TOTC 2015 – Jamaicas Influence on Cocktail Culture and Flor de Cana Tasting

RUM SEMINAR IAN BURRELL

Jamaicas Influence on Cocktail Culture

Jamaica, that tiny island in the Caribbean is internationally known for it’s cultural exports such as Bob Marley, Reggae, Usain Bolt, Herbs* and even Bob-sleighing, but it has also influenced some famous cocktails with it’s biggest and most re-known of exports… RUM. Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell brings to life some of the historical Jamaican stories with a few samples of new & world exclusive rums & cocktails for you to taste as you learn what influence Jamaica has had on cocktail culture. Yeah Mon
* You know what herbs I’m talking about.

There are more things than we maybe think about that has Jamaica as it´s homeland and that has been and is influencing the cocktail world. This senminar was moderated by the Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell and the speakers were George Freegard (International Brands Manager, Pusser’s rum Ltd) David Morrisson (Appleton Estate’s Senior Blender) and Erik Seed (Principal, Haus Alpenz)

Here are a few things that are genuinely Jamaican and which have had a great influence on cocktail culture:

Ian Burrell

Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador.

Jamaican quassia bark: is actually a very important part of vermouth, did you know?

Ting: Who haven`t heard or tasted JWray and Ting? if not you`re missing out….and need to try! Ting, this Jamaican grapefruit beverage containing real grapefruit is the best in the world and traditionally paired with JWray overproof rum for an extremely refreshing, tasty and potent drink.

Allspice/Pimento – How many tiki and tropical drinks doesn`t contain a dash or two of pimento dram? for example the Nui Nui and the Navy Grog. Also used in jerk recipes.

Sorrel – (Hibiscus) usd in for example Rum Punches and other cocktails and is traditionally used in Christmas drinks with (or without) rum.

Flor de Jamaica – also Hibiscus, used in tea and as cocktail ingredient.

Ginger: Came to Jamaica in 1525 and is in Jamaica also known as “jake”. The prohibition brought arise in soft drinks containing ginger but also abuse of ginger essence. Also in Jamaica ginger beer is a common drink, both homemade and commercial varietes.

flu cocktail

Jamaican Rum – Did you know that 69 of Jerry Thomas cocktails were punches and 35 of them called for Jamaican rum?

Many of Don the Beachcomber`s drinks were inspired by his trips to Jamaica and Jamaican rums were used because of their depth and flavor.

Jamaican rum was first used by the Royal Navy in 1655 and Pusser`s Rum by the original navy recipe was based Jamaican rum but as Jamaican rum became more expensive other English colonial rums were used in the navy blend. Today Pusser`s does not contain any Jamaican rum but instead are blends from 5 different stills located in Guyana and Trinidad.

Smith & Cross is another flavorful pungent Jamaican rum and is a blend of Plummer and Wedderburn styles and is from the Hampden Estate and is blended in the UK,

Appleton Reserve is a blend of 18 different rums and is estate blended, it`s made from pot and column stills at 43%.

During this seminar we also tasted a special Appleton estate blend that was made for Tales of the Cocktail in only 6 bottles. The youngest rum in the blend was 12 years old and some of the rums are rums never to be tasted again. The rum was very deep and flavorful.

Also during this seminar we got a great rum lecture by Richard Seale from Foursquare telling us some truths about rums and to sum it all up in a short note –  fake rums contains rum flavors that are added, are not aged, wood essense is used and sugar and coloring added.

It`s called flavored alcohol and it is not rum.

Personally I think these 3 questions would be good to ask yourself before buying rum:

1 – which is the actual distillery? 2 – how long has the rum been aged? 3 – is there any additives?

And of course you won`t get all that information on the bottle label or company websites of most rums but you can start doing some research….just make sure that you know what you pay for, make sure it´s real rum and not flavored alcohol.

Flor de Cana Tasting

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Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. Bordering Honduras to the South and Costa Rica to the North, Nicaragua’s land is a volcanic, the air is humid and the conditions to produce rum: perfect!

Come taste the range of Flor de Caña rums, from Nicaragua, presented neat as well as in delicious cocktails created by some of the best and most exciting bartenders of our generation:

Each cocktail station will represent one aspect of Flor de Caña’s production and heritage to ensure that you leave this Tasting Room knowing more about Flor de Caña than you did when you entered. Calling all bartenders – come and learn!

