an extensive comparative tasting of cocktails made with different styles of rum.

Thursday, July 17th, at 1:00pm – 2:30pm, Grand Ballroom North, Royal Sonesta

Oh lovely Sonesta…for every year i go there during Tales i more and more fall in love with that beautiful hotel (especially it´s lush tropical courtyard…) it´s a treat to just be there! and that goes for Monteleone too!

And more about rum…

LIMITED EDITION AND VINTAGE RUMS

An exclusive interactive tasting seminar featuring a selection of rare editions, vintage rums, limited bottlings and collector’s private stock. The moderator and two panelists with in-depth experience of limited edition expressions will guide participants through an informative and entertaining tasting session featuring notable rums found principally the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.

Friday, July 18th at 1:00pm – 2:30pm, Acadia-Madewood, Royal Sonesta.

With Robert Burr, Paul MacFadyen and Leonardo Pinto.

ABSINTHE COCKTAIL LAB

TB Tasting Nouvelle Orleans absinthe clsoe

Absinthe is along misunderstood spirit and cocktail ingredient. Often loved to the point of obsession by some and maligned by others, it has been used in cocktails arguably for as long as there have been cocktails.

This hands-on session with explore the ways in which absinthe has been used historically and can be used today as a cocktail ingredient.

Further, we will explore effects of both variations in quantity and of different styles of absinthe used to create unique cocktails. We will discuss and mix a number of classic cocktail recipes, and then allow attendees to mix variations of both classic and modern cocktails with different quantities and styles of absinthe.

Friday, July 18th at 3:00pm – 4:30pm, Riverview Room, Hotel Monteleone

The moderator is Stephen Gould and the panelists are Ted Breaux, Noah Heaney and Joshua Peter Smith.

Here`s the entire list of seminars and tickets can be purchased here!

ML lobby

TOTC 2014 – Top 4 Finalists for the Spirited Awards

Spirited Awards logo 2014

So finally, the top four finalists for the Spirited Awards are nominated!

Following a rigorous judging process by the most respected minds in the cocktail industry, the top four finalists have been selected for the 8th Annual Spirited Awards. The top four from each category are invited to attend the Spirited Awards on July 19, 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans.

Tickets to the Spirited Awards ceremony can be purchased online at TalesoftheCocktail.com for $125 per individual ticket and $1250 per table of 10 seats.The Spirited Awards are just one part of the exciting 12th Anniversary Tales of the Cocktail taking place in New Orleans,July 16-20, 2014.Visit TalesoftheCocktail.com to learn more about the many other spirited events.

Without further ado, here are the top four finalists in each category:

AMERICAN CATEGORIES:

American Bartender of the Year:
Jeff Bell (New York)
Marcovaldo Dionysos (San Francisco)
Bobby Heugel (Houston)
Sean Kenyon (Denver)

Best American Bar Team:
Attaboy (New York)
Employees Only (New York)
Trick Dog (San Francisco)
Williams & Graham (Denver)

Best American Brand Ambassador:
Brooke Arthur (House Spirits)
Chris Patino (Pernod Ricard USA Portfolio)
Neyah White (Suntory Japanese Whiskies)
Angus Winchester (Tanqueray Gin)

Best American Cocktail Bar:
Canon (Seattle)
The Dead Rabbit (New York)
Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco)
Williams & Graham (Denver)

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar:
Employees Only (New York)
Honeycut (Los Angeles)
Polite Provisions (San Diego)
Trick Dog (San Francisco)

Best American Hotel Bar:
Clyde Common (Portland)
The Hawthorne (Boston)
Sable Kitchen & Bar (Chicago)
The Spare Room (Los Angeles)

Best American Restaurant Bar:
Clyde Common (Portland)
Gramercy Tavern (New York)
The NoMad (New York)
nopa (San Francisco)

Best New American Cocktail Bar:
Attaboy (New York)
Half Step (Austin)
Three Dots and A Dash (Chicago)
ZZ’s Clam Bar (New York)

INTERNATIONAL CATEGORIES:

