Potions of the Caribbean!

BB Book Cover Potions of the Caribbean

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




BB Book Planters Punch

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

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

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

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

BB Book Puka Puka Punch


BB Book Planters punch rum bottle

And the Bum and his outstanding work is loved…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BB Book La Florida Daiquiri no 3


BB Book Beachcomber


BB Book Collage

UK Rumfest 2013!! Celebrating all things RUM in London! part 2

Rumfest 2013 IAN

Mr Rum Ambassador Ian Burrel – Founder of the UK Rumfest

Here´s the second post on my round-up of the UK Rumfest that took place oct 12-13 at the ExCeL in London to celebrate all things Rum!


Rumfest 2013 ED barrels

The Connaisseur´s Cove was new for this years Rumfest and was the secluded area for the true rum enthusiasts who were not there just to party but also to learn about rums more in-depth and get a chance to sample and savor some of the world´s finest rums.

And the “Cove” was crowded…much more than i expected and i think i should started in there first instead of us heading to the Boutique area because that area was never crowded like that.

Connaisseur´s Cove had rums such as Gosling´s, Centenario, Pusser´s, Ron Botran, El Dorado, St Nicholas Abbey, Don Q & Caliche, Angostura, R.L Seale and Doorly’s, Lamb´s Navy, Berry bros & Rudd, Green Island, Clarke´s Court, Ron Cubay, Chamarel, Diplomatico, Zacapa and Mount Gay.

Jax & Smatts was a combo of Jax coconut water and Smatt`s silver rum. Also Coco Real the fine cream of coconut brand paired up with Pusser´s rum for tasty painkiller cocktails.

I`m trying to feature the rums that are new to either me or the market my posts because to me the rumfest is very much about that, trying out new rums you never tried before – but that said i do of course sample from the well established premium brands too even if i already know what they taste like – just because they are so good….

And rums like Appleton, El Dorado or anything from Foursquare are all masterfully created marvels of good flavors, complexity and balance. You can`t go wrong with any of these rums, they are solid.

And i don´t think you can have too many rums..


Rumfest 2013 st nicholas abbey barrel

I was lucky to be able to come along and fetch the barrel with 15 year old rum from St Nicholas Abbey in Barbados and bring it to the UK Rumfest! That was really interesting and i shall admit i`m in love with the St Nicholas Abbey rum which i first discovered at the UK Rumfest in 2011.

This was when their flavorful white rum still had no name and was called the “See Through” but today it´s sold as their White Rum and it`s distilled from fresh sugar cane syrup and is absolutely fantastic – like all their rums.  A review of the white rum will follow in a separate post.

So here´s the rum from the dock to the Rumfest in pictures:

Rumfest st nicholas abbey boat and crate

On a rainy morning….a crate with a barrel of rum is transported to the UK Rumfest, the rum in the barrel is 15 year old rum from St Nicholas Abbey. I couldn´t wait to see that crate being opened…

Rumfest 2013 St Nicholas abbey mahogany and corks

Covering the crate on the inside under the first cover was a huge and very heavy piece of beautiful mahogany, taken from one of the old trees on the St Nicholas Abbey property, the oldest mahogany trees on the island. The same mahogany is also used in the hand stamped cork tops together with leather.

Rumfest 2013 st nicholas abbey barrel in crate and rolled

The barrel being taken out and rolled to the stand to be lifted and put up and made ready for the pouring of rum to be sampled and enjoyed at the Rumfest.

Rumfest 2013 St Nicholas abbey 15 yo

And here it is!! The first ever rum taken out of this specific barrel and poured into one of these beautiful bottles. Never yet tasted before until now…it was very exciting! and the rum tasted…oh so goood….one of the best you can get today.

It´s made with great attention to detail and is a true handcrafted work of art all the way to the beautiful bottle which you can get personally engraved.

Rumfest 2013 st nicholas abbey sugarcane honey and sugar

Sugarcane “honey” and pure brown sugar from the estate.

They don´t only make rum at the St Nicholas Abbey, there´s also wonderful sugars and condiments being made, all in the same hand crafted style. They also makes a beautiful rum cake and there´s picture of it in my previous post.

One thing i enjoyed tasting was the sugarcane honey – which is the evaporated sugarcane juice their rum is made of – because this rum isn´t made from molasses. The sugarcane honey does not taste like molasses either – instead it has a very earthy kind of flavor which tastes wonderful.