Dating back to 1890 at the San Antonio Sugar Mill, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua, Flor de Caña has grown to be Central America’s leading brand of rum and I like this rum, it`s a great mixer for awesome cocktails and at this tasting we also got to try the Family Reserve Rum…..

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The Flor de Cana tasting was one my favorite tastings, much due to the amazing tropical cocktails and lovely tropical decor…providing much inspiration for a tiki geek like me….

And then they had cocktails…   very beautiful and tasty cocktails….   look and see….

This was a tropical feast!!

Flor de Cana cocktail The Gold Coast

Very fruity refreshing tropical cocktails….perfect for the Flor de Cana rum which just was perfectly mellow and added a wonderful rum flavor to these drinks.

Flor de cana cocktail 2

And the next one was even tastier, it was wonder of fresh flavors with a house made plantain syrup adding depth and complexity, I really loved that one and with the rum coming through just nicely, rimmed with coffee sea salt! and garnished with banana mint – this cocktail was wow!!

flor de caca cocktail 1

The plantain syrup interested me and i`m gonna try to make that myself, it was so tasty.

FLOR DE CANA TASTING 6

I love banana leaves and bananas! as much as I love the pineapple almost……and oh….the coconut!

flor de cana collage.

Tropical fruity and spicy flavors works so good with this rum!

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The Ponche de Cristobal had a little bit more of a fresh herbal character, also very good, it had some sort of different complexity probably due to the tea and herbs.

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Another nice drink!

FLOR DE CANA TASTING 15

Photos Laura Godel and me

TOTC 2015 – CACHACA – Around Brazil in 40.000 Alembics

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“Around Brazil in 40.000 Alembics” is a seminar conducted by Felipe Jannuzzi, a journalist and researcher at Mapa da Cachaça, a reference about cachaça recognized as one of the best cultural projects in Brazil by the Federal Ministry of Culture, and Jean Ponce, one of the most respected mixologists in Brazil with experience commanding the bar at “DOM”, from the chef Alex Atala, elected as the seventh-best restaurant in the world. Felipe has been studying cachaça and traveling around Brazil discovering some of the best alembics in the country.

While tasting some outstanding cachaças, he is also creating content (videos, articles, infographics, music) to show what this sugarcane spirit is all about. Although cachaça is the third most consumed spirit in the world, very few is known about the artisanal cachaças – a category represented by thousands of alembic producers spread all around Brazil. Jean Ponce has been studying cachaças and Brazilian ingredients for the past fifteen years and will bring to the seminar his philosophy and approach concerning the use of the spirit in mixology.

This seminar will be an opportunity to share some of these stories mapped along the Brazilian alembics and a way to demonstrate all aspects involving cachaça, proposing a new look at its history, production techniques (industrial x artisanal), regional terroir, customs, flavors, cocktail recipes and its relations with the Brazilian culture, mixology and gastronomy.

This seminar was one of the most interesting to me during this Tales, they really went deep into the world of cachaca and had quite a few interesting things to show, not the least the different kinds of woods used to age the cachaca in imparting different flavors, smells and colors to this interesting sugarcane spirit.

cachaca seminar tasting 2

Moderated by Felipe Jannuzzi, speakers – Jean Ponce and Tony Harion and sponsored by Leblon.

There are 4000 registered labels of cachaca in Brazil and about 40 000 unregistered….and there`s about 1.7 billion litres of cachaca produced every year and of that only 1%, yes ONE is exported….so there´s a whole array of cachacas in Brazil to be discovered….

They also had very rare artisanal cachacas to try, among one, was a cachaca that had been aged in stone!!

What is Cachaca?

It`s a sugarcane spirit and has to be from Brazil, it is obtained by the distillation of the fermented juice of the sugarcane, it´s 38-48% ABV, you may only add 6g/sugar/liter unless it`s a so called cachaca adocada which allows up to 30g/sugar/liter added.

It`s aged in different woods, there`s industrial (column) cachaca and artisan (alembic) cachaca.

Cachaca is the spirit of Brazil and it has many many different names and it`s used in many different ways, one of the more unknown to us outside of Brazil is the use of cachaca in certain religious rituals where men shower in cachaca….

