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

Rhum Arrangè de Cèd

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El Dorado the Liquid Gold…

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Demerara Rums from Guyana

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Demerara Rums Part One

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Cachaca and Rhum agricole, what`s the difference?

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Havana Club

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Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum

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Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum

LOST SPIRITS RUM POLY BOTTLE

Concentrated bold flavor goodness…

This is the second rum made by the Lost Spirits Distillery, the first was the “Navy Style” rum which i wrote a review of earlier. This rum is called “Polynesian Inspired Rum” and is made with the same methods as the Navy Style and for those who are interested in knowing how it`s made – i send you over to this page, called “Rum Super Geekdom” 

High ester rums in the making…using high quality ingredients and distilled in Bryan`s beautiful handmade copper pot still. I wrote a little about esters and dunder in my post on the Navy Style rum.

It´s hard to believe how that funky muck-looking “witches brew” called dunder can make such good rums but it does:-)

The Polynesian Inspired rum also comes in a similarly beautiful bottle as the Navy Style rum, with an artful label, this label has a gorgeous Marquesan style tiki on one side and moais on the other.

Poly Insp Rum label tiki and moai

The Polynesian Style rum isn`t out for purchase yet but it will hopefully soon be. Like i said in my earlier post, i think i see a steady trend for pot stilled rums with rich bold flavors suitable for both sipping and mixing of exotic and tiki drinks and other rum drinks and i welcome that.

I think rum – regardless of style – is supposed to taste rum! its supposed to have flavor and both of Lost Spirits rums has that in abundance paired with a fiery bite. If the Navy Style rum was full of funk and punch this one is sharper and more fiery. It has a bit lower proof at 66%.

To me the Navy style rum is rounder in it´s flavor profile and thus the Navy style rum is more sippable to me but you can sip this rum too if you like to sip strong rums.

But for most, i suggest to use this rum in drinks – and as a mixing rum it´s really great – especially if you wanna make tropical, exotic and tiki drinks.

Here is their description:

“POLYNESIAN INSPIRED” Rum

NITROGEN DEPRIVED FERMENTATION

GRADE A MOLASSES

WILD BACTERIA BANANA DUNDER

LATE HARVEST RIESLING

SEASONED VIRGIN AMERICAN OAK

“Nitrogen deprived fermentation” is a way to trigger stress response in the yeast which leads to higher production of esters in the fermentation which in turn leads to more flavors completed from the acids.

There are many ways to trigger this stress response and it turns out nitrogen deprivation is one of them.

I think it`s amazing what they are doing at the Lost Spirits Distillery…which btw they built nearly everything at the distillery with only their tiny team of three people…how cool is that?!

Lost Spirits Still

 The 600 gallon copper pot still…see more amazing pictures from the distillery here.

Aroma and flavor

So let´s move on to the tasting – the rum has a beautiful golden amber color and the nose is fruity with notes of apricot and ripe tropical fruits like macerated banana, it´s warm and inviting.

In the mouth the woodiness hits you and there´s a strong alcohol sharpness, a burn which slowly mellows down and warms your throat. It`s a bit astringent, some citrus notes and ripe tropical fruits same as in the nose followed by some caramel that smooths it out. The finish is long.

It´s strong and quite sharp but definitely not harsh, and if you like sipping strong rums i believe you`ll like this, but when you mix with it, it´s a whole different thing and i think this rum really shines in cocktails.

And now, let`s wrap it up with a few rum drinks:

I was all of a sudden craving one of my favorite tiki drinks, the Painkiller but not with Pusser`s rum this time….

POLYNESIAN PAINKILLER

Poly Painkiller

4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Coco Real (or Coco Lopez) coconut cream
3 oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum

Shake all ingredients with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a coconut shell or other suitable glass or tiki mug. Dust with grated nutmeg or cinnamon and garnish with a mini pineapple. (or pineapple chunk, leaf and cinnamon stick)

OCHO RIOS

Ocho Rio filt

My version of Battery Harris’ Ocho Rios Cocktail, using Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired rum and garnished with brown sugar-coffee rim and a tropical leaf.

2.o oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum
0.5 oz Aperol
1 oz honey syrup

Shake ingredients with ice and pour into a brown sugar-coffee rimmed rocks glass and top with a splash of Soda. Garnish with a tropical leaf but make sure the leaf doesn´t touch the drink.

The drink turned out tasting like a good rum sour minus the egg foam, very refreshing and the rum did it justice in every way.

Does this rum lend itself to these type of drinks? YES!!! it really does…and with 3 oz of 132 proof rum it packs a punch..

So here´s my final thoughts - It sips well but i really recommend it for all kind of rum drinks and it really does have both the flavor and punch required for tiki drinks (and so does their Navy Style Rum) To me this rum is – along with the Navy Style rum – a keeper! These two rums from the Lost Spirits Distillery are two very different rums even though they – my guess – are made in about the same way but probably aged differently.

Whatever they are doing the result is some very tasty potent rums!

You find Lost Spirits website here. For those who are going to the Miami Rumfest on april 25-27 – there will be a seminar on the Navy Style rum, ” Bryan Davis on making Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum” - where you get a chance to taste it and learn directly from Bryan how he makes his rums.

Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

LOST SPIRITS RUM NAVY BOTTLE3

Out of the ordinary…

I`m very happy to share my impressions of yet another interesting rum…but this one is a bit different from the rest…

Lost Spirits Distillery owners Bryan Davis and Joanne Harut of Monterey County are known for their award-winning single malt whiskies, especially their ultra-peated American single malt craft whiskey Leviathan – and now they have come up with this rum and another one (called Polynesian Inspired, review will soon follow)

They have a lot of passion paired with a scientific approach in the making of spirits and they are – to quote Camper English over at the Alcademics – ” Lost Spirits Distillery are doing some crazy shiz” - And now they have managed to concentrate all the flavor goodness in these rums….and for those who are interested in knowing how it`s made – i send you over to this page, called “Rum Super Geekdom”

Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum is a 68% cask strength high ester rum, distilled in Bryan`s copper pot still and made from fermented grade A baking molasses and evaporate sugar cane juice, and what they call wild bacteria banana dunder, aged in oloroso sherry seasoned virgin american oak – here is their description:

“NAVY STYLE 68%”

RUM

GRADE A MOLASSES

WILD BACTERIA BANANA DUNDER

OLOROSO SHERRY SEASONED VIRGIN AMERICAN OAK

PHOTOCATALYTICALLY “CHARRED” NEW AMERICAN OAK SLABS

Note that it says “Navy style” and not “Navy strength” as navy strength is no more than 57% abv, the reason for this, was that gunpowder would still explode if alcohol at this strength was accidentally spilt on it. Over that strength is overproof.

The bottle is nothing but a work of art and it looks old yet new…sort of and i don`t think i ever seen the statements “Does not contain coloring additives” and “Does not contain flavoring additives” written out like that on a rum bottle before.

I was a bit mystified about this rum from when i first heard of it but after studying and now also trying it i`m less mystified and i`m impressed with the flavor.

Lost Spirits Navy Rum Labels

This is a high ester rum (esters = the aromas of fruits, flowers, and spices) are made from chemically bonding alcohols to acidsand part of creating all the esters are what is called “dunder”

A quote from the page explaining what dunder is:

Dunder is a mysterious substance added to the fermentation in high ester rum production.  Dunder is sometimes made from overripe fruits, rotten fruits, and sometimes a special soup of decomposing bats, and waste from the last distillation. 

Dunder is made in pits or caldrons and is sometimes ripened for up to a year before use.  Though it may sound like voodoo there is actually a good reason for this substance.  When the fruit, molasses waste, or bats undergo bacterial fermentation the bacteria produce carboxylic acids as a byproduct.  These acids are responsible for the “rotting smell” but remember we are going to chemically bond them to acids later to make esters.  The final esters will smell and taste completely different from the acids they are made from. 

A carefully made “dunder” can yield more carboxylic acid than many years in a barrel.  In my case this means overripe bananas which are a component of the yeast starter.   

The rum doesn`t have any caramel coloring, yet it´s very dark, like coke, the rum doesn`t contain any flavor additives yet it´s more flavorful than a lot of other rums.

And as far as the flavor goes – that´s where the high ester content comes in but don`t ask me how exactly he does it…

I do trust my taste buds though and they tell me this is very good stuff.

To start with, the nose, to me what you get is a funky punch of wood and citrus peels of grapefruit and lemons, something dark…and a hint of vanilla that softens and binds it all together.

First sip is strong…and no wonder, this is an overproof beast of 136 proof or 68% abv. (alcohol by volume) but it´s amazingly sippable…and the mouthfeel is a just a little bit viscous.

There´s some heavy funky wood notes and some caramel, followed by tropical fruit and this rum ain`t for the faint of heart. For tiki drinks it´s thumbs up all the way to tiki nirvana…this is definitely a rum that can stand up and complement all those mixers and juices tiki drinks usually contains. Also it will surely make great bold rum cocktails of any kind.

There`s a lot of punch, funk and flavor, it`s a rich and robust rum, on the dry side, what more can you ask for? this is a rum for the real rum geeks but i believe also whiskey lovers would like this. To be an overproof it´s surprisingly smooth, it burns a bit on the tongue but not unpleasantly so.

There´s a hint of Smith & Cross in this…and a bit close to demerara rum as well even though it doesn`t have any of that specific demerara flavor that only demerara rums have, but it´s similar in style, like what i imagine the old style navy rums must have been.

Is it just me, or do i see a steady trend towards more flavorful pot-still type of rums? rums well suited for tiki drinks and stronger rum drinks as well as sipping rums? old school style rums?

What`s interesting with the Lost Spirits Navy Style rum is the method it´s made, with a combination of premium raw materials, high ester making using their own magic paired with their high tech barrel aging (more emphasis on creating esters, and less of aging time) as far as i have understood it, correct me if i`m wrong.

Like i said, this rum is not for the faint of heart and the same goes for the distillery, apparently….take a tour here.

Now on to the drinks, let´s make a few…

The other day i discovered a thread at the Tiki Central containing a recipe from a long lost book called “Introducing original Polynesian tropical bar recipes … Mai Tai, Navy Grog … and many more” from Dick Moano – containing a recipe for a drink called Wally`s Kanaka Punch.

It´s not a complicated drink and seemed well suited to try this rum with so i gave it a shot, but changed it a bit adding a little vanilla syrup and a vanilla bean and mini pineapple garnish:

Wally`s Kanaka Punch - Lost Spirits Navy Style

Wallys Kanaka Punch inst

3 oz pineapple juice

1 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz triple sec

0.25 oz vanilla syrup

2 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

2 dash (home made) Grenadine

Glass: Libbey Carats

Shake with cracked ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with fresh cracked ice.

Garnish with a quartered mini-pineapple and vanilla bean.

The drink is fruity and blends well with this rum which have both woody and fruity flavors, is strong and spicing it up, giving the drink a kick.

The next drink i tried was the daiquiri, i suspected it´d be a spicy one and it was, very strong, woody and spicy. Not 100% balanced because the strong flavors took over a bit but for those who like it strong, like i do, go for it.

Navy Daiquiri

Navy Daiquiri

2 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Glass: Libbey Fiesta Grande

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

To wrap it up, i sure enjoy this rum a lot and i hope Lost Spirits Distillery don`t ever stop making rums…

Flavor lovers, here´s a rum for you! and it´s all natural..

