When RUMS comes to Berlin…. The 7th German Rum Festival 2017

 

Europe is exploding with rum events in the fall and just a week after the rumfest in Athens, it was time for a few others, for example the ShowRUM in Rome, UK Rumfest in London and the German Rumfest in Berlin which is the one I headed to, but unfortunately this year, London and Berlin happened at the same time. I have been to the UK Rumfest a couple times but never to Berlin so this was extra interesting, and it didn`t get worse by the fact that Baba au Rum had a pop up bar the whole week from the start of the BCB (Bar Convent Berlin) to the end of the Rumfest at the My June bar.

They had even, with the help and organizing by Alexandra Barstalker brought the same wallpapers (which btw I learnt is made by a Swedish designer) that are on the walls in the Baba au Rum bar in Athens to My June Bar to make it even more like “at home in Baba”, well that my friends is looking into the details! if you go to her website you can read about how the idea about “Baba au Rum goes Berlin” came to be.

Berlin is a huge city but with a packed schedule on a few days I didn`t see that much of the city itself, except for going to some bars, restaurants and tastings, among them the “My June Bar” where Baba resided. The first night was apparently THE night to be there because virtually everybody in the booze/rum industry was there and it was really a crazy kick-start of the rumfest weekend and at the same time the closing down party of the BCB.

The German Rumfest is really huge and very well organized, and the rum selection was very good, I just missed the Velier rums there but they were in London at the UK Rumfest. Luckily the next year these two will not happen at the same time!

As a rum judge we had two days to do the rum tastings before the rumfest started and so that kept me busy and in very good company! always so nice to see friends from the “rum family” at various rum-filled events. Interesting to me was the contrasts between attending first a small and intimate rumfest (Athens) and then a really huge one. And both has their own charms.

The German Rum Awards are a competition in which professionals blind taste the rums submitted and make subjective, yet neutral assessments to a points awarding system where each juror only has to make one mark within a particular scale. This enables the juror to focus on the essentials – without the distraction of having to figure out how many available points to award.

An international jury will taste all submitted rums in a two-day evaluation process. The flights are divided into categories, e.g. Special Cask, Single-Cask, Agricole VS/VSOP, Overproof, Spiced Rum, No-Age-Statement, Cachaça aged etc etc. In total 18 categories, around 160 different rums and cachacas. The jury’s conducts the tasting blind at a quiet location and rates the rums according to a point system.

In order for a submitted product to be awarded and to receive a medal, a specific number of points must be achieved. The jury awards only one gold, silver and bronze medal in each category, which is different from many other competitions. Out of all the submitted products, there is also a “Best in Show“ award – it goes to the rum with the highest number of points, regardless of category.

This years results of the tasting competiton is here.

The venue for the rumfest, the Station Berlin is very large with high ceilings making it very roomy and that is needed with such a large crowd of people, it was still hot at the back of the room! I had a great experience in Berlin and hope to be back!

I will as usual, show the rumfest, in a parade of pictures:

Well crafted tasty cocktails and fun with the rum family at the June Bar with Baba au Rum! who came among the 50 Best Bars again this year.

Plantation Rum made for Baba au Rum, a multi island rum aged in bourbon oak, cognac barrels and peaty whisky barrels… It had an exceptionally fine and balanced flavor.

And then….the next day, time for work, rum judging at the BRLO Brewhouse.

There were many rums to taste for two days, around 160 different rums.

And when the tasting was done, they revealed the rums to us.

And this is where it gets really interesting because now you can compare your own notes and the points you gave to see which rums they were. After this was done we went for a brewery tour at the BRLO Brewhouse which I think had a pretty cool sign on the wall.

BRLO is the slavic origin of the name Berlin.The beers made here are really tasty! they make handcrafted beers in small batches and they do not filter the brews to keep all healthy nutrients. From December and onwards you can visit them at their brewery and restaurant. And this is located in a one of a kind building constructed from 38 shipping containers!

The next day….time for the rumfest! and what is better than starting a rumfest with some freshly pressed sugarcane juice? (by Mr Zuckerrohr) in which, you a bit later add some rum….

There were quite a bit of rhum agricoles to try (to my joy) since my favorite rum categories are cask strength molasses based rums and agricole rums.