During the 17th century (around 1750-1770) was the gold rush and gold was mined in Minas Gerais and was brought to Europe and slaves were brought to Brazil, also sugarcane spirit was exchanged for slaves and during the “golden era” a lot of cachaca was spread around in Brazil.

The end of the gold-era came in the 1800th century when coffee replaced cachaca since it was considered a more “noble” drink.

The difference between industrial (column) and artisanal (alembic) cachaca:

Artisanal Cachaca:

Is produced in small quantities, (around 200 000 litres per year) and is made from manually selected and harvested sugarcane, without the use of burning techniques. It`s fermentated for 24 to 36 hours with wild or selected yeasts. No chemical additions are allowed.

It`s distillated in batches, in copper stills, which favors the formation of important congeners for adding aromas and flavors to cachaca and “heads and tails” are separated, only the “heart” is kept. It`s aged in different types of woods. The end product has complex aromas and flavors.

Industrial Cachaca

Produced in large quantities (millions of litres per year) Made with sugarcane grown in large areas and harvested by machines. It is common practice to burn the sugarcane crop before the harvesting.

Use of chemicals, such as amonium sulphate, and antibiotics. fermentation period is 8 to 16 hours. Made with continuous distillation in stainless steel columns and there is no separation of the “head”, the “heart”, and the “tail”.

Usually not aged, and when aged, caramel color is added to give it a yellow hue.

It is a standardized and controlled product, but loses in sensory complexity, in other words….it`s a very “soul-less” industrial mass-product.

Infused Cachaca

There`s infused cachaca with all kinds of fruits and spices, like the french makes their rhum arrangè and those I believe gotta be nice. Then one kind I find interesting and fun are those bottles you see that have whole crabs in them…..and yep these are drunk too…..even though they are said to be not very good….they more look cool….I would love having one of those hanging as decoration in my home tiki bar :-)

Here are a few pics of those kinds of infused cachacas. My guess is that the crab infused cachacas are mostly a tourist souvenir. I was always wondering how they got the whole crabs into the bottles, but what they do from what I heard is sawing the bottom of the bottles open and then insert the crab, then glue the bottle back.

Woods

Amendoim-bravo is a wood that is videly available in Brazil and it`s perfect for making storage barrels. It has a subtle scent and imparts a slight yellow tone and a mildly astringent taste to the cachaca. It also stabilizes the cachaca and enhances the aroma of sugarcane and also preserves the spirit. Cachacas stored in barrels made of this wood are perfect for making mixed drinks and caipirinhas.

Araruva or canarywood, also called araribà is indigenous to Southest and center-west regions of Brazil. Cachaca aged in this wood gets a slightly yellowish color and a delicate floral aroma. It`s distict difference from other Brazilian woods is that it imparts viscosity and oiliness to the cachaca.

Cabrèuva or Bálsamo

This wood can be found from southern Bahia to Rio Grande do Sul. It gives the cachaca very intense herbacious aromas due to it´s greenish-yellow coloration and also adds slightly astringent flavors. It is used in “blends” of cachacas aged in oak and/or cherry wood.

Amburana

Also known as cerejeira imparts an intense color, a distict characteristic aroma with notesof vanilla and a slightly sweet flavor. The cachaca aged in amburana is widely known and available in Brazil and is often used in “blends” of cachaca aged in European oak barrels intensifying the aromas and flavors.

Jequitibà

Widely found in Brazil and is suitable for barrels used to store cachaca as it releases almost unnoticeable flavors, aromas and colors. The jequitibà-rosa imparts a golden color, pleasant flavors and complex boquet comparable to those of American oak.

Oak

Oak is not native to Brazil but grows in temperate areas in the northern parts of the globe. Several species are used the most common are European and American oak. Oak barrels are widely used to age cachaca and the import of barrels that has been previously used to age other alcoholic products like wines, whiskeys and cognac imparts cachaca with even more various flavors and aromas.

Cachaca aged in American oak has a golden color and distinctive aromas of vanilla and coconut, mild flavor and complex aromatic boquet.

The ageing in European oak gives an amber color, intense aromas and flavors characteristic of almonds, toasted wood and tannins.

