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

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Check out my review of Latitude 29!

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Demerara Rums from Guyana

demerara-private-bottlings1

Demerara Rums Part Two

dem-rums-port-royal

Demerara Rums Part Three

demerara-part-2

Cachaca and Rhum agricole, what`s the difference?

cachaca-and-rhum-agricole

CACHACA – Around Brazil in 40.000 Alembics

cachaca seminar tasting weber haus 2

Hibiscus Grenadine

hibiscus-grenadine-jar

Tahitian Vanilla Syrup

vanilla-syrup

Gomme syrup

gomme-powder1

Set the MAI TAI Straight!

Tonga Grog

Tongan Grog 3

Pungent & Geeky Colada

Pungent and Geeky Colada

Banda Island Punch

Banda Island Punch

Dark Magic #2

Dark Magic #2

Funky Colada

Funky Arcane Colada

Banana Daiquiri Speciale

Arcane Banana Daiquiri small

Coffee Dots

Coffee Dots

Colada Noir Banane

Colada Noir #2

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

newcoconaut1

Tiki Drink Posts

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Rum Nation Small Batch Rare Rums

RARE RUMS SMALL BATCH 2

Rum Nation 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 has since it`s start been giving out a wide array of rum styles, with a particular focus to the differences between the various geographical countries of production, their unique qualities and aromas.

Now here is some really interesting rums coming out from Rum Nation – small batch rare rums from Guyana.

This reminds me a lot about the three single cask expressions that came from El Dorado a while ago, all high proof. These type of rums are to my belief increasingly popular and from how it looks to me, they sell fast despite the higher prices.

The first three cask strength bottlings are very small batch releases with each bottle individually numbered, detailing the cask numbers and the distillery of production.The bottles are also in new design but sort of still keeping the hallmark of Rum Nation but instead of the usual cork there is a glass stopper and a new tube for an elegant gift presentation.

These three bottles have some beautiful and funny labels with tropical animals on them, a sure thing to catch attention.I find them really cool. This first release of three bottlings is meant to give a first taste of many more to come.

Rum Nation collage

Here are my thoughts on the three expressions:

Port Morant 1995/2016 at 57.7 % 

The color of this 21 year old Port Mourant rum is a deep dark amber with some ruby red hints, beautiful. The nose is a typical “old” woody demerara smell mingled with tannins and ripe mashed tropical and dark fruits.

The mouth is spicy and woody, strong, heavy and dry. It`s a real ass-kicker! it`s made in the famous double wooden pot still and it`s a small batch of 170 bottles. A heavy and powerful demerara with a medium long and woody finish.

It`s a bottle packed with power and strength!

Diamond 2005/2016 58.6%

The Diamond is of more or less the same color as the Post Morant, just very slightly lighter. The nose is mild and fruity, creamy and sweet with a hint of spice. It doesn`t have any much at all of the typical heavy woody demerara nose, just a little undertone.

The taste is very aromatic and rich, with wood and tropical fruits, spice, raisin, prunes and it´s very flavorful, more than what the nose hints at. It has a little sharpness to it and a little grassy (?) hint or something I cannot really define what it is but the rum is lovely! It also has a long spicy finish. It`s probably the most interesting of the three. Small batch of 473 bottles were made.

Enmore 2002/2016  at 56.8%

The color of this rum is light yellowish straw and it was made in the famous Enmore wooden coffey still. It has a mild nose with fine fruity notes, lovely citrus, apricot, and tropical fruits.

The taste is dry and almost astringent, light wood, hints of anise, a bit peppery and estery and very aromatic. Love it! It has a long peppery and spicy finish. 442 bottles were made of this expression.

Final thoughts –  It has been very enjoyable to try these out and I  like them all, they are different from each other, with their own peculiar characters and each of them are very good rums indeed. When it comes to additives and added sugar and such I don`t pick up anything and I believe these are just pure rums and pure rums is what I prefer when I drink it neat.

And for those that doesn`t know, if there is any sugar in rum it has been added after distillation by the producer because rum – like all other distilled alcohols, does NOT contain sugar after distillation.

If I would pick one as a favorite it would be the old pungent Port Morant closely followed by the very interesting Diamond. But I would love to have all three of them.The only problem is that these kind of rums are very expensive so my advice when it comes to small batch and cask strength rums is try before you buy.

I hope to see more rums like these! Fabio Rossi have done a great job bringing out these three lovely rum expressions!

Here´s my older posts about rums from Rum Nation:

Rum Caroni 1998

Anniversary Edition 12 year Old Rum, Barbados.

Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still Limited Edition White Rum

UK Rumfest 2016 Celebrates 10 year Anniversary!

UK Rumfest carnival hour 2015

Launched by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, RumFest has become the main event of the rum calendar and the event’s 10th outing is set to be its strongest yet as it invites the nation to delve into the world of rum with over 400 rums from around the world and a myriad of exhibitors.

Seminars and workshops take place across the two days where brands, ambassadors and leading industry figures give an in-depth insight into the world of rum including rum and food pairings and the making of rums. Top blenders, mixologists and distillers will be on hand to teach ticket-holders the art of cocktail making as well as more ways to enjoy their favourite tipple. Highlights include a rare rum seminar with Ian Burrell himself, an Aroma Academy, a sit down with award-winning master distiller Richard Seale, chocolate and rum pairing plus an exciting look into the world of rum with author Dave Broom. Head to the RumFest website to book seminars in advance from September.

This year RumFest are going big on Sunday. Reggae Reggae Sauce’s Levi Roots will be taking over the main stage and sharing some of his incredible cooking secrets and bringing his newly open Caribbean Smokehouse restaurant to RumFest. Sunday’s RumFest will also team up with Sandals Resorts to offer the chance for two lucky ticket-holders to win an incredible seven day holiday to a Sandals Resort in the Caribbean to get even closer to rum’s roots. Rum & Roast will be introduced for Sunday ticket-holders, cooking up a Caribbean twist on the Sunday classic and VIPs will be treated to a roast option for their three course meal.

The Rum Auction sponsored by Christie’s returns to auction off yet more precious and rare rums for charity to the highest bidder while the action heats up with live stage demos showcasing rum pairings, cigar & rum pairing, cooking demos, cocktail competitions. On Saturday’s RumFest “the Indiana Jones of Tiki drinks” Beach Bum Berry will delve into the art of Tiki cocktail making. Rounding off each day, rum-lovers will be invited to party with RumFest for its famous carnival hour, celebrating the spirit of rum with live bands and dancers.

RumFest Founder and Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell is the leading name in rum. Dedicating his life to promoting rum and rum culture around the world, over the years Burrell has been recognised with a number of industry awards as well as regularly appearing as a rum expert at events and on television shows like Sunday Brunch, the Alan Titchmarsh Show and more.

Speaking about the 10th year, Ian Burrell says, “When we launched 10 years ago we could never have imagined how successful RumFest would become. For us rum has always been a way of life and we’re thrilled to still be spreading the word and celebrating the spirit a decade on. We’ve got something for everyone this year with even more rums, tastings and talks as we hope to make RumFest 2016 one to remember for rum-lovers up and down the country.”

RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC, 22nd to 23rd October 2016. Standard day tickets are now on sale from £39.50, which includes access to all areas of the the event and tastings from all exhibitors. VIP tickets are on sale from £69.50 and allow for early access of one hour ahead of standard ticket buyers along with a three course Caribbean lunch.

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 on RumFest and to buy tickets head to rumfest.co.uk.

TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR UK’S LARGEST CELEBRATION OF RUM CULTURE

Tickets are now on sale from £39.50, including a VIP package priced from £69.50 which includes fast track entry, goodie bag and a three course Caribbean lunch.

The Rum Experience is a concept created by Global Rum Ambassador and the Founder of The 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
12pm – 6pm
22nd-23rd October 2016

ILEC Conference Centre
Ibis London Earls Court
47 Lillie Road
London SW6 1UD
rumfest.co.uk

Here you can read my earlier posts about my visits to the UK Rumfest from 2011-2015

Meermaid Infused Rum – A rum with a lot of love!

