Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – A Femme Fatale Dressed to Kill

LS151 Label 4

Dangerously easy to sip…

The Lost Spirits Rums hit the world with a bang! I have already seen and read several great posts about this rum and have written myself also about the Navy Style and Polynesian Inspired rums.

The Lost Spirits latest addition – the 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – has already been spoken about as well but I`ve been unable to write about until now since I been away to New Orleans and California including a road trip with Bryan and Joanne from the distillery to the Tiki Oasis in San Diego and where I got time to get to know this rum a bit better but time alone with it was needed.

One thing is clear, it`s a very pleasant overproof rum and it both mixes and sips well, even though, if you sip it for a while you will get a “fried” palate due to it`s strength typically what happens when you drink overproof rums neat, which mostly I do not – I use them most of the time in drinks as floats or combined with other rums  –  but you should not let this rum fool you – it`s way too easy to sip.

That said, I recommend it to be used like you use other overproof rums, in drinks, as floats etc.

This femme fatale comes dressed up in a very innocent looking outfit…the stunning label is a work of art with light pastel colored retro style 1930s pre-Castro Cuban theme with palm trees and a Pan Am (?) plane taking off to the sun….(and Cuban daiquiris…) and there`s a lady dressed in fashionable 1930s tropical wear. It`s like the other labels from Lost Spirits, very detailed and in all it`s a stunning label made by Bryan himself.

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban label collage 2

1930s Cuba….isn`t it beautiful? makes me wanna go back in time…or at least have a couple of cold daiquiris which btw is one of my favorite rum drinks.

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban label collage

I suspect that the curved end of the label is inspired by the same curved pattern you see on top of the copper still, you can see it in this post by Cocktailwonk, it´s pic number seven from top.

Of course your mind goes straight to the daiquiri when you see this rum but it´s good for all sorts of drinks both classic, modern and tiki. And here is what i like so much about it, it gives enough flavor to the drink to make things happen, to make it exciting, yet it´s smooth as silk but it kicks your butt!

If you have never heard of Lost Spirits Rums before I advise you to go and read about them here, and here and here……..plus check out their own website. It`s well worth the time reading all the posts because Bryan Davis is like the “mad scientist” up there at the distillery producing both rums and whiskeys. I have noticed that posts about this distillery have a tendency to become quite lengthy and there´s a reason for that, so keep reading the posts…

You might see some fancy tiki drinks with their rums here on my blog – but this is where it starts:

Nitrogen deprivation

Manipulating the biochemistry of the yeast or stressing the yeast, is one important part of the production, read more about that here. Picture Bryan Davis.

I asked Bryan how the idea came about making a 151 Cuban style rum? he said when making the navy style rum is was mostly about making rum with the biggest range of flavor from the fermenter coming through.

But how about making the opposite? With this Cuban style it was the opposite end of the spectrum starting with the super flavorful high quality molasses and then highly rectify it like a Cuban from 100 years ago and then age it using his own scientific approach. Bryan tried lots of different woods and finally blended the Cuban from all the experiments.

The Cuban inspired 151 proof rum differs greatly from the Polynesian Style and Navy Style rums in that it has less of those higher alcohols giving the other two rums their “heavy” type of flavor, this rum here has a totally different flavor profile, more “clean” but I wouldn`t say “light” because there is nothing “light” about any of the rums from the Lost Spirits Distillery. But at the same time as the 151 Cuban differs from the others they still have clear bonds of being from the same “family”.

Well, i have to say the end result is nothing but spectacular!

They are only three people at the Lost Spirits Distillery, Bryan Davis, Joanne Haruta and Joanne`s brother James and if you haven`t seen the distillery and the hand built pot still with it`s smoking dragon head check it out here and here

And check out this video, (click on the left play button at the bottom) :

The smoking dragon pushing out the steam from the still at night….(video by Bryan Davis)

 

Pretty cool eh? it´s all hand built on site.