Tasting

tasting collage

They had some very interesting cachacas for us to try, some that we will never try again, like the one that was aged in stone, Sèculo XVIII which had a very deep flavorful taste, herbal and woody and I remember I was thinking, “where does the woody, spicy flavor come from if it`s rested in stone” ? a Brazilian mystery…..this cachaca was exceptional.

We tasted several cachacas that had been aged in the various woods and also the excellent Weber Haus Extra Premium which is aged in both oak and bàlsamo.

cachaca seminar tasting weber haus 2

We tried one called Anísio Santiago which was incredibly flavorful and very rare, it has been aged in bàlsamo wood. Then we tried “Maria Izabel”, made by a woman (Maria Izabel) who makes artisan cachaca in small batch…

It`s rested in jequitibà wood and wild yeast is used for fermentation. It has a floral, slightly sweet flavor and is very pleasant. They showed us a short video of it´s production.

Sanhacu was a very flavor cachaca, rested in amburana and had a lot of flavor from the wood.

Then they had made something called “Fecha Corpo” – a herbal infusion – a cachaca elixir….with cachaca that had been infused with various herbs that are good for your health and according to folk belief is a “holy medicine” against envy and the evil eye.

It tastes very herbal, as expected but not bitter.

woods

In the two small bottles are the Fecha Corpo cachaca elixir and the small wood squares are samples of different Brazilian woods used to age cachaca.

We also got Garapa – freshly pressed sugarcane juice….a very common drink in Brazil and I love it! sweet and fresh and soothing.

Rainforest Priprioca Root

And then there was a very interesting little thing….in a small dark brown spray bottle…

They told us to spray our cocktail glass containing the Amazonia cocktail 3 times in the glass to impart a slight fragrance of the rainforest into the cachaca cocktail….then spray some on our arms and rub it in, as a “rainforest perfume” of sorts…

Very interesting! this “root-spray” is made from a root called priprioca which is a medicinal and aromatic root from the Amazon rainforest. The priprioca root contains an incredible range of aromas similar to vanilla, but with another flavor nuance, with slight earthy and smoky hints and aromatic notes oscillating between herbal and woody.

This root is extensively used in cosmetics and is now also being used by culinary chefs, and now also finding it`s way into cachaca cocktails….

root spray

The priprioca root has a very interesting look…

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Freshly pressed sugarcane juice!

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Cachaca is fun! just like rum! :-) Felipe and Ponce.

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Tony Harion!

Please come back the next year!!

And here you can read all about Cachaca!

Photos: Mapa de Cachaca, Laura Godel and me.

TOTC 2015 – Tapping Rum`s Past for Rum`s Future and Clairin Rums of Rural Haiti

PLANTATION RUMS2

There was a clear presence of rum at the Tales of the Cocktail and as a rum enthusiast and rum blogger I tried to get to them all…I almost managed….but here are two of the rum seminars and tastings, more will come:

Tapping Rum`s Past for Rum`s Future

This seminar was talking about rum’s history which spans centuries, and how its flavor and character have changed dramatically over the years. How rums used to taste long ago and whether it´s possible to reverse-engineer those styles of spirits, and improve on them for today. Talking about rum’s past —drawing inspiration from historic styles of the spirit, as well as from vintage menus, cocktail recipes, distillers’ notes and popular literature.

There was the deconstruction of the Plantation 3 stars and little did I know that the 3 Stars actually is made with four rums! I always thought it was 3….but it´s made with two white rums, one from Barbados, and one from Jamaica and then a dark Trinidad and then there`s an extra dark rum from Jamaica…

Surprise surprise!

Plantation rums collage

Then of course there was the Stiggin`s….this elusive pineapple rum that was first made last year by Plantation rums, and presented at last year´s Tales, which was meant to be an “experiment” and only making a short appearance….but causing such a global outcry in the rum and cocktail community that they decided to make more….and thank God for that!!

Now the Pineapple strikes back…coming back at this Tales in full force….and finally yours truly got hold a bottle! gonna hold on tight to that one…

Plantation Stiggins

So how did they make the Stiggin`s Pineapple rum and what does the name Stiggin´s mean?

In the 19th century England, Pineapple rum was considered a delicacy, so much that it was even immortalized by novelist Charles Dicken`s character, Reverend Stiggins. In England there was even a house built like a pineapple!