You find Lost Spirits website here. For those who are going to the Miami Rumfest on april 25-27 – there will be a seminar on this rum, ” Bryan Davis on making Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum” - where you get a chance to taste it and learn directly from Bryan how it is made.

LOST SPIRITS RUM NAVY BOTTLE

Denizen Merchant`s Reserve Rum

Denizen Merchants Reserve Rum

The first time encountered Denizen rum i was very pleased with it`s flavor, it was their white rum i tried and reviewed. Denizen rums are blends of rum from the Caribbean selected by master blenders in Amsterdam who have been handcrafting small-batch Caribbean style rums dating back to the early 1700s, when the Netherlands colonized much of the Caribbean.

Now Citizen Spirits have followed up with an aged rum that is a blend of aged plummer style pot still rum from Jamaica and also are component of Rhum Grande Arome from the Le Galion S.A.E.M distillery in Martinique.

60% of this rum has been aged 8 years in small used American oak bourbon barrels.  The Jamaican rums used in this blend come from Worthy Park, Hampden, New Yarmouth, and Clarendon. Most of the aged rum comes from Worthy Park Distillery.

The rums used in the blend were fermented using slow working yeasts in order to extend the fermentation time and allow the high ester flavor compounds to fully develop – a very important step in the rum making process.

One of the reasons they chosed to include the molasses based rhum grande arome in the blend and not the more traditional rhum agricole from Martinique is because when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time.

Having learned this, they tried to come up with a historically accurate classic amber rum that is unapologetically funky and would have made Trader Vic proud. The fact that it has been aged 8 years also makes it a fine sipping rum despite it being slightly higher proof at 43% ABV.

Denizen Merchant’s Reserve should be available in the US early April. Citizen Spirits will launch it in New York City and San Francisco initially and then expand to additional markets.

So i go straight to the Mai Tai eh?

This is a rum which obviously is partly designed for making great Mai Tais but of course not only – but also to be sipped neat and make other cocktails with – and flavorless cocktails you won`t get with it.

What a shame i haven`t had any chance to try the old JWray 17 year….which is a long time dream of mine, so therefore i cannot compare with it, but i can compare with other Mai Tais i`ve had with great rums and see how this rum stand up in comparison and i have a feeling it will do very well.

Also the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve earned a score of 94 at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge and was recognized as a finalist. Scoring 94 points is equivalent to “Excellent and highly recommended”

Let´s taste it.

Nose – It`s a fruity nose with a bit of citrus and apricot, a hint of wood, very fresh.

Mouth – The same fruitness is there and it has a warm spicy finish. A hint of sugarcane, warm caramel, ripe tropical fruit, dried banana, apricot, wood.

My impression – This is a warm, funky and flavorful rum, not much alcohol burn, it´s smooth enough to sip and flavorful enough to mix tiki drinks with, at the same time it`s great for classic rum drinks as well. Fruity and spicy!

I bet it`s good to drizzle over ice cream too…or use in baked papaya with butter, vanilla and demerara sugar.

The first drink i wanted to make with this rum is the PYT swizzle from Rumba Seattle, (a bar and Caribbean restaurant in Seattle) and a place where they make some extraordinary cocktails, actually everything they make at that place looks tasty, i hope i can visit some day.

The PYT swizzle first catched my attention on instagram where i saw pictures of it after it won the Island Imbibe competition in august 2013. I thought it looked so tasty….so here`s a version of it with Denizen Merchant`s Reserve and again, i regret not having any mint!

PYT SWIZZLE

Denizen PYT swizzle

2.5 oz Denizen Merchant`s reserve rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz passionfruit syrup

0.25 oz falernum

Glass: Libbey Everest hi ball

Top with a heavy doze of angostura and peychaud`s bitters

Swizzle!

But mint or not, with this rum the swizzle turned out nice and spicy!

The next drink is the quintessential test cocktail when you wanna evaluate a rum in cocktails, due to it`s simplicity and way of letting the rum shine through in such a way that you cannot make a good one with a bad rum – the classic daiquiri.

MERCHANT`S DAIQUIRI

Denizen Merchant´s daiquiti IG

2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz demerara sugar syrup

Glass: Libbey SPKSY

And yes, it pass the test! this rum makes a very nice and somewhat spicy daiquiri!

And finally…the Queen of Tiki Drinks…(and the Zombie is the King:-)

MAI TAI

Denizen Mai Tai

2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve rum

1 oz fresh lime juice (add the spent lime shell to shaker and later, in the glass)

0.5 oz orgeat

0.25 oz Combier triple sec

Shake all ingredients and garnish with mint – or if you don`t have mint, add the spent lime shell and a sherry into the glass.

Serve in rocks glass with crushed ice.

Yep, it definitely makes a great Mai Tai, the kind that gives that extra yummy after taste, provided you use good quality mixing products throughout. Of course i did the Trader Vic´s Mai tai. The only thing i regret is that i was out of mint but instead i just used the spent lime shell and a sherry.

To wrap it up – Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is very good, flavorful and i warmly recommend anyone to try this rum!

You find Denizen´s website here.

Les Rhums de Ced – Punch au Rhum Banane Cacao

Rhum de Ced Banane-Cocoa Ced pic

If you like the french island style “arranged rums” or rhum arrangès here´s a very interesting one. Rhum arangé is a speciality of the French islands, so most of them are made with rhum agricole, fruits and spices.

This rhum arrangè is made by Cèderic Brement who calls his rhums – Les Rhums de Ced/Ti’ arrangés de Ced.

