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

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

Demerara Rums from Guyana

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Demerara Rums Part Two

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Demerara Rums Part Three

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Cachaca and Rhum agricole, what`s the difference?

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Sugarcane!

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Tahitian Vanilla Syrup

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Hibiscus Grenadine

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Gomme syrup

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

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Tiki Oasis 2014 – Beat Tiki!

Tiki Oasis by Mark

Rum, Fun and Tiki!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiki Oasis 13 included:

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

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

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

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

TH Ron Jeremy 2

Ron Jeremy is watching you…

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

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

Best Cocktail

Picture by Kahuna Kevin

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

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

Symposiums

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

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

serrano cocktail spice 2

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

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

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

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

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

Here is Boy Drinks World website.

Rum Revolution!

Rum rev coll

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

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

Tiki Symposium

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

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

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

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

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

Countdown to TO 15 is starting…

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

TO pool area

pool

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

Room crawl by Crystal

 Room Crawl in the Hula Hut, picture by Crystal Lee

TH by Mark

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

Kahuna Kevins Headless Zombie Flyer

The Headless Zombie, picture by Kahuna Kevin

Lei collage 1

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

Lei collage 2

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

TO Market

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

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

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

BOOTH collage

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

BOOTH 3

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

Ppl

People really had a good time!

Garnished people

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

TO Crowne Plaza

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

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

ROAD TRIP 

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

Marks house coll 1

This is a pretty cool pool area me thinks…

Marks house coll 2

The pirate guards the outdoor tiki bar…

Marks house coll 3

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

Marks house coll 4

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

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

Tiki Ti coll 1

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

Nui Nui at Tiki Ti

 The lovely Nui Nui, picture by Mark Holt

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

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

Tiki Ti coll 2

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

Rum Barrel Tiki Ti

A taaasty Rum Barrel, pic by Mark Holt

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

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

Cliffs Edge pop up

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

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

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

Cliffs Edge pop up2

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

Cliffs Edge

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

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

Barbacoa at Rivera

The lovely Barbacoa, pic by Mark Holt

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

Cana Mai Tai with blackstrap

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

cana collage

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

Spare Room pop up menu

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

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

Three dots and a dash pop up collage

They were all tasty…and beautiful.

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

Noble Experiment.jpg

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

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

Trader Sams Uh Oa bowl

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

Trader Sams coll 1

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

Trader Sams coll 2

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

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

LOST SPIRITS RUM

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

Marks House hula girl

Hula girl….

Lei and LS rum

Aloha! and until next year…okolemaluna!

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

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

serrano cocktail spice 2

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

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

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

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

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

to14_640x80

Tiki Oasis 2014!

2014-fb-cover

Next event on my list….the Tiki Oasis!

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

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

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

Here is the whole list of symposioums.

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

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

to_have_and_have_another

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

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

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

bitter_side_of_tiki

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

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

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

tiki_pop

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

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

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

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

the_frozen_cocktail

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

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

Welcoming cocktail presented by White Lightning.

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

And of course I wanna learn how to danse hula!

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

hip_to_hula

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

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

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

And last…but not the least….RUM….

Join The Rum Revolution! - with Martin Cate

MartinCate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JEFFBERRY

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

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

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

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

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

Dynamic Duos Kingfish collage

Two legends, Chris McMillan and Dale deGroff

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

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

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

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

Dynamic Duos Cane and Table collage

Pictures Laura Godel

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

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party collage

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

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 4 2

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

Cane and Table Pop Up Pool Party 5 2

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

And here’s a picture parade:

Tales toast collage

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

Mandarin Napoleon 1 pic2

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

Mandarin Napoleon collage

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

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

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

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

 Bayou rum and gator 2

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

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

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

Samogon and Coconut

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

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

Rum cocktail french 75 2

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

SoBou collage2

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

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

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

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

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

Pimms cup 2

Fabulous Pimm’s Cup….

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

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

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

Rumhouse collage

Real treasures at the Rum House……

commanders collage 2

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

hurricane tee 2

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

TOTC 2014 – Tastings – Plantation Pineapple Rum, Appleton Rum Brunch and Bulleit New Fashioned!

Plantation Pineapple Rum L pic2

Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy – Picture Laura Godel

Plantation Rum in Shades of Dark, White and Pineapple!

