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

Rum barrel award 2

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

Rhum Arrangè de Cèd

Ced bottle

Rhum Arrangè Zwazo

zwazo label for blog

El Dorado the Liquid Gold…


Demerara Rums from Guyana


Demerara Rums Part One


Demerara Rums Part Two


Cachaca and Rhum agricole, what`s the difference?


Havana Club


Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum


St Nicholas Abbey 12 yo

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum

Blackwell Rum

Denizen Rum

Plantation Original Dark Overproof

Tiki Lovers Rum

Tahitian Vanilla Syrup


Hibiscus Grenadine




Gomme syrup


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


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View my Cocktails on flickr p2

View my Cocktails on flickr p3

April 2014
« Mar    


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!


The UK Rumfest!! – It´s ALL about the RUM!!

UK RUMFEST LOGOIt´s that time of the year again – the UK Rumfest!!!

October is the month for booze happenings in Europe and in a few days i`m going to London to attend the UK Rumfest! last time i did that was in 2011 and you can read about it here.

The rumfest isn´t only a lot of fun and a lot of rums (400 different rums from all over the globe to try…..) it´s also a great opportunity to learn about this flavorful and versatile cane spirit and talk to the rum makers, distillers and experts  etc

There´ll be Masterclasses hosted by esteemed industry experts & mixologists such as Martin Cate´s Smuggler´s Cove masterclass or Rum & Marshmallows Pairing Masterclass with Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell – who is the founder of the UK Rumfest. Or discover La Rhumerie de Chamarel from exotic Mauritius!

Among the other Masterclasses you`ll find highly esteemed brands such as Ron Botran, Angostura, Mount Gay, Diplomatico and Gosling`s – who will be filming the largest group of people making Dark ‘N Stormy’s (in the dark).

Sounds fun and educational doesn´t it?

Check out all the Rum masterclasses here.

It´s a very RUM filled weekend ahead! when it´s over i will write a post about my rummy adventures here.

Also there´s the London Cocktail Week starting today and it goes on until the oct 13th.

Check it out here!

London cocktail week


Real McCoy – A Premium Rum with Interesting History

Real McCoy bottle

Here´s a very interesting rum produced by the legendary Foursquare distillery that have an interesting and colorful history.

It´s an authentic, handcrafted excellent sipping rum from Barbados bringing that genuine Bajan flavor to your glass.

The Real McCoy rum is based on the story of  William “Bill” McCoy, the pioneer rum runner of the prohibition era, who fueled the Roaring Twenties by delivering over 2 million bottles of rum to the speakeasies of New York back in 1920.

McCoy took pride in the fact that he never paid a cent to organized crime, politicians, or law enforcement for protection and unlike many others that illegally produced and smuggled alcohol for consumption during prohibition, McCoy sold his merchandise unadulterated, uncut and clean,

He never came ashore but instead anchored 3 miles off-shore, which back then was international waters, acting as a floating liquor store within sight of the metropolis of New York.

People went out to McCoy, bought the rum and returned hoping to escape the Coast Guard on the way back in.

An interesting fact about him is that he himself never touched alcohol…(!)

It’s a great story and the rum absolutely lives up to the name. It’s only been in the US for a few months, but it has already received the following accolades:

Silver Medal – San Fransisco World Spirits Competition
“Best in Category”, Aged Rum – The American Distilling Institute
Score 91 – The Tasting Panel Magazine, Anthony Dias Blue
Score 92 – The Ultimate Spirits Challenge, F. Paul Pacult

While researching the life and legend of William McCoy, a Connecticut man became interested in developing a rum in remembrance of McCoy.

So he contracted Richard Seale of Four Square distillery in Barbados, to craft an authentic rum blend and the final result the Real McCoy Rum is nothing but excellent!

Now i sit here with a bottle of the Real McCoy rum – aged for 5 years in American oak bourbon barrels. It´s a  blend of column and pot still rum and what i have here is plain good old-fashioned rum!

I like that…

This is a sipping rum but i`m gonna make a few cocktails with it too – real good quality rums makes real good quality cocktails too – provided that you carefully chose what to mix the rum with. Don´t waste the drinks with ready-made commercial or chemical mixers! use fresh!