 Mermaid rum (16)

When I first heard about the Meermaid rum I got quite curious, “Meermaid rum” what on earth is that? then I saw some pictures posted and they picked my interest especially since I also read positive thoughts about it written by trustworthy people. Being an infused (or spiced) rum you tend you get a bit suspicious…..too many spiced rums are way too sweet….

But not this one! in fact there is no sugar or artificial additives at all – or as the label says on the back of the bottle – “17 real fruits & spices macerated in a blend of Jamaica/Trinidad rums. No sugar, artificial flavors or nonsense added” – Bravo! that elevated my hope! btw I like how they say “nonsense” ……..

Meermaid rum comes in two expressions, and they come in some really cool stoneware bottles – a 70ml 40% infused rum and then an overproof version of the same rum at 62% in a 500ml bottle, also stone, which is really cool. The one thing I feel could be improved is the wooden cork because it doesn`t hold very tight… I wouldn`t try to bring an opened bottle with me if I was going somewhere and that`s a pity. So a better tighter cork is needed!

What this rum is – is interesting, and with an overproof version of the same rum it opens up for some tiki fun and rum pairings!

Something to note – Meermaid rum is not to be mixed up with the “Mermaid rum” from Florida, the “Meermaid” rum is infused and bottled in Berlin, Germany.

Meermaid rum began with a passion to learn how to produce flavored rum…the thought is to preserve the actual rum flavor and with the 16 all natural ingredients like fruits, dried fruits and spices they add, just enhance the flavor. The rum is recommended for use in tiki cocktails (yay here I come…) or ginger beer or ginger ale, or on the rocks.

Recommended is also pineapple…..did they say pineapple? now this really talks to me!

Meermaid collage 2

Meermaid Infused Rum – Conceived in a long gone Tiki Bar….

And it got even more interesting when I learnt that Stefan Waltz, the maker of this infused rum, once set up a tiki bar on a boat….and later used to be the co-owner of the since now long gone tiki bar in Berlin called “Tabou Tiki Room“….

Where he had a mermaid painted on the door to the Ladies Room, which later on also became the design picture for the Meermaid rum, a name that he first discovered on a cup from the 60s where there was a recipe for a cocktail called “Meermaid”…I love when I stumble upon interesting things like this while researching for writing a rum post…that*s how it comes that I sometimes sit up all night…

The Tabou Tiki Room was inspired by Stefan`s visits to Trader Vic in London and Munich, and the Mai Kai and Tonga Room in America and the idea of escape from the outside world that real tiki bars is all about.

Tabou collage

Here is the history of this infused rum as told on the website by Stefan Waltz:

I used to be the co-owner of the “Tabou Tiki Room”. An infamous tiki bar, and first of its kind, in Berlin, Germany. The place is long gone now, but it was there that the dream to produce my own infused rum was born.

“Tabou” was a bar that focused on the almost forgotten, rum based cocktails of the old days served in authentic tiki mugs, and an assortment of sipping rums fifty strong. I had the pleasure of acquiring these rums from around the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are fine spiced rums out there nowadays, but I want to show that it is possible to produce handcrafted infused rum at a reasonable price, while maintaining a far superior quality to the industry standard.

I began by trying several recipes using quality rum with an assortment of exotic spices and various types of fruit infusions. After several months of experimenting, analyzing, and taste-testing I concocted several unique possibilities, but felt that something crucial was missing. In the end, it was my girlfriend who suggested the last, key ingredient and I knew that we had crafted something special. Two weeks and several business meetings later, I had found a way to make naturally infused rum in small batches.

As you can imagine, it being in charge of searching and was a fun and exciting job. However, back in 2004 I just could not find a brand of spiced rum that met with my high standards. What I found was mass produced liquor, flavored with artificial vanilla to cover up the taste of what was quite obviously mediocre rum. It was through this search that the idea to make my own bottled rum began to form.

Quite interesting story isn`t it? And now he finally has his infused rum which btw is excellent!

Bottles back collage

Here`s my thoughts on the flavor:

Meermaid Infused Rum:

The color is lightly straw and when I swirl the rum in the glass, legs are quickly formed on the sides. The nose is very pleasant with a lot of citrus fruitiness, some herbs and a bit of spices with a very slight hint of rum in the background.

The nose is very mild yet has a lot of flavor notes in it.

The taste is spicy and herbal with he rum resting discreetly in the background, it´s mild and balanced and has an interesting flavor which is complex. It also has a pronounced fruitiness. It`s more mild and balanced than I expected and there`s no “overly sweetness” or “too much vanilla” in it, there´s a clear hint of cinnamon but there`s nothing that takes over.

There`s also something else there I cannot put my finger on…cherry?

There’s fruity orange and a bit of woody spicy aftertaste with hints of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, herbs…and the finish is medium long. It`s definetily one of the better spiced rums and this one distinguishes itself from the rest in that it`s a bit different.

Meermaid Overproof Infused Rum:

The overproof version has a naturally sharper nose with creamy fruitness in it, light on the spice and little bit herbal. I really like this creamy fruitness, it`s an intoxicating scent.

The flavor is also very fruity and herbal, even a little bit floral with a touch of woody spices like cinnamon and clove. It`s mild enough to sip, the alcohol doesn`t kill you. In all I would say that both these rums are well balanced and mild enough to not overpower anything which so many other spiced rums does.

They can be both sipped and mixed! and yes they are right, it really pairs well with pineapple!

Bottle overproof collage

Pretty cool labels, with a skeleton mermaid on the overproof…

Wim Thielemans from Flap`s Tikis made a special tiki mug for Meermaid rum – is it the captain with a mermaid tail? or is it a tiki face? a really cool mug!

Meermaid mug

Ok and now it`s time for the drinks! i`m in the mood for pineapple, rum, lime and coconut! so it´s a lot of fresh pineapple juice and tiki drinks…

First drink is a pineapple bowl…a mix of fresh pineapple and lime juices, orgeat and three rums to make it strong plus dashes of Angostura and Zulu bitters to make it nice! the whole awesomeness is served in a scooped out pineapple garnished with pineapple leaves, lime wheels and tropical flowers.

I wish I had one of those little plastic cocktail garnish mermaids to add to the bowl….she could swim around there in all the rum…

Meermaid Pineapple Bowl

Meermaid Pineapple Bowl

2 oz/60ml fresh pineapple juice
1 oz/30ml fresh lime juice
0.75 oz/22.5ml orgeat
1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
0.5 oz/15ml Meermaid overproof rum
1 oz/30ml demerara rum
A couple dashes of Angostura and Zulu* Aromatic bitters

Blend in blender with 1 cup crushed ice for 5 sec, then pour into a scooped out pineapple (or glass/tiki mug) and fill up wityh more crushed ice and garnish.

This drink is very refreshing!

*The Zulu bitters are hard to get outside of Brazil where they are made from local ingredients in the rainforest, ( try e-mail zuluheadbartender@gmail.com ) – Otherwise using Angostura is just fine!

The next drink….looks very innocent but it is not!

Naughty Mermaid

Naughty Meermaid

2 oz /60ml fresh pineapple juice
2 oz/60 ml fresh orange juice
1 oz/30ml  Coco Real or Lopez cream of coconut
0.25 oz/7.5ml cold brewed coffee
1 oz/30ml fresh lime juice
1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
1 oz/30ml aged Jamaican rum

Blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with 1 cup of crushed iced and pour into a large snifter.

Mermaid Ginger Cooler

Meermaid Ginger Cooler

In a rocks glass with large pieces of cracked ice, add:

1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
A little squeeze of fresh lime
Top up with ice cold ginger beer and stir

Garnish with fresh mint and lime

It packs a bit of a punch!

Grande Pina Colada

Grande Pina Colada

2 oz/60ml fresh pineapple juice
1 oz/30ml Coco Real or Coco Lopez
2 oz/60ml roasted coconut water
1 oz/30ml fresh lime
1 oz/30ml Jamaican rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
A couple dashes of Angostura bitters

Blend in blender at high speed for 6 sec with a cup (2.5dl) cracked ice)
Pour into a goblet or pineapple filled with cracked ice.
Add a generous float of black strap rum

Guanabana Kula

Guanabana Kula

2 oz/60ml Guanabana (soursop) juice
0.75 oz/22.5ml fresh lime juice
0.5oz/15ml macadamia nut syrup
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
2 oz/60ml Santeria rum or a dark Jamaican rum

Flash blend in blender with 1 cup of crushed ice for 5 sec, pour into a tall glass and fill up with more crushed ice.

