GunRoom 2 Ports Rum

Here`s an interesting rum with great taste from the Swedish company, Renbjer and Magnusson. GunRoom 2 Ports Rum is a blend of aged and unaged rums from Jamaica and Trinidad. Just like the GunRoom Navy Rum, the 2 Ports Rum is also their own creation/brand with a very similar label although it´s a different type of bottle. This rum belongs to the GunRoom Pouring Range. The pouring range is high quality products at reasonable prices so that in the bar you can afford to pour good spirits into the usual drinks.

This room is a mixture of two different origins. It consists of a aged rum from Trinidad with an age between 2-5 years and a minor portion of unaged Jamaican pot still rum. It`s a bright rum with character where the taste comes through in drinks. Perfect in Daiquiris or other rum cocktails. And a daiquiri – which is the rum test cocktail – is one of the two drinks I made.

But before that, here´s my impressions from sipping it neat.

Nose: The nose is fruity with mashed ripe tropical fruits, I get to think about mango, pineapple, peaches, apricots and banana surrounded by sugarcane sweetness..

Mouth: I like flavorful rums and this rum has character, with flavors of tropical fruits same as in the nose with a hint of….arrack? could be because the first GunRoom rum has it. It`s fruity in a sort of light way but not so light it loses it´s character, it has a well defined flavor. It`s a good rum for cocktails, especially daiquiris and of course it`s a pleasant little sipper too.

Aftertaste: In the aftertaste the banana flavors says “hi” most likely hailing from the Jamaican pot still part of the duo. It`s a light aftertaste that does linger shortly but nicely.

The color is clear due to the active carbon filtering taking away the color derived from the barrel during ageing. The abv is 40%, 80 proof.

Conclusion: I can`t find anything negative about this rum, it´s a great overall rum for cocktails and sipping neat. I don`t think anything is added to it. The only thing maybe could be that I would love to try it at a higher abv with a bit more bite…

I decided to mix the GunRoom 2 Ports with another rum to see how it went, so I picked Plantation OFTD for that since a little kick of overproof always is to my liking. Then a little sweet, some sour, some weak and a little spice and bitter in the form of a float of Campari which I think turned out really well because the Campari played nicely around with the flavors in the drink.

2 Ports Cup

1 oz/30 ml GunRoom 2 Ports rum

1 oz/30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum

0,75 oz /22.5ml Alamea Peach Brandy Liqueur (soon to be available worlwide by Daniele Dalla Pola, review of his exotic infusions coming soon.)

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

0,75 oz /22.5ml fresh lime juice

0.5 oz/15 ml fresh pineapple juice

0.5 oz/15ml passionfruit juice

The passionfruit seeds from one passionfruit.

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

And of course I wanted to test this rum in a classic daiquiri (Jeff BeachBum Berry formula) and it passed the test and did well.

GunRoom 2 Ports Daiquiri 

2 level teaspoons sugar blend –
(4 parts organic white cane sugar to 1 part turbinado or demerara sugar)
1 oz/30 ml fresh lime juice
2 oz/60 ml GunRoom 2 Ports rum
Garnish: lime wheel

Combine the sugar blend and lime juice in a mixing tin and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved into the lime juice.
Add the rum to the sugar and lime mixture, along with large cubes of ice, cracked with a bar spoon.
Quickly shake and strain the drink into a chilled cocktail coupe.

Garnish with a lime wheel.

Elixir Tropical for Bacardi Legacy 2017

elixir-tropical

Elixir Tropical is a tropical cocktail created by Maurizio La Spina, made for the 2017 Bacardi Legacy Competition and the south European final will be held on the 27 and 28 February in Madrid.

The inspiration of the cocktail comes from one simply question : What really is a“tropical cocktail”? – it would be an elixir with the power to bring your mind to a tropical island. It is a celebration of the great golden age of Cuban cocktails and a tribute for the keystone of tropical mixology “the Daiquiri”.

Maurizio La Spina is a bartender / Italian entrepreneur, born in 1984 in Naples, one of the most famous cities in the world for the hospitality and the food, he studied economics and interior design and in the meantime to fund his studies began working in the bar of a beach, and there he fell in love with bartending, public relations and tropical cocktails.