In the nose i find dried tropical fruits, baked spices, vanilla, caramel and honey – it´s very pleasant…a promising hint of what to come…

The taste

To me it has a distinct aroma of a well aged rum with hints of oak, vanilla, dried tropical fruit, sugarcane and maybe of dried orange peel. It`s a bit on the dry side but has some sweetness. It`s a warm welcoming rum.

The rum also have a long pleasant finish.

I see an image of someone sitting in a comfy sofa in front of a fire in the fall with a sipping glass in hand – or someone on the porch watching a tropical island sunset…

My final conclusion is that i like this rum- it´s of excellent quality but i didn`t expect anything less, seeing to where it´s coming from.


I made two daiquiris with it, one classic with just rum, sugarcane syrup and fresh lime and another with chocolate bitters and pineapple gomme syrup, both were very good.

Then i made a tropical tiki style drink with pineapple juice and coffee that turned out spicy and tasty.

The Real McCoy Rum is excellent for sipping and can be used in classic cocktails as well as well crafted tiki drinks but should not be wasted in drinks like rum and coke.

 Real McCoy Daiquiri

Real McCoy daiquiri

2 oz  Real McCoy Rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz brown sugarcane syrup

Stir together in a shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

 Back to the Tropics

Real McCoy Back to the Tropics

2 oz Real McCoy Rum

2 oz fresh pineapple juice

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz coffee liqueur ( Fair Cafè or Tia Maria)

Shake with ice and strain into a tiki mug or glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and pineapple chunk or tropical flower.

McCoy Cocoa Daiquiri

Real McCoy Cocoa daiqiri

2 oz  Real McCoy Rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz pineapple gomme syrup (or use simple syrup)

2-3 dashes Mozart chocolate bitters

Stir together in a shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

The Real McCoy Rum website is here.

Kōloa – A Handcrafted Rum from Hawaii

koloa dark label

Hailing from the “garden island” Kaua`i in Hawaii – Kōloa rum is a unique single batch premium rum that is made from Hawaiian sugarcane and pure mountain waters of Kaua`i. It`s not made from molasses but from crystalized sugar with a high level of molasses in it setting it apart from other rums.

The making of rum has a long history on this island dating back to 1835 when the first harvest of sugar was made producing produced two tons of raw sugar from the Kōloa Plantation in Kōloa Town.

Today, Kaua`i’s  sugarcane still thrives in the rich volcanic soil typical for Hawaii, nurtured by the pure waters of Mt. Wai`ale`ale, the wettest spot on Earth.

Visitors to the island can taste the rums at the plantation-style Tasting Room & Company Store, located on the grounds of the Historic Kilohana Plantation.

The first batch of rum was distilled and bottled in September 2009. All of the rums are distilled twice in a 1210 gallon copper pot still.

The company have made rum since 2009 and have already won no less than 11 awards – most of them at the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami and then at the  San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Tasting the rums

What i got here to try out is their coconut, spiced, dark, white and gold rums! these are quite intriguing rums so where to start?

The bottles labels shows the plantation-style Tasting Room & Company Store and at the top of the necks of the bottles is drawn the map of the Hawaiian islands.

The bottles have plastic screw corks and even though real cork the old fashioned way is more “rummy” and romantic the screw corks are more practical – here´s to personal preference….

I think the one i was the most curious about was the coconut rum – because i have yet to find a good coconut flavored rum…most flavored rums honestly tastes like crap..

They either taste artificial or they taste too much and are cloyingly oversweet and i often find it to be the same with many spiced rums – and i got a spiced rum here too so this gonna be interesting…

This tasting have been done after tasting the rums several times which doesn´t show in this post and the rums have been tasted neat, with ice, water and in cocktails.

koloa dark and coconut

Kaua`i Coconut (80 proof)

On the nose it has light and sweet hints of coconut and it´s not too much either and i like that.

Taking a sip reveals a surprisingly smooth and natural tasting coconut rum which doesn´t have any of the cloyingly sweet and artificial flavors i have come across many times before.

The flavor also have a light crispness to it and it´s mild and sweet but not too sweet.

What i can feel on the palate is coconut and hints of vanilla and sugarcane. This is just fresh! and i`d say it´s a very good coconut rum, very enjoyable!