What i have here is a rhum arrangè of cocoa and banana macerated in rhum agricole. Make no mistake here….this ain`t no overly sweet bananaesque concoction – instead you will meet a very elegant and mature flavor or pure raw cocoa upfront with a subtle rich flavor of tropical banana flambè in the background…and it´s absolutely lovely.

Cèdric who is a food engineer, started to create some rhums arrangés during his studies and produced his rhums at home during 10 years before he finally created his product – “Les Rhums de Ced”

He first tested his products on friends and family and then eventually friends of friends started to order his rhums and from there it got bigger. People appreciate the balance of fruits aroma, rum, vanilla and a little bit of sugar says Ced.

And with the success with the products he did quit his job to launch his products and he started with 6 products, which are 100% organic using fruits, spices and AOC rhum agricole from Martinique.

After that he developed a 6 months macerated product in oak barrel : Vanilla – Macadamia nuts.

I want to work to use only natural,  very high quality fruits and i’m looking for special and direct procurement. I want to highlight terroir.

Rhums de Ced medaille or

He won 8 medals in 2013 :

Gold for Victoria Pineapple at the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris

Gold for Ginger Apple at the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris

Gold for Mango Passion at the Rum Fest in Madrid

Silver for Pineapple Victoria at the Rum Fest in Madrid

In 2014 :

Gold for Cocoa Banana at the salon de l’agriculture in Paris

Impressive! of course i was dying to try one of his rhums and the one i have here to try out is the Cocoa Banana, and it´s as tasty as it sounds..

I was pleasantly surprised at the cut down sweetness of this rhum, it`s not like what you usually find when the ingredients banana and cocoa are in it. It has some sweetness of course, because it contains some sugarcane but it`s not cloingly sweet at all.

Nose – Cocoa, sugarcane, ripe bananas with a slight hint of vanilla. The balmy creamy sweetness from the cocoa lingers…

In the mouth – The mouthfeel is rich, then pure raw dark cocoa hits you but it doesn`t taste like an upfront chocolate rum, this is much more refined and the cocoa flavor is never anything near too sweet, rather it´s that raw quality of fresh dark cocoa beans. It`s rich and warm and it embraces you.

In the background you have a flavor of banana flambè sweetened by sugarcane and a very subtle hint of vanilla. The vanilla bean is still in the bottle, and how he managed to have it there without it adding too much vanilla flavor to the rhum is more than i know.

There`s only a very slight “rhum agricole grassiness” – the flavor trademark of rhum agricoles – that i can detect. It`s a very smooth rhum and there´s no alcohol burn at all, just a very subtle sharpness and it`s like the whole rhum is mellowed out…into a ripe fruity punch and then that raw cocoa flavor…

My impression:

It`s very tasty, well balanced, nuanced, quite complex, semi-sweet and of good quality.

It`s a very tropical rhum and is best sipped neat with or without ice – which is the way it really should be enjoyed – it has enough flavors all of  it´s own and nothing else is needed.

That said, of course you can make cocktails with it if you like and i decided to make a french island style tropical punch cocktail , it´s my version of a cocktail from the island of la Rèunion called “Mon ti cafrine”.

Punch Mon Ti Cafrine

Mon Ti Cafrine 3

3 oz (90 ml) Ti’ arrangés de Ced Banane-Cacao

Juice of 1/2 fresh lime

2 coffee beans in shaker

Muddle the coffee beans and lime juice, add the rhum and give it a quick shake. Double strain into a sugar rimmed glass.

Garnish with banana leaf.

“Mon ti cafrine” is a french crèole expression from la Rèunion and is an affectionate expression for a beloved woman.

Les Rhums de Ced`s webpage is here and Facebook page here and the rhums are sold at Christian de Montaguère´s rum shop in Paris. If you can`t go there he might send it, mail and ask.

Also Les Rhums de Cèd will be displayed and ready for tasting at the Rhumfest Paris in april 6-7.

Ced bottle

Miami Rum Fest returns April 25-27, 2014!

Miami Rum Fest 2014

More rum to the thirsty!! Miami Rum Fest is expanding with more than 50,000 square feet of exhibits and will be back in April 25-27 to gather rum producers, professionals and enthusiasts.

There will be three rum filled days of grand tasting sessions allowing participants to evaluate hundreds of notable rum brands and expressions from around the world, in addition to expert seminars, entertainment and fun in laid-back tropical island environment.

“We’re expanding the size and scope of the festival again this year,” said show manager Robin Burr. “Rum producers from many more countries will participate in the exhibition, bringing an exceptional selection of cane spirits to a larger audience of consumers that appreciate fine rums.”

The admission price of $50 (or $75 for VIP access) allows participants to sample any of the rums on display Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27. The Friday, April 25 Trade Day grand tasting session is reserved for those in the spirits industry and VIPs, as well as members of the press.

A new addition to the Rum fest is the Miami Cocktail Week where the emphasis will be rums that make the best cocktails since hand-made cocktails are all the rage in the best bars around the world.

Those who have been to the UK Rumfest in London knows what the cocktail week can be all about, and the public can acquire a wristband that allows them to enjoy high quality cocktails made with top-shelf spirits by the best bartenders in Miami for a set price at a select number of top-rated cocktail bars in South Florida.

The mission is to increase awareness of high quality cocktails and build appreciation for the best bars, bartenders and spirits.

Miami Cocktail Week features a series of seven key events — one exclusive VIP cocktail gathering per evening — hosted by participating spirit brands at select cocktail venues. VIPs and members of the trade are invited to attend.

Rum enthusiasts from all over the world are coming to Miami to experience the ultimate rum tasting experience. “We’re seeing a great increase in travelers attending the rum festival from all the islands of the Caribbean, as well as Europe and Asia,” said Burr.