Rumfest 2013 st nicholas abbey hot and pepper sauces

They also make a wonderful hot sauce and equally nice pepper rum – i just love these little exotic tasty condiments!


rumfest 2013 smugglers cove seminar

In his seminar “Tales from America´s No 1 Rum Bar” Martin Cate told us the story of his fabulous rum bar Smuggler´s Cove and also quite a bit of the story of the tiki bars and drinks.

Smuggler´s Cove is a bar that celebrates rums and it´s history along with the tiki and it´s history and together it becomes so much more than just tiki because the history of rum dates back so much longer.

They serve traditional drinks of the Caribbean islands, classic libations of prohibition-era Havana and exotic cocktails from legendary Tiki bars.

It´s all about the right drink in the right location with the right atmosphere – and of course – the right rum for the right drink! – and here Martin Cate is a master! – which makes me come to think about another master when it comes to pairing the right rums with the right mixers – yes you guessed it – Don the Beachcomber!

rumfest 2013 smugglers cove drink

Sidewinder´s Fang as served at the Smuggler´s Cove

At the Smuggler´s Cove they take pride in measuring the drinks for consistency.

Martin also do what he can to support business and buys well made good quality falernum for example even though he easily could make it himself. But if there´s small businesses that makes great products, why not support them?

They also have something called the Rumbustion Society where you get an opportunity to sample over 200 rums from countries around the world as a member. They have 3 different levels and on the third level you`ll be rewarded with a private distillery trip. And by then you`ll have tasted 200 rums and gained a lot of rum knowledge!

If you wanna know more about Smuggler´s Cove in San Francisco to go their website here. I for one have yet not been there but i hope that one day…

There was many more seminars or rum master classes but i didn´t make it to any other, it´s just too many things going on at the same time…and when you have fun time flies and all of a sudden you discover the day is over…

rumfest 2013 smugglers cove drinks seminar

And of course we got some nice cocktails to imbibe – one tasty spicy rum punch type of drink and then one with coconut that was soooo tasty! and i really really liked that one, so much that i went and asked Martin for the recipe so i can make them at home and also share with my readers.

The drink got no name so i call it Martin`s Coconut Punch…until Martin comes and give the drink a name…

Martin`s Coconut Punch

1 part Coco Real cream of coconut

2-3 dashes Angostura bitters

1 part fresh lime juice

2 parts Angostura 1919

And shake it up with ice and serve with ice cubes.


Rumfest 2013 real mc coy 12 yo

The Boutique Rumfest was a separated area for the trade only with various rums to sample and a much better chance to talk to the producers since it´s so much calmer. Last time i was at the Boutique Rumfest in 2011 it was taking place on the friday before the Rumfest started on the saturday but now it had it´s own area instead during the two rumfest days.

The first thing i saw in there was the “Real McCoy” rum booth and i was really happy to meet them in person for the first time, they are very nice people. The Real McCoy rum has a very interesting story and it´s a good rum. They sent me their 5 year old rum for review when i was in New Orleans this past summer.

Now i got a chance to talk to them in person and to try out their white and their 12 year old expressions. The white was good but the one i was really fond of was the 12 year old….it´s a very nice rum indeed with a round full bodied flavor.  I hope to pick up a bottle some day.

Cheers to you Real McCoy people!


rumfest 2013 bristol rums

To my joy i saw the Bristol Spirits rums and of course went straight to taste them all and talk to the producer of these fine rums.

A bottle of 1999 Port Morant Demerara catched my attention of course…and not surprisingly also turned out to be my favorite rum from their range of exhibited rums. The PM 1999 does surely has to contain rum distilled from the double wooden pot still since it used to be in the Port Morant Estate that was founded in 1732.

Demerara is a designation of origin and is rum being distilled in Guyana. The only distillery today that is left in Guyana is the DDL – Demerara Distillers Limited and they operate all those stills that were brought from the now defunct Sugar Estates among which Port Morant is one.

The PM 1999 has a typical demerara flavor and is rich, full bodied with dark notes of dried fruit and chocolate. It is (46% ABV)

rumfest 2013 bristol caroni and port morant

After that i tried the 1998 Caroni which is a rum from Trinidad and the now defunct Caroni Distillery. Trinidad rums usually have a light style and so was this one. Light, elegant and flavorful.

But there´s also so called Heavy Caronis which are very fullbodied and strong rums with high alcohol content and a type of rum i like a lot. Some of the heavy Caronis i`ve tried actually even reminds me of the heavy Jamaican pot still rums or full proof demeraras but without the demerara flavor though.

It´s a shame the Caroni distillery is not operating, there´s some real good rums coming out from there and when they are gone they are gone because they are coming from an era that no longer exists..