So he decided to leave his studies to devote himself full time to the art of bartending and then began to study, train and work in the best cocktail bar in his city and eventually much of Italy, from in the “S’Move cocktail bar” of Naples up to the “Billionaire” in Sardinia.

During a seminar on Tiki Culture with Daniele Dalla Pola Maurizio literally received an illumination and decided to get deeper into tropical and tiki drink mixing and created a project called “The Marama Project” that still unites many bartenders and Italian artists in dedicated events and also to the tropical tiki idea and creates its own Tiki mug-line with Neapolitan artist /ceramist Catherine Cioce who has since founded a small company with handmade production of Tiki mugs called “Maka Tiki“.

elixir-collage

A few weeks ago Maurizio managed to pass the semi-finals of the National Bacardi Global Legacy Cocktail competition in 2017, and February 27 will be in Madrid for the southern Europe final with his drink called “Elixir Tropical” which is a tribute to the Most Holy Trinity, the “Daiquiri “- keystone of the whole tropical mixing and a celebration of the great golden age of Cuba.

Today he works in his training school for bartender’s in Naples as a teacher and continues to study rum and tropical and tiki drinks.

It was through the gorgeous tiki mugs from the “Marama project” that I came in contact with Maurizio, I fell in love with the distinct style and design of these tiki mugs with all the details they have, and more of these mugs will come up on this blog later.

Here´s the recipe of the Elixir Tropical:

Elixir Tropical

elixir-tropical

60 ml Bacardi carta blanca

20 ml fresh lime juice

20 ml orgeat syrup

7,5 ml Luxardo Maraschino Liquor

2 mint leaves

3 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake and strain into a cocktail coupe and dust some fresh nutmeg on top.

I keep my thumbs for Maurizio in the Bacardi Legacy!

Zulu Bitters – Bitters with Brazilian Heart and Soul

Zulu Bitters

Two years ago was the first time I tried the Zulu aromatic bitters made by Laèrcio Zulu, bartender and mixologist from Brazil. I was always so fascinated by all the things he did, especially with all the fruits, roots, tinctures etc he did experiment with and he did experiment a lot!

Brazil is a country that really has an abundance of interesting fruits, roots and herbs, a lot I have never even heard about much less tried.

Zulu worked in São Paulo as a bartender for six years and one of the bars where he worked at was the Noh Bar, developing their cocktails and learnt to use such techniques as carbonization, aging and smoking. He also won the best bartender in Brazil in 2014 in the Diageo World Class, at the time working at La Maison Est Tombée.

He is now working with cocktail consultation through his brand Custom Cocktails – Bar Marketing, throughout Brazil and also making his bitters – Zulu Bitters.

Zulu is a master in making amazing cocktails, very often with his own exotic house made ingredients. The bitters I tried back then, this was 2013, was his first aromatic bitters and which have developed unto what I now have in hand along with a 5 year commemorative bitters, a barrel aged and an orange bitters.

A lot have happened since then!

Here he tells his his own story:

Zulu

The first Brazilian bitter brand with Brazilian heart and soul took it`s first steps in September 2010, that`s when the Zulu Bitter brand was born and developed along with the career of its creator; Zulu Bartender. So, lets talk about this guy and his amazing journey.

Laércio Zulu, mixologist, was born in the state of Bahia (Brazil) and has been living in Sao Paulo now for 6 years. His work thrives on the values and appreciation for Brazilian ingredients, a reflection of his constant trips inside Brazil’s vast territory seeking for new flavors and sensations. This gives Zulu great knowledge about some ingredients that are unusual for the general public, but very common for the regular man in a small towns around his country.

Thinking about #valoresnacionais (national values), Zulu chases not only unusual ingredients, but also different ways to produce his cocktails, from using ants from the Amazon rainforest to shake cocktails in capoeira rhythm. Every detail designed to give classic cocktails a Brazilian twist.

He says: “My biggest goal is to show the real Brazilian flavors, not only by giving another direction for the use of tropical ingredients, that are, of course, very common in Brazil, but also going way further than that.”

This crazy guy got out of his small town in Bahia to be a bartender in Sao Paulo in 2009, taking American-style bartenders classes in schools like Bertones Bartenders and Flair Brazil, both already extinct, and started working in that same year.