And who is happier to show you these rhums than Jerry Gitany?

I like La Mauny…

And these…

Complex and aromatic, Reimonenq Rhum Vieux Réserve RQL from Guadeloupe, aged in bourbon and Cognac casks.

Toucan rhum agricole from French Guyana, here is their Boco (spiced)

And what is a rumfest without some Real mcCoy and Don Q rums and coconuts?

Or Plantation…

Or Angostura?

Presented by the ever so charismatic Daniyel Jones! (and look at that cool striped bois lèlè swizzle stick!)

Walking around here tasting rums and meeting people is like being in a candy-store for grown-ups…

But you need a resting place sometimes…

Before heading over to By the Dutch, to try their amazing Batavia arrack. It says “Indonesian rum” on the bottle, but I call it only Batavia Arrack – because there`s a significant local, cultural and historical difference between the two even though they are closely related (rum and arrack both uses molasses but the arrack also contains a little bit of fermented red rice added to the yeast) so “same same but different” as the saying goes. (in my opinion)

Talking Batavia arrack with Jos, which I later poured some in my glass of fresh sugarcane juice which also had some rum in it, because that`s typically what a rumnerd do at a rumfest… 🙂

And a special cask….which I hope they will offer for sale in the future. This one brought my mind to the flavorful high ester rums from Hampden.

And there`s more interesting rums in the works…something for us rumlovers to look forward to!

By Foursquare. Always reliable when it comes to the quality, nothing added to these rums, they are exactly what they say they are and they do taste good!

A popular place to be….

And so was this! Our Rums and Spirits booth with the rum that was my favorite, the “Guyana 2003 Diamond” at 63,7% which together with the “Our Blend Jamaica, Trinidad, Martinique” was awarded gold in the categories “Single Barrel” (Guyana 2003) and the “No Age Statement”. Further there was this 24 year old Demerara rum (Enmore) which I have at home 🙂 very tasty too.

I think Thanos, Alexander and Elias from Baba agreed…

And their Jamaican, which I also liked very much.

We are into some serious rum drinking now, continuing with the Kill Devil rums, my favorite? the red one in the middle. Cask strength (63.1%, Diamond) from Guyana.

After all these amazing strong rums it was good to change to a rum and chocolate pairing at the World`s End Rum booth….together with a refreshing and very cold cocktail. I spent quite some time here chatting with all the fine folks in and around this booth.

World`s End scored some awards too! in the middle, the Tiki Spiced (by Tom Neijens.)

Then I saw this guy…guarding the Meermaid Rums, he looked pretty content, full of rum and rather sleepy…it doesn`t take much imagination to”hear” him snore…

Meermaid rum, they also make a pretty cool overproof rum which I like to float over tiki drinks…

Rum, Rhum, Ron…that`s what we are here for.

Fine rums from Worthy Park, Jamaica and I really liked the Oloroso!

And of course, there was Rum Bar with their fine overproof which I had in daiquiris at the Athens rumfest 🙂

And another fine overproof, Rum Nation Jamaica which won the overproof category.

These three expressions from New Grove Rums from Mauritius are tropically aged and made from molasses with ageing in different woods.

Moscatel – Slightly woody with notes of honey and fruits. Aged in French oak for 7 years, then aged in barrels of Moscatel for one year. ABV 47,7%
Acacia – Slightly dry peppery and fruity rum with notes of acacia wood, it has been aged 7 years in French oak and 1 year in acacia. ABV 47,7%
Merisier – Notes of currants, wild cherry and dried apricots. Aged in French oak for 7 years, then aged in Birch barrels a year. ABV 47,7%

And Velho Barreiro Cachaca from Brazil.

Don Q, of course! representing Puerto Rico.

And from Sweden, the Gun Room Rum from Renbjer and Magnusson.

Kirk and Sweeney is a rum from the Dominican Republic which have taken their name from the name of a wooden schooner that was best known for smuggling rum from the Caribbean to the United States during Prohibition.

3 Island Rum is a brand of rum that was launched in the beginning of 2013 by Charles Hosie, the firm of spirits importers and founded in Hamburg 1918.

Aged rhum agricole by Trois Rivières.

The Hall of Fame where you could see all the award winning rums.