I can say one thing, without the Rumfest i wouldn´t been able to try all these interesting rums!


opthimus 15 oporto

Another rum i had never tried before even though i recognized the brand name so i went and tried their range of rums. They are of Cuban origin but are today made in the Dominican Republic.

Some quick tasting notes – the 15 year old (which i found sweet with hints of dried fruit and a flavor that comes upfront on the palate)  the 18 year old (smooth and somewhat “cool” and more of wood in the flavor, vanilla, honey) the 21 year old (fruity with caramel, oak, vanilla) the 25 year old (smooth, mature, vanilla, oak) the 15 year old porto finished, aged in porto barrels (raisin, grapes, dried fruit) and the 25 year old single malt barrel finished (semi-sweet, mature, honey)

It´s hard to try to get the flavors on a fast note like that but you get an overall impression though and to me it´s like that of a typical Cuban rum but then again i`m not an expert on Cuban rums…but i find them interesting.


rumfest 2013 don papas

And now something different, a small batch rum from the Philippines called Don Papa – named after a hero of the Philippine revolution. Aged 7 years in American oak barrels. This is to me a very sweet rum with flavors of vanilla and candied fruits.

They made cocktails too and one that was pretty pleasant was made with coconut jelly and kalamansi juice, here´s the recipe:


40 ml Don Papa rum

3 tblsp coconut jelly

3 big ice cub

Top with pink Guava juice (Tropical Groove)

Dash of fresh kalamansi juice ( or lime if you can`t find kalamansi) and add a lime for garnish too.

rumfest 2013 samba drums

Parabola Samba/Latin Fushion Collective and they were loud!!

rumfest 2013 samba 3

Samba dancers…

rumfest 2013 samba 2 pics

And it´s a Samba party!

Before the Rumfest i got to enjoy a little bit of London Cocktail week at various bars and there´s so incredibly many really great bars in London that i`m only gonna post pics from one, the first one i got to. Before i even had dropped my suitcase i was “dragged” into a glass lift outside of the Heron Tower and up we went….38 floors up to a bar called SushiSamba…

rumfest 2013 sushisamba lift

This lift was scary…

rumfest 2013 tonka bean old fashioned

But the Tonka bean Old Fashioned i had was worth it!

Tonka bean infused El Dorado 5 yo rum, Benedictine, Star Anise syrup and garnished with a flamed star anise that was attached at the top of a sugarcane stick to turn upside down and stir the drink with when the star anise finished burning.

Excellent cocktail! and a great bar with a fantastic view!

rumfest 2013 view from sushisamba

And excellent view of London from the bar.

rumfest 2013 view from sushisamba 2

See you again London at the next UK Rumfest!

UK Rumfest 2013!! Celebrating all things RUM in London!


After a rum and cocktail filled weekend at the ExCel and the bars in London part of me wish one could always live this way while the other part is a bit shall we say booze over-filled?

It´s like a Rum “Tales of the Cocktail” in a concentrated mini format…

For those who doesn´t know the UK Rumfest is the world`s biggest rum event and rum experience for rum drinkers, rum aficionados and rum lovers with over 400 rums to try out plus cocktails made by some of the best bartenders in the UK.

There is live cocktail demonstrations and competitions, island music entertainment including salsa, soca, reggae, zouk and samba. Rum Experience University Masterclasses conducted by industry experts and master blenders.

Food and rum pairings and cooking demonstrations, tropical food market ( i bought fantastic hot pepper sauces from Barbados)

New for this year was the Connoisseur’s Cove area where serious rum aficionados were invited to explore the drink’s more prestigious depths and sample some of the rarest rums available, while in the main arena newcomers could go on a real voyage of discovery with seminars, masterclasses and cocktail making.

Visitors enjoyed a variety of fine foods in The Tropical Food Market including Caribbean dining and African delicacies, and a series of live presentations offered some valuable tips for those looking to introduce rum into their cooking.

For distillers and producers it´s the perfect occasion to display new products and there´s something for everyone that´s for sure.

And there is the Golden Rum Barrel Awards where yours truly brought home the Rum Blogger of the Year award (see previous post)

And most of all – it´s fun! and it´s a great occasion to not only deal with all things rum but too meet all these fantastic people!

Running alongside the main event for a third year, the trade-only Boutique RumFest provided a valuable and unique platform for small, emerging brands to showcase their rums to industry figures including wholesalers, buyers, distributors and press.