I was waiting with great excitement for the tasting and launch of the Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy by Plantation Rum – which I need to make it clear right away, is NOT for sale…..because this rum was an experiment by Alexandre Gabriel and David Wondrich….to be launched and tasted at the Tales of the Cocktail….

Well….I was not disappointed, the rum was delicious! with a deep well matured and slightly smoky pineapple flavor in the background of Plantation rums original dark rum. And the bottle is beautiful!! I asked Alexandre what made the flavor so deep and he told me it”s coming from that the pineapple skin has been distilled – together with pineapple fruit, which also has been macerated.

For being just an experiment I think the outcome was really delicious and very interesting!

Plantation Pineapple tasting queue2

The queue….a nightmare for anyone with a hangover….luckily I was not…and don’t mind all the yellow hats….it’s a Tales thing….

Yep the queue to the tasting room was pure madness and the warm air stood still, but eventually we got in there….and deliciousness awaited…

Plantation pineapple tasting 2

Plantation rums, pineapple, white and dark as shots and in daiquiri cocktails…

Plantation Pineapple Rocky

Here served by Rocky – appropriately painted….I don’t know how he does it, but Rocky really is everywhere…

Plantation pineapple collage

Yours truly with pineapple rum in hand, Alexandre Gabriel – Cognac Ferrand proprietor and spirits mastermind – and more delicious pineapple rum!

Plantation pineapple DTO collage

The DTO – Daiquiri Time Out coin, a treasure/token that was handed out, and which a certain man did drop inside a cab and had the entire cab floor torn up to find it…wherewith the cab driver in utter amazement said that this gotta be a very valuable coin…..

But there’s more to the coin than just a token for the fun of it, according to what I’ve heard, navy officers carried a special coin. When drinking, everyone showed their crew coin. If one person did not have their coin, they had to buy a round of drinks. This gave value to the coin and the tradition.

Now I have one wish….that plantation rum makes more of this fine pineapple rum….I could make use of a bottle…launching a delicious rum like this only for the Tales is really a teaser…!

The Appleton Estate Jamaican Bartender’s Brunch – Rum, Reggae, Food, Sun and Fun!

Appleton brunch pool pic2

Oh my….this was a nice event! a yellow school bus fetching us up outside of Monteleone and serving cocktails on the way to the brunch filled with rum, reggae, Jamaican foods like jerked chicken, lots of fresh fruits and fresh cocktails, Jamaican fizzes, fixes & swizzles made with island flavors and fresh cane juice pressed on site.

And of course one of my favorite rums was there – the JWray overproof – paired with Sanpellegrino!! (to sub Ting) plus Aperol…all by the pool at the Country Club. Very very nice on a hot sunny summer day down here in New Orleans.

Appleton brunch 5 pic 2

Rum, fruits and fun in the sun!

Appleton Brunch collage 1

Of course some of the usual shady rum suspects were there….The first refreshment was freshly pressed sugarcane juice before continuing to the bar for rum punches and JWray….Appleton also treated us with large red Appleton bath towels and flip flops :-)

Appleton Brunch collage 3

Well….I wouldn’t mind repeating this….that’s for sure. Just look at that pineapple!

Appleton Brunch collage 2

Or how about this….I dunno….can it get any better??

Appleton Brunch Collage

Jerked chicken, Coladas and sugarcane juice!

Appleton Brunch collage 4

And time for a JWray shot from the melon….Appleton Rum baby! Please come back next year….

And now to something totally different…..

Ruth’s Chris & Bulleit New Fashioned 1965-Style Luncheon

Bulleit New Fashioned 2 small pic

Bulleit Distilling Co needs no presentation….and this year they had a similar brunch as they did last year which then, was mint julep themed and absolutely fabulous! This years theme was the New Fashioned, a riff on the Old Fashioned…with Bulleit rye, Cherry Heering, orange rind, Italian Amarena cherry, Fee Brother’s black walnut and orange bitters.

The brunch was of course delicious…catered by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and if you haven’t tried their fantastic food it’s time you do if you have a chance. And the New Fashioned cocktail which will be served at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was very tasty and the garnish was so beautiful with a shiny black “filthy Amarena cherry” from Filthy Food Premium Drink Garnish, speared on to a dehydrated orange slice.