Ti Arrangèes de Cèd, rhum arrangè which is something I find cool to use instead of simple syrup in tiki drinks…a way to use it that is not the traditional way which is sipping it, which btw is good too and typical French island tradition.

Santa Teresa 1796, hailing from Venezuela.

This is what`s it´s all about! 🙂

More rum after the rum judging…and the BRLQ Brewery tour – we went to a masterclass/tasting of La Mauny and Trois Rivières rhum at the Stairs Bar held by Daniel Baudin, cellar master of La Mauny & Trois-Rivières.

These are some very good agricole rums!

And now I think you`ve had enough of my “blurs” and pics and I finish with a picture of the Tempodrom which is located right beside the hotel Crowne Plaza. The Tempodrom is an event venue that was founded by Irene Moessinger, and opened in 1980 next to the Berlin Wall on the west side of Potsdamer Platz, housed in a large circus tent.

Thank you Berlin for having me! hope to be back the next year!

Credit for some of these pics goes to:

Joshua Singh
Daniyel Jones
Florian Cuntz
Christian Nagel

Athens Rum and Whiskey Festival 2017

This was the second rum festival in Athens (rum and whiskey together this year) but my first time to attend the event which was taking place in the impressive neo-classical Zappeion Hall, built in 1878 which also is conveniently located near the beautiful park, the National Gardens around the city center with two metro stations nearby.

The festival was small but sweet…with a good vibe – and drunken crowds, thankfully, I did not see. Nice and relaxed! I stumbled on some rums I’ve never tried before too and to my pleasant surprise the Alamea Exotic Infusions that are soon to be launched at the Berlin Bar Convent on october 10-11 by Daniele Dalla Pola were there as well. Read more about Alamea here in my review. They made some very nice cocktails with it and I really enjoyed having drinks with the Alamea.

There were cocktails made in most booths plus there was a little Baba au Rum pop-up booth there as well so one could choose to both sip rum and whiskey neat but also get to drink very nice cocktails which I appreciated!

Baba au Rum once again came among the 50 best bars – this time no.30! so again I say congrats to the Baba team! was it only a couple days ago I was there? someone fly me back please! but then again – they will have a pop up bar in Berlin in a few days….during the BCB (Bar Convent Berlin) and the German Rumfest and I`m luckily heading in that direction.

 

As for seminars I went to the  “Artisanal Cachacas, Authentic Sugarcane Expressions” by Jimmy Bertazzoli and “The Holy Grail of Martinique” sponsored by rhum St James held by Konstantinos Vasilakopoulos and then Sly Augustin’s (Trailer Happiness, London) seminar about Tiki where he did talk about the movement of tiki and where it’s going, specifically from a European view, something I’m also talking about in ny (upcoming) book. It was like hearing somebody else express my mind! The good guys from Trailer also did a guest bartending at Baba where they presented four tiki drinks, (the one with the jerk spice was amazing)

As for bars in the city, Athens have a very vibrant bar scene with worldclass bartenders and a hospitality next to none! they really are that good! but I already said that before…and not only do they make great cocktails in the bars but they also play very good music! You are guaranteed to have fun! also, the rooftop bars….the views are incredible.

A few great bars to mention are Baba au Rum, Speakeasy, Gin Joint, Clumsies, Kolokotroni 9, Bank Job, Rabbit Hole and the seasonal Mary Pickford by the water in Piraeus (awesome rooftop bar with a great view of the water and all the boats, plus great food, drinks and music), and then the rooftop bar at the hotel “A for Athens” with an unrivaled view and occasion to see the sunset over the city with a stunningly beautiful lit up Panthenon/Acropolis by night….a sight to see I promise!

This is a good start for the Athens rumfest which I believe has potential to grow nicely to something really great and I hope to see it happen again next year.

Enjoy the rest by pictures! I think they say more than my words!

The Rum and Whisky fest:

Entering the rum and whisky fest under the high pillars of the Zappeon building is quite impressive…

And then you`re met by a familiar sight…booths with booze….and bartenders serving cocktails. The Bayou rum

I first discovered in New Orleans during the Tales.

And like they say in Nola, let the good times roll…that`s what`s rum is all about! I know this was a rum and whisky festival but the rum girl I am, I`m focusing on the rum…

FINE Drinking Magazine, one of the best bar magazines today, get yours here.