I very much enjoyed the Boutique Rumfest because it´s calmer there since it´s only for the trade and you really get a chance to talk to the producers. But don´t get me wrong, i enjoyed everything else just as much.

The big room with all the cocktails, party, music, food, contests and fun and the Connasisseur´s Cove where one could find fine rums such as RL Seale, Diplomatico, St Nicholas Abbey, El Dorado, Centenario, Botran, Pusser´s, Don Q, Angostura, Zacapa and new rums like Chamarel and Cubay.

UK RumFest curator and Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell hosted an incredible variety of talks, demonstrations and activities over the weekend with leading figures within the industry.

Visitors were shown how to make the perfect Cuban Mojito thanks to Havana Club’s Mojito Embassy, Coco Re’al and Pusser’s Rum were also on hand with further cocktail demonstrations and celebrity Chef Hasan de Four brought some diversity to the rum tasting by hosting live cooking demos throughout the day.

Year on year UK RumFest returns to celebrate and educate rum’s huge popularity and diversity. Beginning just seven year’s ago at the Royal Horticultural Halls with just 500 people – RumFest now caters for 7,000 rum-lovers!!  So bring on the RumFest’s return in 2014 – i can´t wait…

And here is this years Rum Fest in pictures:

rumfest 2013 sign great minds drink alike

Yep! Let´s get this party started! with over 400 rums and a never ending range of rum punches and cocktails, food and snacks from the Caribbean, music, contests and more there´s nothing but a big party!

That said, with the Connaisseur´s Cove and the Boutique Rumfest for the trade there´s something for everyone at the UK Rumfest!


Rumfest 2013 PK

Painkillers….with Coco Real and Pusser´s rum. I love it all! the Painkiller is one of my favorite cocktails, Pusser´s a great rum and Coco Real, is such a fantastic and versatile cream of coconut, good for Pina Coladas too!

Not only that, it comes in a handy bottle and last long! Some prefer Coco Lopez but i´d say both – they are equally good but the Coco Real is to me a better value since you get so much in one handy squeeze bottle.

Can`t be without that real coconut flavor!

Rumfest 2013 pussers

Pusser´s rum – an important part of British Naval history and the only rum with official Admiralty authentication making it a true Navy rum.


Rumfest 2013 Westernhall rums

The Vintage and the Plantation expressions from the Westernhall Estate in Grenada. Do i need to say they taste good? The Vintage is made from rums that are aged a minimum of 10 years and is rich and smooth.

Westernhall Plantation is a smooth sipping rum with a buttery smooth and a little bit spicy taste. A true Caribbean rum that was located in the Boutique Rumfest section for the trade only and which naturally was the least crowded area – which gave you more time to taste and talk with the producers. On the other hand, the rum producers got more exposed in the Connaisseur´s Cove which was really crowded.

Rumfest 2013 jack iron

Westernhall also produces the Jack Iron which is an overproof rum with great flavor that has been aged in wooden charred oak cask and bottled at 70% ABV, use as floats in cocktails and tiki drinks! It´s still not harsh on the palate even though of course strong.


Recently launched in the UK a rum from Cuba. They have the Carta Blanca, a 4 yo Carta Dorada, a 5 yo called Anejo Suave and  the anejo which is aged for 7 years and finally the anejo reserva which is 10 years with flavors of spices, vanilla and honey.

In the UK it´s the 3, 7 and 10 year old rums that are being launched.

Rumfest 2013 CUBAY 5

They were pretty swamped when i got there (the whole Conneisseur´s Cove was much more crowded than i expected) and so i only got to have a brief taste of it.

I found the 3 year old white to have a sort of fresh sugarcane hints in it, the anejo was lighter than i expected and have a sweetness to it with vanilla notes, and the Reserva Especial added some more wood oakiness. I would like to be able to re-visit these rums though because i feel i`m not done with tasting them.

The Cubay rums are produced by the distilleries of Cuba Ron S.A which also produce Havana Club. The Ron Cubay brand was at first only intended for domestic consumption, so that´s why it´s new now in the UK. but it was actually founded in Cuba back in 1964.

Rumfest 2013 CUBAY 4

Samples of Ron Cubay, the latest Cuban rum on the market in Europe.

I start to wonder if the Rumfest doesn´t need one more day…it´s kinda hard to be able to go through everything you want in just five hours per day in 2 days…


Rumfest 2013 Wray and Ting and ice

NO RUMFEST WITHOUT JWRAY AND TING! – yeah that´s right….

