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

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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

ono-cajun-spiced-rum

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!

sugarcane

Gomme syrup

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

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TOTS AT THE READY, IT’S RUM TIME AT THE UK RUMFEST 2014!

RUM EXPERIENCE 1

LESS THAN MONTH TILL LONDON HOSTS THE WORLD’S PREMIER RUM CELEBRATION, THE RUMFEST!

The UK Rumfest and the official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title attempt for the Largest rum tasting event!

The UK rumfest returns on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th October with a fresh look and a new venue. London’s ILEC Centre in Earl’s Court will play host to the eighth annual event, a celebration of rum and rum culture and in particular for 2014, a look at some of the most premium blends on the market.

The RumFest embodies the heart and soul of the spirit and the passion of its founder Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador. bringing together the world’s biggest, smallest, established and up-and-coming brands for a weekend of celebration, discovery and community.

Now in its eighth year the two-day event attracts both consumer and trade professionals alike, succeeding in developing even the most educated rum fans knowledge whilst introducing the spirit to complete novices. 2014’s RumFest will take proceedings to the new heights with a focus on the premium brands and blends within the category.

The all-new Golden Tot Tokens will give visitors the opportunity to take part in some exclusive tastings of ultra-premium blends that retail between £80 – £2000 a bottle. With limited amounts available, visitors are urged to get in quick before stocks of these exquisite blends run out fast.

RUMFEST AUDIENCE

Guests are invited to take part in Seminars, Masterclasses and Workshops taking place across the two days set to bring to light the delights of the category. Seminars hosted by prestigious brands including Angostura, Diplomatico, Mount Gay, Havana Club and Don Q who will take attendees on an intimate journey of rum discovery.

A selection of the industry’s greatest ambassadors including Richard Seale of Foursquare rum and one of the world’s best distillers Michael Delevante, will share their wealth of knowledge with a captivated audience. Food will also play a big part in this year’s proceedings with chocolate and marshmallow pairings, plus live cooking demonstration on the main stage washed down with handmade cocktails from the Global Rum Ambassador himself.

And i`m sure all the lovely Caribbean food vendors will be there this year again with their hot spicy food and potent Rum Punches…

Finally, the floor will be filled with live bands, souk dancers and the spirit of rum fully embraced in the ultimate party hour finale each day.A truly ‘rum-derful’ thing indeed.

speed comp

The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC Conference Centre, Earl’s Court on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th October 2014. Standard tickets are now on sale at £49.95 via the website, which include access to all areas of the the event and single measure tastings from the majority of exhibitors. Golden Tot Tokens are £5 each and allow for additional access to the more premium rums on offer.

One token can be exchanged for rum retailing £80 – £100 and more expensive rums will be available for additional tokens. This year as a precursor to The RumFest, Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell will host a very special world record attempt for the World’s Largest Rum Tasting on Thursday 9th October. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased for just £10 via the RumFest website.

Moreover…

A  RUM TASTING EVENT LIKE NO OTHER!

Worlds largest rum tasting

Limited spaces available to the official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title attempt for the Largest rum tasting event with tickets on sale now

Thursday 9th October 2014
London’s ILEC, Earl’s Court
Tickets at £10 via rumfest.co.uk

On Thursday 9th October rum fans will have the honour of joining six leading rum aficionados in a very special tasting at London’s ILEC, ahead of the eighth annual The RumFest.

Handpicked by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, the selected rums are the cream of the crop within the rum category and the likes of the Serralles’ master distiller Roberto Seralles, Appleton’s esteemed Master Blender Joy Spence and Angostura’s Master Distiller John Georges, will guide enthusiasts on an unrivalled voyage of rum discovery.

In a unique twist, attendees will unite to make history in a bid to set the record for the ‘World’s Largest Rum Tasting’, adjudicated by an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ representative. Limited tickets for this one-time-only event are on sale for only £10.

Rum’s biggest event, The RumFest, is set to get a lot bigger as it invites guests to become part of a record breaking attempt to host the world’s largest rum tasting, with hundreds of rum enthusiasts coming together to sample rums from across the globe. The tasting will be presented by leading brand representatives, who will be able to give attendees a comprehensive and unrivalled insight into six esteemed rums.

Rumfest 2014

Representing Jamaica, Appleton’s Rum will be sipped and savoured with commentary from revered Master Blender, Joy Spence, whilst Puerto Rico’s number one premium rum from the Serralles distillery, Don Q, will be sipped and savoured with none other than Master Distiller, Roberto Seralles.

For a historical twist Pusser’s Rum, launched in 1655, will be presented by Head of Rum Procurement George Freegard. Angostura will bring a taste of Trinidad to the evening hosted by Master Distiller John Georges and the delights of Cuban’s classic Havana Club will be presented by its Master Blender Asbel Morales Lorenzo. The finale to the evening will be the esteemed Diplomatico providing a taste of South America with former Golden Rum Barrels Awards winner and Rum Master, Tito Cordero.

Doors will open at 5pm where guests will be greeted with a welcome speech from Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest founder Ian Burrell, followed by an introduction to the rules and regulations of the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™. From 6.30pm the world record attempt will begin as guests taste the six rums from some of the world’s most revered rum distilleries followed by an audience Q&A and the presentation of the Guinness World Records certificate.

THE ESTEEMED PRESENTERS & RUMS

Appleton’s Rum – Master Blender, Joy Spence (Jamaica)
Serralles distillery, Don Q – Master Distiller, Roberto Seralles (Puerto Rico)
Pusser’s Rum – Head of Rum Procurement, George Freegard (Navy-style)
Angostura – Master Distiller John Georges (Trinidad)
Havana Club – Master Blender Asbel Morales Lorenzo (Cuba)
Diplomatico – Master Blender Tito Cordero (Venezuela)

Hosted by Global Rum Ambassador and The RumFest founder Ian Burrell

rum-experience-no-date

Rum Nation – Anniversary Edition 12 year Old Rum!

Rum Nation Barbados Anniv Edition close up

Here is another great rum from Rum Nation which is a rum company based in Italy created by Fabio Rossi in 1999. Fabio travels around the Caribbean and Americas to find the best rums he can find and release in limited editions and as of today Rum Nation has a quite wide array of premium rums in their portfolio.

The Rum Nation Barbados 12 year old Anniversary Edition is the second decanter of the Anniversary series: the first was a Martinique 12yo, also presented in a book shaped gift box and released in 1999 for the 10 years of Rum Nation (1999-2009). This second decanter has been released in 2014 for the 15 years of Rum Nation (1999-2014)

This rum is distilled on Barbados by RL Seale in a column still in 2001 and then blended in various proportions and finally aged in American bourbon oak barrels in the Caribbean, and further aged in Piedmont, Italy for 18/24 months into Spanish brandy and sherry oloroso casks before bottling.