Thanos Prunarus and FINE.

This was delicious! the Cuban Swizzle with Santiago de Cuba Greece rum and Alamea Pimento Liqueur which is with the other Alamea products launched now at the BCB in Berlin and to soon be sold online and shipped worldwide so all the tiki folks and everyone else will be able to get them.

And the Santiago Mulata, with Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur and the Santiago de Cuba Greece rum. As tasty as the Cuban Swizzle.

The Almaea Spiced, one of the very few spiced rums I found to be really good, that is – not too sweet – and with natural flavor and ingredients. And how about that tiki label? 🙂

Moving on to some Hampden rums…a favorite brand from Jamaica. RumFire needs no presentation and neither does the Hampden Gold. World famous high ester Jamaican rums at it´s best!

Similar to the RumFire with that typical vegetal grassy and “kerosene”- like flavor notes (but much less up in your face as the JWray), the Rum Bar overproof is a blend of three pot still unaged rums. The Worthy Park Estate have produced sugar and molasses since 1720. And then a new expression I haven`t seen before with the blue label, called Full Flavored White Rum. Good rums!

Cheers to overproof Jamaican rum!

And a daiquiri with it was in order.

Another rum brand I like, Compagnie de Indes, I wrote about a few of their expressions here.

A Mediterranian style Rum Old Fashioned with Rum Nation`s agricole rum from la Rèunion. Beautifully presented and very tasty.

Naga rum from Indonesia, which I think we will see some more of when a certain tiki bartender starts mixing with it 🙂 it had a bit of an interesting funk to it`s flavor which I think would be good in especially tiki drinks.

Another rum I had never tried before, Ron SumMum from the Dominican Republic.They come in four expressions – from left to right – the Reserva Especial, the Sauternes Cask Finish, the Cognac Cask Finish and the Malt Whiskey Finish.

And Japanese Whisky, Akashi. The version of Akashi produced for the European market using a mixture of Japanese and foreign-made malt and grain whisky.The Japanese version has malt whisky and molasses spirit, which would not be classed as ‘whisky’ in the EU.

Yaguara Cachaca, which is an artisanal Cachaca that comes in these three expressions. From left to right – the Organic and the most flavorful one, the Oro which is aged in three different woods and the Branca. The sweet part in this cachaca is not coming from any added sugar but from the oak. Brazil have at least 4000 brands of cachaca but only 2% is exported and unfortunately most of the exported cachacas are industrial so the best ones with the most flavors stays in Brazil. So most people gets to know just those and mostly in Caipirinhas which I think is a shame. (Nothing wrong with Caipirinhas, they are tasty but there is more)

I hope that will change! so we can see more artisanal cachacas outside of Brazil! it´s an interesting spirit and very much alike the rhum agricole but yet so different.

Havana Club.

The menu from Trailer Happiness at their pop up at Baba au Rum. I especially liked the flavor and spicy kick of the jerk spiced Voodoo Island, both frutiy, spicy and smoky.

The view from the stairs of Zappeon.

Athens:

The Acropolis is like a guardian of the city…The Parthenon and the other buildings were seriously damaged during the 1687 siege by the Venetians in the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded…

The heaters at the rooftop cocktail bar at the “A for Athens” hotel looks like flying saucers that just landed….and the sun started to set…

A to go with the sunset…a matching colored drink called the “Polyphemus the Cyclops”.This drink was actually a sort of Zombie with a blend of Plantation OFTD, Chairman`s Reserve and Bacardi rums, spicy. The drink on the right side is called “Wear Sunscreen” and is a blend of Plantation Pineapple rum, Bacardi Gold, Don`s Mix, Coconut edible sunscreen (whatever that means…)

And the sun exploded in fiery colors…

Part of the menu at “A for Athens”

The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis, built in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power, seen from the rooftop bar at the “A for Athens” hotel cocktail bar. When you see it like that at night, it`s really magic, it adds a certain feel of the past to the present.

And of course it´s stunningly beautiful, pictures does not do it justice.

The Parthenon/Acropolis lit up to spread magic and beauty.

And the view in daylight from the rooftop restaurant at the Astor hotel. This is what you can call a breakfast with a view….