A true highlight for me was the JWray and Ting booth with JWray and Ting and Reggae Punch drinks! – i just kept returning….like a moth to the light…

I left and walked away but after a while i heard the Ting and Jwray and Reggae Rum punch call me back…

Rumfest 2013 Reggae Rum Punch

The Reggae Rum Punch was so yummy! i could of been drinking bucket loads of it! and those who know me know i also loves me some JWray and Ting…Here´s a pic of  the recipe cards so you can make these delicious drinks at home:

Rumfest 2013 JWray  recipes


What is a Rumfest without Caribbean Rum Punches? and i saw rum punches almost everywhere i went…red punches, yellow, orange, green…and they were all so tasty! and some of these rum punches were bottled and for sale as well in the Tropical Food Market with all kinds of good things from rum punches to rum cakes and hot sauces.

If you like Caribbean and other tropical food, drinks and snacks there was a lot to taste including fresh coconuts with rum in them.

Rumfest 2013 Rum Punches red

These red tropical rum punches makes me drool…i know how good they are…

rumfest 2013 Rum punches 3 jewel isle

Lime – lemon, Tropical and Pineapple-Ginger Rum Punches from Jewel Isle. I especially liked the Tropical and the Pineapple-Ginger ones. www.jewelislerumpunch.co.uk

And here´s the Tropical….

Rumfest 2013 rum punch jewel isle tropical


And rum cakes of all kinds, i have two with me back, one from St Nicholas Abbey and one Key Lime Rum Cake from Tortuga.

Rum cakes are a very old Caribbean tradition.

rumfest 2013 ganja rum cake

No real ganja in this one…but there´s rum!

rumfest 2013 st nicholas rum cake

And here´s the exquisite rum cake from st Nicholas Abbey. And you need to eat food too and what is bettter than Tropical and Caribbean food? Ian Burrell´s restaurant Cotton`s is always worth having a taste from, their food is a true Caribbean experience! and there were others like Island Griddle, Zoe´s Ghana Kitchen, Big Mama Food with African flavors and Taste of Barbados…

The Tropical Food Market had all kinds of things including Black River Chocolate from Jamaica.

Rumfest 2013 caribbean food

Not much left….of spicy Jamaican patties and grilled shrimps – and then a bottle of St Nicholas Abbey 15 yo rum….more about that rum in the next post.


Of course there was Tiki bars and rum bars and some of the best bartenders in the UK to shake up tasty drinks for all. I enjoyed rum punches and great company at the El Dorado Tiki bar manned by the bartenders from Liar´s Club Tiki Bar in Manchester and the Plantation Tiki bar with among others my good old rum friend Paul McFadyen.

Rumfest 2013 plantation tiki bar

Yeah…Rum Tiki Punch! with Plantation Rum!

rumfest 2013 plantation tiki bar tiki

On stage there were cocktail competitions, among them speed comps which can be quite hilarious when the bar gets wetter and wetter…

And some great prizes to win for the competing bartenders! and the contest cocktails were given out to the audience, i for one got a mojito from the mojito speed comp.

speed comp

Michele Tuveri shaking it up!


Dark rum cocktails demonstration by The Kuyper “A” Team.


Try this….

rumfest 2013 sign flip flops

That is all in pictures for now folks but look out for a second post in similar style describing more rums, seminar with Martin Cate and some pictures from London of the city, some bars and drinks.

So for the rum connaisseurs and enthusiasts the Rumfest is “rum-edutainment” but what does the producers say? Let´s have a look:

What some of the producers said about this years Rumfest:

“Great first time experience at Rumfest for us with Virgin Gorda British Caribbean Rum. Fantastic to make so many “Rum connections” from all over the world. And very chuffed with the “Best Boutique of the Year” prize!”
Ellie – Virgin Gorda

“We used RumFest to launch our new product in the UK, being in the Connoisseur Cove allowed us to give a detailed history of Ron Cubay and its Cuban quality. The positive feedback we had from Trade and Consumers was fantastic and we intend to be back next year as an established Cuban Rum in the UK.” Jonathan – JBE Imports

Really happy once again to be exhibiting here. This year was our product launch for Rum Chamarel and I couldn’t have been happier from the response we got from the folks of UK RumFest 2013. Great event bringing everyone from the industry and all the ‘rummys’ together under one roof trying new products and existing products too. Bring on Next year I say !”
Rowan Sham – Rhumerie Chamarel

“The UK Rum Fest was a pleasure to attend. We think this event is critical to our expansion into the UK. The access we received to retailers and distributors was excellent. We look forward to presenting The Real McCoy rum to the UK market and partnering with the UK RumFest for many years to come.” Bailey Prior – Real McCoy Rum