International Bartender of the Year:
Simone Caporale (London)
Zdenek Kastanek (Singapore)
Hidetsugu Ueno (Tokyo)
Tom Walker (London)

Best International Bar Team:
28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)
The American Bar at The Savoy (London)
Artesian at the Langham (London)
The Black Pearl (Melbourne)

Best International Brand Ambassador:
David Cordoba (Bacardi)
Giuseppe Gallo (Martini)
David Piper (Hendrick’s Gin)
Claire Smith (Belvedere Vodka)

Best International Cocktail Bar:
28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)
Bramble Bar (Edinburgh)
Candelaria (Paris)
Door 74 (Amsterdam)

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar:
Eau de Vie (Melbourne)
The Black Pearl (Melbourne)
London Cocktail Club (London)
Schumann’s (Munich)

Best International Hotel Bar:
Artesian at the Langham (London)
Beaufort Bar at The Savoy Hotel(London)
Black Angel’s Bar (Prague)
Connaught Bar at the Connaught(London)

Best International Restaurant Bar:
The Bon Vivant (Edinburgh)
Delicatessen (Moscow)
Spitalfields Bar at Hawksmoor(London)
Blind Pig at Social Eating House(London)

Best New International Cocktail Bar:
Blind Pig at Social Eating House (London)
Hello Sailor (Sydney)
NOLA (London)
White Lyan (London)

WRITING:

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication:
Alcademics.com (United States)
Imbibe Magazine (United States)
PUNCH (punchdrink.com) (United States)
Ginger Magazine (France)

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer:
Toby Cecchini (United States)
Paul Clarke (United States)
Jeffrey Morgenthaler (United States)
Robert Simonson (United States)

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book:
Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff Berry
Cocktail Culture by Shawn Soole & Nate Caudle
The Curious Bartender by Tristan Stephenson
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

OVERALL CATEGORIES:

Best Bar Mentor:
Jacob Briars
Jackson Cannon
Jim Meehan
Dushan Zaric

Best New Product:
Ancho Reyes
Crawley’s Imperial Shaker Machine
Del Maguey Ibérico mezcal
Martini Gran Lusso Vermouth

World’s Best Cocktail Menu:
The Aviary (Chicago)
The Nightjar (London)
Pouring Ribbons (New York)
Trick Dog (San Francisco)

World’s Best Drinks Selection:
Connaught Bar at the Connaught (London)
The Dead Rabbit (New York)
Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library (Portland)
Tommy’s (San Francisco)

Congrats to all the finalists and good luck!

TOTC Spirited Awards Logo

Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still Limited Edition White Rum

RUM NATION JAMAICA POT STILL bottle close

From Rum Nation comes this outright fabulous unaged white rum, a Jamaican pot-still rum from Catherine, Jamaica.

First thought that hit me when i took the first sip was, this reminds me of a refined, deeper and more complex “third dimensional JWray” but that has much more going on… and it packs a decent punch with it´s 57% ABV or 114 proof.

Yet it´s smooth…and it has no sugar added.

The taste note that`s called glue or wood polish is the same that i call “kerosene” or “JWray” :-D i find it very appealing, it adds a raw note and vibrant herbal deliciousness. It got that genuine Jamaican pot still funk to it.

And that herbal/wood polish character is part of the flavors in this rum but it got more…

This new limited edition from Rum Nation aims at taking the taster by surprise – it`s not a mainstream white rum they find here. Here`s a rum from a Jamaican distillery using pot stills and willing to experiment with slow fermentation and distillation times to provide a white rum with a markedly estery aromatic profile.

Do i see a slowly emerging trend here? it occurs to me that rums with more flavor are popping up both here and there…and i like that!

I made a grapefruit daiquiri and the drink turned out incredibly refreshing with the rum really shining through.You don`t need much of this rum to totally transform a cocktail.

And i think that`s one of the aims with this rum, to make a rum that can be used in cocktails both in lesser amounts or more, mixed with other rums or by itself to create cocktails of various degrees of flavor experiences. It would fit both in classic cocktails, modern takes or tiki drinks, it´s versatile and fits many styles.