Zoomed in view of Mount Lycabettus/Λυκαβηττός, pronounced [likaviˈtos], a Cretaceous (the period between 145.5 and 65.5 million years ago) limestone hill in Athens, at 300 meters (908 feet) above sea level. Pine trees cover its base, and at its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant.

Rooftops of Athens.

Piraeus, seen from the rooftop bar Mary Pickford which we were lucky to get to on their last day before closing since it´s a seasonal summer bar that was created by the team of Baba au Rum along with Varoulko Seaside. Great view, great cocktails, great bartenders, fantastic seafood and great music sums up this place.

Seafood….at Mary Pickford. I don`t know what I was eating, I just know it was really amazing.

Incredibly tasty, a coffee Mai Tai at the Speakeasy.

Baba au Rum Cocktails.

And their Zombie…

And Baba Rum Sour with Barbancourt rum and a decent float of Cadenhead Cask Strength rum from the Bellevue distillery.

The beautiful National Gardens, located right behind the Zappeon Hall.

Impressive plants in the park. In the 1920s the park was renamed “National Garden”and became opened to the public and in honour of Queen Amalia of Greece, the entrance was moved to the 12 palms she planted and the street in front was renamed Queen Amalia Avenue. Since then the National Garden, is open to the public from sunrise to sunset.

Baba au Rums iconic carousel…just love this one!

And my favorite bar in Athens, Baba au Rum.

Pretty much sums it up! Cafe”Just Made 33″ a great place for breakfast.

Hello Athens and thank you! I will be back!

Alamea Exotic Infusions!

Tiki World Rejoice!! This is super exciting! four stunning products will soon be released (in october) that I know especially the tiki world will LOVE! It`s the Tiki maestro Daniele Dalla Pola behind them, you know that guy who loves pineapples so much? and builds up a real show during his entertaining presentations? and not to mention amazing tiki drinks and tiki drink photography, plus he owns the Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna, Italy.

The vintage style tiki labels on these products are something you really want in your tiki bar or home bar or any bar for that matter. They are stunning work of exotic tropical art! And the products? I have tasted them all and they are just as good as i thought, or even better. Personally I do not ever want to not have them in my home tiki happy place/bar. These will be available for shipping worldwide and I will update in this post when the website is ready.

The name Alamea on the label is named after a starfish species (crown-of-thorns starfish). An old Samoan saying is that among Samoan traditional fishermen it has been said that if you happen to get stung by the spines of the alamea, you should turn the starfish over and have its spongy-like feet touch the area where you have been stung and the alamea will heal its own doing.

Here are my taste notes and impressions of the Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur, Peach Brandy Liqueur, Pimento Rum Liqueur and Spiced Rum.

Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur

Deep Coffee flavor from Hawaiian coffee…sumptuous and satisfying.

Alamea Pimento Rum Liqueur

I tasted it side by side with the Hamilton Pimento Dram and I find the Hamilton to have more punch and body but this one to be more refined and frankly I like them both equally much. I think they can be preferred in different drinks depending on how heavy the drink is. Sometimes a heavier or lighter pimento dram may be called for.

Alamea Peach Brandy Liqueur

This one is so good I could lick the bottle, it´s just so incredibly TASTY! made from fresh peaches of italy.

Alamea Spiced

One of the best spiced I`ve had. I`m usually not a fan of spiced rums so very much but it depends, and this one I find to be good and not too sweet (super important when it comes to spiced rums) and with natural flavors.

You will see more of these products on this website in the future because I know I will use them a whole lot. So now…on to the drinks! these are fun to mix with and a great addition to the tiki and other exotic (and other) cocktails.

O`opa`s Trap

1 oz/30 ml Laphroaig 10 whisky

1.5 oz/45 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum

0.5 oz/15 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur

0.25 oz Alamea Pimento Liqueur

0.25 oz/7.5 ml Alamea Spice

0.5 oz/15 ml banana cream mix*

1.5 oz/45 ml fresh lime juice

1.5 oz/45 ml fresh pineapple juice

Blend in blender with 1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice and pour into a zombie (chimney) glass and add more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with cocktail umbrella and speared Fabbri Amarena cherries.