Out of  the book shaped gift box comes an elegant decanter, which – i actually prefer to place on my rum shelf without the big “book” box! Funny idea but the decanter is all by itself all that you need, it`s really pretty! and the color of the rum is amazing, a clear golden amber and copper color – very beautiful presentation and color of the rum!

The label is beautiful and made of  fabric instead of paper.

Rum Nation Barbados Anniv Edition close up 2

When i see that decanter i really wanna pop off the cork and take a sip…

Nose

The nose opens with notes of vanilla, orange peel and butterscotch with a fruity apricot aroma, it´s also toffee, fresh herbs and sugarcane. I would say the nose is sweet and slightly spicy – and very pleasant. There`s a rich aroma oozing out of the glass…

In the mouth – The orange peel becomes more intense, it´s slightly sweet but less sweet than the nose, just very pleasant. The flavor is creamy and indulgent, this is a very rich rum with hints of vanilla, molasses, spice, sugarcane, butterscotch and caramel, also there´s a hint of fresh herbs.

It`s balanced, complex, rich, creamy and smooth….i have nothing negative at all to say about this rum, nothing. And it has that pleasant little sweet note without it being too sweet. This is a sipping rum for sure and if  i should pick one cocktail to make with it – it has to be the classic daiquiri – which is the best cocktail to feature the flavor of a rum.

But my best advice is to pour a glass, let it sit and breathe for a while and then enjoy it as it is!

Also recommended by Rum Nation is to pair the rum with a little bit of Valrhona Noir Alpaco chocolate, a dark but delicate and flowery chocolate from Ecuador, perfect for the freshness and light character of Barbados rum. I tried that, and who am i to say no? it was delicious! now i don`t know very much about rum and chocolate pairing but i trust what my tastebuds tells me – this is delicious!

Rum Nation Barbados Anniv Edition bottle

I think this decanter is beautiful and this Bajan rum is top shelf!

Rum Nation Barbados and glass

For those who are interested, here are some stats:

Actual Batch number : L 14/059
Quantity produced per batch : 6.477bottles 70cl 40%
Residential sugar (g/l) : 15
Vintage : Distilled 2001 – bottled 2014
Barriques : American oak – Spanish Oak

If you can try to get a bottle of the Rum Nation – Anniversary Edition 12 years Old Rum!

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – A Femme Fatale Dressed to Kill

LS151 Label 4

Dangerously easy to sip…

The Lost Spirits Rums hit the world with a bang! i have already seen and read several great posts about this rum and have written myself also about the Navy Style and Polynesian Inspired rums.

The Lost Spirits latest addition – the 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – has already been spoken about as well but i`ve been unable to write about until now since i been away for a long vacation to New Orleans and California including a road trip with Bryan and Joanne from the distillery to the Tiki Oasis in San Diego and where i got time to get to know this rum a bit better but time alone with it was needed.

One thing is clear, it`s a very pleasant overproof rum and it both mixes and sips well, even though, if you sip it for a while you will get a “fried” palate due to it`s strength typically what happens when you drink overproof rums neat, which mostly i do not – i use them most of the time in drinks as floats or combined with other rums  –  but you should not let this rum fool you – it`s way too easy to sip.

That said, i recommend it to be used like you use other overproof rums, in drinks, as floats etc.

This femme fatale comes dressed up in a very innocent looking outfit…the stunning label is a work of art with light pastel colored retro style 1930s pre-Castro Cuban theme with palm trees and a Pan Am (?) plane taking off to the sun….(and Cuban daiquiris…) and there`s a lady dressed in fashionable 1930s tropical wear. It`s like the other labels from Lost Spirits, very detailed and in all it`s a stunning label made by Bryan himself.

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban label collage 2

1930s Cuba….isn`t it beautiful? makes me wanna go back in time…or at least have a couple of cold daiquiris which btw is one of my favorite rum drinks.

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban label collage

I suspect that the curved end of the label is inspired by the same curved pattern you see on top of the copper still, you can see it in this post by Cocktailwonk, it´s pic number seven from top.

Of course your mind goes straight to the daiquiri when you see this rum but it´s good for all sorts of drinks both classic, modern and tiki. And here is what i like so much about it, it gives enough flavor to the drink to make things happen, to make it exciting, yet it´s smooth as silk but it kicks your butt!

If you have never heard of Lost Spirits Rums before i advise you to go and read about them here, and here and here……..plus check out their own website. It`s well worth the time reading all the posts because Bryan Davis and Joanne Haruta makes rum in a way that totally turns the world upside down and Bryan is like the “mad scientist” and “rum wizard” up there at the distillery producing rums (and whiskeys) of excellent quality and flavor – but to fully appreciate what they are doing you need to understand, at least a little, how it`s made.

I have noticed that posts about this distillery have a tendency to become quite lengthy and there´s a reason for that, so keep reading the posts…

Let me tell you, they are doing some mind blowing stuff! You might see some fancy tiki drinks with their rums here on my blog – but this is where it starts:

Nitrogen deprivation

Manipulating the biochemistry of the yeast or stressing the yeast, is one important part of the production, read more about that here. Picture Bryan Davis.

I asked Bryan how the idea came about making a 151 Cuban style rum? he said when making the navy style rum is was mostly about making rum with the biggest range of flavor from the fermenter coming through.

But how about making the opposite? With this Cuban style it was the opposite end of the spectrum starting with the super flavorful high quality molasses and then highly rectify it like a Cuban from 100 years ago and then age it using his own scientific approach. Bryan tried lots of different woods and finally blended the Cuban from all the experiments.

The Cuban inspired 151 proof rum differs greatly from the Polynesian Style and Navy Style rums in that it has less of those higher alcohols giving the other two rums their “heavy” type of flavor, this rum here has a totally different flavor profile, more “clean” but i wouldn`t say “light” because there is nothing “light” about any of the rums from the Lost Spirits Distillery.

But at the same time as the 151 Cuban differs from the others they still have clear bonds of being from the same “family”, there are similarities but i can`t exactly point out on what it is…

Well, i have to say the end result is nothing but spectacular!

They are only three people at the Lost Spirits Distillery, Bryan Davis, Joanne Haruta and Joanne`s brother James and for being so few i think what they do and come up with is pretty amazing! If you haven`t seen the distillery and the hand built pot still with it`s smoking dragon head check it out here and here

And check out this video, (click on the left play button at the bottom) :

The smoking dragon pushing out the steam from the still at night….(video by Bryan Davis)

 

Pretty cool eh? it´s all handbuilt on site.