“Our first Boutique Rum Fest has been a success and we received lots of enthusiasm for Santiago de Cuba Rum that is known already by lots of people here in London who can no wait to see the brand on the market. We will surely be back in 2014 for more Cuban delights.” Damien – Santiago de Cuba

“The Connoisseur’s Cove was a great addition to RumFest this year, it gave us the time and space to really connect with the visitors to our stand.” Chris Seale – Diplomatico

“RumFest 2013 was a great success for the Re’al Rum Shack this year. We exhibited Pusser’s rum and Coco Re’al and featured in the Connoisseurs Cove area. This was a great addition to RumFest and enabled us to talk and spend time with all who visited us at our stand. This area was much more relaxed and was perfect for introducing and educating people on our brands.

It is because of this area that we exhibited again this year, and will be doing so again next year. The standard of people that came to see us in the Connoisseurs Cove was fantastic. We met some great people and recorded some great leads.” Peter Thornton – Pussers

“Another amazing, fun time meeting old friends, tasting fantastic rums and making new contacts. At Green Engineering were proud to again sponsor the Master Blenders award. We believe it takes a combination of our beautifully hand crafted distilleries and the skills of the master blender to consistently produce a really great rum.” John Whetstone – Green Engineering

RumFest is a blast, no other drinks festival puts on a party like they do. The love for rum in the UK is immense and the quality of drinks on offer is getting better every year, we’re proud to be part of the movement.” Nick Rogers – Instill Drinks

“Great RumFest this weekend. We were really pleased with the changes you made and noticed a big difference in the quality of people coming to taste the rums. Thank you very much!”
Olivia Plunkett – Eaux de Vie

“Another amazing, fun time meeting old friends, tasting fantastic rums and making new contacts. At Green Engineering were proud to again sponsor the Master Blenders award. We believe it takes a combination of our beautifully hand crafted distilleries and the skills of the master blender to consistently produce a really great rum.” John Whetstone – Green Engineering

“The crowd at RumFest were fantastic. It was great to see so many rum lovers in London. We had a lot of fun and made a lot of new friends. Teaming up with Lambs Navy Rum was a natural match due to our location in West India Quay where our histories cross paths.

The new Lambs Spiced proved incredibly popular with the public. We are really looking forward to seeing all our new friends in Rum & Sugar at West India Quay to work their way through our extensive rum collection and sample some of our many rum inspired dishes.” Chris Gutierrez – Rum and Sugar



Cheers to the UK Rumfest!! and one more thing…if you´re only interested in getting drunk the Rumfest isn´t for you!

Official Press Release – Winners Announced at Fourth Annual Golden Rum Barrel Awards

Here is the official press release:



Raising a toast to the industry’s finest individuals and the best blends in the business, winners of the fourth annual Golden Rum Barrel Awards are revealed.

Taking place at London’s swanky The May Fair Bar, The Rum Experience presented an evening of canapés and cocktails with host Ian Burrell presenting gongs to the likes of Tito Cordero, who received the ‘Master Blender of the Year’ accolade, A Mountain Of Crushed Ice that picked up ‘Rum Blogger of the Year’ and Destilerias Unidas S.A., receiving the esteemed ‘Rum Distillery of the Year’.

This year’s awards paid homage to a handful of industry luminaries who became the first batch of inductees into the Rum Experience Hall Of Fame, including Lorena Vásquez Ampié, Jose Sanchez Gavito and the late Laurie Barnard who was honoured posthumously as one of the greatest rum makers of his generation.

The annual Awards are part of the the UK RumFest celebrations, the largest rum and sugar cane festival in the world that took place across the weekend at London’s ExCeL Centre. Full information on the Awards, UK RumFest and The Rum Experience can be found at The Rum Experience website.

Returning for a fourth year, the Golden Rum Barrel Awards recognised exquisite, stand-out rums, as well as individuals, who have made a significant contribution to the rum industry over the last twelve months.

Winners were carefully selected by Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell and a panel of experts with awards including ‘Rum Blogger of the Year’, A Mountain of Crushed Ice and Destilerias Unidas S.A. (Venezuela) who picked up ‘Rum Distillery of the Year’ plus Virgin Gorda Rum receiving ‘Boutique Rum of The Year’. 2013’s Master Blender of the Year was picked up by the hugely talented Tito Cordero for both his depth of experience and for producing what is, arguably, the finest and most consistent rum with his Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva blend.