Kaua`i Dark  (80 proof)

It has a rich nose with hints of coffee and burnt sugar which makes me wanna have a sip…

The flavor to me is that of wood, vanilla, molasses and burnt sugar. Funny how i can feel coffee in the nose but not in the flavor…

Even more interesting is how i can find wood in the flavor when this rum have not been aged at all. Must be the blend of “spices” and caramel used to produce the dark color? and what spices they are i have no idea. It`s heavy on the vanilla too and something charred or toasted – maybe this is what i feel tastes like wood…

To me it´s a mixing rather than sipping rum unless you like vanilla a lot! And this rum is dark in every sense of the word – great for tiki drinks in my opinion.. I tried this rum in a coconaut and i think it was great.

I have a feeling that this rum is gonna grow on me when i continue to try it in various tropical rum and tiki drinks but also wanna try it with sugarcane coke. You`ll see it more on this blog.

koloa spiced, white and gold

Kaua`i White  (80 proof)

The white rum is distilled fresh and not aged and it´s a very pure rum with a clear color.

On the nose is a light whiff of vegetal notes and sweet sugarcane.

On the palate it´s rather dry, just a slight sugarcane sweetness, some vanilla, maybe a hint of citrus. Should be good in a daiquiri and i`m gonna make one because the daiquiri is to me is a sort of test drink for rums – a bad rum cannot possibly make a good daiquiri!

And as i suspected – it made a great daiquiri…

My conclusion of the white rum is that it´s good for both sipping and mixing and should be good in many other cocktails.

Kaua`i Gold  (80 proof)

This is a pale golden rum and the color comes from caramelized sugar and just like the white rum it has not been aged.

The nose is light with sweet sugarcane and a hint of vanilla paired with a little bit of fresh vegetal notes.

The flavor is light and sweet with hints of molasses. It`s a light rum and goes well in a daiquiri just like the white. It`s surprisingly mild and best to use in simple drinks, and i found that it pairs very well with pineapple juice.

Kaua`i Spice  (80 proof)

And so finally we get to the spiced rum. As for with flavored rums i`m always a bit suspicious when it comes to spiced rums. But i still try to approach every (to me) new rum with an open mind.

It sure does have a spicy nose…to me it´s hints of cinnamon bark, vanilla bean and maybe clove? there´s a lot going on here and i cannot detect all the flavors.

Then my mouth is filled with spice….it´s like an explosion of spice actually.

It´s sweet but not too sweet,  it´s spicy but well balanced – and there´s some hints of  roots and nuts? I wonder what`s in it? there´s also something astringent, i guess that´s what brings me to roots.

I used this as float in the Spicy Coconaut and it added quite some spice to the drink so the next time i should use a little bit less. Spiced rums can easily be overpowering and a little usually goes a long way.

This spiced rum is good and it definitely is a balanced blend of spices and what i`m guessing – roots and nuts. It also has long finish.

They have made a great spiced rum but i wouldn´t use it as sipping rum, only to mix with, trying to sip it would simply be too much.

To wrap it up:

What amazes me is that the The Kōloa Rum Company is so young – they have been producing rum for only a short while and already producing solid rums that has won 11 medals!

Overall i think the Kōloa rums are good, especially for mixing even though they do sip well – especially with some ice added – except for the spiced.

First i couldn`t point out what it was that made these rums taste differently from other rums but then i read that they use crystalized sugar produced at the nearby Gay and Robinson Sugar Factory with a high level of molasses in it – and that explained it!

And then of course the terroir* is always an important factor to any rums flavor.

*Terroir - the complete natural environment in which a particular spirit or wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate.

So now on to the drinks! No less than 3 of the drinks contains coconut flavor so here´s for the coconut lovers! but there´s a tasty rum sour there too…

Coconut Kula

Coconut Kula

0.5 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz grapefruit juice (yellow)

0.5 oz fresh orange juice

0.5 oz honey mix (equal parts water and liquid honey gently heated up to mix and then cooled to room temp)

0.25 oz demerara syrup

2 oz Kōloa coconut rum

Crushed ice

Shake together and strain into a tall zombie glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with pineapple leaf and tropical flower.