Tasting

The nose is to me fruity (slightly like pineapple and apricot but not at all as pineapple forward as the Polynesian style, and here´s also vanilla) with a wonderful whiff of lovely soothing butterscotch.

The flavor is intense and has the same fruitness beautifully rounded out by the aforementioned butterscotch, vanilla and toffee aromas. It`s so strong yet it caresses your palate like silk!…that`s why it´s so dangerously sippable.

With a little water in the glass i think it becomes much more Pineapple flavored but compared to the Polynesian (also with a few drops of water in it) it`s actually smoother despite it´s higher strength.

I have used their rums specifically in tiki drinks simply because well, i love tiki drinks – and because they fit so well in these kind of drinks because the bold flavors of these strong rums stand up so well against the fresh mixers and us tiki drink loving folks we just LOVE bold rums don`t we?? At the Tiki Ti we had Nui Nuis made with it and they were nothing but awesome!

But Lost Spirits rums are not only fit for tropical and tiki drinks, they can be used in any kind of cocktails thus making this rum very versatile. One example is the classic daiquiri…so i made one and of course it made an excellent daiquiri that also packs a punch! drink one of these and you`ll dance!

Also, use it as a float in a variety of cocktails..

Then i was pondering what to do next and got to think about two of my old favorites, the Missionary`s Downfall and the classic Pago Pago.

The Missionary`s Downfall is a very tasty drink but it´s not a strong one…so i decided to make a twist of it and change that with the 151 Cuban rum. Be warned though, this drink is potent!

The Drunken Missionary

Drunken Missionary

This drink is so potent it makes the tiki mug “sweat” and “moan”!

0.5 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz honey syrup ( add liquid honey to simple syrup, warm it up a bit, stir and set aside to cool)

0.5 peach liqueur

1 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum

1.5 oz pineapple-coconut juice

Crushed ice

Nutmeg

Fresh mint

Muddle mint with lime juice and honey syrup, add the rest of ingredients and shake it ice cubes until the shaker frosts on the outside, then strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a fresh and spanked mint sprig or two, a couple speared maraschino cherries and lime triangles and grate some nutmeg on top and enjoy!

This drink packs a punch and is VERY tasty!

Pago Pago

Pago pAGO SMALL

The Pago Pago dates to at least 1940, when it appeared in a book called The How and When, and this classic cocktail is a longtime favorite of mine and i`ve had it on this blog before but not with this rum though – so i decided to give it a try. What makes this drink so nice is the addition of Green Chartreuse which not only adds lively vibrant herbal aromas to the drink but also goes very very well with rum!

1 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum

3 squares of fresh pineapple (about 1 oz)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz green Chartreuse

0.25 oz white crème de cacao

Add all ingredients except the rum in a cocktail shaker and muddle the pineapple with a muddler. Add the rum and a lot of ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (double-strain through a mesh tea strainer in order to filter out the little bits of pineapple)

Beware of this drink`s strength…

151 Cuban Nui Nui

Nui Nui LS 151 Cuban

Another favorite of mine is the Nui Nui….and with the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban it becomes a high octane real treat!

1.5 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz orange juice
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup
0.25 oz Don’s Spices #2
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients with a handful of crushed ice, blend for 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a chimney or tiki glass with more crushed ice. Insert a long strip (6+ inches) of orange peel into the drink and let some of it hang out.

Well i poured mine into a tiki mug and also added fresh mint.

I was pondering what next to make ( yeah that`s what happens when i have Lost Spirits rums in my hands…) and then i remembered that yummy Coconut Punch i had in London made by Martin Cate at the last years UK Rumfest and decided to make a twist of it starting with making a baked pineapple syrup.

Flaming Coconut Punch

Flaming Coconut Punch

1.5 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz Coconut and pineapple juice

5-6 dashes Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters* for that pineapple and coffee touch. (sub with some coffee flavored bitters and use dashes depending on how bitter they are)

Baked pineapple sugarcane syrup*

Shake all ingredients well and strain into a coconut filled with crushed ice, that is placed on top of a larger coconut that is filled with cracked ice. (or use a tiki coconut mug)

Garnish with pineapple leaves.

Fill a lime shell with overproof rum or drench a few sugar cubes and set alight, dust with cinnamon powder to get the volcano effect.

Baked Pineapple Sugarcane Syrup

Place 5-6 chunks of pineapple in a pan and bake them on high heat until they get brownish, then lower the heat and add dark sugar syrup on top, let it sizzle for a few seconds then take off heat and mash the pineapple chunks with a fork. Set aside to cool and leave for about 15-20 min for the flavors to set.

Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters is a homemade product by Oriol over at the Three of Strong blog, write to him and see if you can get some. They are not sold commercially. You can sub with some other coffee flavored bitters, or make a different variety by for example muddle fresh coffee beans to get the coffee flavor. Do not use any coffee liqueur as you cannot omit the baked pineapple syrup in this drink.

This drink turned out pretty good! actually VERY tasty! i really like it and i`m gonna keep this one. I think the rum married so well together with the rest of the ingredients. And i love that it also packs a punch…

Now i should be very drunk right? well no…not really…the truth is i don`t make all the cocktails for a post like this in one evening…i prefer to sip and savour over a week or two because with rum it works like this –  you need to re-visit a rum several times to get the flavors of it and to make cocktails too.

And since this rum is overproof  it´s better to pace it…actually i recommend to drink just one of these in one sitting.

So…the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum…have you not tried it yet and are able to get it? – my advice…do not wait! this rum is the bomb!

Distributors are found here.

It`s not yet sold outside of the States but hopefully soon..

LS151 Label 2

The label is really gorgeous!

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban bottle 2

The rum has a beautiful amber color i think.

LS smoking dragon still

Anyone passing by this at night must really wonder what´s going on….

Global Rum Ambassador to Stage The World`s Largest Rum Tasting!

GLOBAL RUM AMBASSADOR TO STAGE THE WORLD’S LARGEST RUM TASTING AS PRECURSOR TO EIGHTH ANNUAL RUMFEST

Very limited spaces available to the Guiness World Record attempt and tickets available now on a first come first serve basis

Thursday 9th October 2014, 
London’s ILEC, Earl’s Court

Tickets at £10, now on sale from rumfest.co.uk

IAN BURRELL

Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell is inviting rum fans to become official record breakers as he bids to take the title of ‘World’s Largest Rum Tasting’ at what is set to be the biggest rum tasting experience ever to be staged.

Taking place on Thursday 9th October as a precursor to the eighth annual The RumFest, rum enthusiasts will be treated to a tasting experience at London’s ILEC Conference Centre, Earl’s Court where they will be able to sample and discover rums from six prestigious rum brands.