So here are my taste notes:

Nose – Fruity….vibrant and crisp with green banana, tropical fruit mash and peel, caramelized cane sugar, “kerosene or herbal polish”, apricot, mango, citrus peel…green grass, white pepper.

Mouth – Immediately comes the fruity and herbal character of this rum forward, backed by that “kerosene” typically Jamaican flavor, it´s slightly peppery, spicy, vibrant and smooth.

I`d give it a 9/10

Also i need to say something about the bottle which i find lovely, it´s low and rounded, just lovely to hold and pour from and the label on the bottle with a silver colored engraved Jamaican stamp is beautiful! I also like the large black shadow of the name “Jamaica” on top of the grey, it looks classy and modern yet still has some genuine “old” feel to it.

Like old Caribbean..

The stamp on the bottle is due to Fabio Rosso being an avid stamp collector in younger years and now adding a touch of class to the bottles with the stamps and a nod to the country of origin. Nice touch!

I read about the stamps in an interview with Fabio made by Luca Chichizola and you can read the full interview here. It`s a very interesting story about how Rum Nation came to be.

In cocktails – a little goes a long way and here´s room for lots of experimentation since only a moderate amount of this rum is needed to change the flavor of a cocktail.

I wonder what happens if you pair this with a rhum agricole? i`m gonna test that later. Apart from that, the daiquiri really shines with it. And of course this would be great with Ting, the Jamaican grapefruit beverage!

Since i`m a fan of this kind of flavorful rums i go all in with the cocktails!

Grapefruit Daiquiri

Grapefruit daiquiri

2 oz Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still Rum

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

0.5 oz grapefruit juice (white)

4 dashes Bitter End Thai bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a well chilled cocktail coupe.

This is VERY refreshing…and the Thai bitters adds a bit of bite of spice.

In the Potions of the Caribbean i found a range of drinks i could do but i decided to make Jasper`s Rum Punch and switch out the JWray for Rum Nation Jamaican Pot Still Rum instead. I figured since the flavor profile is similar it would fit with this cocktail.

Jasper`s Rum Punch

RNJ Jaspers Rum Punch

1.5 oz Rum Nation Jamaican Pot Still Rum

1.5 oz Jasper`s Basic Stock Mix

Pour everything into a tall glass 2/3 filled with crushed ice and swizzle until well chilled. Top up with more crushed ice to fill, then swizzle again and finally garnish with mint sprig and lime slice speared to cocktail cherry.

I grated a little nutmeg on top of the ice as well.

To make Jasper`s stock mix – Squeeze 2 oz fresh lime juice into a jar and add 1.5 oz white sugar. Put lid on and shake until sugar dissolves, then add 3 -4 dashes Angostura bitters and 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg. Leave in fridge overnight and shake before using.

And finally, a very beloved oldie – the Chartreuse Swizzle. But this time i changed it up a little bit and used equal parts green and yellow chartreuse to give it a slight more tropical sweetness, both floral and herbal.

Also i switched out the pineapple juice for fresh grapefruit juice, but pineapple juice is tasty too and makes a sweeter drink.

Tropical Chartreuse Swizzle

RNJ Tropical Chartreuse Swizzle

1.5 oz grapefruit juice (white)

0.75 oz lime juice

1/4 oz Falernum

1 oz Rum Nation Jamaican Pot Still Rum

0.5 oz Green Chartreuse

0.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse

2 dash Angostura bitters

Fresh mint for garnish

Add ingredients to a glass full of crushed ice. Swizzle until the glass frost on the outside, garnish with mint, and add straw.

Now Rum Nation knows how to deliver “that little extra” and this they delivered in the form of a box with Valrhona chocolates…so here´s for doing a little rum and chocolate pairing as well!

RUM NATION JAMAICA POT STILL bottle and vahlrona sample pack

The chocolates flavors are Jivara (40% creamy and chocolatey) Tanariva (33% sweet and caramelized) Alpaco (66% floral and oaky) Maniari (64% fresh and tangy) Tainori (64% fruity and intense) Caraibe (66% balanced and velvety) Guanaja (70% bittersweet and elegant) Abinao (70% powerful and tannic) – 8 flavors in all…

Obviously i can`t pair the rum with all of them in this post but after trying them i picked one that i think goes very well with this rum and which i warmly recommend – the bittersweet and elegant Guanaja. The bittersweet flavor pairs well with this rum i think.