Garnish: wrap the glass in banana leaf and tropical orchid.

Overall I think for this infused rum, it´s a work well done! The Meermaid rum is for those who appreciate quality handmade flavored spirits – if you want your own bottle of Meermaid you can order it here. ( I do not know if they ship outside of Europe) And if you are going to the German Rum Festival in october (15-16) you can also find it there!

Okole Maluna!

FB LINK MERMAID

Rhum Agricole – Hèritiers Madkaud from Martinique

Madkaud rum bottles

As always when I go to rumfests and try out rums I`ve never tried before I find something that sparks my attention and interest and the rums from Hèritiers Madkaud is one. They are not only very good rhum agricoles they also have an interesting story and I think they deserve to be more known. I`d recommend anyone interested in rhum agricole to try them out!

The rhum Hèritiers Madkaud is today owned by Stèphane Madkaud who re-launched the rum by the end of 2007 and most parts of the story was told to me directly by him.The story of the rum brand Madkaud is very old and goes back to the days of slavery on Martinique.

RHUM MADKAUD – THE HISTORY AS TOLD BY STEPHANE MADKAUD

The thing is that in the beginning, my ancestors, as slaves, had no names, no family names (no last names in fact) they just had first names. My slave ancestor was called “Louis”, and that’s all. And he had a number for identification. If you give me one minute, I will get you his real number….he was number “105”

So what is written is that “what we know today for sure, is that before being called “Madkaud”, my ancestors were black slaves who worked on a plantation in “Grand Anse – Lorrain”, in Martinique. ” In fact in 1849, one year after slavery was abolished, they decided they wanted to be called “Madkaud” because of a French former governor of Martinique who was called “Mackau” who, in 1845, as a congressman, produced a law which allowed the enslaved to buy their own freedom with their own work. So maybe this is how they got free, maybe a few years before slavery was officially abolished in 1848.

Louis had 9 sons and daghters among which was Félicien (the 9th) who was may grandfather’s grandfather and Félicien was born in 1857  as a free man and he created the rum brand in 1895. He was a distiller for a french man who owned a sugar factory, but the guy went bankrupt because there was sugar crisis in the years 1880s and he needed to leave Martinique.

Félicien could take the factory but to be able to make it financially, a marriage was arranged with a white lady whose father was a trader in France (in Bordeaux) They got married in 1893 and Félicien created Agricole rhum Madkaud in 1895.

In these years it was the end of molasses in Martinique and this is how agricole rum began…because of sugar crisis.

Félicien was the first Black man to own a factory. We know he had some difficulties because the owners around did not accept his presence at such a level. But he was also a fighter.

Habitation Duvallon

“Habitation Duvallon”, where rum Madkaud was created. The place is called “fond capot”, in the city of Carbet.

Thank you Stèphane!  – and the brief history of the rum itself is this:

In the 1950s and 60s the rums from Madkaud were well known on Martinique but they disappeared from the market to reappear in the 90s.

The cause of the brand`s collapse was the death of Stèphanes grandfather, aged 40 in the mid 60s causing bankruptcy. Some cousins did their best to keep the brandname alive but they were no more producers. However they succeeded in making the brandname survive through a partnership with a larger producer but this was only survival.

They were limited to just a small single quota with the production controlled by a third party, the family rum could no longer afford to be what it once was and only very small amounts of rum were sold locally.

Then in the 90s the quotas were suppressed in Martinique and they could go back to business but without a real marketing policy. In 2007 Stèphane created Heritiers Madkaud as a sign of a new era – with better casks, more beautiful bottles, and little by little…better communication.

This is why the story starts again 40 (!) years later… 40 years after Stèphanes grandfather’s death.

And in 2013 the Madkaud rum was awarded bronze for the white, and silver for the VSOP at the rumfest in Madrid and the same year also bronze and silver in HongKong. This was followed by a gold medal at the Paris rumfest in 2014 and in 2015 it was awarded gold in Madrid and double gold in Berlin for both expressions.

I think that`s quite amazing for a rum that almost disappeared and was more or less “gone” for 40 years….and now it`s time for the tasting – here are my thoughts, in short:

Héritiers Madkaud Blanc Cuvée Castelmore

The color is crystal clear and the nose is elegant with whiffs of fresh grassy notes followed by hints of citrus, and sugarcane. The taste is mild and balanced with hints of fresh sugarcane, citrus and white pepper. It has the typical grassy herbal notes of fresh cut sugarcane and is pleasant to sip and the crisp grassiness is more in the background than upfront, it doesn`t attack you, more like caressing your palate. It has a medium long finish.

Héritiers Madkaud VSOP Cuvée Castelmore

Well rounded nose, with hints of wood and herbal grassiness of the cane and tropical fruits. In the mouth it´s mild and pleasanly fruity and balanced with hints of spices, orange and wood, tropical fruits and sugarcane. It has a longer finish than than the blanc. This rum has been aged four years and has a clear amber color.

There`s no sugar or other “things” added, this is pure rhum agricole!

And of course, sipping it neat is the best and the given cocktail would be a ti punch but I wanted to make some tropical cocktails too, plus two tiki drinks as well, to see how they mix :

Banán Punch

Tropical Punch small txt

60 ml/ 2 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh orange juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz banana syrup
Dash Angostura bitters

Flash blend in blender on high speed with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup of crushed ice for 5 sec and pour into a snifter, top up with more crushed ice

Pineapple Delight

Pineapple Delight small

2 oz (60ml) fresh pineapple juice
0.5 oz (15ml) honey cream mix
0.5 oz (15ml) orgeat
0.25 oz demerara syrup
1 oz (30ml) fresh lime juice
1 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
1 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole Blanc
Decent float of overproof rum

Blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with a cup of crushed ice and pour into a pineapple, add more crushed ice to fill.
Add the float and a couple dashes of aromatic bitters,(I used Zulu Aromatic bittters from Brazil, but Angostura works just as fine).

To make honey cream mix:
Mix 4 tsp honey with 2 oz (60ml) water
Heat up and stir until the honey is dissolved.
Add 1 tbsp unsalted butter and mix it all together, cool to roomtemp.

Missionary`s Downfall

Missionarys Downfall small txt

This is one of Don the Beachcomber’s greatest masterpieces, it was made back in 1940s, even though Jeff Berry have pointed out in his book “Beachbum Berry`s Remixed” that it may even be as old as back in 1937. It´s a masterpiece of refreshing herbal awesomeness! and it never gets old. In this recipe the rums are switched to Madkaud Agricole Blanc. And honey-mix is used here which is like the previous honey cream mix but without the butter.

60 ml/2 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole Blanc
30 ml/1 oz honey mix*
15 ml/0.5 oz Peach Brandy
15 ml/0.5 oz lime juice
45 ml/1.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
12-20 mint leaves
2.5 dl/1 cup crushed ice

Combine in a blender and blend at high-speed for 20 seconds. Pour into a goblet or coupe and garnish with mint sprig. (and a tropical flower if you like:-)

*Honey Mix
1 part honey
1 part water
Combine in a small sauce pan and bring just to a boil.

Cool and bottle.

Ginger Coconut Sour

Ginger-Coconut Sour small txt

60 ml/ 2 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
22.5 ml/ 0.75 oz Campari
15 ml/ 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh coconut water
15 ml/ 0.5 oz ginger syrup
1 egg white
Grated nutmeg

Shake hard and long to emulsify the egg white (or use blender) and pour into a chilled rocks glass. Dust grated nutmeg on top. Garnish with pineapple leaves.

Colada Martinique

Colada Martinique small txt

30 ml/ 1oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole VSOP
30 ml/ 1 oz Madkaud Rhum Agricole Blanc
30 ml/ 1 oz pineapple juice
30 ml/ 1 oz coconut water
30 ml/ 1 oz Coco Lopez or Coco Real cream of coconut
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh lime juice
Dash Angostura bitters

Flash blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice. Pour into a coconut or rocks glass and top up with more crushed ice.