The wild Amarena cherries are slow cooked in copper pots to produce a wonderful all natural, dark red cherry with a sweet front and tart finish.

Bulleit New Fashioned 1

Hollis Bulleit, Helen Mackey, VP of Menu Strategy & Innovation for Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Tom Bulleit, founder of Bulleit Distilling Company presenting the event and their companies, while the crowd enjoyed an excellent luncheon.

Bulleit New Fashioned 3 food

The Crawfish Monica that was served was fantastic! and everything else too!

Bulleit New Fashioned ingredients2

The ingredients to make the New Fashioned….the only thing not in the picture is the jar of “Filthy Amarena Cherries”.

Bulleit 2

I get thirsty when I see this drink in the picture….and the cocktail WAS good! for people in the US – you can join Ruth” s Chris Steakhouse for a nationwide 5-course handcrafted cocktail dinner with the same menu across the US, participating restaurants and pricing vary, see more at Chris Ruth’s Steakhouse website.

Pictures Laura Godel

Next up….more tastings, parties, bars and restaurants…the last picture parade from the tales of the Cocktail 2014!

 

TOTC 2014 – The Tastings! Limited Edition & Vintage Rums and The House of Angostura!

 Vintage Rums Velier rums 3

Limited Edition and Vintage Rums

If I can….where there is rum and good company…I will be….

And so I camped overnight outside the Acadia-Madewood suite in the Sonesta to be sure to be there in time to catch the rums….well…no I didn’t…haha but I was there for sure!! This was an exclusive interactive tasting seminar featuring a selection of rare editions, vintage rums, limited bottlings and collector’s private stock.

The tasting was held by Robert Burr (Miami Rum Renaissance and Rob’s Rum Guide ) Leonardo Pinto (host of ShowRum, the Italian Rum Festival in Rome and the author of ISLA DE RUM web site) and the self proclaimed “high functioning rum-o-holic” from London Paul Mc Fadyen (co-owner of the iconic Trailer Happiness bar in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London and Brand Manager for Plantation Rum)

It was an entertaining and interesting tasting with rums found principally in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy, among them two fine demerara expressions from Velier and a new rum from Banks not even launched yet.

seminar tasting

Robert, Leonardo and Paul took us through the history of rum and about the rums selected for this tasting, and then we also got a bonus rum to taste before the official tasting of it, the pineapple rum from Plantation rums. Also we got a quick presentation of the Lost Spirits Distillery by Bryan.

It’s not so easy to take notes during an interactive tasting like this one but I tried to get a few anyway, we tried eight different rums (plus the pineapple rum from Plantation which will be in another post) and so here are some very quick tasting notes:

Bristol Cuban 2003

This rum was bought unaged and was then aged in bourbon barrels in Bristol for seven years. Light yellowish in color, with hints of citrus peel and raisin and the flavor is balanced with notes of light tropical flowers.

Banks

Banks is coming out with a new rum soon and we got a taste of it….my notes says ” lively, fruity, a happy rum with a little wood, a bit of spice with a round nose with hints of honey, tropical fruit and wood. It’s a Connoisseur’s Cut Limited Release, made with Nicaraguan, Jamaican and Guyanese rums.

Mezan – 98 Guyana

I had never tried Mezan rum before. I found it sweet, a bit delicate, light and complex, some wood, tropical fruits and orange peel. It’s been aged in Europe.

Cuban Banks Mezan

Velier Port Morant 93

Now time for the big boys…two demerara expressions from Velier (Luca Gargano) both fabulous rums! note the little green label around the neck of the Diamond bottle…showing the rum was purchased at my favorite French rum shop in Paris, Christian de Montaguere.

Amazing nose….tropical fruits, wood, apricot, almond, cherry…and in the mouth an explosion of flavors….mashed tropical fruits, wood, spice, intense and warm.

Velier Diamond – 81

It gets even better……a 31 year old demerara that has been aged in the tropics (like all Velier rums) it’s a strong and a quite tannic rum and here we get wood, warm spices, a bit of apricot, the rum is amazing,  a stunning expression.

Velier rums

Plantation Guyana 2005

Demerara rum = Guyana Rhapsody…This expression from Plantation rum is a bit woody, on the dry side, “cool”, with hints of vanilla and fruit, a touch of smoke..