Banana Cream Mix – 1 part butter + 1 part honey + 1 part banana syrup

Make a simple syrup with 2:1 ratio of demerara sugar and water (about 1 cup/2.5dl of sugar) and slice 1 banana in it and mash slightly with a fork and bring to boil, then simmer on medium-low heat for a couple minutes. Take off heat and leave to cool and settle for about 1 hour, then strain and bottle in a clean bottle.

Make the Banana Cream Mix and keep it slightly above room temp for use. This is sumptuous and delicious….perfect for tiki drinks with pineapple, banana and coffee.

2 Ports Cup

1 oz/30 ml GunRoom 2 Ports rum

1 oz/30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum

0,75 oz /22.5ml Alamea Peach Brandy Liqueur

0.5 oz/15 ml Campari to float in a half passionfruit shell on top of the ice.

0,75 oz /22.5ml fresh lime juice

0.5 oz/15 ml fresh pineapple juice

0.5 oz/15ml passionfruit juice

The passionfruit seeds from one passionfruit.

Add everything to shaker except the Campari and shake hard with ice, strain into a snifter. Add the passionfruit shell with the Campari float on top of the ice, to be floated before drinking. Garnish with pineapple leaf.

Punch Taiohaè

2 oz/60 ml fresh pineapple juice

0.75 oz/22.5 ml cream of coconut

0.25 oz/7.5 ml Alamea Hawaiian

Coffee Liqueur

1 oz/ 40 ml fresh lime juice

0.5 oz/15 ml Alamea Spice rum

1 oz/30 ml aged rhum agricole

0.5 oz/15 ml Demerara rum

0.5 oz/15 ml Appleton Rare Blend (Appleton 12)

Blend with 1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice or shake very hard with ice cubes to get that cream of coconut to mix in perfectly and pour into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with grated nutmeg, flower, tropical leaf and 3 speared cocktail cherries, Fabbri Amarena or Luxardo.

Aloha Nui Loa!

 

Best of A Mountain of Crushed Ice is coming…

Aloha! some of you dear readers might have noticed how slow this blog has become since many months…it moves at the speed of a drunken snail or turtle…but there´s a reason for that – there´s a book in the Works! “Best of A Mountain of Crushed Ice” is a book about tiki drinks with the best from this website in updated versions along with new recipes and some “mixed potions” by friendly tiki bartenders and enthusiasts from around the world.

The book is for everyone who loves tropical exotic tiki drinks and the little “tutorials” aims at those who are new to tiki drinks, both consumers and bartenders but the book as a whole is for all tiki drink lovers . So that`s what`s up…and when will the book be ready? I`m not sure of an exact date…but the plan is for this summer.

Trying to write posts for this website at the same time as writing the book plus also working with other things plus taking care of my domestic life turns out a little bit too much for this laid back flip-flop kind of lady so please bear with me when this website is taking a little temporary “half”-break. That said, I might pop in a blog post every now and then…and when the book is ready it will be announced right here.

So why writing a book? well, the blog is celebrating it`s 10th Anniversary this year! that`s ten years of collected recipes, rambles, experiments and knowledge, some better, some worse, some outright crazy…as is the nature of many cocktail blogs. But over time it can be difficult to find some of the best posts even though there`s an archive, but how often do people really bother digging in the yearly archives? blog posts and the drinks in them have a tendency to over time become forgotten. So I think putting the best from it in a book is not a bad idea, plus when I no longer is here this blog will not be either but then the book will be! So now you know why it`s moving so slow here for the moment.

In the meantime, here´s a little teaser picture collage…

Tiki Month 2017 – Doug`s Volcano

How time flies! we`re already in mid february and the Tiki Month is halfway through….

So, almost running late I just had to make a drink! and what could be more fitting than making a drink inspired by Doug Winship`s home made indoor volcano? if you didn´t know, Doug is the man behind the Tiki Month which appears every year in february on the Pegu blog (and by inspired bloggers around the blogosphere)

Next year Doug will celebrate his 10 year Anniversary with the Tiki Month! did 9 years pass already?? how did that happen? scary….I went to check his Tiki Month posts in his archives starting typing in february 2009 which is when it started. So many memories! that was the time when the Mixoloseum was going strong and we had the first”Mixohouse” in New Orleans. Feels like it was 100 years ago…

And then I found this post…..it´s called “How Tiki Month Began” – where he tells the story of how it started…it took me back to the golden days of tiki blogging….such nostalgia! incredible! it was a different feeling those days, it was a feeling of discovery, adventure and brotherhood among bloggers (and yes we even had our own organisation called the Cocktails and Spirits Online Writers Group with the likes such as Kaiserpenguin, Cocktailnerd and Dr Bamboo… The CSWOG was the 25 most prolific cocktail blogs at the time, come together doing events, both on and offline. Our signature drink was a communal style JWray overproof spiked Chartreuse swizzle served in flower vases.