The first wild pineapples came from South America and they had a strong scent of raspberries and were smaller than the pineapples we see today and needed to be pollinated by birds. They were discovered by an indian tribe called Guarani and they made pineapple wine.

In 1654 the pineapple came to Madagascar and then it traveled all around the world. When it finally came to England around the 18-1900th century it was a big thing. The pineapple fruit was really precious and not for the common people to enjoy but was the fruit of the kIngs.

In 1778 Capt Cook brought it to Hawaii and those pineapples he brought must have come from the Kew gardens in England since that was the place they were grown in Europe.

Plantation distillate for the pineapple rum

So back to Stiggin`s – for 3 months the Plantation rum folks did eat pineapples for breakfast every morning….they wanted to find the best pineapple available today and finally they found it – the Victoria pineapple from La Rèunion island in the Indian Ocean and it`s one of the most expensive pineapples in the world.

So first the pineapples are peeled by hand – all of them!! then the rinds of the fruit are infused with Plantation 3 stars rum for one week and then they are distilled in a pot still. And separately the fruit is infused with Plantation dark rum for 3 months.

After that the two liquids are married together and left to age in casks for 3 months and the final product is then ready – Plantation Stiggin`s Fancy Pineapple Rum! anyone who have tried this rum knows how awesome it is!!!

Plantation pineapple drawings

And now we know how it was made! :-)

This seminar was presented by Paul Clarke, Jeff Berry, Martin Cate, Alexander Gabriel and was sponsored by Plantation Rum.

Clairin Rhums of Rural Haiti

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A look inside the little known and rarely understood world of rural rhum production on the island of Haiti. Beyond the large brands such as Barbancourt and Vieux Labbe, most of the rhum produced and consumed by islanders in rural Haiti follows rustic, age-old production methods in the outer regions of this unique island. Slow, natural fermentation attracts the natural yeast of each micro-region, delivering a true snapshot of local DNA — true terroir — followed by a gentle distillation and simple finishing to produce a delightful, fresh cane spirit of fine quality.

In this intimate tasting seminar, we’ll sample some of the very best examples of Clairin from Haiti, which are now gaining greater appreciation in Europe thanks to the passionate efforts of Gianluca Gargano of Velier.

This was one of the exclusive tastings and one I was really looking forward to attend….and that`s because I`m a huge fan of Velier rums, I think their Demerara. Agricole and Caroni rums are absolutely one of a kind and completely outstanding….. I find the Clairin rums to be AMAZING! plus I find rums from Haiti extremely interesting….

The seminar/tasting was every bit as interesting as I thought it would be and all the Clairin rhums tastes fantastic! There are 3 Clairin rhums by Velier and they all have very different tastes and personalities and one thing they have in common is that they are incredibly flavorful and vibrant! very brilliant and lively rums!

This exclusive tasting was moderated by Robert Burr (Miami Rumfest) and presented by Luca Gargano (Velier), Ian Rum Ambassador Burrell (World Rum Ambassador), Alexandre Vingtier (Rumporter.com) and Peter Holland (The Floating Rum Shack)

clairin seminartasting

Luca Gargano and Velier

The tasting was led by Luca Gargano who in the 70s I became the brand ambassador of St James’s rhum from Martinique. One day he arrived in Martinique….this was in the old days before mass tourism had reached the island and he fell in love with this tropical island and it`s girls… :-) and of course, the RUM! At an age of 18 at the time he fell in love with rhum/rum and never looked back. When he was 27 he purchased the company Velier and started to import several brands of rums.

Rum geeks knows that he was the one who found a Damoiseu rum that was set apart because it contained a small percentage of molasses rum and because of that didn`t fit into the standard since they could only bottle pure sugar cane juice to obtain their AOC.

Well, that was damn lucky thing for us that he found that put away Damoiseau rum….which was distilled in 1980 at a full proof of 60.3 % and Luca found it to be exceptional – which I can attest it really is!! that rum is absolutely amazing! – so he bought all their stock (almost) and kept it all full proof. Later he discovered that they had kept some of their stock and released their own “1980 Damoiseau” the same year…hm….

But with the 1980 Damoiseau rum the “Fullproof” rum concept was born and then he started to work with the DDL in Guyana and their chairman Yesu Persaud and now more wonderful things happened because he became the ONLY one in the world who got access to the DDL rum stock and thus he could pick and choose among the old rum barrels at the DDL….which has been a REAL blessing to the rum lovers in this world!