Plantation Guadeloupe – 98

Has a lovely nose, fruity, sugarcane, the flavor is balanced, slightly grassy and floral, a bit dry but has some sweetness, a big rum, very nice sipper.

Bristol Caroni – 96

A nice rum, woody and fruity. Long finish.

Plantation and Bristol rums

RUM! The Past, Present and Future of Cocktails by The House of Angostura

Angostura needs no presentation….and they had a tasting session that really was both entertaining, interactive and fun! we sampled different expressions of rum while John P. Georges (Master Distiller for the House of Angostura) and Philip Duff spoke about the history and making of rum. At the end of the session we got to blend our own rum…

We tasted a range of Angostura rums, the 5 year old, soft and round with notes of tropical fruits, the 7 year old with more robust flavors of chocolate, baking spices, chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, the 1919, a premium sipping rum, spicy, peppery, dark roasted nuts, and hints of smoke, and the 1824, aged for 12 years, a rich rum with notes of honey, fruits, chocolate and spices. All these rums are excellent.

But we also tasted a range of other rums to compare and try different styles and types of rum.

Angostura cocktail small

Here is the description:

Join John P. Georges (Master Distiller for the House of Angostura), Philip Duff (Creator of the Rum Institute education program and renowned spirits educator) and Daniyel Jones (Winner of the Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge 2013, Angostura® Global Brand Ambassador and native Trinidadian) for a unique, free Tasting Room seminar, covering the following topics:

Rum’s place in the history of cocktails, from the very birth of cocktails right through to the present day, with a never-before seen history – and tasting – of the legendary Queen’s Park Swizzle!

A comparative multi-brand rum tasting, to help you map the many different styles of rum. 

Making rum! From distilling to blending to aging to bottling, all the subtleties of production that accumulate into the personality of a fine rum, straight from the mouth of the man responsible for one of the Caribbean’s largest rum distilleries. Includes tastings of deconstruction samples never before made available to the public.

A snapshot of rum in the cocktail world today: The Tiki renaissance, rum in classic and neo-classic cocktails, and boundary-pushing rum cocktails from around the world.

Yes it was interesting and fun indeed…and the tasty Angostura bitters glazed nuts and chicken with BBQ sauce was incredibly tasty too! also I think Angostura is a very classy brand from the products they make (love them all) to the way they operate and their team is awesome people.

Here’s a picture parade….(photos for the Angostura post by Laura Godel)

Angostura presenters

Philip Duff and John P. Georges, and lurking in the background Joey from Rated R Cocktails.

Angostura Rum Institute small

This was a great session!

Angostura John P Master Distiller

Angostura Master Distiller John P. Georges

Angostura tasting rums small

Rum tasting and blending.

Angostura bitters glazed nuts

Try this….it’s delicious…

Angostura cajun chicken strips small

Cajun Chicken Strips….

Angostura BBQ dip

With Angostura Bitters BBQ Dip Sauce…scrumptious!

Amaro di Angostura

But Angostura had more up their sleve….apart from a orange bitters pool party they also had a spirited brunch and a launch of a new product which turned out to be – amaro – bottled at 35% with aromas of cinnamon, dark chocolate and angostura aromatic bitters. Great on it’s own and in cocktails. Presented by the Angostura brand ambassador Daniyel Jones, people got to sample cocktails and shots with the new amaro made by Ivy Mix (Clover Club NYC) Mike Tomasic (House of Angostura Global Brand Ambassador) Daniyel Jones (House of Angostura Brand Ambassador) and JJ Goodman (The London Cocktail Club, UK).

It’s a very nice product indeed! look out for a few cocktails and a review later.

Angostura amaro cocktail small

Doesn’t this look tasty?

Angostura Daniyel making amaro cocktail

Daniyel Jones mixing up delicious cocktails.

Angostura Amaro shot 2

A shot of Amaro di Angostura..

Next up….more tastings! and more rum!

 

TOTC 2014 – Which Rum, What Cocktail and Why? and Floridita – Cradle of the Daiquiri

Plantation rum samples 2

Picture Laura Godel

Which Rum, What Cocktail and Why?