I had no IDEA how much Doug looked up to us early tiki bloggers! and from having no tiki drink experience whatsoever to decide to go a whole month doing ONLY tiki is an amazing task to take up – and look at him now, almost ten years of tiki month blogging, and the research he have made and put together is incredible….go and read this post and all the others on his blog, Tiki Month 2017 in full swing! I have to give kudos to Doug for keeping it up for so long and I hope it won`t close down anytime soon.

There`s a video of Doug`s volcano, Mount Pegu – I posted it at last year`s Tiki Month, you can watch it here. I have admired his volcano for a long time, ever since he built it and I believe it must be pretty fun to have your own indoor volcano with erupting smoke and all, making your home tiki bar come alive!

For this drink I have put together rum, hibiscus grenadine, Cherry Heering, fresh lime, grapefruit and passion fruit. It was kind of too fruity and weak to me in flavor when I first made it but after adding Lost Spirits 61% Navy style rum the drink was kickin`and there came some depth of flavor.

If you can`t find that rum pick a rum that has a good punch both in flavor and proof. It´s a volcano after all, it´s supposed to be erupting…

Doug`s Volcano

1,5 oz grapefruit juice

1.5 oz passionfruit juice

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.25 oz Cherry Heering

0.75 oz hibiscus grenadine

1.5 oz Plantation 3 Stars Rum

1.5 oz Lost Spirits 61% Navy Style Rum

0.5 oz overproof rum (I used Meermaid)

Garnish – Dried hibiscus powder, two long lemon peels cut to look like lava streams, a pineapple leaf. Add some lime juice on the outside of a snifter and sprinkle hibiscus powder on it. You can make it yourself by crushing dried hibiscus flowers in a mortar.

Blend the ingredients in a blender at high speed for 5 seconds with 4 oz crushed ice and pour into a snifter, add more crushed ice to fill and the two lemon peels. Sprinkle some of the hibiscus powder on top of the ice and add 2 straws.

Now sit back and let that volcano take care of you…

Happy Tiki Month! next year we celebrate 10 years!!

Mount Pegu

Lost Spirits is Back!

After a time of quietness…the Lost Spirits is back with a new expression of their Navy style rum, this time with a changed formula. It`s a refined version of the old one with the smoky notes turned down a bit in favor of more fruitiness and a great deal of wood notes. It`s also drier and more balanced with an abv of 122 proof or 61% instead of the old 68%.

But they are not only back with a new rum expression, there is more….back in California from Charleston they are now in the process of building a new distillery in LA. The new distillery being built is going to be much bigger and also fully automated. For those who haven`t read the story about the Lost Spirits and how they use the Thea One reactor to speed up the ageing process I recommend reading more about the tech details over at Cocktailwonk.

This is the mad scientist Willy Wonka booze factory…it´s also most likely the only distillery using antique furniture made from American chestnut. In the 1860`s chestnut was commonly used for barrels but it`s hard to find today and so they are stripping the varnish off with a saw and using the wood in the reactor.

So there`s a lot of work going on there now setting up the new distillery, I have added some pics at the bottom of this post. I asked if the old smoke spewing dragon pot still gonna be there and from what I understand it will but also new ones, with the same theme of course…

You can see the old dragon still in this video here by Bryan Davis who also built the still himself.

Lost Spirits also added new team partners to the team including military scientist Wynn Sanders and Theron Reiner from Rattleback. Because it´s not only rum that`s going to come out of the Thea One…but also peaty scotch whisky originating from Islay.