Tasting

The nose is to me fruity (slightly like pineapple and apricot but not at all as pineapple forward as the Polynesian style, and here´s also vanilla) with a wonderful whiff of lovely soothing butterscotch.

The flavor is intense and has the same fruitness beautifully rounded out by the aforementioned butterscotch, vanilla and toffee aromas. It`s so strong yet it caresses your palate like silk!…that`s why it´s so dangerously sippable.

With a little water in the glass i think it becomes much more Pineapple flavored but compared to the Polynesian (also with a few drops of water in it) it`s actually smoother despite it´s higher strength.

I have used their rums specifically in tiki drinks simply because well, I love tiki drinks – and because they fit so well in these kind of drinks because the bold flavors of these strong rums stand up so well against the fresh mixers and us tiki drink loving folks we just LOVE bold rums don`t we?? At the Tiki Ti we had Nui Nuis made with it and they were nothing but awesome!

But Lost Spirits rums are not only fit for tropical and tiki drinks, they can be used in any kind of cocktails thus making this rum very versatile. One example is the classic daiquiri…so I made one and of course it made an excellent daiquiri that also packs a punch! drink one of these and you`ll dance!

Also, use it as a float in a variety of cocktails..

Then i was pondering what to do next and got to think about two of my old favorites, the Missionary`s Downfall and the classic Pago Pago.

The Missionary`s Downfall is a very tasty drink but it´s not a strong one…so I decided to make a twist of it and change that with the 151 Cuban rum. Be warned though, this drink is potent!

The Drunken Missionary

Drunken Missionary

This drink is so potent it makes the tiki mug “sweat” and “moan”!

0.5 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz honey syrup ( add liquid honey to simple syrup, warm it up a bit, stir and set aside to cool)

0.5 peach liqueur

1 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum

1.5 oz pineapple-coconut juice

Crushed ice

Nutmeg

Fresh mint

Muddle mint with lime juice and honey syrup, add the rest of ingredients and shake it ice cubes until the shaker frosts on the outside, then strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a fresh and spanked mint sprig or two, a couple speared maraschino cherries and lime triangles and grate some nutmeg on top and enjoy!

This drink packs a punch and is VERY tasty!

Pago Pago

Pago pAGO SMALL

The Pago Pago dates to at least 1940, when it appeared in a book called The How and When, and this classic cocktail is a longtime favorite of mine and i`ve had it on this blog before but not with this rum though – so i decided to give it a try. What makes this drink so nice is the addition of Green Chartreuse which not only adds lively vibrant herbal aromas to the drink but also goes very very well with rum!

1 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum

3 squares of fresh pineapple (about 1 oz)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz green Chartreuse

0.25 oz white crème de cacao

Add all ingredients except the rum in a cocktail shaker and muddle the pineapple with a muddler. Add the rum and a lot of ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (double-strain through a mesh tea strainer in order to filter out the little bits of pineapple)

Beware of this drink`s strength…

151 Cuban Nui Nui

Nui Nui LS 151 Cuban

Another favorite of mine is the Nui Nui….and with the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban it becomes a high octane real treat!

1.5 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz orange juice
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup
0.25 oz Don’s Spices #2
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients with a handful of crushed ice, blend for 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a chimney or tiki glass with more crushed ice. Insert a long strip (6+ inches) of orange peel into the drink and let some of it hang out.

Well I poured mine into a tiki mug and also added fresh mint.

I was pondering what next to make ( yeah that`s what happens when i have Lost Spirits rums in my hands…) and then i remembered that yummy Coconut Punch i had in London made by Martin Cate at the last years UK Rumfest and decided to make a twist of it starting with making a baked pineapple syrup.

Flaming Coconut Punch

Flaming Coconut Punch

1.5 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz Coconut and pineapple juice

5-6 dashes Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters* for that pineapple and coffee touch. (sub with some coffee flavored bitters and use dashes depending on how bitter they are)

Baked pineapple sugarcane syrup*

Shake all ingredients well and strain into a coconut filled with crushed ice, that is placed on top of a larger coconut that is filled with cracked ice. (or use a tiki coconut mug)

Garnish with pineapple leaves.