From this point on, he got more and more passionate for mixology and immersed himself on self-learning and reading about it in every book or piece of information he could put his hand on. In the next year, things started getting bitter (LOL).

Zulu 2

Before even begin his research of national ingredients, he felt the need to understand more about the history of mixology, how it was developed and how to produce ingredients from scratch.

He dived into classic mixology books, such as Gary Regan’s “The Joy of Mixology”, Tony Abou-Ganim’s “The Modern Mixology; David Wondrich’s “Imbibe”, Dale Degroff’s “The Essential Cocktails” and, more important, the very first cocktails guide: Jerry Thomas’ “The Bartender’s Guide” 1862.

All these readings helped Zulu to make sense not only how the consumer behavior changed through the years and how each region had its characteristics for consumption of mixed drinks. Most of all, he made sense of the real value of mixology and became fascinated with evolution of the techniques and how the mixed drinks took a very interesting place in society.

That’s when the so acclaimed seasoning (Bitters) steps in.

During the beggining of mixology, to talk about “bitters” was to talk about a “bartender’s secret”. It was the “special touch” for cocktails, responsible for bartender’s authenticity and personality in each cocktail. This concept sounded very well with Zulu and the idea of creating and producing his own bitters was born.

In the following article, Zulu explains his process:

For the technical side of production, I started producing a series of known recipes to understand how the infusions of different ingredients worked. These recipes are still very famous, like Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters, Boker’s Bitters and Gaz Regan Orange Bitters. I did this for innumerous times to get sense of the balance of the ingredients.

For each sample of the first batches (back in 2011), I always shared with professional bartenders who had my respect and admiration like Marcio Silva, Marcelo Vasconcelos, Marcelo Serrano, James Guimarães and Talita Simões to have an orientation, mostly because, until then, I had not tried many different bitter’s brands. The positive feedbacks were a great motivation.

After that, I started to buy several bitters online, because, in Brazil, Angostura Bitters was the only brand you could find. So, everytime I could find a different one I restlessly tried it and ran to my kitchen to produce new recipes for my bitters.

By 2012, I gave up on any imported ingredients, focusing just on local ingredients.

Zulu bitters collage

During my experiences, I divided three groups of ingredients to get the recipe I believed to be the face of Brazilian spice: As I tried commercial bitters with amazing textures, I added Brazil Nuts to the body of ingredients of Zulu Bitters. That gives the viscosity and shine I wanted in the mixture.

For aromatic complexity, cinnamon, guarana seeds and amburana seeds stand out. For color, jurema preta and cashew were up to the task. I believe that these three pillars are the main factors to say that Zulu Bitters does have Brazilian heart and soul… because to explain the “Axe” and the “ginga” that goes inside that little bottle, one have to know Brazil.”

That`s a great story isn´t it? I had to ask Zulu what Axe and ginga means and a little about his use of ants in cocktails because I find that very interesting (especially after I first tried amazing foraged cocktails made by Marcello Biancaniello with ants beer in them) and he explains it like this;

“I used Amazon ants in a cocktail during a presentation at the World Class 2014 Finals, in London. My intention was to combine the citric touch of the ants with my recipe of Gold Label Reserve Whisky, umbu reduction (Umbu is tropical fruit from Bahia) Abatetuda molass (an Amazonic island) and Zulu Aromatic Bitters.

Axe represents energy, strength. The energy giving and receiving. It is directly connected with the lifestyle of Brazilian people who believes in spirituality from african religions. Ginga is a lifestyle, its the Brazilian “swag”. Its also the movement that preceeds the capoeira game. Very related with people from Bahia”

So on my table here I now have four of his bitters, the aromatic, the barrel aged, 5 year commemorative and orange bitters, i`m gonna try to describe their flavors:

Aromatic:

Zulu Bitters aromatic

Very much what the name says – aromatic! there´s a lot of roots flavors and what I´d call “dark spices” but the color is light brown, it´s earhty, aromatic and at the same time brilliant and lively. It has notes of roast cocoa, dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, cinnamon, banana and dried spices.

A little bit bitter yes but not too much and well balanced, I  don`t feel any specific spice taking over.