And not only this, Luca did also find and bought up a whole heap of old Caroni barrels in Trinidad when Caroni had sadly been closed down and he let his rums age in the tropics because he believes that tropical ageing is the best! so his story cut in short – he and his outstanding rums has become a legend in the rum world and now he was there at this seminar with his new Clairin rhums from Haiti.

Rhum agricole or clear white pot still rhum in Haiti is called clairin and to obtain the Appelation Triple A the rhum must be produced following these rules:

CLAIRIN SEMINAR 4

So the sugarcane is grown very naturally together with herbs, trees and flowers, for example banana and the sugarcane varietes has to be indigenous not hybrids and also has to be organic. And in the rhum production wild natural yeast is used and fermetation has to be at least 120 hrs.

The juice has not to be dilluted with water. The distribution is small batch pot still or pot and small column and the source of heat is direct fire and the Clairin rhums has to be bottled at strength of distillation with no dilution and bottling is done on Haiti.

There are something like 5oo producers of these white/clear pot still rhums on Haiti, producing everything from “drink-at-your-own-risk-moonshine” to good rhums and these rhums are very different and they are organic and made the old fashioned way country-style, it´s the dink of the country!

Clairin Sajous, Vaval and Casimir

CLAIRIN RUMS

These are the three Clairin rhums by Velier that we tasted and they are ALL outstanding! I love their vibrancy and full proof strength! They are completely unique of it´s kind and of rums! The first one, the Sajous is made in Sajous by Chelo and bottled by Velier and it`s bottled straight from the still at 53.5 % ABV and is still the “mildest” of the three and a wonder of balance and vibrancy. But make no mistake by the term “mildest” – this stuff is pungent, it hits you right in your nose and stomach…..

You get hit by something that I can only describe as similar to the lovely but very special “kerosene” flavor you find in the overproof JWray (although this is not a molasses rum and it does not taste like JWrat at all) then you get hit by a whole array of wonderful and strong flavors, there`s nothing weak about this rhum. It`s herbal, grassy, floral, salty and sweet, strong and spicy but also smooth like butter….and I love it!

The next one, the Vaval is a rhum I also have at home, it´s a bit more temperamental and with an even stronger flavor…..its a heady rum….packed full of flavors and it`s distilled at the Arawaks distillery in the village of Cavaillon, Haiti.

The last one will kick your ass to the moon…..

Casimir is the first of these three rums I ever tried, that was last year, also at the Tales when I tried a sample brought to the Tales and then and there I fell in love with Velier Clairin rhums. Casimir is the most “difficult” of the three I´ve heard….it`s like to try to jump up and ride on a young horse or even a bull that have never had anyone on its back before…it will kick, it will run and it will try to give you trouble….

Well, my palate loved it at first sight….so I guess i`m safe :-) packed full of strong vibrant and unique flavors it dances around in your mouth in a frenzy! it`s double distilled at the Douglas Casimir distillery in the village of Baraderes. It`s herbal and rich, strong and wild….

If you love rum and vibrant agricole rhum I recommend you to try these rums!

Clairin rums bottles

Then we also tried another of Lucas rhums, the Rhum Rhum Liberation 2010. This rhum is made on Marie-Galante outside of Guadeloupe in collaboration with master distiller Capovilla.

It`s made from fermented pure sugar cane juice without any water added during a 10 day long fermentation period. So it`s just fermented sugar cane juice, nothing else.

This is pure rhum! and a very fine rhum, it`s aged about 2-3 years in casks that have contained french wines. The name “Liberation 2010″ refers to that the rhum has been “liberated” from the cask and put together in 2010.

It´s balanced, tropical fruity and slightly spicy. it´s not a weak rhum but it has nothing to do with how the Clairin rhums attacks your senses….this is more like a mild but firm caress on your palate. It`s a wonderful expression of Rhum!

So this tasting has been very very memorable and pleasant, interesting and challenging…..I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Rhum Rhum Liberation 2010

Rhum Rhum, Liberation 2010.

clairin vaval

This my friends are some of the worlds very finest rums!

clairin the spirit of haiti

Pictures by Laura Godel and me.