Fill a lime shell with overproof rum or drench a few sugar cubes and set alight, dust with cinnamon powder to get the volcano effect.

Baked Pineapple Sugarcane Syrup

Place 5-6 chunks of pineapple in a pan and bake them on high heat until they get brownish, then lower the heat and add dark sugar syrup on top, let it sizzle for a few seconds then take off heat and mash the pineapple chunks with a fork. Set aside to cool and leave for about 15-20 min for the flavors to set.

Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters is a homemade product by Oriol over at the Three of Strong blog, write to him and see if you can get some. They are not sold commercially. You can sub with some other coffee flavored bitters, or make a different variety by for example muddle fresh coffee beans to get the coffee flavor. Do not use any coffee liqueur as you cannot omit the baked pineapple syrup in this drink.

This drink turned out pretty good! actually VERY tasty! I really like it and I`m gonna keep this one. I think the rum married so well together with the rest of the ingredients. And I love that it also packs a punch…

Now I should be very drunk right? well no…not really…the truth is I don`t make all the cocktails for a post like this in one evening…I prefer to sip and savour over a week or two because with rum it works like this –  you need to re-visit a rum several times to get the flavors of it and to make cocktails too.

And since this rum is overproof  it´s better to pace it…actually I recommend to drink just one of these in one sitting.

So…the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum…have you not tried it yet and are able to get it? – my advice…do not wait!

Distributors are found here.

LS151 Label 2

The label is really gorgeous!

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban bottle 2

The rum has a beautiful amber color i think.

LS smoking dragon still

Anyone passing by this at night must really wonder what´s going on….

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 2002.

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!

Drinks with Honey Cream Mix

Browsing through Don the Beachcomber´s “Little Hawaiian Tropical Drink Book” it´s clear that Don used a lot of honey cream mix. Trader Vic also used it but it seems to me that Don used it more. I tried it the first time many years ago ( in 2007) when i tried to make Don`s Pearldiver´s Punch which i found on Rick`s blog the Kaiserpenguin.

I was new to tiki drinks at the time and found the honey cream mix quite a challenge. Not so much that it´s a bit time consuming to make but because the butter solids has a way of separating when getting cold and create an un-appetizing look for the drink.

Honey cream mix is  a concoction of butter and honey which gives a mysteriously and wonderful velvety feel to the drink…you know there´s something there but cannot really put your finger on what it is…unless you know..

Honey cream mix was invented by Don the Beachcomber and there`s two recipes that i know of :

½ lb. Sweet cream butter
½ lb. Honey
½ lb. Light cream

Melt butter in a double boiler.
Add cream.
Heat mixture to 160° F.
At the same time, heat honey in a double boiler to 160° F.
Pre-warm the bowl of a blender by filling it with water to 120° F.
Empty and dry the bowl and immediately transfer to it the butter-cream mix and honey.
Blend at high speed for five (5) minutes.
Allow to stand for ten (10) minutes.

And we also have the Pearl Diver´s Punch mix which is a part of the Pearl Diver`s Punch recipe and involves clarified butter – in an attempt to bring the butter solids out – see recipe further down at the drink recipe.

And then this one from “Don the Bachcomber`s Little Hawaiian Tropical Drink Book”

One part sweet butter + One part honey

Heat the honey and butter separately, do not boil. When sufficiently heated pour honey over the sweet butter into one container.

Turn off the heat and commence whipping with a wire whip until both ingredients are well blended. Store in freezer until ready to use.

So they are lightly different with the first one containing cream and is blended. The one i mostly been using is the last one because it´s simpler and requires no blender.

This honey cream mix is around in slightly different versions, there´s one that contains equal parts honey, sugar and cream for example and then we have the “honey-mix” which is equal parts water and honey but no butter – the easiest to make of them all.