This seminar was presented by Plantation Rum and held by Jeff Berry, Alexandre Gabriel, Martin Cate and Philip Duff and the room was packed and of course all the usual suspects were there :-)

They took us through the history of rum, the tiki era, Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic… and then a very interesting theory about the rums Trader Vic used in his Mai Tais, or rather the Martinique rum part. Most of us (if not all ?) have always thought that the Martinique rum Trader Vic used was an agricole rum, but there is a new theory on this that the rum actually was a molasses based rum and not an agricole.

How’s that and why?

Well, there seem to be some things that points to that, for example the Martinique rum was described at the time as a rum with a “heavy coffee color”, here is the points according to Martin Cate including a pic of the jet-black Barum bottled in Jamaica:

1. Very few agricoles were exported to the US at that time. Only brand I can see in the US is Saint James. Don Beach had no agricoles at all on his 1940s rum menu. Don describes Martinique rum as “Heavy-bodied, medium pungency” and “Not as dry as the Cuban nor as rummy as the Jamaican” – no word about grassiness or a different raw material at all.

2. His first Adjusted Mai Tai recipe uses Coruba- lightly aged black Jamaican rum. Heavier bodied, but no depth of character.

3. He described using Trader Vic’s brand Martinique rum in the 1950 to match the desired “nutty” flavor of the older Jamaican.

4. Trader Vic’s 1946 Book of Food and Drink (and 1947 and 172 Bartenders Guide) describe Martinique rum as “Commonly known as French rums, they are usually heavy in body, coffee-colored, very similar to Jamaica rums, but in many cases have the dry burned flavor of the Demerara.”

There’s just no way that’s agricole. Also, Vic cited and used Negrita- a black rum from the French islands that is molasses based.

Vic’s Martinique Rum List: Outstanding brands: Bellows Martinique* Black Head* Rhum St. James Barum* Casa Grazia (?) Gosling’s Martinique* Rhum Charleston* Rhum Chauvet* Rhum Risetta* Rhum Negrita*

*All Traditionelle

Then: Creation of Vic’s Brand Mai Tai Rum – 1960s:

“This rum was made to recapture the characteristics of the original 17-year-old rum. First he skillfully blended Jamaican rums and then added Martinique rum for its elusive and wonderful nutlike flavor (ed – that’s got to be rhum traditionelle) and a bit of light Virgin Island rum for the smoothness of body. (ed. – that’s just padding to keep the cost down) This combination became the Trader Vic Mai Tai rum as we know it today.” (“Today” being the 1960s)

BARUM

Picture courtesy Martin Cate

So to me it looks like it’s true that the Martinique rum was actually molasses based. The rum world is really interesting stuff…Sure I wrote a note about this when I reviewed the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve rum which is a blend with both Jamaican rums and molasses based Martinique rum (Grand Arome) but being at this seminar and Martin Cate helped me get more and deeper understanding of the details.

Martin Cate is still of the opinion though, that making a Mai Tai with half Jamaican and half Agricole is delicious regardless! I tend to agree…

Next up, more about rum….yeah I have a hard time staying away from any seminar talking about my favorite cane spirit….

FLORIDITA – The cradle of the Daiquiri

Floridita seminar Jeff and David

Picture Laura Godel

This years Tales did not disappoint, I think it was even better than last year. One of the seminars I went to was “The Floridita: cradle of the Daiquiri” held by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and David Wondrich and presented by Bacardi Rum. The seminar took us back to the 1930’s Havana and head bartender Constantino Ribalaigua Vert who even taught Trader Vic how to make tropical drinks! (Trader Vic also went to New Orleans to learn how to mix drinks – after all Nola is the birthplace of the cocktail…)

The recipe for the classic daiquiri was 2 oz white rum, juice of 1/2 hand-squeezed lime, 1 tsp sugar and the drink was mostly stirred but sometimes shaken – “thrown Cuban style” that is. The limes used were the large limes most of us are used to, not the smaller key limes and they were squeezed by hand.

Hemingway who moved to Havana and there discovered the Floridita asked his daiquiri to be changed – double the rum, eliminate the sugar (he had diabetes) and adding grapefruit juice and maraschino and the Papa Double was invented, also called the Hemingway daiquiri.

His record of Papa Double consumption was 17 drinks from the morning to the evening – he really loved his daiquiri! But he didn’t drink just daiquiris, he also used to drink for example, a cocktail called “Ideal” while reading his daily paper. The Ideal was 1 oz Italian vermouth, 1 oz French vermouth, 1 oz dry gin, 3/4 oz grapefruit juice and a tsp maraschino.