Well, no problem with the mixing! this rum both sips and mixes just fine! in other words, it´s very versatile and it IS a very good rum! I`m glad it was brought back from “dormancy” by Stèphane!

Hope to see more of Madkaud in the future!

Aperol Summer Cocktails

aperol-and-prosecco

Aperol originated in 1919 in Padua Italy by the Barbieri brothers and was originally produced by the Barbieri company. The recipe is an infusion of more than 30 aromatic herbs and spices including bitter and sweet orange and the original recipe remains unchanged to this day. Aperol was named by Silvio Barbieri after the French word for aperitif, ‘apéro’, which, on a recent trip to France he had learnt  and found it seemed appropriate for their new bitter-sweet liqueur.

The majority of herbs and roots used in Aperol come from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy and the recipe have never been changed since it was created in 1919. There is no aging and immediately after blending the Aperol is ready to be bottled. At the time it was a revolutionary concept to make an aperitif with an alcohol content of only 11% and as it didn`t become a major success until after the 2nd world war, it was probably a bit before its time.

The brand was purchased by “Barbero 1891” in 1990 to assist them in building up their portfolio of products and today Aperol is owned by Gruppo Campari (since 2003) who have continued to build Aperol and gave it a new packaging in 2011 while boosting the international marketing of the popular Aperol Spritz drink.

The flavor of Aperol is very much orangey and has but a hint of bitterness, like a whisper in the background compared to Camparis more straight forward bitterness that hits you with a force if you aren`t used to it or is sensitive for bitter flavors. Aperol is more gentle and would be a good first time bitter aperitif. I love them both.

In a rocks glass add ice and a slice of orange, Prosecco, Aperol, and soda to top, now you have a classic Aperol Spritz..

The Spritz cocktail is believed to have been born during the 19th century Austrian occupation of Italy. Originally the spritz was drunk by the german soldiers and was made with Venetian wines dilluted with water. The Spritz aperitivo spread from northern Italy to the south and many variations were made , and the most popular is the one using Prosecco.

And no wonder, its a incredibly fresh and tasty drink and it*s perfect for the warm summer days and balmy evenings or  why not enjoying a Spritz while visiting betway for your soccer game pleasure. Or why not at the pool or the beach? Aperol Spritz is a perfect, low-alcohol refresher when it’s hot.

Aperol is also the perfect introduction to bitter aperitifs since it`s much milder and somewhat sweeter than Campari, its big bold and bitter cousin. And when mixed with Prosecco, the slight bitterness of Aperol becomes even more subtle.

For the summer heat…at the bar, the soccer, the beach…

Aperol Spritz

aperol-spritz

3 parts Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 part Soda to top
Orange wedge

Add to a rocks glass with ice and stir. Garnish with the orange wedge. So fresh! so tasty!

Summer Night Sour

Summer Night Sour txt

1 oz (30ml) Aperol
1 oz (30ml) Rhum agricole blanc
0.75 (22.5 ml) oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz (30 ml) orgeat
1 oz (30ml) fresh pineapple juice

Shake and strain into a fancy glass with crushed ice

Smooth like silk and fresh!

Welcome to Baba au Rum….

Baba au Rum bar 2

Some places just happens to have that special feel about them that makes you feel at home right away and Baba au Rum in Athens is one of those places. This world famous rum bar is not just a must go to bar while in Athens – it´s a reason to go to Athens! and trust me they will pamper you with lots of love, an array of amazing cocktails, tiki drinks, rums and other spirits!

One of the first things you most likely do when you arrive at a bar is checking out the menu and the cocktail and spirits menu of Baba is quite special….it comes in the form of a very cool designed book which has been awarded twice at the Athens bar show. The menu was designed by Kostas Theocharis and has been presented at the Milan Expo Exhibition and also in bars in Paris and Nikosia where it received great reviews.

The menu book is presented both in greek and english and it´s a simple cool, playful design!

Baba collage

Baba au Rum was founded in 2009 by Thanos Prunarus who has been a bartender since 1999 and this bar has greatly influenced the bar and cocktail scene and the bar which was awarded one of the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2013 — always at the top lists worldwide. Baba Au Rum is often awarded the Best Bar in Greece and Thanos is considered as a main influencer in his country.

And once again Baba has been included for one more year at World’s Best Bar Sellection!

worlds best bar selection logo

Thanos travels around the world to discover rum, visiting and participating in rum festivals the world over, including judging at the world final of the Havana Club Grand Prix in Cuba which he recently did. Thanos also publishes an International Cocktail and Travel magazine called FINE DRINKING.

I could not have written it any better so I link you to this very good and in depth article about Thanos! and here is a cool video from Baba au Rum!

Thanos 2

Baba au Rum is, despite the name and being a rum bar, a place where you can just sit back, feel at home and drink anything you want, it doesn´t have to be rum… And regardless of what spirits are used – the cocktails are immaculate wonders of liquid art that is a joy to behold and imbibe – but this place is a lot more than just the drinks….it`s a whole experience and the fact that people travel from all over the world to come here speaks for itself.

I for my part love it! I like when you come to a bar with super friendly bartenders, unpretentious relaxed atmosphere, interesting and beautiful interior, amazing drinks, good music and super comfy bar stools! – Baba got it all. If you get a chance or happens to visit Athens, do yourself a favor and go and spend time at Baba!

One thing that striked me on my visit was their amazing warm hospitality….they went out of their way to make me feel part of their family, never will I forget that! thank you everyone at Baba! My drinks which were consistently good, were made by the amazing bartenders Ellias Stergiopoulos, Phaedon Papakonstantinou and Nikos Gartzolakis – paying attention to the smallest details – you guys rock!!

So when you sit down…which drink to start with is not that easy because there´s a lot of great drinks to choose from the menu. One that I really liked a lot ( but I liked everything I tried) was their beautiful namesake drink, the Baba au Rum cocktail – a sweet and savory umami daiquiri with both sweet and botanical notes, and it´s a beauty….

Baba au Rum Cocktail

The taste is fresh, sweet and savory at the same time, smooth like silk and incredibly refreshing. I leave you here my readers to enjoy a bunch of pictures from Baba, because you know they speak louder than my words…some of these pics are mine and some are courtesy of Baba.

Menu collage 2

Baba drink 1

This…is liquid perfection!

Baba au Rum cocktail made by Phaedon

Baba au Rum cocktail made by Phaedon Papakonstantinous.

RumFire Daiquiri

RumFire Daiquiri…to finish the night!

Baba au Rum bar

They make the work look so easy….but don`t be fooled, they work really hard!

menu magic of rum

 

Baba menu book

 

Baba drink 6

What a beauty…

Baba drink 2

And here we got playful tiki…

Spicy Baba no 7

And the “Lulu White” tiki mug!

Baba drink 3

If you don`t get thirsty when you see these kind of cocktails…..

Baba drink 4

 

Baba drink 5

 

Guadeloupe Tiki Punch

Guadeloupe Tiki Punch! served in one of Baba`s own cool tiki mugs.

menu demerara

Yeah….they got some really good rums…

Baba bar carousel

An interesting and fun detail is the lit up mini carousel….so playful and fun!

And finally, yours truly with Nikos Arvanitis ( Rum Traveller in the Caribbean and writer of the upcoming “From the West Indies to the World” and bartender at the lovely bar Kolokotroni 9 (you should go there! and while you explore the bars close to Baba, go and try some fine rhum agricoles and cocktails at Rehab too! – another great bar) drinking and talking rum! the International Rum Family is really a wonderful thing! When “From the West Indies to the World” is ready I`ll post about it on this website.

The adress to Baba is Kleitiou 6, 10560 Athens, Greece, +30 21 1710 9140, info@babaaurum.com

me and Nikos rum fun

Cheers to rum and good friendship!

Baba Logo

EKTE Spirits – Independent Rum bottler hailing from Denmark!

EKTE Spirits rums 2

First time I tried rums from Ekte Spirits was last year at the UK rumfest and what I found was good…I also liked the design of the labels with their unusual names such as “Pungent and Geeky” or “Spicy and Rich”. This year at the Paris rumfest they were back but also with a new selection of limited release rums which were some very good rums.