The inaugural ‘The Rum Experience Hall Of Fame’, launched on Saturday as part of the UK RumFest, recognised those who have proved to be a phenomenal force within the industry. Master Blender Lorena Vásquez Ampié‘s dedication to the promotion of Guatemalan rums, particularly Ron Zacapa to a new and discerning rum clientele was recognised as the first in a number of inductees on the night.

Passionate about the art of crafting premium rum, Lorena is driven by her quest for perfection and is one of a small number of female master blenders in the world. Jose Sanchez Gavito has been a master blender for over 36 years and has been pushing the boundaries for new rum throughout his career. After retiring, from making rum in Mexico for Bacardi, Jose then joined the Bacardi Global team to create a new wave of “retro rums” such as the Bacardi ‘Heritage edition’, which has broken new ground and re-introduced Bacardi rum to the cocktail & mixology world.

Laurie Barnard, Chairman of St. Lucia Distillers, was seen by many as one of the greatest rum makers of his generation. A man with great dreams and ambition for Caribbean rum to be seen as the great spirit, worldwide. He was committed to quality control, as well as diversity in the production and distribution of his rum. Sadly Mr Barnard passed away in October 2012 but his legacy lives on through his rums like Chairman’s Reserve and Elements 8.

Master Distiller Richard Seale was awarded for constantly proving that “Rum innovation is rum tradition waiting to happen”. Richard Seale is a rum trend setter. A 3rd generation rum maker, he was definitely “born to make rum”.

Francisco Don Pancho Fernandez is a pioneering Master Blender and for over 50 years, Cuban born Don Pancho has been involved in making great Spanish styled rum. During the 1970’s as director of the Cuban Beverage Industry, Don Pancho helped in the renovation process of the rum industry in Cuba, introducing modern technology, renovating the cask inventories and modernising the plants and distilleries.

He also helped to improve fermentation, production and blending techniques that set the standard worldwide enabling him to travel the world and interact with different spirit industries such as Whisky in Scotland and Vodka in Poland. These multicultural exchanges developed his experience and skill and made Don Pancho the quintessential Master Blender he is today, with a unique and personal touch. Rums like Zafra 21, Ron Abuelo and of course Ron de Jeremy rum has kept Don at the top of his game.


Picture courtesy The Floating Rum Shack


Boutique Rum of the Year sponsored Imbibe Magazine
Virgin Gorda Rum

‎Rum Distillery of the Year
Destilerias Unidas S.A. (Venezuela)

Master Blender of the Year sponsored by Green Engineering
Tito Cordero

Rum Blogger of the Year sponsored by Don Q Rum
A Mountain Of Crushed Ice

Rum Experience Hall of Fame Award
Lorena Vásquez Ampié
Jose Sanchez Gavito
Laurie Barnard
Richard Seale
Francisco Don Pancho Fernandez

Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador comments - 

“This year’s Golden Rum Barrel Awards plays tribute to the pioneers within the the industry whether blend or being.

Rums rising popularity throughout the world can be attributed to many of these esteemed individuals or brands and we are thrilled to announce such an incredible range of distillers, master blenders, ambassadors and rum blends from all over the world.”


Fourth Annual Rum Barrel Awards at the UK Rumfest

Rumbarrel award

The World’s Largest Rum Festival Will Honour the Industry’s Finest at the Fourth Annual Golden Rum Barrel Awards

And i`m very happy to announce that this blog won the Rum Barrel award in the cathegory “Rum Blog of the Year 2013” at the Rum Barrel awards at the Mayfair Hotel in London.

It´s wonderful to be recognized by the industry for the work you´re doing! and i wanna thank everybody who did cast their vote for me!

London’s exclusive the May Fair Hotel plays host to UK RumFest’s official after party inviting rum lovers to celebrate, raising a toast to the world’s largest rum festival and the esteemed Golden Rum Barrel Awards.

Taking place on Saturday 12th October with doors opening at 8PM for a night of cocktails, canapés and the DJs playing setting the rhythm rounding off Saturday’s rum celebrations in true style.

The evening hosts the prestigious fourth annual Golden Rum Barrel Awards, playing tribute to leading figures in the rum world with award categories that include Best New Rum, Rum Blogger of the Year and the Rum Experience Hall of Fame Award. The after party and awards ceremony coincide with the highly anticipated UK RumFest and the biggest weekend in the rum calendar.

Returning for a fourth year, the Golden Rum Barrel Awards recognises exquisite, stand-out rums and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the rum industry over the last year. Winners will be carefully selected by Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell and a panel of experts, with a special RumRatings Award for Best Rum at UK RumFest voted for by the public at the RumRatings website.