Floridita daiquiris 123

One of Constantinos trademarks was the combination of grapefruit and maraschino and he used a lot of fresh mint, sugar instead of syrup, dashes of curacao and lime peel – as ingredient. He became known for consistency and a generally high quality on his cocktails.

Constantino also had an “ice program” where different styles of ice were grouped into four: 1 – Menudo (cracked) 2 – Menudito (chpped) 3 – Afeitado (shaved) 4 – Frappe’ (snow) and when the daiquiri was made simple syrup wasn’t used because syrup adds a different texture and taste and instead the sugar was stirred into the juices. So you can see with what great care he took the attention to details in his drink mixing.

FLORIDITA DRINK

And from Hemingway Floridita got fame, fortune and became one of Esquire’s top seven bars in the world at the time.

Now, Trader Vic, who sat at the bar Floridita to study how tropical drinks were mixed took Constantino’s daiquiri recipe with him when he left and put it on his menu and called it “Trader Vic’s Daiquiri’………and his book the 1940′ s Bar Guide was the result of his studying in the Floridita and Constantino’s work.

The seminar taught us about the history of Floridita and the history of the daiquiri but there were more things than that mentioned, among them Don Beach, Trader Vic and of course, the Mai Tai, how can you not hear something about the Mai Tai when Jeff Berry is one of the panelists?

FLORIDITA SEMINAR JEFF BERRY

And to wrap it all up – I would recommend anyone to go to the Tales! it’s such an experience, it’s fun, you meet fun and interesting people and you learn a lot!

Next post coming up soon – the tastings!

TOTC 2014 – Winners of the Spirited Awards!

TOTC Spirited Awards Logo

This years Tales of the Cocktail has been a blast and on the Saturday the 2014 Spirited Awards Winners were announced:

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2014 SPIRITED AWARDS

Best New International Cocktail Bar: White Lyan
Best New American Cocktail Bar: Three Dots And A Dash (Chicago)
Best International Bar Team: Artesian (London)
Best American Bar Team: Trick Dog (San Francisco)
Best International Hotel Bar: Artesian (London)
Best International Hotel Bar: Clyde Common (Portland)
Best American Brand Ambassador: Neyah White (Suntory Whiskies)
Best International Brand Ambassador: Giuseppe Gallo (Martini)
Best International Restaurant Bar: The Bon Vivant (Edinburgh)
Best American Restaurant Bar: The NoMad (New York)
Best American High Volume Bar: Polite Provisions
Best International High Volume Bar: Schuman’s Bar (Munich)
Best New Product: Del Maguey Iberico Mezcal
World’s Best Cocktail Menu: The Aviary (Chicago)
World’s Best Drinks Selection: The Dead Rabbit NYC
American Bartender of the Year: Shaun Kenyon (Denver)
International Bartender of the Year: Simone Caporale (Artesian, London)
Best Bar Mentor of the Year: Dushan Zaric
Best International Cocktail Bar: 28Hong Kong Street (Singepore)
Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication: Imbibe Magazine (USA).
Best new Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer: Paul Clarke
Best new Bartending Book: Beachbum Berry Potions of the Caribbean.
World’s Best Bar: Artesian (London)

Congrats to all the winners!!

Rum Nation CARONI 1998

Rum Nation Caroni 98

Not too long ago i wrote about the excellent Jamaica Pot Still Limited Edition rum from Rum Nation which i`m very impressed with and now they are launching their next rum which is none other than a Caroni….

I hold the Caroni rums and especially the heavy types very dear to heart because they are so incredibly GOOD! and i`m so sorry about the fact that the old Caroni distillery is no more making these fabulous rums and unfortunately one day they will be nothing but a sweet memory.

But luckily we are not yet there….and so there is still time to enjoy them and they really are true treasures to sip and savor both neat and in cocktails.

The Rum Nation Caroni is 16 years old have been aged both in the tropics, thus imparting the thickness the angels share produce…(the tropical conditions causes a 60% loss of the distilled spirit due to evaporation) and then aged further in Europe in American Oak casks that contained bourbon then rum Peruano 8yo.