When i do honey (cream) mixes i always use liquid honey and i warm up just enough to let it all dissolve and mix nicely together. It shouldn`t be too warm – a bit above room temp is good. Once the honey is dissolved and mixed with the water it stays liquid and mixes easily in the drink.

It`s a bit different when you use butter…

You see, butter is a bit tricky because it contains butter solids that fatten up the glass and make it look – well..less appetizing and it happens when it cools. So to get around that problem – or at least make things better here´s a few steps to keep in mind:

Make the honey cream mix just a little before it´time to shake the drinks to avoid it cools to quick.

Always blend the drink at high speed when butter is involved and add the ice last, blend at high speed for 15 seconds and it should mix well.

To surely avoid the glass looking fat with butter solids, serve these drinks in a hollowed out pineapple or tiki mug – problem solved.

In any case – it might sound like too much work to do this butit´s actually not that bad and it´s well worth it every now and then to create these drinks the way they were intended because they really are a treat.

The Pearl Diver’s Punch is a classic old school tiki  drink and Don invented in 1937. It`s the one i made my first attempts to make the honey cream mix with. It contains it`s own version called the Pearl Diver’s Punch Mix containing clarified butter and spices.

Pearl Diver’s Punch 

0.75 oz Pearl Diver’s Mix
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh orange juice
1 tsp Falernum
1.5 oz Gold Puerto Rican rum
0.75 oz Demerara rum
0.5 oz gold Jamaican rum
6 oz crushed ice

Pearl Diver’s Punch Mix:

1 oz unsalted butter (or ghee, clarified)
1 oz honey (use liquid)
1 tsp cinnamon syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla syrup
1/2 tsp pimento dram

Heat butter and honey in microwave for 10 seconds to melt. Add the spices and pimento dram and then add the juices and blend. Add rums.
This is quite a complete and well balanced drink, sweet and sour, spicy and strong, complex and velvety smooth…

The next drink is as exotic as the first one, it´s called Don`s Pearl and the original drink did actually contain a real south sea pearl with every 5th drink.

Don`s Pearl

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz fresh passionfruit juice

1 oz fresh guava juice

0.25 oz honey cream mix

0.25 oz club soda

2 oz Puerto Rican light rum

Pour ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 sec and then strain into a special glass.

For added excitement, add one real pearl into every fifth creation….

Paradise – Don the Beachcomber, host to 23 million dinner guests at his Don the Beachcomber restaurants often said – ” If you can`t get to paradise i`ll bring it to you”

Tahitian Rum Punch

0.75 oz fresh lime + 0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz passionfruit juice

0.5 oz falernum

0.5 oz honey cream mix

0.75 oz Jamaican white rum

0.75 oz Bacardi rum ( i`d use the 8 yo here)

Dash angostura

Pour ingredients into a blender and add 6 oz cracked ice. Blend for 15 sec and strain into special frozen molds. Serve with straws.

Well, if you don`t wanna take the time and effort to create an ice mold – and who does that unless it´s for a special occasion? ( or a post on this blog:-) so just fill the glass with crushed ice, it works just fine.

Other Don Beach drinks that contains honey cream mix are the Mystery Gardenia, PiYi, Beachcomber`s Punch and the later made, streamlined version of the Pearl Diver´s Punch called just Pearl Diver. 

Pearl Diver

0.5 oz lime juice

0.5 oz grapefruit juice

1 oz orange juice

0.5 oz Puerto Rican dark rum

0.5 oz Jamaican dark rum

1 oz Old St Croix rum (use Cruzan white)

Dash angostura bitters

Blend everything except the dark rum in blender with crushed ice and pour into a 12 oz glass and float the dark rum on top. Garnish with fresh mint and pineapple spear.

I also made a very tasty drink with honey cream mix a couple years ago that is so tasty that i still have it in my regular rotation and most likely always will have, it`s the Pineapple Delight and the recipe is here.

Enjoy your drinking and drink responsably!