I can also imagine these amazing bitters in cooking…not just cocktail making! some of these aromatics on meat before grilling…

Barrel aged:

Zulu bitters Barrel aged

Woody and spicy, but definetily woody, well “barrel aged” right? but there could be other woods and roots in it as well, interesting flavor and very aromatic, very nice bitters, it has some kinda coffee and raw cocoa notes too, at least to me. The color is light brown.

Orange:

Zulu Bitters orange

Brilliant! with a tingling on the tongue! very strong flavor of not only orange peel but theres a lot going on in this little bottle. Mainly composed of Bahia orange peel, guarana seeds, cumin and balsam bark but there´s more than that. The color is dark orange bordering to brown and there´s hints of wood and roots.

It´s very tasty bitters. Perfect for lighter cocktails and would be great in some desserts as well and with grilled seafood.

These bitters aromatics are intense!

5 Year Commemorative:

Zulu Bitters 5

Here´s astringency and very herbal flavor, my guess is that there´s some mimosa or chamomille in it. These bitters are aromatic and spicy and very very herbal, also the color, it´s light greenish-yellow.

I also have to mention his first aromatic bitters, they have a totally different flavor than the aromatics of today, it´s a different kind of woody flavor in them and they are still tasty after 2 years.

I must say that these bitters are all amazing and some of the best i`ve tried so far! he sure knows what he is doing….

Here´s a super cool cocktail from Zulu:

Boca de Lobo

Boca de Lobo collage

50 ml Cachaça Leblon
20 ml homemade Castanha-do-pará cordial (Brazil nut cordial)
15 ml lime juice
15 ml Catuaba (a Brazilian bark)
4 dash Zulu Orange Bitters

Shaken together and served in a tiki mug with crushed ice.

I haven`t tried it yet…because I don`t have the Brazil nut cordial or catuaba beverage, which is a drink made from extracts of a plant found in the Amazon forest which also is an aphrodisiac and a famous one too, and it`s sold in bark form, as tea or beverage.

And how do you make a Brazil nut cordial? (here´s for going out and google again… :-)) but the recipe can also be seen as inspiration for using these bitters and the bark can maybe be substituted with something else or be omitted if you cannot find it.

Brazil nut cordial can maybe be switched for a homemade Brazil nut orgeat instead? it would totally change the flavor but it´s easy to make and Brazil nuts are usually available and I believe it would still be a good drink. Just don´t forget to change the ratios too!

I`d maybe do 2 oz of cachaca, 0.5 oz Brazil nut orgeat, 0.5 oz lime juice, 2 dash Zulu orange bitters and instead of the catuaba bark tincture, 2 dashes of the barrel aged bitters.

So where can people get these bitters from? because they cannot also be substituted…and frankly I have never tried any other bitters that are anywhere close to the flavors of these and naturally so since these contains local Brazilian ingredients…

For now it´s possible to buy them online (in smaller amounts) on this website – the website is in Portugese but can easily be translated with any of the online translation pages 🙂 not sure if the online payment system works outside of Brazil but here´s the e-mail adress for inquiries: zuluheadbartender@gmail.com and here is his Facebook page.

And with these interesting and flavorful bitters I had to make a cocktail or two of my own to try them out:

Banana Daiquiri

Grilled Banana Daiquiri 2

2 oz aged Cachaca

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz banana syrup (made with grilled banana heated up with and then cooled in dark sugarcane syrup (you can sub with Giffard Banane de Brézil but check ratios if you do)

4 dashes Zulu orange bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

Turns out rich and flavorful….

Zulu Coconaut

Zulu Coconaut 2

This is a classic Coconaut with the addition of  Zulu Aromatic Bitters.

2 oz Cream Of Coconut (Real or Lopez)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz  Jamaican dark rum

4 dashes Zulu Aromatic Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coconut vessel or glass

with crushed ice.

Garnish with tropical orchid

Very very tasty!

Zulu Bitters aromatic new and old2

The old and the new aromatic bitters.

St Nicholas Abbey 5 Year and White Rums

St Abbey Rums 2

The St Nicholas Abbey Distillery in Barbados operated by the Warren family is one of those gems in the rum world that you know always stand for impeccable quality and that will bring smiles to your face when you try their amazing rums which uses traditional distillation.

The St Nicholas Abbey plantation was purchased by the Warren family in 2006 who restored the property to it´s original state and it´s one of the last surviving 17th century plantations on the island. Their mission is to make it self supporting and it also contains a cottage industry of sugar cane related products such as tasty brown sugars, molasses, sugar honey and rum cakes to name a few of the lovely products they make on the estate.