It`s distilled in 1998 and bottled this year, in 2014. The sugar content is only 5 g/l and the alcohol proof is 110 or 55%

The result is an intense dark rum with notes of wood, cloves, cola, coffee and aromatic herbs.

The bottle is a beauty to behold…and the label a work of art – it has the characteristic stamp on it – the stamp on the bottle is due to Fabio Rosso being an avid stamp collector in younger years and now adding a touch of class to the bottles with the stamps and a nod to the country of origin – which i find lovely.

Rum Nation Caroni 98 3

The Caroni Sugar Factory

There were originally more than 50 different rums brands produced in Trinidad – by 1950 it was only 8 and today only Angostura is left. Caroni was established in 1918 on the site of the old Caroni Sugar factory and operated until 1993.

The Caroni sugar factory started to operate a cast iron still in 1918 and at that time there were some eight or ten other sugar factories operating, each producing different types of rums and these rums were bought up by merchants and sold to rum shops all over the island. There were all kinds of “blends” and concoctions being made by both the merchants and the rum shop owners and sold over the counter as “petit quarts”

Eventually Caroni increased the quality of the distilling process and went from the original cast iron still to use a wooden coffey still – until 1945 when they got a copper still which was followed by a single column in 1957 and then a four column Gerb Herman still in 1980.

They produced a number of products like Superb White Magic Rum, Creole Punch Rum, Special Old Cask Rum, Felicité Gold Rum, Caroni Puncheon Rum and Caroni Bay Rum.

For nearly 100 years Caroni has had large sugar estates on the island and was the major producer of molasses. Sadly now since it`s closed no more of their magnificient rums are produced and when it´s gone it´s gone.

And that is sad because the Caroni rums are unique. That said i must confess i haven`t yet tried many but the ones i`ve tried have all been outstanding and original in the same way as the demerara rums are.

And i must say the flavor of the so called heavy Caronis DOES remind me quite a bit of a demerara rum, it has the same full bodied character but without the demerara flavor – but there`s something similar…it has the same type of character despite of being a totally different rum.

My taste notes:

Nose – In the nose i feel wood, orange peel, sugarcane and tropical fruits.

Mouth – It`s smooth with hints of wood, kola and toffee, aromatic spice and tropical fruits.

A few drops of water mellows it out and brings out more fruitiness and i get the flavor of apricot. I like the fruitness in it and it´s not too sweet either with a sugar content of 5 g/l.

Cocktails…

I tried it in a daiquiri and as expected it made a great daiquiri and what i call a “Caroni daiquiri” with it´s distinct flavor from the Caroni rum.

But i have had so many daiquiris posted on this blog that i lost count, so i opted for something else and here`s my take of a really nice cocktail called Creole Fix which i found on Pinterest and which led me to this post (this awesome cocktail was created by Ania Robbins for Texas Tiki Week)

Creole Fix

Rum Nation Creole Fix 2

2.0 oz Rum Nation Caroni-98

0.75 oz fresh orange juice

0.75 oz lemon/lime juice

0.5 oz rich cinnamon syrup

A couple good dashes of Bitter Truth creole bitters (or Peychaud`s) on top of the ice gives the drink both a pretty color and a layer of spicy “creole-bitters/peychaudish” flavor that you`ll feel the taste of by the end of drinking.

Speared cinnamon powdered orange slice and maraschino cherry for garnish!

Shake and pour into tall glass filled with crushed ice.

This is a refreshing fruity-rummy drink and it got a wonderful aroma from the cinnamon powdered orange slice…it`s rummy, fruity, a little spicy and the Caroni rum flavor does shine through.

Rum Nation Creole Fix 3

My conclusion:

The Rum Nation Caroni-98 is a excellent sipping rum and also equally good for various cocktails thus making it a versatile rum fit for a king or queen:-)

If there´s anything i could think of that could make it even better would be a bit higher proof, like 61% to give it some more punch – but in that case, not really for sipping – more for say…tiki drinks :-) – but at 55% it´s good for everyone. And besides, nothing stops a tiki drink maker from adding a overproof float if you wish…i think we are quite notorious for that…

If this rum was on the shelves here i`d definitely buy it as a staple for my homebar. I must say that Rum Nation does not disappoint me!

MxMo LXXXVI, Pineapple!