I have a selection of a few of the blends and one of the limited release up for review but you can also see some pictures from the Paris rumfest here.

The name Ekte comes from the word marriage (aegte) in Danish, because they see themselves as a blending house to start with and then moved on to the private bottling with the development of the wide range of Ekte rum (including the five blends and the six limited edition rums) which originally were bottled and blended in Denmark, but are now coming out of Europes second oldest family owned distillery, 1831, in northern spain…the destileria Acha. The entire philosophy of EKTE is transparency , something that I for one like to see more of!

So here are the rums that are up for a short review:

Ekte spirits tasting

P&G – Pungent and Geeky:

This rum is Jamaica and Barbados together…the ABV is 47% and it´s a blend of eight different types of rum among them some overproof rum. The appearance is a golden yellow clear liquid with a sort of buttery nose with a lot of tropical fruits like banana, mango, bananas, apricots and dried raisins. There´s also something grainy or malty in the nose. You can dip your nose deep into the glass without getting a whole cloud of alcohol fumes and in overall it`s quite mild and round.

In the mouth you get the same rich tropical fruit notes delivered with a slight kick and a sharp hint of cask. The rum appears quite dry or semi-dry, if it has any sugar in it it has to be very little. The mouth feel is not too viscous but it´s a robust and pleasant rum with a great aroma. Me like!

The finish I find to be medium long and nice.

D&A – Dark and Aged:

The Dark and Aged blends rums from Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados. It`s up to 5 year old pot still rum blend from Guyana (demerara from DDL) and up to 5 year old column still rum from Trinidad and 8 year old rum blend from Barbados. ABV is 38%.

The color is a nice mahogany brown color with excellent clarity. In the nose there´s a bit of oak barrel and vanilla, orange peel, lightly fruity and sweet, it´s not a heavy nose.

In the mouth comes the same notes of vanilla and orange, it´s a bit light and slightly on the sweet side and not as heavy and dark as the name “Dark and Aged” sounds to me, but sure there´s elements of Guyana in it adding body.

There´s a pronounced  orange flavor in this rum, somehow it reminds me a little bit of Pyrat, maybe it`s just those hints of orange…Overall it´s a good mixer and sipper.

S&R – Rich and Spiced:

Hailing from Barbados and Trinidad, the Spiced and Rich has a very light nose, of slight perfumey vanilla notes. I already had a feeling this would be too sweet for me and I was right, it´s too sweet for my palate and it has very much vanilla in it. For those who likes light rums with vanilla notes, it´s an elegant rum and only lightly spiced even though to me it could benefit from less vanilla and sugar. The ABV in this one is 43% which I cannot detect at all, so it´s stronger than it tastes like.

No 3 Limited release, Nicaragua 15:

EKTE Spirits Nicaragua 15

And finally, the limited edition 15 year old single cask rum from Nicaragua. The single casks are of course what interests me the most…

This rum is a column still single cask rum at 68.6%, and 250 bottles was released. The nose is that of deep cask and very full bodied, deep, strong, woody, and full of flavors, tobacco, leather, cask. Due to the high ABV I pick up some medical notes in the beginning but they give way to deep flavors…it´s an exceptional rum, well balanced. The ABV is 68.6%.

Conclusion: The EKTE Spirits blends and single casks are worth seeking out and trying but these are just a few of them. I cannot pick a favorite since I haven`t tried them all but to me the single casks are the most interesting…and the one I like the most of the blends so far is the Pungent and Geeky. I tried a few others at the UK and Paris rum fests and they were really good as far as I can remember. I also like the design of the bottles and the labels with their simple yet cool design.

And now…time for the drinks…

So with the Aged and Geeky I decided to make a Colada variation adding some coffee notes and a bit of bitterness from Campari. The Aged and Geeky mixed very well with all these ingredients without loosing itself in the sumptuous mix of flavors and the cocktail was very tasty!

Pungent And Geeky Colada

Pungent and Geeky Colada

60 ml/ 2 oz EKTE Spirits Pungent and Geeky Rum
60 ml/ 2 oz fresh pineapple juice
45 ml/1.5 oz fresh lime juice
30 ml/0.5 oz banana syrup
30 ml/0.5 oz Coco Real
30 ml/0.5 oz cold strong coffee
7.5 ml/0.25 oz Campari

Blend in blender at high speed for 10 sec with 2.5 dl/1 cup crushed ice and pour into a snifter.
Fill up with more crushed ice if needed.

Next up is another tiki extravaganza, with Dark & Aged and Pungent & Geeky, fresh lime and pineapple juices, peach nectar, rich honey-mix and a little spice from Angostura and Pimento dram.

Tonga Grog

Tongan Grog 3

30 ml/ 1 oz EKTE Spirits Dark & Aged Rum
30 ml/ 1 oz EKTE Spirits Pungent & Geeky Rum
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
30 ml/ 1 oz peach nectar
15 ml/0.5 oz fresh lime juice
15 ml/0.5 oz rich honey mix (2:1 honey to water, heat up to dissolve the honey, cool to room temp
1/2 tsp Pimento dram
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Pulse blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with 2.5 dl/1 cup crushed ice and pour into a tiki mug, fill up with more crushed ice if needed.
Garnish with a pineapple crown.

Grand, extravagant, sumptuous and lush!

Next and the last is not a tiki but it´s a tropical style sour:

Dark & Aged Coffee Sour

Dark & Aged Coffee Sour

60 ml/ 2 oz EKTE Spirits Dark & Aged Rum
30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
15 ml/ 0.5 oz cold strong kona coffee
45 ml/0.75 oz fresh lime juice
15 ml/0.5 oz demerara syrup
1 egg

Shake (or use hand blender) and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or speciality glass.

Garnish with pineapple and cherry.

Smooth as silk….

EKTE Spirits rums

Rhum Agricole – Arcane Rum from Mauritius!

Arcane Rums

Here´s sunny rums from a sunny island…Mauritius!

Arcane rums are made from pure cane juice, a rhum agricole. As always when you come back from a rumfest, in this case the Rhumfest Paris, there`ll be rums to try out and to write about. I`m starting with the three expressions from Arcane, plus a spiced rum called “Beach House Rum” (not Arcane but from the same producer)

The three expressions in their range are the Delicatissime, Cane Crush and the Extra Aroma. The Extra Aroma I tried for the first time at Maria Loca during Daniele Dalla Polas Tiki Night and I was amazed by the strong banana flavor of this rum which mixed wonderfully with his amazing tiki drinks.

On the webpage it says  –  What Arcane stands for is this : in a white rum or in a 12 years old rum, you will always taste, in different versions,the magnificence of cane aromas. Arcane rum is always made from the distillation of pure cane juice.

So let´s start with the Cane Crush, it´s a very aromatic rum with lots of fresh “green” sugarcane flavors, grassy, floral and lively. It´s distilled twice, first in pot stills on Mauritius and then a second distillation in small alambics is made in Cognac.These alambics are the french variant of the alembic – which is an arabic word for a type of still that originally was used to make perfumes and it´s the alembic still the modern pot still is based on.

So in short, here´s my thoughts on the rums, remember this is how they taste to me, to you they may taste a bit different since we all have different taste perceptions:

CANE CRUSH

Color – crystal clear

Nose – It´s crispy and fresh, grassy and a bit floral in the nose with slight hints of citrus.

Mouth – A very pleasant flavor, fresh and crispy just like like the nose but a little bit peppery with a fruitness and roundness backed up by the typical grassy agricole flavors of fresh cut cane.

Finish –  I find the finish to be medium long  with a fresh light cane flavor that stays for a little while.

A very pleasant and tasty rhum agricole that can be sipped easily and also mixed equally well, it´s tasty and balanced.

EXTRA AROMA

Color – Golden light mahogany

Nose: Here´s something entirely different….this rum has a strong nose of banana and coconut! and the notes of grassy agricole flavors are quite restrained.

Mouth: Banana….hints of coconut and something perfumey and floral, hints of cane and some grassiness. It`s a tropically flavored aged agricole rum with strong banana and coconut flavors if that makes sense. I believe it´s a “like it or not” type of rum. Personally I like it, more as a mixer than sipper because it mixes so well in tiki drinks and tropical cocktails.