The awards form part of UK RumFest’s intimate after party, where the public and trade professionals can keep the rum flowing with Havana Club and Don Q serving up delicious cocktails, mouth-watering canapés will be offered for all helping to soak up the rum fuelled day and music played out at the stunning five star May Fair Hotel, within the heart of London.

TheFloatingRumShack ‏@FloatingRumShac12 Oct
Tonight the Golden #Rum Barrel Awards mark the movers and the shakers, the great and the good. Who’s gonna win?

Among others to win Rum Barrel awards was Rum Hall of Fame winners Jose Sanchez, the former Chief Maestro Ronero for Bacardi & Richard Seale, Foursquare, Lori Bernard of St. Lucia Distillers (sadly no longer with us) Lorena Vasquez of Ron Zacapa, Maximo Maestro Ronero, Jose Sanchez from Mexico, Robert Burr, Miami Rum Renaissance.

Rum Distiller and Rum Master Blender of the Year is Tito Cordero, DUSA, Diplomatico rum.

Best New Rum as featured in the Boutique RumFest is Virgin Gorda!

Distillery of the Year: Dusa

So that´s it folks! and i`m a very happy blogger! i will soon post about the Rumfest itself so stay tuned.

umbarrel award me small
A happy yours truly at the awards party
rum barrel award party
The Rum Barrel after party and plenty of cocktails!

UK Rumfest Announces Official After Party


London’s exclusive the May Fair Hotel plays host to UK RumFest’s official after party inviting rum lovers to celebrate, raising a toast to the world’s largest rum festival and the esteemed Golden Rum Barrel Awards.

Taking place on Saturday 12th October with doors opening at 8PM for a night of cocktails, canapés and the DJs playing setting the rhythm rounding off Saturday’s rum celebrations in true style.

The evening hosts the prestigious fourth annual Golden Rum Barrel Awards, playing tribute to leading figures in the rum world with award categories that include Best New Rum, Rum Blogger of the Year and the Rum Experience Hall of Fame Award.

The after party and awards ceremony coincide with the highly anticipated UK RumFest and the biggest weekend in the rum calendar. Tickets for this unmissable evening will be available at UK RumFest this Saturday and the last remaining tickets for UK RumFest can be bought from the official website.

Returning for a fourth year, the Golden Rum Barrel Awards recognises exquisite, stand-out rums and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the rum industry over the last year.

Winners will be carefully selected by Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell and a panel of experts, with a special RumRatings Award for Best Rum at UK RumFest voted for by the public at the RumRatings website.

The awards form part of UK RumFest’s intimate after party, where the public and trade professionals can keep the rum flowing with Havana Club and Don Q serving up delicious cocktails, mouth-watering canapés will be offered for all helping to soak up the rum fuelled day and music played out at the stunning five star May Fair Hotel, within the heart of London.


Boutique Rum of the Year sponsored Imbibe Magazine

Rum Experience Hall of Fame Award

‎Rum Distillery of the Year

Master Blender of the Year sponsored by Green Engineering

Rum Blogger of the Year sponsored by Don Q Rum

‎Best New Rum (UK)

RumRatings.com Award for Best Rum at the Show (as voted by the general public at www.rumratings.com)

Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador comments, “This year’s Golden Rum Barrel Awards takes on a new exciting turn opening its doors to a wider and wanting audience who will witness awards given to those making huge waves the industry. We have carefully selected individuals and brands who are at the top of their game and work endlessly to promote their rum brand. It also happens to be the perfect way to continue the party on after Saturday RumFest celebrations.”

Returning to the UK’s capital this October, the world famous UK RumFest takes place on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October 2013 taking each visitor on a voyage of rum discovery at London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre.

The seventh annual UK RumFest showcases over 400 of the rarest and most exquisite rums from across the globe, as well as cocktail demonstrations, intimate seminars and masterclasses hosted by industry aficionados.

The delectable Tropical Food Market will feature mouthwatering food from all over the world, plus live music and main stage presentations creating an incredible two days of rum infused fun.

This year UK RumFest presents for the first time the Connoisseur’s Cove area giving the discerning drinker the opportunity to delve further into rum’s rich culture and sip, savour and discover some of the rarest rums on the market.

Limited tickets are available with standard tickets priced at £25 plus booking fee or the Connoisseur’s Cove tickets priced at £45 plus booking fee, all available with more information from the UK RumFest website.

See you there!