So how do you perform a rum and chocolate pairing? well i`m not an expert in this area but rum with fruity or peppery flavors does go very well with chocolate and adding a little water or an ice cube to the glass will help mellow out the stronger flavor elements in the rum as to not overpower the chocolate.

RUM NATION JAMAICA POT STILL vahlrona sample pack

 

RUM NATION JAMAICA POT STILL bottle front

Rum lovers ? i sure i can recommend this rum! go get it if you have a chance…it´s a limited edition. Rum Nation have once again come up with a great rum!

Caroni 1999 Single Barrel Rum

Caroni 1999 bottle

Here´s another Caroni, also a single barrel rum, this one is 14 year old. It`s not as heavy as the last one but does have some punch with it´s 61% ABV. I find it fruity and pleasant.

Caroni Sugar Factory

There were originally more than 50 different rums brands produced in Trinidad – by 1950 that number had reduced to 8 and today there is only one left – Angostura. Caroni was established in 1918 on the site of the old Caroni Sugar factory and operated until 1993.

The Caroni sugar factory started to operate a cast iron still in 1918 and at that time there were some eight or ten other sugar factories operating, each producing different types of rums and these rums were bought up by merchants and sold to rum shops all over the island. There were all kinds of “blends” and concoctions being made by both the merchants and the rum shop owners and sold over the counter as “petit quarts”

Eventually Caroni increased the quality of the distilling process and went from the original cast iron still to use a wooden coffey still – until 1945 when they got a copper still which was followed by a single column in 1957 and then a four column Gerb Herman still in 1980.

For nearly 100 years Caroni has had large sugar estates on the island and was the major producer of molasses. Sadly now since it`s closed no more of their magnificient rums are produced and when it´s gone it´s gone.

And that is sad because the Caroni rums are unique. That said i must confess i haven`t yet tried many but the ones i`ve tried have all been outstanding and original in the same way as the demerara rums are.

And i must say the flavor of the so called “heavy” Caronis DOES remind me quite a bit of a demerara rum, it has the same full bodied character but without that demerara flavor that only demerara rums have but it has the same type of character despite of being a totally different rum.

Caroni 1999 Single Barrel

I wouldn`t call this one “heavy” though despite the strength because it has a very fruity character but neither would i call it “light”

Nose - The color is amber, like that of mashed mature banana and on the nose it´s fruity with hints of banana, apricot, papaya, orange peel and sugarcane.

Mouth - In the mouth undiluted i get wood, burnt molasses, tropical fruits (same as the nose) it´s smooth to sip despite it´s strength and it has a very warm feeling. It´s not heavy, it´s fruity and complex with an array of tropical fruit notes.

A lively and happy rum!

Adding a few drops of water to the glass brings out more fruitness and makes it taste sweeter while still having a punch. It´s easy to sip this rum!

I decided to make a daiquiri…and i was actually surprised…

This rum makes such a flavorful daiquiri that it´s ridiculous! i expected a good one but not THAT good, oh my…

I made it a little bit different and maybe it was the mix of lime juices also that helped this drink become something out of the ordinary daiquiri-wise…?

But it wouldn`t been that good without this premium rum that`s for sure! i could go and buy a bottle just to make daiquiris with it…

Sugarcane Daiquiri

Sugarcane daiquiri

1.5 oz Caroni – 99 Single Barrel Rum

0.5 oz Petit Canne sugarcane syrup

0.25 oz fresh lime juice

0.25 oz fresh lemon juice

0.25 oz key lime juice

Glass – Libbey SPKSY

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, rimmed with demerara sugar.

I can recommend anyone who likes strong rum with good flavor to buy this Caroni – 99 single barrel rum.

Outside of Sweden it can be purchased online on the Master of Malt website.