I tried it the the first time in Paris at Maria Loca when Daniele Dalla Pola did his “Arcane Jungle Bar” tiki night and made tiki drinks with among others, this rum which mixed wonderfully in his drinks.

The pronounced banana and coconut flavors (and some other tropical fruits) paired with the aged rhum agricole notes makes a statement to try to best describe it, if you like those flavors you`ll probably like this rum, if you don´t like banana and coconut you won`t like this. In tiki drinks and exotic cocktails it´s wonderful and I like the aftertaste of coconut.

In the description it says “12 year old solera aged in oak barrels” which does not mean that all the rum in the bottle is 12 years old but that there´s a percentage, how small, we do not know, that should be 12 years old in the blend of younger rums.

Finish: Aftertaste of coconut that lingers in your mouth for a while that gets me to think of a brown coconut that has been cracked and all the brown pieces spread out on the ground. The name “Extra Aroma” surely is true, this rum has a LOT of aroma! personally I love to mix tiki drinks with it.

DELICATISSIME

Color – very light golden

Nose – A bit herbal and spicy, with hints of freshly cut grass, vanilla and some spice.

Mouth – Hints of vanilla, peppery, pronounced herbal grassiness and hints of floral notes as well, lively agricole flavors.

Finish – Spicy finish that ends with sweet notes of vanilla

This rum mixes as well as the Extra Aroma in exotic cocktails and I found that mixing the two, or any of them with Cane Crush is just as great, any of these rums adds a lively flavor to cocktails. This is a young golden rum that has been aged for 18 months in oak barrels and it`s kinda dryish but with sweet vanilla aromas.

Afterthoughts:

For sipping, the one I prefer is the Cane Crush because it´s the cleanest and driest of them to me and for sipping neat I prefer a bit drier rums that has nothing added to them. It also makes a great ti punch of course.

For mixing I find them quite versatile, especially with tropical type of drinks, the flavors just comes together….

I have no idea if these rums contains any additives but I`m positively sure that there´s some kind of sweetness added to the Extra Aroma since it has such strong banana and coconut notes. I believe it may have natural flavors added or at least so I hear, and then some sugar, but there´s no info…anyway, it´s not cloingly sweet, it more makes a real strong statement of banana and coconut.

Then we have the bottles, I really like them, they have a cool design and the labels look exotic which pairs well with the rums they contain seeing to where the rum is made. But I would like to see more info on the labels as to what the rums contain as well, the more transparency the better..

BEACH HOUSE SPICED

Beach House Spiced

And now on to the last one, a sort of bonus in this post,  it´s a spiced rum.

This spiced rum is not the Arcane brand, it´s called “Beach House Spiced” which is a rum infused with tropical floral and spicy flavors dominated by orange which comes in a very pretty bottle at 40% abv. The nose is very floral and perfumey with hints of orange and spice. To be honest it´s  too sweet for my palate but I can see it as a cocktail ingredient and also as a dessert rum – or if you like it sweet, as a sip on the beach at sundown which it seems designed for. I think this rum would benefit from a reduction of the sweetness though especially since the spice flavor is a bit on the floral side. But those with a sweet tooth will love it!

Now on to the drinks!

Funky Colada

Funky Arcane Colada

With some funky grassy, sugarcane, banana and coconut flavors from the rums paired with the darker roasted coconut water and nutty macadamia and orgeat flavors, this is my funky Colada!

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Cane Crush

30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice

30 ml/ 1 oz roasted coconut water

7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz macadamia nut syrup

7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz orgeat

15 ml/ 0.5 oz Coco Real

30 ml/ 1 oz fresh lime

Dash pimento dram

Blend all ingredients at high speed for 5 sec in a blender with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice. Pour into snifter and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a pineapple crown. The roasted coconut water can be difficult to find but can be subbed with unsweetened and if possible, fresh coconut water.

The Pina Colada is in my opinion an underestimated drink and it´s one of my favorites. It`s also a fun drink since it lends itself to a lot of experimentations!

Coffee Dots

Coffee Dots

 

A coffee flavored take on the ”Three dots and a dash” which is one of the classic tiki drinks. Coffee is one of my favorite tiki drink ingredients,so why not combine the two? That´s how “Coffee Dots” was born…

Adding an agricole rum with rich banana aromas gives this drink an extra tropical dimension.

15 ml/0.5 oz each of fresh lime and orange juices

15 ml/0.5 oz honey-mix

60 ml/2 oz Arcane Extra Aroma rum

15 ml/0.5 oz strong Kona coffee, cold

7.5 ml/0.25 oz pimento dram

Dash Angostura bitters

Blend in blender at high speed with 2 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice, 5 sec and pour into a snifter

Garnish with a pineapple leaf and 3 coffee beans

Banana Daiquiri Speciale

A Banana Daiquiri a day….is the #DRINKTROPICAL way!

Arcane Banana Daiquiri small

Banana, both fresh and in syrup paired with rich coconut palmsugar syrup flambèed in 80% Stroh for the sweet…

Fresh lime juice for the sour and for the strong, Arcane Extra Aroma and Delicatissime blends together into a sumptuous tropical daiquiri drink….there´s no other “weak” in this except for the crushed ice….but the spice “to make it nice” is there in the dust of cinnamon and in the rums. Now this is not a Planter`s Punch but an extra lush banana daiquiri!

22.5 ml/0.75 oz fresh lime juice

1/2  banana, sliced

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Delicatissime

15 ml/0.5 oz banana-palmsugar syrup*

Blend in blender with 1 cup crushed ice for 10 sec and pour into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a piece of frozen banana and a dust of cinnamon.

To make the banana-palmsugar syrup:

For a small bottle of syrup, make a simple syrup with 2.1 ratio of coconut palmsugar and water (about 1 cup of sugar) and slice 1/2 banana in it and mash slightly with a fork and boil on medium heat for a couple minutes but do not let it caramelize. Take off heat and add 2 tbsp 80% Stroh ¨(or other overproof rum good for flambeeing) and flambè before leaving to cool and flavors to set for about 30 mins, then strain and bottle.

Beach House Bird

Beach House Bird

This drink is an experiment, since I wanted to try the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient and due to it`s pronounced orange aroma I decided to use equal parts hibiscus grenadine and the spiced rum instead of simple syrup in a Jungle Bird since orange and Campari pairs so well.

It tasted like a sort of lightly floral Jungle Bird with hints of bitterness…

As for the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient, it works just fine and can be used instead of for example orange liqueur or simple syrup giving a subtle floral, slightly exotic perfumey character to the drink. Now this drink has Campari which in itself adds a lot of flavor with it´s herbal, bitterness so you get it in double measure here :-).

15 ml/0.75 oz Campari

30 ml/1 oz fresh lime juice

7.5 ml/0.25 oz hibiscus grenadine

7.5 ml/0.25 oz Beach House Spiced

45 ml/1.5 oz Appleton Extra

Shake with plenty of cracked ice, strain and pour into a old fashioned glass filled with fresh cracked ice.

I think that was all for now….enjoy the drinks if you decide to try them 🙂

Rhumfest Paris 2016!

Rhumfest glass

Rum, Rhum and Ron…

The 2016 Rhumfest Paris took place on April 2, 3 & 4 th at Parc Floral, Paris. This event has become huge!!!

The venue was completely jam-packed with people! – So much rum….so much people!! on both days! and the day for the industry/professionals was on the the last day, the monday, and it would have been nice to have been there that day since the industry days are much less crowded, but unfortunately I had to travel back. Rhumfest Paris seem to me to have been completely sold out, around 8000 tickets were sold.

There were 119 participating brands and 40 exhibitors, plus 500 rums to try from as varied places as Thailand with Issan – agricole rum, and from La Rèunion island – Isautier, Savanna, Charette and Chatel….all very interesting rums! from Guyana one of my favorite brands, La Belle Cabresse and they also had various exotic rum punches and spices…

And represented for the first time at Rhumfest Paris – Tahiti! with the Mana`o rum – which – was a very interesting and tasty rhum agricole, it was surprisingly good for coming from such a small and far away place. What I especially liked with the Paris rumfest was that there were so much interesting and varied brands of rhum agricoles to try. I like to see at least as many agricoles as molasses based rums! and especially also smaller brands and here there was all of that in abundance.