These brands have been hand-picked by Burrell especially for the event and reflect the diversity of blends, taste and style on offer across the rum category and will be presented by some of the industry’s leading names.

From Appleton’s Jamaican-style Rum presented by esteemed Master Blender Joy Spence, to a Rum which bring a bit of history to the evening with Pusser’s Navy Rum presented by Peter Thornton and George Freegard, to Trinidadian-style Angostura presented by Master Distiller John  Georges, this will be a unique and one-off evening for rum lovers.

Officially adjudicated by a Guinness World Records representative and hosted by Ian Burrell, tickets are available to buy now for only £10 and tables of 10 can be pre-booked for groups, all available with more information on all four days of events from The RumFest website.

RUM-EXPERIENCE-1

For the first time in history, RumFest invites guests to become part of a record-breaking attempt to host the world’s largest rum tasting, with hundreds of rum enthusiasts coming together to sample six esteemed rums from across the globe.

Representing Jamaica, Appleton’s Rum will be sipped and savoured with commentary from revered Master Blender, Joy Spence, whilst the Spanish style of rum, Don Q will be sipped and savoured with a yet to be announced speaker.

For a historical twist Pusser’s Navy Rum will be presented by George Freegard and Peter Thornton. Angostura will bring a taste of Trinidad to the evening hosted by Master Distiller John Georges and the delights of Cuban’s classic Havana Club will be a part of the World Record Attempt with one final rum to be announced in the coming weeks.

Doors will open at 5pm where guests will be greeted with a welcome speech from Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest founder Ian Burrell, followed by an introduction to the rules and regulations of the Guinness World Records.

From 6.30pm the world record attempt will begin as guests taste the six rums from some of the world’s most revered rum distilleries followed by an audience Q&A and the presentation of the Guinness World Records certificate.

Global Rum Ambassador and RumFest Founder Ian Burrell comments, “The possibility of hosting the World’s Largest Rum Tasting is incredibly exciting and we cannot wait to share the experience with so many rum lovers and it will be the perfect way to kick off what will be four days of superb rum celebrations.

Rum is a spirit loved by many and to have the chance to taste six esteemed rums hosted by their top master blenders, ambassadors and distillers is an honour and a privilege. I cannot wait to share it with you all!”

The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC on Friday 10th for press and trade and Saturday 11th to Sunday 12th October 2014 for trade and consumers. Standard tickets are now on sale at £49.95 for Saturday and Sunday, which include access to all areas of the the event and single measure tastings from the majority of exhibitors.

The brand new Golden Tot Tokens are £5 each and allow for additional access to the more premium rums on offer. One token can be exchanged for rum retailing £80 – £100 and more expensive rums will be available for additional tokens. For full information please visit the RumFest website.

The Rum Experience is a concept created by Global Rum Ambassador and the Founder of UK RumFest, Ian Burrell. Celebrating the resurgence of rum and rum culture around the world, The Rum Experience takes a contemporary approach to promoting the rum and sugarcane industries and Caribbean culture through a series of unique events, festival, rum tastings, pop-up experiences, food pairings and rum battles.

The RumFest

10th-12th October 2014, ILEC Conference Centre
Ibis London Earls Court
47 Lillie Road
London SW6 1UD

Tiki Oasis 2014 – Beat Tiki!

Tiki Oasis by Mark

Rum, Fun and Tiki!

And so i went to the Tiki Oasis in San Diego, it was my first trip there and as a lover of all things tiki it was of course a blast! i headed over from New Orleans and went on a road trip with Mark Holt and Bryan & Joanne from the Lost Spirits Rum.

Tiki Oasis is probably the biggest tiki event in the world and is essentially one giant rum/tiki and booze party! – filled with elaborately “garnished” people because not only the tiki drinks are garnished but the people also :-)

Hawaiian shirts, tropical muu muus and dresses, hats and fezzes. There were vintage cat’s eye glasses, beehive hair, coconut purses, flower leis and pineapple tiaras.

Held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego, this is a annual weekender event, starting on the thursday at the Bali Hai Restaurant and then friday to sunday at the Crowne Plaza.

I liked the hotel, it has beautiful surroundings and the food and service was great and reasonably priced and it had a very tropical tiki-ish vibe.

During the day there´s a whole lot of activities, a lot of them around the pool and stage area with live bands, contests, marketplaces, hula courses, arts and crafts, book signings, symposiums, fashion shows, Miss Tiki Oasis, burlesque dancers, surf guitar classes and the list goes on, there was a LOT to do! and the marketplace is really fun! so filled with fantastic creations of all sorts.

I was especially happy about that you could get fresh flower leis, which is something i been dreaming about for years!!

Tiki Oasis 13 included:

One Miss Tiki Oasis
One helicopter fly-over
A booksigning
Two locations
Three hotels
15 seminars
16 Disc Jockeys
18 Burlesque stars
19 bands
25 artists in art show
30+ Cars in car show
42 Dancers
100 vendors
450+ hotel rooms
3000 attendees

At night, there was live music and entertainment on the stage and then there was the room parties…

At least 10 parties going on at the same time in rooms and suites which all had their own themes from “Hula Hut” to “Tiki Hell” – the latter an “anti-tiki” type of thing…and all about all having fun, which we had indeed…that room was crazy fun! and i laughed when i saw the man sized paper figure of Ron Jeremy beside the stage..

The rooms and parties had some funny names too or how about “Booze and Brews Blowout Room” or “Jane Bond – The Spy Who Loved Tiki Party Room” or “Munster Monster Mash Party” or “RUM-ble in the Jungle Room”?

TH Ron Jeremy 2

Ron Jeremy is watching you…

And so judging the room parties and the cocktails you`re supposed to pick the best cocktail, the best room and suite parties and the best room and suite decors. The cocktail i had no problem in the world to pick…Kahuna Kevin´s Headless Zombie in the Pixie’s Hula Hut swept them all…some came closer than others but none close enough…but the rest was a little bit more tricky because there were many rooms and suites that was great!

I was happy to see that his cocktail also won and you can find the recipe for the Headless Zombie in Kahuna Kevin`s first book “Why is the Rum Gone?”, you can find it here.

Best Cocktail

Picture by Kahuna Kevin

So the result of the contest after all the judges cast their votes is this:

Best Cocktail – Pixie’s Hula Hut
Best Decorated Suite – Deadhead Rum
Best Decorated Room – Ballast Point
Best Suite Party – Casba’sh Molikai’s Room
Best Room Party – Temptress Fashion

Symposiums

I made it to only two symposiums this time…but they were good!