Miami is the number one rum market in the world. Miami Rum Fest was voted best festival in Miami.

International Rum Expert Panel judges from across the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, England, Australia, Sweden and Holland will converge in Miami to judge rums for their annual tasting competition, awarding the best of the best with gold medals.

For more information call Robin Burr in Miami at 707-278-6736 or visit the web site:www.MiamiRumFest.com

If you can make it over to Florida in april make sure to not miss this rum and cocktail event!

RumRenPoster2

Zwazo Rhum Arrangè – Ananas/Vanille

zwazo label for blog

Rhum arangé is a speciality of the French islands, so most of them are made with rhum agricole but there´s also some people doing it with molasses rums. Benoît Bail - the maker of Zwazo uses a blend of both styles to get this particular taste and the blend is of 3 different rums from Martinique Trinidad and Guyana.

So what  i have here is a rhum arrangè that is a special mix between agricole and molasses rums, pineapple and vanilla. The difference between a spiced rum ( “rhum épicé “) and rhum arrangè (arranged rum:-) is that rhum arrangé also contains fruits or just fruits. And rhum arrangé is a sexier name than rhum épicé, don`t you think?

It`s quite low in ABV, 25% – because it`s made  especially for the persons who don’t like rums or don’t know them or even don’t drink strong alcohol for example people who like sweet fruity tastes without a strong alcohol taste.

And that`s also a great way to introduce rum to non rum lovers isn`t it?! and i can vouch for that this rum here tastes fantastic!

Benoît uses only organic seasonal fruits so the flavors available will vary throughout the year and since this is a highly artisanal product there´s limited quantity.

The two first Zwazo rums made by Benoit was this pineapple/vanilla and a banana/vanilla which i hope to try sometimes. New flavors are coming up in february!

ZWAZO  bottle for blog

At the beginning Benoît was just doing some rhums arrangés at home for himself, friends and family but with the time they began calling him to ask if he wouldn’t sell some because they would need some for friends or at barbecues.

So Benoît got the idea to make business with it and build his own brand and people much appreciated the idea and the taste of his flavoured rums – so he began making a business plan and looking for funds and now one and a half year later Zwazo is here!

And now i`m tasting this delicious Pineapple and vanilla rhum arrangè and all can say is that i`m really impressed because this rum is lovely!

I prefer to drink it neat with ice but it can be used mixed as well and one way to mix it is making a Ti Punch, either with just Zwazo or mixed with another white rhum agricole to boost up the alcohol punch.

ZWAZO ti punch for blog filt

It would be a waste to use it in drinks like the Zombie that contains a lot of other rums and mixers because it´s flavor is quite delicate and it would be a shame to mask it with other things. But i could do well in tiki drinks with just a few ingredients in them, and i can see it shine in a daiquiri for example or mixed with champagne.

The bottle is pretty, it looks very exotic with the pineapple chunks and vanilla beans inside and the tropical looking label and exotic name -  Zwazo means bird in french creole. The bird Benoit first had in mind was the Toucan but then the rhum Toucan came out from french Guyana and so they switched to another Caribbean bird – the Hummingbird…

On the nose it smells of ripe tropical fruits, vanilla and pineapple and you are transported to a tropical island…

The taste is sweet with mature tropical fruit, a bit like burnt sugar and pineapple or roast pineapple maybe,  with hints of apricot. Slight notes of agricole rum that gives a freshness to the blend paired with a hint of sexy vanilla…

And once the bottle is empty you can also take out the fruits inside and eat them or make jam with it, or put them in cakes.

It`s such a perfect rum when you want to be on the light side, make a wonderful summer drink – or on the contrary – something to escape the winter with.

I love it!

I made a simple Ti Punch with 2 oz Zwazo, the juice of 1/3 piece of the lime and 0.5 oz sugarcane syrup, stirred together with some ice.

ZWAZO Ti Punch glass for blog

As for now you can get Zwazo rums from one of the best rum shops in Europe - Christian de Montaguèrein Paris. If you can`t go there he might send it, mail and ask. They sell for for 25€.

Professor Cocktail`s Zombie Horde

Zombie book cover

A book entirely devoted to one of my favorite tiki drinks – the Zombie!!

For the first time ever (as far as i know) has an entire book been written about ONE tiki drink, the famous Zombie. That`s how much this drink fascinates…

Now the book does of course not contain only one Zombie recipe – it contains no less than 86 different recipes…..starting with my favorite the 1934 Zombie Punch – the original version. This was the one that started it all, as served at Don the Beachcomber’s famed Hollywood restaurant. This was the drink that made Don’s reputation and secured his place in cocktail history.

86 different Zombies? that could keep you busy and boozed out for a long time, especially seen to that the old saying “two at the most” was stated for a reason.

The author professor Cocktail about Jeff “Beachbum” Berry:

This book could not have been written without Jeff’s extraordinary efforts at resurrecting Don the Beachcomber’s Zombie. He truly is the Indiana Jones of Tiki Drink Archaeology.

PROFESSOR COCKTAIL’S ZOMBIE HORDE

Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink - by David J. Montgomery aka Professor Cocktail

zombie book - napkin

The book starts with a presentation of the Zombie which was the drink that launched a Tiki empire. Created in 1934 by a former bootlegger named Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt – better known to the world as Don the Beachcomber – the Zombie was a revelation.

“I originated and have served this ‘thing’ since 1934…Anyone that says otherwise is a liar!” —  Don the Beachcomber

A potent mix of different rums, fruit juices, and exotic spices, the Zombie was to become Don’s signature drink and, eventually, a key part of his success and that of his namesake restaurant.

Don’s genius was found in rum and the varying ways in which it could be combined with other ingredients. Not only was he the first bartender to invent Tiki drinks, he was among the first to use rum itself in a serious way.