But big brands were there too of course, among them Angostura who during a master class presented their new bottles for their classic rum range and had out for taste also their Amaro di Angostura.

Velier brought out their new Habitation Velier rums together with their Rhum Rhum and Clairin rums. I spent a lot of time at their booth…my favorites was the Habitation Velier Foursquare 2013 and then the Caroni 17!

Ekte Spirits from Denmark had some interesting rums to try as well, my favorite there was the demerara expressions.

But we started already on the thursday with the judging of the rums for the Rhumfest Paris Awards at La Rhumerie, a very nice French Caribbean rum bar and restaurant which I can recommend, especially for their rums and food! And the results of the 2016 Paris Rhumfest Awards is here.

A rumfest with lots of rum sampling needs some good fuel and there was some really tasty food available on food trucks with food from Martinique and Venezuela among others. I had spicy accras with extra hotsauce (of course) and other things, all very tasty! but the food thing that left me a memory is the Baba au Rhum dessert from La Rhumerie! it was so good…melted in your mouth….and soooo rum soaked!

There were masterclasses too and here is a link to them – http://livestream.com/midjdeal/events/5101484

During the nights there were a lot of things to do, you could sample a really fantastic range of rums at Mabel, among them I tried were the new El Dorado Cask Strength rums…and then Caronis…and at Maria Loca there was the one and only Daniele Dalla Pola doing his fantastic drinks during his “Arcane Jungle Night” with Arcane rum tiki drinks and great show! the drinks were so good!! (visiting his Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna is a must do!) and there was also a night of cocktails with Ron Botran Añejo!

Here is some shaking and pouring:

 

Also at Maria Loca we tried the new Maca rum which was very interesting and for being a spiced rum it was good! the intent is to create a spiced rum that differs from most and shows that spiced rums can be good and does not have to be cloingly sweet or unbalanced and overspiced.

Maca spiced rum logo

Then we have the Dirty Dick Tiki bar where the exotic drinks were always flowing….don`t go to Paris without going to Dirty Dick!

Late nights in Paris during Rhumfest week and Paris Rhum Week is a recipe for exhaustion….but a LOT of fun! 🙂 but also during the days there´s interesting things to do for a rum fanatic, for example visiting Christian de Montaguère, the rumshop of sorts! with more than 900 different rums, and also rum and cocktail books, french caribbean rum and cook books and even spices and exotic perfumes! (among them amazing tiare and frangipani perfumes and banana oils…) on 20 Rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris, and here is their website. This shop is a paradise….

I think the big win with this rum festival was the incredible diversity of rums, especially (and naturally) all the different agricole rums!

Here is my usual picture parade… – enjoy, a little piece of  Rhumfest Paris!

TI ARR 1

If there was a prize for most beautiful stand, or booth, it would surely have gone to “Ti Arrangès de Cèd” which was a fantastic display of colors and beautiful “rhum arrangès” made by Cèdric Brément. I have a few of those at home, among them the banane-cacao, these are some tasty little treasures!

Ti arranges booth 6   Ti arranges booth 8

The new one with hibiscus is on the left. Aren`t they just beautiful?

Ti arranges booth 3    CDM TI MACADAMIA

Macadamia nuts and vanilla…

ananas victoria 2   ananas victoria

The star of the show…Ananans victoria!!!! this is the pineapple that is used for Plantation rums pineapple rum the Stiggin`s Fancy. This little pineapple grows on La Rèunion island outside of Africa. The one in the picure is a bit special though…it looks like a double pineapple and it had 6 or 7 shots! it was the wildest pineapple I ever seen! later I saw Daniele Dalla Pola walking around with it… I think he found himself a little “pineapple baby” 😀

Ti arranges booth ananas victoria    Ti arranges booth lime

Fresh, colorful, tasty and beautiful! pineapple, lime and rum!

manao    Ti Punch vieux Clement

Mana`o rhum!! this rhum agricole came all the way from Tahiti and it tasted very good! great sugarcane flavor. This is the first 100% organic rhum agricole produced in Tahiti. The name in the Tahitian language means “to think”, “to remember” and is a tribute to ancestral varieties of sugar cane. This is a purely local creation, produced from sugar cane from Taha’a, the first rhum agricole from French Polynesia. It was very interesting to try this! Read more here.

Rhum Clèment from Martinique had a little ti punch bar where you could get this very tasty little ti punch vieux!

Ekte Guyana 17    Ekte Guyana 23    Ekte Jamaica 12

Ekte Spirits sinle cask rums from Denmark. These are interesting! and they are all very good but are expensive.Then again, these are one of a kind rums, the number 2, the Jamaican 12 was made in 270 bottles only. The no 5, Guyana 17 years is 250 bottles and the 23 year old Guyana is 300 bottles made. Their website is here.

Ekte Spirits

And here is Ekte Spirits regular line of rums, I love the names! “Light & Dry”, “Pungent & Geeky”, “Spiced & Rich”, “Dark & Aged” and “Aged & Geeky”. These I tasted for the first time at the UK Rumfest last year. Also I like the fact that there `s a transparency concerning what the bottle contains, it´s stated on the website.

Angostura 1919 new package    Angostura new package 7

Angostura rums is changing “clothes” – but not rum! their classic rums are unchanged and they released the new package during a masterclass which you can watch online here and even though the website is in french the masterclasses are in english and also translated to french.

Velier signs2

When you see this sign…it works like a magnet…

Velier rums

Rows of pure goodness….Habitation Velier, Caronis, Rhum Rhum and Clairin rums!

HV Foursquare 2013    HV Forsyths 151

Now…we are talking! this Foursquare 2013 Barbados Pure Single Rum was the best of the rums I tried at the Rhumfest, it´s just hands down outstanding. The Forsyths WP 151 proof is another gem and this one would be perfect for tiki drinks!

HV Muller3177    HB Forsyths 502

More from Habitation Velier, the bottles looks really interesting I think and they contain really good rums!

Velier caroni 17    Velier Rhum Rhum frog labels

The 17 year Caroni is a wonder of explosive flavors! I think this lovely Caroni was my second best from the Rhumfest. Rhum Rhum Libération 2015 comes in a bottle with a very interesting and fun label and it comes in two strengths, go for the stronger one, the “version integrale” (the red label) This rhum was “liberated” from its cask in 2015 after six years of tropical ageing, Rhum Rhum Libération 2015 Full Proof is at 58.4° % ABV with no water added before bottling.

The Rhum Rhum brand was created by Luca Gargano of Velier in collaboration with Gianni Capovilla on the little island of Marie Galante which belongs to Guadeloupe.

Velier Clairin    Velier Rhum Rhum2

Clairin rhums from Haiti, these are very different from the rest and all very flavorful! Sajous is the “mildest” of the three followed by Vaval and then comes the horsekick, the Casimir, a rum that will kick your butt to the moon…..

Arcane Cane Crush    Issan rum

From two different parts of the world….Arcane rum comes from Mauritius and has some very nice and a bit different expressions while Issan hails from Thailand, and is a rhum agricole! it tastes good too!

La Belle Cabresse sign    CDM CANNE GRISE

More rhum agricole, La Belle Cabresse comes from French Guyana and is one of my old favorites, it has a flavor of it´s own, I think it´s the Guyana “terrorir”, it makes a nice ti punch! and so does the “Canne Grise” from Rhum Bielle, Marie Galante. Canne grise – grey cane is a type of sugarcane that originated from Barbados and that works very well on the small island of Marie Galante because it´s very resistant to drought. The rhum Canne Grise is very nice and fruity in flavor with an abv of 59%.

St James Excellence    Dormoy sirop de Canne

St James Cuvee Excellence is a very smooth and elegant rhum agricole which won a gold at the Paris Rhumfest Awards. St James rhums are always very very solid.

CDM PLANTATION RUMS    Pusser´s

Plantation rums….always present at any rumfest! And as usual you will also encounter Pusser´s rums at any rumfest! 🙂

CDM RUMPUNCH COCO MADRAS    CDM RUMPUNCH MON PEI

And here comes the rhum punches! I so love these! Punch Coco on the left from Guadeloupe and on the right are punches from french Guyana.