The Bitter Side of Tiki – with Ram Udwin and sponsored by Ballast Point 

serrano cocktail spice 2

Bitters and tinctures aid home and professional bartenders in bringing balance and zest to their cocktails – adding perhaps the perfect final element to a well-crafted tiki libation. In this class, you will get an introduction to cocktail bitters, their history and how they are made. The class will culminate with a discussion on the how and why of using bitters in creating complex and delicious tiki drinks.

Ram Udwin is a bitters maker, a booze blogger and a cocktail man, dedicated to the study and better enjoyment of spirited libations.

I have been a fan of Ram Udwin`s Serrano Cocktail Spice since he made them and i looked forward to his symposium on bitters in tiki drinks. He took us through the history, purpose and use of bitters in general, how they were used as medicine at first and then how they added spice and character to cocktails and also became the backbone to many tiki drinks.

He brought his grapefruit bitters and serrano cocktail spice to try plus his new soon upcoming passionfruit bitters which i really like a lot. If you wanna read more on his cocktail spice and bitters and maybe purchase them too here´s where to go.

The serrano cocktail spice is really amazing, a few drops of it can change a cocktail entirely adding a lively vibrant kick and I love it, especially in cocktails with citrus juices like lime and grapefruit and it’s fantastic in tequila and rum drinks.

Here is Boy Drinks World website.

Rum Revolution!

Rum rev coll

No rum related event without Martin Cate right? from New Orleans, Stockholm, London and San Diego…i see Martin everywhere and his seminars/symposiums are ALWAYS great and have a high entertaining factor.

When you sit down at one of his symposiums you just KNOW it gonna be a good time and great learning and no matter how much you know about rums….there is always more to learn.

Tiki Symposium

Can you spy yourself in this picture? (i see me, Joanne and Bryan :-) thanks Baby-Doe von Stroheim for this magnificient picture of the crowd at Martin`s Rum Revolution symposium!

The rums featured that we tasted were these: Angostura No. 1, Denizen Merchant Reserve, Privateer Rum, Penny Blue XO, Owney`s NYC Rum, Rhum Clement Select Barrel, Real Mc Coy 5 yo and Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum.

Co-Sponsored by Lost Spirits, Owney’s, The Real McCoy, Penny Blue and Rhum Clement.

Martin took us through the tasting and the rums, the history of McCoy, the theory about the Martinique rum part in Trader Vic`s Mai Tai being molasses based rum rather than agricole based as believed before in an entertaining symposium.

This was my first experience of a great Tiki Oasis! and i met quite a few other first timers too! plus others that i have known from before. BIG Mahalo to Otto and Baby doe, and EVERY ONE who made this event happening, it was a blast!

Countdown to TO 15 is starting…

Here is a picture parade of the Tiki Oasis and from our road trip:

TO pool area

pool

The Crowne Plaza and the pool area, full with music, people, food, drinks and vendors…we loved to sit down there at night for a while with a cocktail after the room crawls.

Room crawl by Crystal

 Room Crawl in the Hula Hut, picture by Crystal Lee

TH by Mark

Tiki Hell Room Party, picture by Mark Holt, this room party was WILD!!

Kahuna Kevins Headless Zombie Flyer

The Headless Zombie, picture by Kahuna Kevin

Lei collage 1

Beautiful lovely fresh flower leis…it´s a special feeling wearing one.

Lei collage 2

I bought a ti-leaf lei and took it home…because they can be dried and last forever..so it now adorns my home tiki bar. The fresh lei i also got i brought with me back to New Orleans and gave to a good friend :-)

TO Market

I should of bought one of those hibiscus signs, they are beautiful..

I also met my friends Scott Taylor and Rob Hawes for the first time, i have been buying mugs from them before and i just love their beautiful intricate and detailed tiki mugs! Scott have a shop on Maui called Beachbumz and Rob operates Maui Tiki Tours.

They shared booth with Christine Benjamin and Woody Miller who makes awesome tiki art and Jason Shelfow who makes the beautiful tiki lamps. Later i heard their booth won the prize for best vendor booth, congrats!

BOOTH collage

All these mugs…waiting to be filled with goodness and rum…

BOOTH 3

And look at those beautiful paintings..you gotta come here the next year y`all…so much fun! so much to see! 

Ppl

People really had a good time!

Garnished people

What did i say about beautifully garnished people? see it there! btw i told the “pineapple girl” that if she had lived in Europe she could have entered and easily won the pineapple rum contest at Plantation Rum, for best selfie with pineapple, she would have won a bottle of the elusive pineapple rum!!

TO Crowne Plaza

When the sky look like this and the air is warm you want a tiki drink….by the pool…and that we had, sometimes life is really good…

Yes, Tiki Oasis was a blast! i can warmly recommend anyone who loves rums, fun and tiki to go there next year!

ROAD TRIP 

And here are a few pics from our 3 day road trip which started at Mark Holt`s amazing tiki house…then went to LA and a whole bunch of bars…to finally end up in San Diego.

Marks house coll 1

This is a pretty cool pool area me thinks…

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The pirate guards the outdoor tiki bar…

Marks house coll 3

There`s a LOT to see in this house…the bitters and stuff hanging upside down on magnets is a brilliant invention by our friend Cheryl Charming used in the Bourbon O Bar in New Orleans.

Marks house coll 4

See that bowl? that bowl is not just any bowl…it`s the worlds second most powerful volcano bowl, the one Martin Cate used at Tiki Oasis in 2009, and it was in there that he first created and served one of Smuggler’s Cove’s most popular drinks: The Top Notch Volcano! Only rivaled by the bigger bowl he used for the 2010 Oasis Seminar…

And from Mark`s house we embarked on the road trip to Tiki Oasis after a very late rum party involving plenty of great rums, barrel aged negronis and JWray`s under the stars in the outdoor jacuzzi, and first stop was LA where two days of bar hopping awaited.

Tiki Ti coll 1

And one of the stop by bars was of course Tiki Ti...where else?

Nui Nui at Tiki Ti

 The lovely Nui Nui, picture by Mark Holt

Nui Nui made with Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum at Tiki Ti

And another Nui Nui…with Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum! made after suggestion by our friend Matt over at Cocktailwonk, if you haven`t checked out that outstanding blog you need to do it! pic by Mark Holt

Tiki Ti coll 2

I love this place! it has such a homely feeling, and since this was the first time i got there i just had to start with a Ray`s Mistake, which i been reading so much about for so long! it was good…and even better was the Nui Nuis, 151 swizzle and Rum Barrel. I need to go back for more drinks, i haven`t tried enough!!!!!