Out of all of Don’s creations, the Zombie reigned supreme. It was the drink that everyone wanted to try. The book goes on telling us how reportedly the Zombie was invented – whether true or not – and goes on to telling us about how many years later our beloved Beachbum (Jeff Berry) managed to crack the code for Don the Beachcomber’s original Zombie.

And that`s why – thank you Jeff! – i have been able with many others, to enjoy this drink from it´s original recipe albeit with different rums than was used at the time.

After the introduction there´s a note about ingredients explaining what they are and where you can try to find them. The composition of the Zombie varied over the years depending on who was making it – but there are certain ingredients, however, that popped up most frequently and they are listed in the notes.

And then – on to the recipes, all 86 Zombies! and it`s not just the recipes, there´s stories, anecdotes and pictures – all written in an entertaining style.

zombie book don beach ca 1950 in Hawaii

Don Beach in Hawaii cirka 1950

Conclusion:

In Zombie Horde, David J. Montgomery (aka Professor Cocktail) leads you on a journey through the history of the Zombie, starting with its humble beginnings in Hollywood, and following it as it evolved and spread over the decades.

Zombie Horde includes recipes from notable bartenders like Trader Vic, David Embury, Salvatore Calabrese, and Dale DeGroff, as well as the formulas for the Zombies served at famous Tiki joints like the Tonga Room in San Francisco, Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas, and the Luau Room in San Diego.

It also includes recent cocktails that were inspired by the Zombie, with offerings from Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove), Brian Miller (Death & Company), Allan Katz (Caña Rum Bar), Brian Dressel (Midnight Cowboy), and Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club).

I`d recommend this book to anyone who`s interested in tiki drinks and of course – the Zombie. With such a gold mine of Zombie recipes from the 1934 original Zombie Punch to Bar Agricole’s Cap Haitien Zombie you just can`t go wrong.

zombie book shrunken head mugs

Otto’s Shrunken Head mugs

About the Author

David J. Montgomery mixes his love of history and alcohol into one potent concoction through his work at ProfessorCocktail.com He is also a nationally renowned book critic and commentator on writing and the publishing industry. Mr. Montgomery is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has written for USA Today, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other fine publications.

His short fiction has appeared both online and in print. A former Professor of History, he lives in the Washington, D.C. suburbs with his wife and two daughters.

The ebook will be available exclusively through Amazon (as well as various international versions of Amazon), and costs just $2.99 to download. There are no plans for a print edition at this time, although it’s possible that could change.

You don’t need a Kindle to read the book, though. You can also use the Kindle app that’s available for various platforms, including PC, Mac, various tablets (iPad, Android, etc.), and smartphones (iPhone, Android, etc.).

Obviously it has a lot of rum in it. So what’s not to like? Go get it!

And for your drinking pleasure, here´s two recipes:

The Undead Gentleman (2011 by Martin Cate)

Undead Gentleman

As served at the high-end Tiki and rum bar located in San Francisco, CA.
Martin Cate’s Note: Simplified slightly and served on the stem, for the sophisticated savage.

Instructions:

In a cocktail shaker:
1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice (white or pink)
1/2 oz. Falernum
1/2 oz. Cinnamon Syrup
1 oz. Lemon Hart 151 Rum
1 1/2 oz. Aged Jamaican Rum
1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rinsed with absinthe blanc. Garnish with a lime and grapefruit twist that have been twisted together.

And then i brought back my old Guyana Zombie which i made in 2009 for the TDN Zombie. It doesn`t contain more than two rums but one is overproof to give the drink that kick it needs. It`s not an authentic Zombie, more a drink that is Zombie inspired.

Guyana Zombie

guyana-zombie1

2 oz demerara rum

1 oz pineapple juice

1 oz honey-mix ( equal parts honey and water, dilute the honey in warm water)

1 tsp cream of coconut ( Lopez or Coco Real)

0.5 oz fresh lime

A decent float of 151 demerara.

Serve in goblet with crushed ice. Sprinkle demerara sugar on top.

Blend with crushed ice at high speed for 5 sek. Pour into goblet with more crushed ice. Garnish with sprinkled demerara sugar, lime wedge and brandied cherry.

White Lion Coconut Arrak

White Lion Coconut Arrak

Here´s a very interesting spirit – a Coconut Arrak made from fermented coconut flowers!

This Arrak should not be confused with Batavia Arrak which is distilled from fermented sugar cane and rice. The original word “araq” is Arabian and was associated with the distillation process when the knowledge of how to distill spirits spread in the Middle East and Asia during the 14th century.

In the US it cannot be called Arrak due to US laws. It’s White Lion VSOA – (Very Special Old Arrack)

There are three completely different categories of Arrak:

Arak – from the Middle East, distilled from fermented grapes, licorice-flavored with anise seed.

Batavia Arrak – from Indonesia, distilled from fermented sugar cane and rice.

Coconut Arrak – from Sri Lanka, distilled from naturally fermented nectar of coconut flowers.

In South East Asia Arrak is distilled from three different types of palm trees (Coconut, Palmyra and Kithul) and Sri Lanka favors the Coconut Arrak. Coconut trees lives 60 years or more and provides a continuous supply of Coconut flower nectar for a very long time and each tree provides 300 litres of nectar every year.

During the 18th century Arrak was used as a substitute for rum ratios for sailers in South East Asia by the British Royal Navy and Marco Polo mentioned Arrak in his 13th century diary Il Milione. Also Arrak was an ingredient in several recipes in Jerry Thomas original 1882 book The Bartender´s Guide. So it´s a very old spirit…

Arrak Toddy tappers

How Coconut Arrak is made:

It starts with the so called Toddy Tappers – young men scaling Coconut trees early in the morning before dawn balancing on tight ropes strung between 80 foot tall Coconut tree tops to harvest the yet unopened flowers of the trees.