My first experience with their rums was at the UK Rumfest 2011 (and later in 2013) when i tried their range of rums and got totally blown away and among them was one peculiar rum that not yet had a name, an unaged white rum called the “see through”

The-see-through-768x1024

The unaged “see through” was made with estate grown cane, crushed in a traditional steam press and then made into sugar cane honey and fermented before being transferred into a pot/column hybrid still named Annabelle for a double distillation. And then after distillation only water is added and there`s no chill-filtration used. It was a rum with a rich fruit and vanilla finish.

This lovely white rum later got a name – simply St Nicholas Abbey White Rum – and became the winner of the Bronze Medal at the 2012 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London and in 2014 it won the Premium White Rum Category at the Bartender’s Best Awards.

Now at this past years UK Rumfest was out for tasting a portion of this white rum that was laid to rest and aged for five years and thus creating their first estate produced 5 Year Old Rum.. It`s their first rum distilled and aged entirely on the estate (the previous rums were made exclusively for the plantation by master Distiller Richard Seale from R.L Seale and Foursquare) and was ready in 2014.

The St Nicholas Abbey Rum 5 Year Old is a beautiful Rum and commemorates a beautiful story – not least, the first generation of Warren’s, Arthur and Henry, born into St. Nicholas Abbey 21st May 2014. I believe the 5 Year Old Rum will be released soon during this year.

Fermented sugar cane juice

Sugarcane honey

Interesting also with St Nicholas Abbey rums is that these are not molasses rums! but neither are they rhum agricoles – they are made from fermented sugar cane juice, called “sugarcane honey”. Rhum agricole is made from fresh sugar cane juice and tastes totally different.

The fermented sugar cane juice is thick, syrupy and very dark brown in color, almost black – it looks like molasses but it is not and it doesn`t taste very much like molasses either. It has a sort of funny smell, i cannot really describe it, it´s like a mix of earth, dirt, molasses, old sugarcane syrup, yeast and overripe purple plums.

The taste is somewhat like that too, like a mix of  Steen`s sugarcane syrup, earth, dirt, yeast and overripe plums…it´s not very sweet, rather semi-sweet. It has that kind of earhtiness (not heat) as say, chipotle peppers. Could be used for a earhty ti-punch…

Interesting how it can bring forth such rums as these!

Here´s a short description of my impressions of these two wonderful rums:

St Nicholas Abbey White Rum:

St Nicholas Abbey White

The nose is intense with fruity and sugar cane notes and somewhat slight peppery, this is a rum that got both attitude, complexity and flavor.

In the mouth it`s rich, a bit fiery with white pepper notes, tropical fruits and vanilla. It has the same sort of intensity as a rhum agricole but lacks the agricole`s pronounced grassiness, instead it has a mellow fruity and slightly green vegetal note. And it has a little “bite” but in a good way, it´s not at all harsh, it`s round and very very nice.

The bottle is simple, tall and elegant.

Very pleasant rum and for mixing it`s perfect but it`s just as good for sipping. I would say it´s a very good all-round white rum that got it´s own personality with a slightly peppery attitude.

Try it in a refreshing daiquiri!

Now let´s move on the five year old version of the former “see through”:

St Nicholas Abbey 5 Year Old Rum:

St Nicholas Abbey 5

In the nose: It has a brilliant golden amber color and when opening the bottle and pouring a little of the golden goodness into a tasting glass the velvety rich nose is filling the air with sweet, toffee-like notes that are totally addictive. I smell depth here too, not just toffee-like sweetness, there`s a hint of wood from the barrel it has been resting in adding some depth and character.

The taste: Here you can feel the rum is young but it´s exceptionally well balanced and the same soft velvety character that was in the nose comes forth here too. It`s rich, warm, welcoming with notes of toffee, vanilla, orange peel and tropical fruit backed up by some spicier woody notes.

The slightly peppery notes from the unaged white rum is not present, instead it´s mellow and soft but does have a lively character.