Rum Barrel Tiki Ti

A taaasty Rum Barrel, pic by Mark Holt

We also passed by Cliff`s Edge to have cocktails made by Matthew Biancaniello who creates his outer wordly farm fresh cocktails every Wednesday through June, July and August with his Pop-Up Bar on the patio.

I dunno how to praise his creations enough…what can i say? i think they are the best cocktails in ever had, as far as cocktails go, i´m not comparing with tiki drinks here because they are a different thing.

Cliffs Edge pop up

Cocktails by Matt Biancaniello…artworks…and out of this world.

Arugula gimlet, grapefruit mint cocktail, ant beer cocktail, (yes ants!) etc don`t ask what was in all of these…one had bergamot infused 123 Tequila Blanco, yellow nectarine, home made ant beer and flowering oregano.. The passionfruit one had foraged white fir infused calisaya, passionfruit and Italian cayenne and was totally amazing…but they all were, every single one of them.

The thick but light airy foam you see on the cocktail on the upper right was just amazing…like a caress on your lips covering a cool somewhat mellow and incredible experience of a cocktail…wooow

Cliffs Edge pop up2

If i was anywhere near Cliff`s Edge until end of august i would not miss this for anything…you heard me?! just go there…

Cliffs Edge

The beautiful patio at Cliff`s edge, pic by Mark Holt

Another great bar and restaurant we stopped by was Rivera, finally i could get to try the Barbacoa!! and that legendary cocktail was AMAZING….it contains mezcal, chipotle, ginger, lime and beef jerky. I also very much liked “Constantino`s Revenge” with Diplomatico reserva exclusiva, pineapple, fresh lemon and angostura.

Barbacoa at Rivera

The lovely Barbacoa, pic by Mark Holt

We also went to Honeycut where i asked for a Mai Tai with demerara rum which they perfectly made…and then to Cana Rumbar, where i had a rum filled coconut followed by another Mai Tai with Appleton White and a Cruzan Black Strap float. It`s an unusual rum combo for a Mai Tai i know…but i have had it in New Orleans at SoBou and it´s very tasty!

Cana Mai Tai with blackstrap

Mai Tai with Cruzan Black Strap float over Appleton White rum…

cana collage

At the Spare Room there was a tiki drink pop up by Paul McGee from Three Dots and a Dash  in Chicago with the bars namesake drink of course on the menu plus Pieces of Eight, Poipu Beach Boogie Board, Bunny`s Banana Daiquiri and then the lovely tasty Painkiller. Great drinks and fun evening of Tiki!

Spare Room pop up menu

The Spare Room is situated on the mezzanine level of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and while you`re there you might as well look down on the street right outside because that´s where all the stars of the Hollywood stars are in a long row.

Here´s a link to Three Dots and a Dash website, their cocktail menu looks great!! and if i ever have my ways through Chicago…i know where to go.

Three dots and a dash pop up collage

They were all tasty…and beautiful.

Another interesting bar….the Noble Experiment with it´s “Paris catacomb” like wall of bronze skulls…inside the Neighbourhood restaurant (which btw have great food!) hidden speakeasy behind a stack of false kegs by the restroom…and their Laphroaig tiki style drink is just amazing!

Noble Experiment.jpg

Wall of skulls, blinking eyes in a deer painting and a timeless chandelier…dark and intimate, a place for craft cocktails and conversation.

In between Los Angeles and San Diego we passed Trader Sam`s…which i think was a funny and goofy place…you cannot but smile when they start to do the krakatoa show and the “rain” is water they spray on us…and i enjoyed both the food and the drinks a lot! Trader Sam`s Enchanted Tiki Bar is located at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.

Trader Sams Uh Oa bowl

Trader Sam`s Uh Oa Bowl…great pic, by Bryan Davis (Lost Spirits Distillery)

Trader Sams coll 1

The Shrunken Zombie Head and the Uh Oa Bowl ready to be set on fire.

Trader Sams coll 2

Krakatoa is soon ready to erupt…you better go and grab a drink!!

I think that was all….we went to more bars than these but i cannot add them all…i hope to do this again next year!

LOST SPIRITS RUM

These babies were with us everywhere we went…they even danced with us at the room party :-) yes rum is a life style,Thank you Bryan and Joanne at the Lost Spirits Distillery.

Marks House hula girl

Hula girl….

Lei and LS rum

Aloha! and until next year…okolemaluna!

Thanks to Mark Holt for letting me use his awesome picture of the pool area as cover photo for this post! i just wish my readers could also hear all the great music we know was in that pic as well….

Boy Drinks World Serrano Cocktail Spice is coming to Tiki Oasis!

serrano cocktail spice 2

Boy Drinks World Serrano Cocktail Spice is one of my favorites and I first tried it at the Tales in 2013, and brought a bottle back with me to experiment with. A few drops of it can change a cocktail entirely adding a lively vibrant kick and I love it, especially in cocktails with citrus juices like lime and grapefruit and it’s fantastic in tequila and rum drinks for example.

You can make really hot drinks with it if you want….or just add a few drops to add that vibrant kick!

Now I hear that Ram Udwin of Boy Drinks World, the maker of this wonderful cocktail spice and also other cool bitters are coming to the Tiki Oasis next weekend in San Diego to showcase the cocktail spice and do a symposium on bitters in tiki drinks called ” The Bitter Side of Tiki ” which I will definitely attend. If you’ re going to Tiki Oasis don’t miss this!

Also, you should check out this page – the Indiegogo campaign for the Serrano Cocktail Spice, it ships worldwide.

And if you don’t know or didn’t read my last post – Tiki Oasis is a huge tiki festival in San Diego, California showcasing everything tiki, Hawaiian shirts and booze…

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Tiki Oasis 2014!

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Next event on my list….the Tiki Oasis!

Now this gonna be fun…..a weekender in San Diaego with everything tiki! – art, music, literature and mixology, symposiums, tiki drinks, and rums! I’m still in New Orleans but now I need some tropical Tiki/Hawaiian/Poly style clothing and tropical flower hair pins!

Thursday August 14 – at the Bali Hai Resturant and Friday – Sunday, August 15-17 – The Crown Plaza, Hotel Circle

Tiki Oasis is offering over 30 Symposiums this year – mixology, dance, architecture, music, poetry, tiki history, beat workshop for kids, the historical significance of the Beats, international tiki trailblazing, lingerie, tiki crafts, pin-up hair and make-up and a whole score of book signings! Special events include the Miss Tiki Oasis Pageant, Cigar and Rum Pairing Lounge, Tiki Oasis Beauty Bungalow and Glamour Pin-Up Packages!

Here is the whole list of symposioums.