They slice open the buds with machetes to release the fresh nectar into clay pots. Each tree yields 2 liters of nectar a day. The nectar is rich in natural sugar and wild yeasts and starts to ferment naturally into a mildly alcoholic syrup called toddy.This natural fermentation is unique to Coconut Arrak.

Arrak climbing

Within four hours of harvest the toddy is quality tested and transported to Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka where the toddy is distilled, a craft with 700 years of master blenders expertise and refinement. Initially the toddy is separated – a portion to be distilled in copper pot stills and the other portion in continuous column stills.

Then the two distillates are married together in casks of Halmilla wood to rest and mature for 24 months. And the result is VSOA – Very Special Old Arrak

And that´s what i have here now, to be tasted and used in a few cocktails. A quite exciting spirit to work with!

Arrak barrels

The color of the Arrak is a golden hue of amber and the nose is tropical floral with hints of vanilla and some nuttiness.

On the palate it´s mild and sweet, with the same tropical floral notes, hints of vanilla and with a nutty finish.

Conclusion:

I think it would be a great cocktail ingredient but can also be sipped neat with an ice cube since it´s mild and quite smooth. It`s not very complex but it has a mild balance of pleasant aromas and it`s somewhat like a blend of sweet rum and whiskey. It`s definitely a unique spirit!

Tropical Arrak Sling

Tropical Arrak Sling

1.5 oz White Lion Coconut Arrack
.5 oz cherry Liqueur (Cherry Heering)
.25 oz orange liqueur (Combier Grande Liqueur)
.25 oz Benedictine
.25 oz hibiscus grenadine
1 oz pineapple juice
.75 oz fresh lime juice
Soda to top
A couple dashes bitters on top of the ice

I used a combination of Angostura and Brazilian Zulu bitters.

Combine all ingredients except bitters and soda in a mixing glass with ice, strain into a tall glass wrapped in a banana leaf or napkin and top up with crushed ice, top with soda and fill up with more crushed ice.

Tropical Arrak Sling leaf

Top with bitters.

Garnish with cherry and piece of banana leaf.

Tropical and cherry forward, this sling which is as you can see from the recipe is inspired by the classic Singapore sling – makes me think of tropical porches in front of the sea…

Coconut Arrak Painkiller

Coconut Arrak Painkiller

A painkiller with Coconut Arrak…

4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Coco Real or Lopez coconut ream
1 oz White Lion Coconut Arrak
1 oz Pusser`s Rum or dark Jamaican Rum

Shake with plenty of crushed ice and pour unstrained into a tall glass or tiki mug.

Dust with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Garnish with pineapple leaf and cherry.

This is a perfect drink for the coconut arrak!

High Proof rums from Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados by Swedish Fire Water

RumSwedes

This fall came with four new rums in the “Rum Swedes” series from the Swedish independent bottler Swedish Firewater (www.eldvatten.se) with full proof single cask rums from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. I wrote a review of their Caroni 1997 Single Barrel Rum earlier this year.

From Guyana i have two samples, one from 2002 and one 2003 and then Barbados 2000 and Jamaica 2000.

GUYANA 2003

From Diamond distillery and aged 9 years, (60.9%/121.5 proof) it´s a heavy rum with hints of smoke. The color is dark mahogany.

Nose – Oh lovely demerara….it´s smoky, heavy, woody, dried tropical fruit, leather, banana peel, burnt molasses. A kick of strong alcohol if you come too close with the nose but a bit away from the glass a whole orchestra of flavors hits you.

Mouth – I added some ice to the glass and it opened up the rum a bit and made it easier to drink. It`s typical dark demerara flavors, same as the nose and slightly smoky. The mouth feel is a bit viscous and slightly oily, just as it should be with this kind of heavy rum. Neat it´s all these flavors concentrated and the aftertaste stays with you for quite some time. It`s lovely!

GUYANA 2002

Distilled at the Port Morant Double Pot Still (61%/122 proof) the color is golden. It`s a more elegant and fruitier rum than the first one.

Nose – it has a lovely nose of both dried and ripe tropical fruits, banana, vanilla, mango, sugarcane.

Mouth - a bit of wood, same tropical fruits as in the nose, sugarcane but not very sweet though, just fine. Neat you feel the wood more and then the fruits step in. A great rum!

JAMAICA 2000

This rum is from Hampden Distillery which is famous for their high ester rums which are the result of very long fermentation of the molasses.They are doing their rums in an old fashioned way producing very distinctive but expensive rums.

The Hampden distillery dates back to 1743 and uses three copper pot stills. The distillery was closed in 2003 and re-opened with new owners sometimes around 2009. So this rum is from before the closure which makes it even more valuable. This rum is (58.4%/116.8 proof)

NOSE

Very “creamy”, fruity, ripe tropical fruit, banana, sugarcane, very pleasant nose!

MOUTH

So tasty! tropical fruit again, banana, banana peel, overripe mango, brown sugar..some wood, burnt molasses. A rich rum with an elegant aftertaste that lingers in the mouth for a while.

BARBADOS

And the last one, from the island of Barbados where they say rum was first made in the Caribbean. This rum is distilled by the West India Rum Distillers which are located at Brighton, Black Rock in the southern parish of St. Michael on the island of Barbados.

The distillery dates back to 1893 and was established by two German brothers (the Stades brothers) who wanted to produce rum to be shipped to Germany. It returned into the hands of Barbados again in 1903. They are using two old pot stills and four column continuous stills. The famous Cockspur rum is distilled there.

NOSE

The nose is a little fruity and sugary with something more, maybe toffee?