TOTC 2015 – RUM – A Taste of 10 Rare Single Casks

plantation single casks rums

Rum is much more than a liquor in a bottle – it`s a lifestyle and the spirit of a people.

Here is a rare opportunity to experience some fine aged rums from a private collection, never before seen in the United States. Originally sourced in Caribbean casks, these select aged rums were further aged in special barrels in Europe over many years. This exclusive tasting event will be available for only twenty serious rum enthusiasts, featuring vintage rums from Guadeloupe, Belize, Guyana and Haiti, lovingly triple matured and rested in barrels from rare Sauternes, Pineau des Charentes and even Sherry casks.

At the Tales there are a few of these rare tastings and if you get the chance go to some, you will probably never get the chance to taste some of these spirits again. At this tasting there were 10 very rare single cask rums from Plantation rums and it was a privilege to be able to taste them.

Presented by Robert Burr, Paul McFadyen and Alexandre Gabriel and sponsored by Plantation rum and DrinkUpNY.com we were presented the philosphy and vision behind the Plantation rums, followed by tasting samples of these 10 rare single casks:

PLANTATION RUM SEMINAR

Cuba 1998 –  This rum was aged in Cuba. It has a sweet nose with hints of vanilla. A bit lighter rum, Cuban style with a bone structure of spicy cask. Notes of fruity apricot and vanilla with some spice. I found it to be an elegant and fresh rum.

plantation single casks cuba

Trinidad 1989 – This rum doesn´t exist anymore and is a blend of pot and column stills. It`s fruity and spicy, rounded and rich. A glimpse of the past….

Nicaragua 1998 – It has a faint nose, almost nothing but there´s slight notes of fruit. The taste is dry with a pleasant touch of wood. Not sure if I picked up a hint of cherry? I liked this rum a lot.

Barbados 1991 – Sweet, fruity, mellow and balanced made with 40% pot and 60% column stills with vanilla notes and french oak. A nice pleasant balanced rum.

Belize 9 yo – This rum is 100% column still rum. It has a very distinct coconut flavor, some hints of vanilla, it´s a very tropical rum.

Navy blend, Barbados, Trinidad, Belize – This was a very spicy strong bodied rum, woody, complex and rich! with a slightly fruity nose and of course one of my favorites…

Barbados 20 yo – Rare, only a few barrels are left. Spicy wood, smooth and balanced.

Guadeloupe 1998 –  One of my top favorites! incredible rum!! Rich, flavorful and outstanding! complex, wild and warm. Oh yeah……….

Jamaica 1998/Guyana 1988 –  My notes says “Flavor! Funky! Heavy! :-)

St Lucia 15 yo – Sweet and woody…..

plantation single cask collage

Then there was also a surprise rum, a very rare 1983 Jamaican, which was VERY flavorful and funky….a high ester bomb! tropical bananas, wood, raisin, tropical fruit….

The vision of Plantation rums is to capture the essence of what rum used to be, how it used to taste and roll upstream against the tide of column still, and to reflect the style of each island. The rums are double aged, first in their tropical climate and then in limousine and oak casks in France.

According to Plantation rums double ageing is the key to refinement in combination with “elevage” which means to nurture the rum like you would nurture a plant or a baby. If distillation is a science then ageing is an art and the blender works the symphony…

We were tasting the “treasure chest” of Plantation rums, rums that are not available to the public for various reasons, for example the Trinidad 1989 which doesn`t exist anymore in the way it was made. Every single barrel is unique and whether the rum is aged in humid or dry cellars affects the rum, for example you get a smoother rum in a humid cellar since there the alcohol evaporates first and in a drier cellar you will get a spicier rum.

Every rum has it´s own “sweet spot” which is the proof at which the rum shines the most.

This and a lot of other things we learnt at this tasting/seminar which I think was outstanding and very interesting! I`m happy I was there!

I´m sure we will see more of Plantation rums at the Tales next year! don´t miss it……..

plantation single casks 5

Paul McFadyen and Alexandre Gabriel, photos Laura Godel

Tales of the Cocktail Announces Spirited Awards Winners

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Saturday night, the year’s best bars, bartenders, writers and cocktail experts from around the world were recognized at the 9th Annual Spirited Awards® as part of Tales of the Cocktail® 2015.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – July 19, 2015 – Following the largest nomination pool in the history of the show and a rigorous judging process by some of the most respected members of the cocktail industry, Tales of the Cocktail® is proud to announce the winners for each category of the 9th Annual Spirited Awards®. All winners were announced live last evening at the Sheraton Hotel New Orleans.  In addition to this year’s judged award winners, Jonathan Downey and Steve Mannan were also honored for their professional achievements.