And here are a few symposiums I don’t wanna miss:

To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion - with Author Philip Greene and sponsored by Papa’s Pilar rum.

to_have_and_have_another

Ernest Hemingway enthusiast and cocktail connoisseur Philip Greene delves deeper into the author’s drinking habits than ever before, sharing stories around drinks directly connected with the novels, history and folklore, and colorful anecdotes about the man himself. Booksigning to directly follow Philip Greene’s symposium.

Location: Grand Pacific Room, Crowne Plaza Date: Friday August 15th, 2:00PM – 3:00PM – For pricing and tickets click here.

The Bitter Side of Tiki – with Ram Udwin and sponsored by Ballast Point

bitter_side_of_tiki

Bitters and tinctures aid home and professional bartenders in bringing balance and zest to their cocktails – adding perhaps the perfect final element to a well-crafted tiki libation. In this class, you will get an introduction to cocktail bitters, their history and how they are made. The class will culminate with a discussion on the how and why of using bitters in creating complex and delicious tiki drinks. Ram Udwin is a bitters maker, a booze blogger and a cocktail man, dedicated to the study and better enjoyment of spirited libations.

Location: Grand Hanalei Ballroom, Crowne Plaza Date: Friday August 15th, 3:30PM – 5:00PM – For pricing and tickets click here.

TIKI POP: From Gauguin to Elvis (and beyond)with Sven Kirsten

tiki_pop

In his presentation Sven Kirsten will introduce the culmination of his research, his brand-new book “Tiki Pop – America imagines its own Polynesian Paradise”. This is the COMPLETE history of the Tiki phenomenon on close to 400 pages illustrated with 900 mostly new images, published like his previous two tomes by TASCHEN books. This hefty dose of Tiki eye candy will astound the novice and satisfy the seasoned Tikiphile with its new insights and visuals. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about Tiki and did not not know how to ask.

Sven Kirsten will sell and sign copies of the book, as well as the Tiki Pop mug and bookmark manufactured by Tiki Farm for the release of this milestone work.

Location: Peacock Room II, Crowne Plaza Date: Saturday August 16th, 10:00AM – 11:00AM – For pricing and tickets click here.

The Frozen Cocktail – with PKNY’s Richard Boccato and sponsored by Privateer Rum

the_frozen_cocktail

Join PKNY’s Richard Boccato for a boozy foray into the once-venerated yet subsequently neglected art of the blended and frozen cocktail. The history surrounding the roles of the Hamilton Beach and the Waring Blender behind the tropically inspired bars of yesteryear will be revealed, and the resurrection of this technology at the modern drinking hole will be regaled.

Most importantly, we will discuss the intricacies of balance, temperature, and water content as they pertain to the successful execution of a frosty beverage. Many tasty Tiki treats will be provided for your pleasure, so prepare for the inevitable brain-freeze that will surely ensue! Richard will be joined by his Aussie bartending crew all the way from White Lightning Tiki Bar at Alfred & Constance in Brisbane!  

Welcoming cocktail presented by White Lightning.

Location: Grand Pacific Room, Crowne Plaza Date: Saturday August 16th, 1:30PM – 3:00PM – For pricing and tickets click here.

And of course I wanna learn how to danse hula!

Let’s Get Hip to Hula! - with Hawaii’s own Violetta Beretta

hip_to_hula

Get your claws sharp on this Hawaiian jive! Learn to shake your coconuts (or bongos) & hip to Hula! Hawaii’s Burlesque Sweetheart Violetta Beretta, will gently guide you through a hula-inspired warm-up to get you ready for an evening of tiki-tastic good times!

You’ll learn the basic hand, arm, hip, and foot movements of this beautiful form of Hawaiian dance, after which Violetta will teach a short, classic “hapa-haole hula” dance to the song “Little Grass Shack” to take home, practice & perform! Please wear comfortable clothing you can move in—feel free to wear a sarong, hula skirt or lei if you’re feeling fancy! Feet should be bare. Open to all ages, Wahine (Women) & Kane (Men) & no experience is needed!

Location: Atrium, Crowne Plaza Date: Saturday August 16th, 2:00PM – 3:00PM Price: Free

And last…but not the least….RUM….

Join The Rum Revolution! - with Martin Cate

MartinCate

Featuring Angostura No. 1, Denizen Merchant Reserve and Privateer Rums. Co-Sponsored by Lost Spirits, Owney’s, The Real McCoy, Penny Blue and Rhum Clement.

There’s never been a better time to be a rum lover! Join Smuggler’s Cove owner Martin Cate on a guided tasting of the very latest in brand new rums. Incredible & complex rums are now hitting the market in record numbers, and Martin has personally curated a selection of some of the best from producers both new and established.

You’ll participate in a lively discussion and learn how you can help play a part in shaping this exciting and growing segment. I mean, we all love rum, right? RIGHT?! So spend an afternoon with some of the finest new tipples in town!  

Location: Grand Hanalei Ballroom, Crowne Plaza Date: Saturday August 16th, 2:00PM – 3:30PM – For pricing and tickets click here.

For all details of everything that gonna happen at the Tiki Oasis…..because I haven’t written down even half of it….check out their WEBSITE

If you have a chance….see you at the Tiki Oasis!

TOTC 2014 – Dynamic Duos, Tastings, Food and Fun!

JEFFBERRY

Daniele Dalla Pola and Jeff Berry having great fun, Picture Laura Godel

This last post is a picture parade of a FEW of the tastings, parties, dinners and the rest of all the fun that took place on this years Tales of the Cocktail. Sure I missed several events I would have wanted to attend to but it’s impossible to do it all, there’s so much that’s is happening!

One of the must do things was the “Dynamic Duos” – two of the worlds best bartenders working in pairs at the best bars in the city mixing cocktails with the sponsoring brand! there were several Dynamic Duos happening in places like Kingfish, Bellocq, Cure, Cane and Table, SoBou…and we went to two events, the first one was at Kingfish where Chris Mc Millan and Dale deGroff mixed cocktails with Laird’s Applejack, the oldest native distilled spirit in the US. I like Kingfish and when these two gentlemen are at the bar it’s a win win and a guarantee for good fun and great cocktails.

Like the Tales description says, few people have done more to elevate the art of American mixology than Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail. Credited with kickstarting the bartending revolution, he’s inspired countless mixologists across the country.

And Chris McMillian, is a fourth generation bartender whose combination of dedicated craftsmanship and passionate storytelling has made him a living legend in New Orleans!

Dynamic Duos Kingfish collage

Two legends, Chris McMillan and Dale deGroff

After Kingfish we continued to the next event, Jeff Berry and Nick Detrich mixing up drinks with Plantation rum at the Cane and Table! we decided to get there early but it was already packed when we got there….lucky for us some people left 3 chairs at the bar to us and so we got premium seating!