MOUTH

Fruity, a little wood, toffee, pralin, sugarcane, hint of chocolate. It`s not a heavy rum but rather elegant. Neat it has some more punch of course, after all it´s 116.8 proof.

Rum Swedes tasting bottles

CONCLUSION

They are all very good rums, i`d say the Guyana 2003 and Jamaica 2000 are my favorites of the four. They fetch the same high price as the privately bottled Caroni and Demerara rums in Italy and is about 120 euros a bottle and can as far as i know only be purchased in Sweden. There´s only 215 bottles of the Barbados 2000, 245 bottles of Guyana 2000, 185 bottles of Jamaica 2000 and 230 bottles of Guyana 2003.

The one cocktail i feel really eager to try with these excellent rums is a Mai Tai…it´s the idea of trying a combo of the 2003 Guyana and the 2000 Jamaica that intrigues me…

MAI TAI  (Guyana and Jamaica)

MAI TAI INST 2

1 oz Guyana 2003 and Jamaica 2000 combo (0.5 oz of each)

1 oz Appleton Extra

0.5 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao

0.25 oz orgeat

0.25 oz sugarcane syrup

1 oz fresh lime

half spent lime shell in the shaker

Shake with plenty of crushed ice and pour into a double old fashioned. Top up with more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with a mint sprig.

I think the mint is an important part of the Mai Tai, it adds that fragrance and you should spank it before adding it to the glass and then add a short straw placed near the mint.

The spent lime shell adds some of that lovely lime oil to the drink.

These two rums made an excellent Mai Tai, the drink was strong, flavorful and refreshing. They paired very well with Appleton Extra but if they had been of lower strength, say 55 % i would have used one oz of each.

Either way you can`t go wrong with these good rums.

Potions of the Caribbean!

BB Book Cover Potions of the Caribbean

Bring out your bar tools people! the long awaited new book from Jeff  ”Beachbum” Berry is here! And the book cover is as sunny as the Caribbean sun!

“POTIONS OF THE CARIBBEAN:

500 YEARS OF TROPICAL DRINKS AND THE PEOPLE BEHIND THEM,”

BY JEFF BERRY

BB Book Planters Punch

For the Conquistadors, the Caribbean was “New Spain.” For Victorian England, Jamaica was “The New Riviera.” Chicago mobsters transformed Havana into “The Las Vegas Of The Caribbean,” while Tiki-crazed tourists remade Puerto Rico into “Hawaii In The Atlantic.”  Since Columbus first stumbled on the Caribbean, invading hordes have continually tried to turn it into something else — and with every reinvention of the region came a reinvention of its drinks.

Potions of the Caribbean strains five centuries of this fascinating history through a cocktail shaker, serving up 77 vintage Caribbean drink recipes — 16 of them “lost” recipes that have never before been published anywhere in any form, and another 19 that have never been published in book form.

Even more delicious are the stories of the people who created, or served, or simply drank these drinks.  People like William Dampier, the 17th-century “pirate of exquisite mind” who plundered native cities but collected native recipes … José “Sloppy Joe” Abeal, who became an overnight celebrity when Prohibition brought millions of thirsty Americans to his sleepy Havana saloon …

Conrad Hilton, the bible-thumping tycoon who used drinking and gambling to kickstart modern Caribbean tourism … mysterious Egyptian mixologist Joe Scialom, who escaped a Cairo prison to bring a new style of cocktail to the islands … restaurateur “Trader Vic” Bergeron, whose faux-Polynesian Tiki drinks turned the West Indies into a surrogate South Pacific … and hard-drinking novelists Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene, who hated each other almost as much as they loved frozen Daiquiris.

BB Book Puka Puka Punch

 

BB Book Planters punch rum bottle

And the Bum and his outstanding work is loved…

As “a hybrid of street-smart gumshoe, anthropologist and mixologist” (The Los Angeles Times) and “the Indiana Jones of Tiki drinks” (The New York Times), Jeff “Beachbum” Berry is uniquely qualified to tell this epic story-with-recipes, lavishly illustrated with vintage graphics and rare historical photos.

Praise for Beachbum Berry’s five previous books about tropical drinks (The Grog Log, Intoxica!, Taboo Table, Sippin’ Safari and Beachbum Berry Remixed):

“ Mr. Berry’s lasting contribution may be in salvaging tropical drinks from decades of bad bartending.” — Steven Kurutz, The New York Times

“Without Berry many cocktail recipes and bartender secrets might be lost to history, but his relentless research has paid off in spades, so we still can take a glimpse into the past and sip the drinks of our forefathers … I raise my coconut to Beachbum Berry.”
– Gary Regan, author of The Bartender’s Bible and The Joy of Mixology

“Jeff uncovers lost artefacts and recipes like no other … his books are an exact extension of his own personality, as all good books should be.” — Ian Cameron, Class magazine

“I wish I had either the depth of understanding (or the taste buds) of Jeff Berry when it comes to these tropical punches. As it is, I just follow him around and happily drink what he tells me to.” — Ted Haigh, author of Vintage Spirits And Forgotten Cocktails

And i wanna add: Without Jeff Berry and his books i wouldn`t know what i know today about exotic cocktails and the tiki era. He is a great inspiration to us all and every time i`m looking for inspiration for a drink to create or just looking for a good tiki drink to mix up i pick up either one of his books or the iphone app. (which comes out so handy when not at home)

The work he have done with digging out all these lost and forgotten recipes is priceless.

This new book “Potions of the Caribbean” is the result of five years work!

I for one i cannot wait to read it! you can now pre-order your copy at the Cocktail Kingdom and the books will be shipped out on dec 10th.

BB Book La Florida Daiquiri no 3

 

BB Book Beachcomber

 

BB Book Collage