CDM RUMPUNCH CACAO 2     CDM RUMPUNCH EROTIKA

Punch Cacao and Punch Erotika and whatever is it is in that it probably works… 🙂 And here comes a few pictures of drinks, party, rum tasting, rum and fun!

DDP drink    DDP and Marc Battais2

Arcane rum booth, tiki drinks by Daniele Dalla Pola and Marc Battais! refreshing after all neat rum sampling. Sometimes you need to clean your palate with a tiki drink!

maria loca - sexy colada (5)     maria loca - sexy colada (8)

And when Daniele comes to town it sure gonna be a Sexy Coladas and a party! this particular Sexy Colada was served on top of  a glass that contained fresh coconut water….a wonderful treat.

At Rhumfest Daniyel and Ian    The international judges of rhumfest Paris awards

No rumfest anywhere without these guys….and the International judges of rhumfest Paris awards, but there needs to be more women! I was the only one! maybe there´ll be some more next year?

DD menu cover    DD Marrero daiquiri

Time for tiki drinks at Dirty Dick! here is the Marrero daiquiri which is the Dirty Dick hommage to Ramon “Monchito” Marrero Pèrez, the creator of the original Pina Colada. (cirka 1954) It´s a fresh, light and sharp drink and I love the presentation…

DD drink 5    DD meny drink

Lovely drink! the “Mystic Fist of Ku” the drink that gives you unlimited power! and I love the garnish!

DD tiki handles    DD painkiller

Tiki tap handles and beautiful Painkiller.

ED CASK STRENGTH LINE

From Dirty Dick to Mabel…time for some serious rum tasting with the new El Dorado cask strength rums!

ED CS PM 1999     ED CASK STRENGTH PM

The 1999 Port Morant is just an explosion of flavors, it was my fav of the three, but that said, the Versialles was in it´s own way almost equally good, or at least it was more interesting because the flavors kinda kept growing on you….I would like to spend more time with it, with both! the Enmore I didn`t care so much about, not that it was not good, it was, but to me, it lacked something special…these two were for me the winners of the range.

MABEL MENU    Mabel - rum menu 2

This is a great place to go if you wanna try rums, they have an amazing collection!

la rhumerie baba au rhum    la rhumerie wall lamp

Baba au Rhum, a treat that waited for me until after the last part of the judging and it was so worth waiting for! what a dessert! and sooooo rum soaked….with wonderful flavorful rum and it melted in my mouth! if I had the time I would have tried more of the foods at la Rhumerie but I will simply have to return.

la rhumerie art    la rhumerie painting cane cutter

Beautiful art and sculptures on the walls and in the room at la Rhumerie!

CDM ATLAS BOOK    CDM Neisson

Rum books and rums at Christian de Montaguère, the “Atlas du Rhum” I hope to see in english soon!!

CDM LA FAVORITE    Off to Paris Rhumfest!

Unbelievable rhum from la Favorite! and my old Mixoloseum bag for booze is still going strong!

Rumfest bracelet 2

And that was all! hope to see Rhumfest again the next year! Cheers!

Mixology Monday 107: Burden Of Proof

mxmologo

MxMo CVII, March 21, 2016: Burden of Proof

Overproof rums 2

Mixology Monday lives on…..this is the 107th MxMo! This cult event is still going strong…since 2006 when it was first created by Paul Clarke, publisher of The Cocktail Chronicles, who ran the event for 6 years, and now as of August 2012, Frederic Yarm, one of the authors of the Cocktail Virgin blog, has taken over as moderator.

The theme is overproof and how you use overproof spirits whether it be as floats or as base spirit or something to flame up a cocktail with etc. This MxMo is hosted by Dagreb over at the Nihil Utopia blog.

I started to bring out anything I had that was above 50% since that`s the proof mentioned as criteria for what`s considered overproof in this MxMo event. I got quite a few overproof rums, I use them both as part of the drinks, as floats or as fuel for flaming drinks, that´s what I use my Stroh for…

A little about proof

The word overproof means “Containing a greater proportion of alcohol than proof spirit”

The term “proof” dates back to 16th century England, when spirits were taxed at different rates depending on their alcohol content. Spirits were tested by soaking a pellet of gunpowder in them. If the gunpowder could still burn, the spirits were rated above proof and taxed at a higher rate. Gunpowder would not burn in rum that contained less than 57.15% ABV.The gunpowder test was officially replaced by a specific-gravity test in 1816. The proof system in the United States was established around 1848 and was based on percent alcohol rather than specific gravity. 50% alcohol was defined as 100 proof.

So that`s what we are playing with, overproof spirits! in my case it gonna be overproof rum…

River Antoine

The first overproof rum I`m picking from my collection is Rivers Royale Rum from the River Antoine distillery, a very interesting rum from Grenada which is made in the a very old fashioned way, actually the River Antoine Estate distillery is unique on this planet and that´s what makes it so special.

They have produced their legendary high proof Rivers Rum since 1785 with unchanged age-old techniques and their antique equipment is still used today! for example their two potstills are both heated using locally cut hardwood and parts of the distillery´s machinery are over 200 years old…The crushing mill dates back to 1945 and is powered by water from the river.

And the the rum? – I just got a whooooole load of funky slightly grassy flavors in my mouth….Rivers rum…painstakingly handmade with ancient methods from fermented sugarcane syrup – a very special rum indeed. The flavor reminds about the more well known JWray overproof but more balanced and subtle. So it lends itself well in citrusy cocktails.

The one I have is the ” lower strength, export” version (69%) and there´s also one at 75% and yes there´s supposed to be even stronger local versions too…so strong it cannot be exported. The label of the 75% version is funny, it says “slightly overproof rum” 🙂 This rum is hard to come by…you can sub it with RumFire or JWray overproof, but the RumFire is closer to this.

I was thinking of Rivers and Ting, but right now I can`t find Ting anywhere so I settle for a daquiri instead, which is equally good!

Rivers Royale Rum Daquiri

River Antoine Daiquiri

1.5 oz Rivers Royale rum (or RumFire)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz cane syrup

That´s a nice starter! the rum is so smooth despite being overproof and this drink went down too easy….

Now let´s move on to tiki….

There´s a drink called the “Tasman Sea” in Remixed, it´s the Bum`s version of an old drink called the “Lady Love” which was served at various bars in Oahu in the late 60s. The Bums version uses 151 Lemon Hart. But the drink also uses another 151 proof Caribbean rum (of your choice) so I thought this drink would fit into this post.

Tasman Sea

Tasman Sea small

1 oz fresh lime juice

0.75 oz fresh lemon juice

0.25 oz orange curacao

1 oz demerara sugar syrup

1 oz amber 151 proof Caribbean rum (such as Cruzan or Bacardi, I used JackIron)

0.5 oz Lemon Hart 151

10 ounces crushed ice

Put everything in a blender and blend for up to 10 sec.

Pour unstrained into a large snifter or tiki mug.

Next up is a version of Martin Cate´s 2070 Swizzle called the 2070 Swizzle Redux made by Tim “Swanky” Glazner. The cool thing about the Redux version is that is uses coffee….and I really do love tiki drinks with coffee!

2070 Swizzle Redux 2 small

1 oz Angostura 1919 or other quality Gold Rum
1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151
1/2 oz Smith & Cross
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Infused Simple Syrup (If you use Trader Tiki/BG Reynold’s, you may need to cut it back. His syrup is extremely strong. Cut it in half)
1/2 oz Honey Mix
1/2 oz Strong Kona coffee (chilled of course)
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
4 drops Pernod
2 dash Angostura bitters
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg on top
Cinnamon Stick swizzle

Here is instructions from Swanky that i found on the Tiki Central:

Use about 1/2 cup crushed ice, flash blended for a few seconds. Lately I prefer to put everything in the blender but ice, set it to the lowest setting, on mine it is “Stir” and get all the ingredients mixed. Then I add the ice and hit it on high. I zap it for a second, let it stop and repeat. Do that maybe 3 or 4 times. Pour into the proper glass (collins/zombie, or the classic aluminum ones) and add ice to fill. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top. Add cinnamon stick as swizzle.

And oops…I forgot that cinnamon stick…. 🙂

Happy MxMo Monday!