After quickly making a name for himself in the New Orleans cocktail scene at Cure and Bellocq, Nick Detrich opened Cane&Table, a sophisticated tiki restaurant devoted to exploring New Orleans position in the development of rum. Who better to join him at Tales of the Cocktail’s Dynamic Duos than Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author of the definitive works on tropical drinks and culture?

It turned out to become a fantastic evening with ALL the rum and tiki people plus many others with good cocktails made with Plantation rum, which had a strong presence at this years Tales, just like previous years.

And with Jeff Berry at the bar it’s a guaranteed success! there is no doubt in my mind that his upcoming bar Latitude 29 will be one of THE bars to go in this town, personally I can’t wait to the next year when I will finally hopefully be able to get there.

Dynamic Duos Cane and Table collage

Pictures Laura Godel

Cane and Table also had a kickass pop-up pool party at the Monteleone rooftop:

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party collage

This is what did it for me….these mouthwatering grilled gulf shrimp skewers and the DIP SAUCE! the dip sauce was to “die for” and yet so simple, a mix of Crystal Sauce (the best Louisiana hot sauce in my opinion) and fresh squeezed lime juice served in baked bell peppers….the way the sauce tasted I think it was baked for a little while inside the bell peppers….this was soooooo GOOOD!!!

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 4 2

Delicious strawberry sticks in mango sauce……you get pampered at the Tales!

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 5 2

Cheers! and hope to be back at Tales again the next year!!

And here’s a picture parade:

Tales toast collage

The official Tales toast at the steps of Monteleone to kick off Tales.

Mandarin Napoleon 1 pic2

Delicious drinks by Mandarin Napoleon using my favorite soft drink (together with Ting) Sanpellegrino.

Mandarin Napoleon collage

Refreshing!! especially in the summer heat of New Orleans which btw I must say was unusally “cool” this year….nevertheless, the cold drinks really did their job! and who doesn’t like fresh and fruity drinks in the summer?

Mandarin Napoleon presented the 2nd Annual Imperial Battle of the Sexes, at the Napoleon House, where eight of the best male and female bartenders from around the country paired against each other to create their very own signature Mandarine Napoléon cocktail and, guests voted for the best. Each bartender had their own station to serve their signature cocktails, while strategically pleading for votes.

The teams also had to face off in challenges that tested their knowledge, creativity and skill. This portion of the competition was judged by an expert panel, including brand owner Marc de Kuyper. Hosted by John Lermayer , while Alex Straus and Mathias Simonis from The Bon Vivants were team captains.

So which team won? it was the male team this time….

 Bayou rum and gator 2

Bayou Rum had a alligator themed tasting room, presenting their new rum for the summer, Bayou Satsuma along with their spiced and silver rum that they launched at the Tales last year, serving cocktails with these three expressions. They even brought a live gator baby in there..

I like Bayou rum, it’s a comfort rum to me! and they served a tasty cocktail called “Down the Bayou”, with Bayou Spiced, Blackberry Sage Syrup by Locally Preserved, orange juice, pineapple juice, ginger ale, full recipe is on their webpage.

Samogon is a 90 proof Russian Spirit never commercially bottled before, until this years Tales! and in their tasting room we got to use a new tool for opening fresh coconuts and everyone got to open their own nut, funny, and the tool along with a huge hammer made it easy. Fresh coconut water is so tasty!  I think this one was a hit!

Samogon and Coconut

And at last, I wanna recommend a few places you can go to when you’ re in New Orleans for the Tales or other things, these are places I have greatly enjoyed over the years and this year because when I like a place, I keep coming back!

Arnaud’s French 75, get your well crafted cocktails by Chris Hannah and team! step into a world of it’s own right there on 813 Bienville street, the bar is adjacent to Arnaud’s main dining room and one of GQ’s top 25 bars in the US. Being there is a true delight!

Rum cocktail french 75 2

SoBou – A Spirited Restaurant South of Bourbon! awesome Louisiana-centric and street food inspired restaurant with a beverage focus. Great cocktails by Abigail! don’t miss this place please! 310 Chartres Street.

SoBou collage2

Mai Tai at SoBou with Appleton rum and Cruzan Blackstrap float, Shrimp and Tasso Pinchos with Glazed Pineapple.

KingFish – This is where Chris McMillan resides….enough said, just go there and have a great cocktail or two and chat with one of the legends in New Orleans! they also got great food….just a step away from SoBou – 337 Chartres St

The Carousel Bar – is a MUST! the slowly rotating bar is an experience! and the place you always find yourself at during the Tales. I had a great Rum Alexander this year made with the local Rougaroux dark rum! it was awesome. But their signature cocktail is the Vieux Carre’. The Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge is the only revolving bar in New Orleans, Louisiana. The bar is inside the Hotel Monteleone on 214 Royal St.

Cane and Table - GREAT place! cocktails, tiki drinks, RUM and food! 1113 Decatur St.

Bourbon “O” Bar - 730 Bourbon St – go here for a treatment by Cheryl Charming and her staff of great bartenders! I will never forget the Bananas Foster snowcone cocktail I had there last year! and go and have a Pimm’s Cup made by Lynn Burgett, he makes the best Pimm’s Cup in town! perfectly balanced, nice garnish and sooo refreshing! this bar is right on Bourbon yet a world away….

Pimms cup 2

Fabulous Pimm’s Cup….

The Rum House – a Caribbean taqueria and a great place for rum geeks because they do have an extensive rum list where you can find real rare treasures like Silver Seal Caroni and Samaroli demerara rums! and their fried oyster taco is a delight! find the Rum House at 3128 Magazine street.

Commander’s Palace - needs no presentation, let me just say, if you want a whole experience including fantastic food and impeccable service, there is Commander’s. Don’t miss their Shrimp Henican whatever you do….wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly!

That’s a few places but there are many more, cannot add them all I wrote about many of them in previous years, but go to for example, Cure, Bar Tonique, Coop’s, Parkway (for Poboys) just google them…I’m done, see y’all next year at the Tales!

Rumhouse collage

Real treasures at the Rum House……

commanders collage 2

Commander’s Shrimp and Tasso Henican is unbelievable…..! wild Louisana white shrimp stuffed with spicy Cajun tasso tossed in Crystal sauce with pickled okra and five pepper jelly! on the right, a little refreshment, Aqua Fresca. (Macerated pineapple and lime juices with a pinch of sugarcane…served with fresh mint)

hurricane tee 2

This years TOTC tee from Fleurtygirl! Storm the Quarter!!

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, warm spices, a bit of apricot, 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!