I have tried their 12 and 15 year olds and they are both incredible rums, especially the 15 year, and this one is like their little sister. It has the richness of what i have got to know as the trademark of the St Nicholas Abbey rums but it lacks the extreme depth and complexity that the 12 and 15 year olds have and of course, it´s a lot younger! that said, it´s a very good rum and you can safely go and purchase a bottle without any hesitation, this is good stuff.

I would actually use this as both sipper and mixer and leave the older rums entirely for the sipping glasses.

The decanter bottle is a masterpiece of beauty, simple and yet distinctive, elegant and with a personal touch with the beautiful engravings of the St Nicholas Abbey estate mansion and palmtrees (they do personal engravings too with for example your name on the bottle when you purchase directly at the plantation) hand applied labels and the mahogany cork topped with embossed leather which is symbolic of the islands first mahogany trees, planted 250 years ago on Cherry Hill.

It`s really a thing of beauty!

St Nicholas Abbey cork top

Final thoughts:

I cannot enough say how good the rums from St Nicholas Abbey are, everyone of them! this is quality at it´s best! and there are of course no extra sugar or additives in this rum. Go get a bottle of these and their other expressions and you will have treasures in your house.

They are on the higher price level yes but you will get really good value for the money.

Everyone knows i`m in love with the tropics, so let`s make a daiquiri dressed up in tropical attire:

Bajan Daiquiri

Bajan Daiquiri

2 oz St Nicholas Abbey White Rum

0.5-0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or glass and garnish with something tropical….i used speared pink bougainvillea, braided palm leaves and a lime slice.

Enjoy!

 

Bajan Daiquiri collage

 

 

See other St Nicholas White rum reviews on RumRatings

See other St Nicholas 5 Year Old rum reviews on RumRatings

Selvarey Rum from Panama

Selvarey Rums

Hailing from Panama – Selvarey Rum comes in two different expressions – Selvarey White and Selvarey Cacao. It`s distilled in Panama by master blender Don “Pancho” Francisco Fernandez. The name Selvarey means “Jungle King”

Don Pancho was born in Cuba in 1938 and he first began working with cutting sugarcane in the fields with his father. He worked his way up and became the Cuban Minister of Rum. He spent 35 years running the famous Havana Club brand in Cuba before moving to Panama and opening his own distillery.

And he built his own distillery from scratch in a small town called Pesé in the Herrera Province– Panama’s premier sugarcane region and bought a warehouse on the outskirts of Panama City and began stocking it with barrels of rum and out of there i now have these two expressions here to try out and make a few cocktails with.

Selvarey rum is distilled in four copper column stills built in 1922 by American Copper & Brass Works. The rum is then aged in American white oak ex bourbon barrels imparting notes of vanilla and caramel. Water is added to bring Selvarey White down to 40% ABV and Selvarey Cacao to 35% ABV.

Selvarey rums are lush tropical rums, sweet and flavorful and you may sip on it´s own or mix with in various cocktails. The bottles are really beautiful, they look very exotic! they are also sturdy and quite heavy with a thick bottom.

Selvarey White

Selvarey Rum White

The white rum is a blend of three and five-year-old rums, distilled in 1922 copper column stills, aged in bourbon casks and carbon filtered to remove the color while keeping most of the flavors and it is made up of more than a single batch of rum adding to it`s complexity.

From his warehouse, Don Pancho chooses a 3 year-old for its youth and vibrancy of fresh-cut sugarcane, and then combines it with a rich, full bodied, more mature 5 year-old.

The nose is mild and sweet with hints of vanilla and fresh sugarcane plus a little bit of toffee and butterscotch.The mouth is quite viscous and the same notes comes through in the flavor along with creamy butterscotch. It`s designed to be a sipping rum enjoyed with some ice but it mixes well in cocktails like the daiquiri or mojito for example or any that contains citrus which it plays very well with plus the citrus cuts the sweetness a bit and adds that vibrant aromatic flavor.

Selvarey Cacao

Selvarey Rum Cacao

The cacao rum is made from five-year-old rum infused with locally sourced chocolate which doesn`t give the “chocolate bar” flavor but rather a fine flavor of the cocoa bean. Less sweet than the white rum and here you get vanilla notes plus some oak with a mild spice along with the flavor of  natural chocolate.

The color is dark amber/copper and when opening the bottle you immediately get the aroma of chocolate in the air. Selvarey Cacao won the gold medal at the 2014 Miami Rum Fest and was the first flavored rum ever to win the coveted Chairman’s Trophy at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York City.