Small batches of whisky will be Thea aged using a variety of different woods and the outcome will be the new “Abomination” line, with each expression named after different chapters in H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau…

I have yet to taste their whiskies and I`m looking forward to try out their Abomination line, I wonder what it can do in cocktails? maybe there´s a secret weapon…

This picture gives me a bit of “Vampire Lestat feeling” …..

This is not your usual stuff!

The names of the first labels are as follows –

  • Concerning the Beast Folk
  • The Sayers of the Law
  • The Crying of the Puma

So that`s what´s happening in short…not a dull moment there, more will come.

But let´s move on to the rum and the drinks!

I wish I still had some of the old navy style rum left to compare with but from what I remember, it did mix fine but was a bit too strong for me to sip neat and so I welcome the fine tuning and lower proof of this new version of the navy style rum.

In the nose I pick up sherry and prunes, wood, molasses and spices and then something “rooty”. The nose is quite heavy on the sherry I think.

In the mouth there´s a woody explosion at first, then comes the prunes and sherry again, with warm sharpness followed by a distinctive dryness. There´s lots of dark fruits and some spice and maybe a hint of banana.The finish is long with strong and a bit aggressive sherry wood notes.

My conclusion is that this version of their navy style rum is in better balance and cleaner in taste than the first one and it shines in cocktails. A strong rum that asks to be part of drinks that can tame it a little bit…so I threw together my Banana Boo Loo and then a version of a classic tiki drink, the Pearl Diver`s Punch, just making it a bit more lush – the secret with that drink is in the Pearl Diver´s Mix…and because I happened to have a bunch of blood oranges at home I decided to try it with some of my favorite mezcal just to see how it would do.

All the drinks turned out very tasty, especially the Banana Boo Loo which secret is fresh banana and fresh pineapple juice. There´s something about Lost Spirits rums and banana…

Banana Boo Loo

This recipe is for a 75 cl/25 oz goblet (IKEA) and so it´s a double drink!

4 oz fresh pineapple juice (or equal parts fresh pineapple chunks and bottled pineapple juice pre-blended and strained)
2 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz banana-demerara syrup* (or you can mix in Giffard Banane du Brésil into demerara syrup)
4 oz Lost Spirits 61 % Navy Style Rum

Put everything in the blender and blend with 1 cup of crushed ice at high speed for 5 sec. Pour unstrained into a hollowed out pineapple (or goblet) fill up with more crushed ice if needed.

As for the syrup – make a rich simple syrup (it takes 5-10 minutes) with 2:1 (or make a 1;1 syrup if you prefer a lighter one, but personally I prefer a more rich viscous syrupy syrup, it just add that mouth feel to the cocktail and richness) with dark demerara sugar and water and when the sugar is dissolved by heating it up, add banana chunks to it from one half fresh banana and mash it with a fork then take off from heat and leave to cool and set for a couple hours or overnight ( I did overnight, it deepens the flavor)

Blood of the She Creature

1 oz Lost Spirits 61% Navy Style Rum
1 oz Appleton Signature Blend (former VX)
1.5 oz fresh squeezed blood orange juice
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.25 oz Macadamia nut syrup (Giffard)
0.5 oz orgeat
Float Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal

Shake with ice, strain and serve in a chilled cocktail coupe with a large piece of cracked ice chunk. Garnish with 2 pineapple leaves and a dehydrated blood orange slice.

Royal Pearl Diver

0.75 oz Royal Pearl Diver’s Mix
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz passionfruit juice
1 oz Lost Spirits 61% Navy Style Rum
1 oz Demerara rum
1 cup crushed ice

Add everything to a blender and blend at high speed 5 sec. Pour unstrained into a goblet or tiki mug and garnish with speared lime peel and cherry, a tropical orchid and a paper umbrella.

Serve immediately.

Sweet and sour, spicy and strong, complex and velvety smooth…

Royal Pearl Diver’s Mix (enough for 4 drinks):

1 oz unsalted butter (or ghee, clarified)
1 oz honey (use liquid)
1 oz orgeat
1/2 tsp pimento dram
pinch cinnamon spice

Heat butter and honey to melt, mix in the orgeat, pimento dram and cinnamon, then set aside to cool to room temp.

The building of the distillery in pictures:

Here`s a few pictures of the new distillery to be, courtesy of Lost Spirits and Doc Fried:

The 61% Navy Style rum is available through KL Wines.

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!

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