Re-posting: Joint Barbados GI Statement From Mount Gay, Foursquare & St Nicholas Abbey by Rum Revelations

I usually don`t repost other`s posts here but this time I want to state my support for this topic which I feel is important and which couldn`t be said any better than what is written by Ivar de Laat who run the Rum Revelations blog. I`m not re-posting the whole content but a part and those who are interested in reading the rest may head over to the Rum Revelations blog.

Joint Barbados GI Statement From Mount Gay, Foursquare & St Nicholas Abbey

For a while now, the people of Barbados have been trying to implement a GI for their rum. GI stands for Geographical Indication. “The use of a GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.“

There are four distilleries on the island, namely Mount Gay, Foursquare, St Nicholas Abbey and West Indies Rum Distillery. The government of Barbados wants all four to agree on a draft GI that can be forwarded to the government for consideration. This has turned out to be a difficult task. Three distilleries are in agreement on what the GI should look like, WIRD is not. They were recently taken over by French company Maison Ferrand, known in the rum world through their Plantation brand.

Similar to what’s happening in Jamaica, where Ferrand is trying to change the existing GI (more about that in this article), they want to be able to add sugar to their rum (20g/l), which is what they do to many of their products. This is something completely foreign to Barbados rum and therefore unacceptable to the other distilleries. It doesn’t stop there. They also want to be able to use any water source, any cask type for ageing, any yeast type and age the rum anywhere in the world after 1 year in Barbados. Apart from the one year ageing, it takes all geographical components out of the Geographical Indication. Essentially making it a generic rum that could be made anywhere.

Click here for an article where Ferrand explains their position, including very far fetched historic “facts” to motivate why everything should be allowed in the GI. Alexandre Gabriel, owner of Ferrand, later explained on his own Facebook page that they want to be able to add 20g/l of sugar to Barbados rum. The historical “fact” for this one is that caramel colouring has been used for centuries in Barbados rum, which leaves a trace of sugar. Not mentioning the fact that caramel colouring is bitter and the sugar it leaves is a microscopic amount. It was never meant to sweeten the rum (it doesn’t), just colour it. My personal opinion is that these kind of statements are propaganda at best.

As I mentioned in my post on Long Pond rums, a GI as proposed by the other 3 distilleries, wouldn’t stop Ferrand from doing their experiments. They simply can’t label it as Barbados rum.

Barbados rum, like Jamaica rum, is an institute…..they are part of the foundation of rum and should be cherished, loved, respected and protected. It’s a real shame that a company which constantly says they respect the terroir of all the different rums, while taking these same rums further and further away from their terroir with all their experiments, is able to stall this process of protecting Barbados rum, purely for financial gain. I feel for the people of Barbados, who should be the ones deciding what happens with their rum tradition.

Foursquare, Mount Gay and St Nicholas Abbey have come up with a press release. Here below it is in its entirety, head over to Rum Revelations blog and scroll down to read the press release:

BARBADOS DISTILLERS UNITE IN PUSH FOR A GI

Santa`s Potion of Danger

It was that time of the year again, the Libbey Glass Europe Glassology Christmas Tiki Cocktail Challenge which they announce on their page on Facebook and where you can express interest in participating. They pick 50 contestants that have a chance to be part of this fun competition and win fine prizes from Libbey.

This year my drink Santa`s Potion of Danger took first place! What a great way to start 2020! and I want to share the recipe here. It`s lenghty but not difficult, and not as complicated as it may seem!

It`s a fruity, spicy, refreshing Tiki cocktail with a pronounced tropical “zest” from the cranberry reduction, with a bit of tartness but without being actually sour, and it´s sooo deceptive… it goes down easily but it contains three of strong.

Santa´s Potion of Danger

15 ml/05 oz passionfruit juice

15 ml/05 oz fresh pineapple juice

30 ml/1 oz fresh lime juice

30 ml/1 oz cranberry and ginger reduction

15 ml/05 oz “Santa`s Spices*

45 ml/1.5 oz Jamaican rum, I used dr Bird (or use Hampden (regular or overproof, your choice) or Smith & Cross)

30 ml/1 oz aged rhum agricole, I used Héritiers Madkaud “Castelmore” cask VSOP

30 ml/1 oz Alamea Spiced Rum

Float of pineapple infused Campari served in a passionfruit (or lime) shell on top of the ice to be floated on the ice before drinking.

Method: Add all ingredients except the pineapple infused Campari into a blender and blend at high speed for 5 seconds with 2.5dl crushed ice. Pour straight into a Kahiko Zombie glass. Top up with more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with the float of pineapple infused Campari and a flaming MK KD Grider Tiki Torch. A warning: these mini tiki torches get VERY hot after burning, so do not touch the torch part when removing it from the glass before drinking.

Serve alight and admire the flaming torch for a little, then remove it, float the pineapple infused Campari and enjoy!

Pineapple infused Campari: Add equal parts fresh crushed pineapple to Campari in a mixing glass and cover with a foil or plastic wrap. Let sit for 24 hours in the fridge, then strain as fine as you can.

Santa`s Spices: Lightly toast 1 bigger or 2 small crushed cinnamon sticks, 20 cloves and 2 star anise, se aside. Make a 2:1 simple syrup with demerara sugar and mash one 1/2 banana into it, add the toasted spices and one slit up Tahitian vanilla bean. Let it simmer for a couple minutes, take off heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes to cool and marry the flavors.

Cranberry and ginger reduction: Reduce 2 dl natural cranberry juice without too much sugar together with 4 cm long and 2 cm thick sliced ginger root until you have what you need for this drink, 30 ml/1 oz. Discard the ginger slices and cool. It should get a sharp strong ginger bite and pronounced tartness from the cranberry juice.