I decided to first make two cocktails found on the website for a change instead of making my usual tiki drinks and the Rey Cafè catched my attention, a cocktail made with the Cacao rum, coffee and unsweetened coconut milk but i switched the espresso coffee for what i have on hand (and prefer) which is New Orleans Community coffee dark roast – which is strong and flavorful in the same way as Hawaiian Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffees.

Rey Cafè

Selvarey Rey Cafè

1.5oz Selvarey Cacao
1oz strong coffee (cold)
1oz unsweetened coconut milk
0.25 oz -0.5 oz simple syrup or sugar (taste your way)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice cubes and grate some cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

A very nice cocktail indeed! here you get cacao, sugarcane, coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg wrapped up in creamy unsweetened coconut milk…This cocktail can also be made warm for those stormy fall or cold winter nights.

The next cocktail is a daiquiri for which, the Selvarey white rum is perfect:

Selvarey Jungle Daiquiri

Selvarey Jungle Daiquiri

2 oz of  Selvarey White Rum
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz dark sugar syrup

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lime.

And here is another type of daiquiri, with grilled fruit, this is for the white rum:

Grilled Fruit Daiquiri

Selvarey rum Grilled-fruit-daiquiri

2-3 Pieces of Grilled Fruit (Mango, Pineapple, or Cantaloupe)

2 oz. Selvarey White Rum

1 oz. Simple Syrup (1 part superfine sugar to 1 part water, stir till dissolved)

3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Muddle the grilled fruit with the simple syrup and lime juice in a shaker. Add Selvarey White Rum and ice. Shake vigorously and fine strain into a cocktail coupe or other glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Grilled Fruit: De-core or de-seed fruit first and cut, so as to expose a large area of fruit flesh. Grill, flesh side down, until grill marks are present (about 2 minutes). Cut chunks of fruit from grilled flesh and use to muddle in cocktail.

You can check to see where to find Selvarey rums here.

See other Selvarey Cacao rum reviews on RumRatings

See other Selvarey White Rum reviews on RumRatings

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….

Caroni 1999 Single Barrel Rum

Caroni 1999 bottle

Here´s another Caroni, also a single barrel rum, this one is 14 year old. It`s not as heavy as the last one but does have some punch with it´s 61% ABV. I find it fruity and pleasant.

Caroni Sugar Factory

There were originally more than 50 different rums brands produced in Trinidad – by 1950 that number had reduced to 8 and today there is only one left – Angostura. 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.

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 that demerara flavor that only demerara rums have but it has the same type of character despite of being a totally different rum.

Caroni 1999 Single Barrel

I wouldn`t call this one “heavy” though despite the strength because it has a very fruity character but neither would i call it “light”

Nose – The color is amber, like that of mashed mature banana and on the nose it´s fruity with hints of banana, apricot, papaya, orange peel and sugarcane.

Mouth – In the mouth undiluted i get wood, burnt molasses, tropical fruits (same as the nose) it´s smooth to sip despite it´s strength and it has a very warm feeling. It´s not heavy, it´s fruity and complex with an array of tropical fruit notes.

A lively and happy rum!

Adding a few drops of water to the glass brings out more fruitness and makes it taste sweeter while still having a punch. It´s easy to sip this rum!

I decided to make a daiquiri…and i was actually surprised…

This rum makes such a flavorful daiquiri that it´s ridiculous! i expected a good one but not THAT good, oh my…

I made it a little bit different and maybe it was the mix of lime juices also that helped this drink become something out of the ordinary daiquiri-wise…?

But it wouldn`t been that good without this premium rum that`s for sure! i could go and buy a bottle just to make daiquiris with it…

Sugarcane Daiquiri

Sugarcane daiquiri

1.5 oz Caroni – 99 Single Barrel Rum

0.5 oz Petit Canne sugarcane syrup

0.25 oz fresh lime juice

0.25 oz fresh lemon juice

0.25 oz key lime juice

Glass – Libbey SPKSY

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, rimmed with demerara sugar.

I can recommend anyone who likes strong rum with good flavor to buy this Caroni – 99 single barrel rum.

Outside of Sweden it can be purchased online on the Master of Malt website.