“2014 was an exceptionally fertile year for drink books and drink writing in general, with extremely difficult choices to make in each of the four writing categories,” said David Wondrich Writing Committee Chairman. “As far as the judges are concerned, each of the finalists is a true winner and would have dominated the field in an average year. It was humbling to have to choose among them.”

For the past nine years, the Spirited Awards® have recognized the year’s best bars, bartenders, writers and experts, becoming the cocktail industry’s most prestigious and coveted award program. Winners were voted on by a panel of more than 100 industry experts, led by Simon Ford (Chairman), Jackson Cannon (U.S. Judging Committee Chairman), Jacob Briars (International Judging Committee Chairman), and David Wondrich (Writing Committee Chairman). Voting was a weeklong process that required extensive knowledge in each category. The votes were verified by the Super Committee and tallied to determine the Top 10, Top Four and ultimately this year’s winners.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the effort of the American judges of this years Spirited Awards,” said Jackson Cannon, American Judging Committee Chairman. “Their thoughtful, determined approach has parsed the incredibly worthy field down to those most deserving of the highest honors this year. A toast to the winners, they truly are the best of the best!”

This year, the sponsoring partners of the 9th Annual Spirited Awards® were Bacardi USA, BarSmarts, Beefeater Gin, Bleu Dry Bar, Caña Brava, Chivas, Cognac Ferrand, Courvoisier, House of Angostura, Luxardo, Mountain Valley Spring Water, Nicolas Feuillatte, The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, Rums of Puerto Rico, Mezcal El Silencio and William Grant & Sons.

“The Second ‘Golden Age of the Cocktail’ continues to spread around the globe, as bartenders, bar owners and ambassadors continue to set ever higher standards internationally. It’s wonderful to see traditional strongholds like London and Melbourne sharing nominations with the resurgent bar scene in Paris, and to see the rise of great bars in places like Singapore and Dubai being recognized too,” said Jacob Briars, International Judging Committee Chairman.

“I’m grateful to our 50 International Committee judges for their hard work and dedication in distilling thousands of nominees down to our finalists and award winners, who represent the very best in the global industry. There has never been a better time to be a cocktail lover around the globe.”

2015 Spirited Awards® Winners

 

American Categories

 

Best American Bar Team
Employees Only (New York)

 

American Bartender of the Year
Ivy Mix (New York)

 

Best American Brand Ambassador
Brooke Arthur (House Spirits)

 

Best American Cocktail Bar
Williams & Graham (Denver)

 

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar
Employees Only (New York)

 

Best American Hotel Bar
The Broken Shaker (Miami Beach)

 

Best American Restaurant Bar
Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks (Boston)

 

Best New American Cocktail Bar
ABV (San Francisco)

 

International Categories

 

Best International Bar Team
28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)

 

International Bartender of the Year
Ryan Chetiyawardana (London)

 

Best International Brand Ambassador
Claire Smith-Warner (Belvedere Vodka)

 

Best International Cocktail Bar
Artesian (London)

 

Best International High Volume CocktailBar
The Black Pearl & The Attic (Melbourne)

 

Best International Hotel Bar
Beaufort Bar, The Savoy (London)

 

Best International Restaurant Bar
Blind Pig at Social Eating House (London)

 

Best New International Cocktail Bar
Dandelyan (London)

 

Writing Categories

 

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication
PUNCH

 

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer
Dave Broom

 

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold

 

Best New Spirits Book
Whisky: The Manual by Dave Broom

 

Overall Categories

 

Best Bar Mentor
Jim Meehan (Portland)

 

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient
Amaro di Angostura

 

World’s Best Cocktail Menu
Dead Rabbit (New York)

 

World’s Best Spirits Selection
Canon (Seattle)

 

World’s Best Bar
Dead Rabbit (New York)

 

Special Recognitions

 

Lifetime Achievement Award
Jonathan Downey

 

Sam Guarino Citation
Steve Mannan

Congrats to all the winners!