Kōloa Rum Sour

koloa rum sour

1 oz Kōloa Kaua`i white rum

1 oz Kōloa Kaua`i gold rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

1 egg white

0.5 oz pineapple gomme syrup ( or you can also use simple syrup)

Garnish the foam with Peychaud`s or Creole bitters forming the shape of a “Hawaiian wave”

Shake this hard and long to emulsify the eggwhite and create a good foam, then strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and add as much of the foam as possible to make it thick.

Garnish with the bitters. Create a “Hawaiian wave” by first carefully drop the bitters in the middle and then form the wave with a straw.

Spiced Coconaut

Spicy Coconaut

2 oz Lopez or Coco Real Cream of Coconut

2 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz Kaua`i Dark rum

Float Kōloa Kaua`i Spice ( about 0.25 oz)

Shake it hard to get the Cream of Coconut well mixed in and strain into a coconut mug with ice cubes.

Garnish with a tropical flower and pineapple leaaves.

Kōloa Pina Colada

pinacolada instagram

2 oz Kōloa Kaua`i white (or coconut rum – or use 1 oz each of white and gold or dark for a more flavorful colada)

2 oz cream of coconut (Coco Lopez or Coco Real)

2 oz pineapple juice (preferably fresh)

1 cup crushed ice

Blend or shake and pour into a suitable glass and garnish with pineapple and cherry or tropical flower.

Enjoy! Okole Maluna!

You can read more about  Kōloa rum on their website.

TOTC 2013: The Tastings! part 2 – Rums, Bitters, Jade Liqueurs and Combier

The picture parade from this years tastings at the Tales of the Cocktail continues! i had to break it up in two posts, there´s simply too much..

The hard part when you do all these tastings is to remember everything..because there`s a LOT! I won`t even be able to blog about it all – but the meaning with these posts about the tastings (and the seminars) is to give those who haven´t been to Tales a picture of what it looks like – plus show some about what things i liked the most from those i went to which are just a very small part of all that was going on.

I don´t know really how to describe it…the sounds of all the people, the shakers, all the booze, the running back and forth between places in the heat outside, the quick chatting with people you meet on the way to the next seminar or tasting.

Or the long in-depth discussions about some obscure cocktail or booze related topic with your fellow booze nerds, the joy and surprise when you discover something new and really exciting, the crowds….it all carries that special feeling and it needs to be experienced in person.

So here´s some more pictures from the tastings:

TB absinthes

One of the most interesting tasting i went to was Jade Liqueurs & Combier USA at the Windsor Court Hotel where we could taste the whole portfolio of Jade liqueurs absinthes and Combier´s traditional liqueurs.

On top of that, and here`s what i found really exciting, was Ted Breaux`s own homemade pre prohibition bitters and syrups – and these were not the ordinary….these blew my mind!

These were made from old pre-prohibition recioes and were presented in stunning ancient looking glass bottles. First time i ever heard of and tried something like “blood-liver syrup” – it was used during the victorian era and cured “everything” and was mostly used by the ladies.

TB tastng Blood lver syrup

It tasted strong, herbal and rooty – very interesting!

Then we had the Jamaican ginger bitter…oh my…it contains 90% alcohol so one drop was enough! They drunk this concoction during the pre-prohibition era in Jamaica and of course it “cured everything”! – but after i tried it i actually have no doubt…

It is VERY strong and after the alcohol settles there´s an explosion of ginger flavors that knock your socks off!

TB tastng jam ginger

Jamaican Ginger Bitters

I also tried quinine bitters which was very astringent, woody and rooty, Damiana bitters which was used by men for “strength”, Ayer´s sarsaparilla bitters which were rooty and woody and then i tried something he called “Old Velvet” which was a simple syrup with acacia gum or gomme which is very different from the common gomme syrup made with gum arabic. The Old Velvet was much richer in flavor and Ted made sazeracs with it…

TB Old velvet and Quinine bitters

Old Velvet and Quinine Bitters

Ted Breaux´s absinthes sold by Jade Liqueurs are excellent! it seems to me that everything that man touches becomes very special and of very high quality. And he also had his fantastic Perique tobacco liqueur there too, which i wrote a review of on this blog a year and a half ago. It`s one of my favorite liqueurs.