Pineapple ready for cocktail mixing

The Hawaiians call me hala-kahiki, meaning hala from a foreign land….. who am i?

The PINEAPPLE !!

The mighty pineapple is the topic for this months Mixology Monday hosted by Thiago of the BartendingNotes blog. I haven`t participated in the MxMo in a very long time and so it´s long due…but who can resist such a topic? i love pineapples!

mxmologo

Here´s what was said in the MxMo announcement: Let’s bring the king of fruits back! After being canned, mixed with all sorts of sugary liquids and blended into… some 80s dreadful cocktails, the pineapple needs more respect! Once a symbol of hospitality, the King of Fruits might be know misunderstood.

One of the greatest non-citrus souring agents, used for crazy garnish ideas, infusions, old gum syrup flavoring, the pineapple is a fruit to be reckoned.

Be in a tiki cocktail, an old school classic like the Algonquin, a crazy flavor pairing or just mixed in a delicious Verdita, get creative and make a cocktail using any part of this delicious, juicy fruit or share you favorite pineapple cocktail with us!

The pineapple is called the “King of Fruits” for a reason – there is NO other fruit that has become so famous as the pineapple, not even banana! there is even pineapple houses built! And it´s so incredibly versatile, you can do so much with it, in drinks and food in a million ways….use as serving bowl, lamp, it´s sung about, painted, photographed…and no wonder, the fruit is beautiful! and a fabulous cocktail ingredient, and that`s where i use it the most and i use it extensively.

King of Fruits Swizzle

MxMo pineapple King of Fruits Swizzle 3

0.75 oz Koloa Kaua`i Coconut rum

0.75 oz Plantation overproof rum

0.5 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style rum (float)

1 oz Pineapple juice

0.5 oz honey-mix – equal parts honey and water, heated up to dissolve the honey and mix, then cooled to room temp

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

2 dash Bitter End Jamaican Jerk Bitters

Top with a little Sanpellegrino limonata

Swizzle all ingredients and top with Sanpellegrino limonata (sub Schweppes lemon)

Garnish with two pineapple leaves and a cocktail cherry.

A robust and typical tiki swizzle!

Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea

1 oz Rhum JM agricole blanc

1 oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Style rum

0.75 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

1 oz pineapple juice

dash Mozart Chocolate bitters

1 egg white

Shake hard to emulsify the egg white, preferably dry shake first, then strain into a glass filled with cracked ice and partly rimmed, (with brown sugar) and top with grated nutmeg and cinnamon powder and then garnish with a pineapple leaf and speared cocktail cherry.

This drink is strong since the Lost Spirits rum is overproof but it´s still like drinking rum flavored silk…

And here´s a bonus – the rum sauce for pineapple skewers – as simple as it´s delicious, just rum, honey and cinnamon!

Last year at the Tales i went to a pineapple seminar and learnt a lot about this fruit and at the Angostura Rum pool party they served this rum sauce in pineapples to dip pineapple skewers in, a recipe i took with me, very tasty.

Rum Sauce to dip pineapple skewers in

RUM SAUCE

Fill a hollowed out pineapple fruit with rum, dissolved honey and cinnamon sticks. I first placed in a pan 4 oz aged rum (or rums) of choice, 2 roughly crushed Mexican cinnamon sticks (canela) and 2 tsp honey and slowly heated it up (carefully) just to dissolve the honey and let the cinnamon sticks start giving off their flavor.

Then leave to cool and sit for 15-30 min to let the flavors intensify. Then pour in the pineapple and dip pineapple skewers in the rum sauce, it´s delicious! and a perfect party or movie snack.

MxMo pineapple limonata

The limonata is one of my favorite soft drinks…

MxMo pineapple King of Fruits Swizzle 2

This awesome tiki mug is created by Scott Taylor who lives on Maui, Hawaii. if you want to see the awesome and very detailed mugs he makes you can go and check out his pictures on instagram ( type the name tikipop ) 

His shop “Beach Bumz” is one of the stops of Maui Tiki Tours owned by another great tiki mug artist – Rob Hawes – who`s Kala mug i featured in this earlier post. You find his pics on instagram too, (type tikirob) 

King of Fruits Swizzle

A loaded pineapple bowl..

MxMo Pineapple the rums

With potent delicious rums…

Happy Monday!