Combier presented a range of liqueurs and their triple sec is the original triple sec dating back to 1834 France where it was originally made by Jean-Baptiste Combier and his wife Josephine. It`s made with all natural ingredients and has a vibrant, crisp and bright citrus flavor.

Their other liqueurs are all worth trying out too, i tried for example their Kummel which is a sweet, colorless liqueur flavored with caraway seed, cumin, and fennel.

combier kummel

You find Jade lqueurs here and Combier USA here.


Another great tasting event was all the rums on the saturday starting with Shellback rum followed by Gubba rum, then the  Legends of rum – a meet and greet tasting hosted by Robert and Robin Burr - the creators of the yearly Rum Renaissance festival in Miami – where you got to try some of the world´s best rums and meet the producers, then at the same time Appleton had a tasting room with cocktails and Jamaican music and then we had Bayou rum streetside and Plantation rum by Cognac Ferrand.

It was a whole RUM day!! which this rum-lover really enjoyed! And that was just the tastings…there was also a seminar that day – European rums.

As always when i go to rum tastings – which i wish could happen more often…there´s one or two (new to me) rums that i never tried before that stick with me and this time it was Mount Gay 1703 Black Barrel with it´s deep flavor.

rum collage

Bottles filled with goodies…

Our Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell mixed up his Jamaican style “Lion Star” cocktail with Plantation rum using that cool ancient shaker i always seen him with and handed out badges with his own happy self on:-)

When he´s around you can be sure there´s entertainment! and a lot of rum education because he´s an edutainer! I wll never forget his story about grandpa Burrell…

Here´s the recipe for Ian`s cocktail, the Lion Star:

rum plantation lion star

 Rum is fun!!

rum plantation IAN

Ian shaking it up!

Also where there´s a rum event you can be pretty sure to meet this guy with all the Chairman´s Reserve rums…Mr Clyde Davis Jr will let you taste the liquid gold in his bottles and mix up a cocktail or two!

Chairman`s Reserve is a great rum from the island of St Lucia in the Caribbean and at this tasting Clyde carried the Spiced rum – which contains local spices and fruits including cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, coconut, all spice, lemon and orange and then it also contains Bois Bande bark!

And that is what i couldn´t figure out when i tried it, what that hint of rooty kinda flavor came from…

rum coll chairmans reserve

A great spiced rum!

And no rum tasting is complete without a few rhum agricoles and here was available Rhum JM and Rhum Clèment which both are excellent rhum agricoles. Here´s something i wish – more rhum agricoles at the Tales! why not a seminar about rhum agricole? with several brands to try and compare!


And this was all for today…The Tastings number 3 soon come!

Happy RUM DAY!

national rum day

Today we celebrate the (Inter) National Rum Day and of course i must make something that contains this noble spirit and make a toast for everyone that have had any part in the invention and creation of this sugarcane spirit called rum, ron or rhum and all who enjoy it and promote it!

This is one of the most varied and versatile spirits on this planet and it´s no secret which spirit i enjoy the most of all – RUM!

So let´s toast for the Rum Day and enjoy a glass or two! i`m in a summer mood so i`m gonna make one of the most common summer rum drinks there is – the Pina Colada which – in my opinion is an underrated drink.

And i`m gonna use a rum that i just recently got to try and which i will review here in a while, the Koloa coconut rum from Hawaii which is made with real coconut.

Also the cream of coconut i`m using here, Coco Real is made with real coconut and not artificial flavorings same as Coco Lopez. If you can`t find cream of coconut (NOT the same as coconut cream which is the thicker coconut milk) the use of coconut milk as substitution or a coconut syrup won`t be the same thing – so try get cream of coconut, it´s a key ingredient.

The name ‘Pina Colada’ literally means ‘strained pineapple’ – a reference to the freshly pressed and strained pineapple juice used in the drink’s preparation. Three Puerto Rican bartenders contest the ownership of their country’s national drink.

Pina Colada


2 oz white rum (or you may use gold or dark rum…for a darker more deep flavored version)

2 oz cream of coconut (Coco Lopez or Coco Real)

2 oz pineapple juice (preferably fresh)

1 cup crushed ice

Blend or shake and pour into a suitable glass and garnish with pineapple and cherry. (i didn`t have any cherries on hand so i used a tropical flower instead)

There ya go! Happy Rum Day!

pinacolada instagram