Cheers!

Tiki Coquitonaut for the Christmas Holidays!

I just got the idea to mix together the Coquito with the Coconaut and thus the Tiki Coquitonaut was born. It`s a handy beverage for the holidays because it´s not only very tasty,  it`s so easy to make and to bring along when you visit friends and family.

I made this tikified Coquito in honor of the cool guys @ Los del Caribe in Peru! Los del Caribe are are two guys discovering the secret mixes of the Amazonas and the Caribbean. They are going to make a trip throughout the Amazon and the Caribbean to find new flavors, colors, cultures and traditions that they will bring into the art behind the bar. You can find them on instagram at @losdelcaribeloco

Tiki Coquitonaut (makes a small bottle)

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2 oz Alamea Spiced rum
2 oz Plantation OFTD overproof rum
2 oz Coruba Dark Jamaican rum
0.5 oz Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur
0.25 oz Alamea Pimento Rum Liqueur
2 oz sweet condensed milk
2 oz Cream of Coconut
12 oz Tahitian vanilla milk
6 oz Coconut milk

Add to blender and blend well, bottle and put in the fridge to get cold. Serve in a chilled glass with a dust of cinnamon powder and grated nutmeg on top.

*Tahitian vanilla milk – Pour 2 cups of milk into a bottle with 2-3 Tahitian vanilla beans, cut in half. Let sit for 2 hours or overnight.

Glass: Tiki split glass from Libbey
Moai mug: Maka Tiki
Tiki carving by Samuele de Vietro

You may substitute the rums if you cannot find them with others, try to keep it in the aged Jamaican pot still style kicked up with some overproof and something with natural spice for best result.

Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka!

“Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day. That’s the island greeting that we send to you From the land where palm trees sway”

“Mele Kalikimaka” is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson. The song takes its title from the Hawaiian phrase Mele Kalikimaka, meaning “Merry Christmas”

Exotic Cocktails with World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum

They are already launching new rums and I`m a bit behind, but the World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum is an interesting addition to the tiki and craft cocktail scene. World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum is the creation of Lester Schutters and Tom Neijens. ( the Drifter Bar, Belgium) I have tried the dark also and tried them both paired with some really exquisite chocolate, a very pleasant experience. and of course, in a couple of refreshing drinks too. In this post i`m making my own drinks, but before I do that, a little about the World`s End Rum:

The first World’s End Rum was created 3 years ago by Lester Schutters and is a spin off of his liqueur company 2240 Social Club . Out of a lifetime interest in rum, the next step was to create something that he was looking for but could not find on the rum market . And so the dark spiced rum was born, a combination of pot and column still rums.

After being on the road a lot,  getting the chance to meet some great people in the business, Lester met Tom Neijens. Tom liked what he did with the dark spiced rum, and with the opportunity to talk about a mutual interest “rum “, they finally, after several rum-talks, came to the point that Tom was looking for – a way to commercialize what he had created . He already used a raw version in his cocktails . And as Lester was looking to expand his range of spiced rum, they decided to get together to create what would become World’s End Rum Tiki Spiced .

Lester created a tailored blend for this project, which was a blend of Trinidad, Tobago and Jamaican rums . Pure focused on taste, he started to look for the character that this blend would become and finally, after adding the right spices, he released the World’s End Rum Tiki Spiced . Main spices in this rum are allspice and cinnamon . That`s the story in short. It`s difficult to make a good spiced rum because to get balance of flavors when spices are added, paired with not getting it too sweet, is a not-too-easy task. And generally, many spiced rums i think, falls into the category of “too sweet” or “unbalanced”, but there`s some that are balanced and good too.

Personally I usually tend to prefer to use spiced rums as cocktail ingredients, and that`s because to my palate, a little goes a long way here and they are usually sweet, with anything from balanced, to quite sweet, to so sweet that your teeths cringe. But this rum I think, is on the balanced side on the scale.

It`s also a quite perfect match for a good Coke. And a good Coke, (a MUST for a Rum & Coke) is not the usual thing in the supermarket, sweetened with the horrible and unhealthy high fructose corn syrup, it`s the Mexican Coke which is sweetened with natural sugarcane. There`s also “old-fashioned” craft cokes you can try. One (local brand) in my country that I like is “Kitty Kola” which uses organic apple juice as sweetener and ecological ginger juice, lemon and kola nut. It has a really old-fashioned cola-like flavor, the way I imagine coke used to taste in the 40s-50s and I find it delicious. It does not taste like just a coke though, it has a flavor of it`s own.

And actually, when researching, I found out that this cola was launched in Sweden in the 1953, (originally from England) It disappeared because Coca Cola out-competed it but it`s now back again on the market (with a re-developed improved recipe with only organic all-natural ingredients).

The for this year unusually hot summer is now gone away, but a well-made Rum & Coke is really refreshing on any given day, so gonna present that here together with a few other drinks. Apart from going well with coke, I feel that the tiki spiced rum would go very well with a good Root-beer too, in for example the Caribbean Punch.  I made a take on the “Don`s  Caribbean Punch” (Don the Beachcomber, cirka 1957, from Sippin`Safari by Jeff Berry) on this blog many years ago. But of course, the tiki spiced rum as you can imagine, goes in all kind of cocktails. I decided to make a new take on the Caribbean Punch though, and making it on the slightly bitter side switching out Root-beer for Chinotto. Likewise I mixed equal parts of Kitty Kola and Chinotto in the rum and coke-type of drink to add a bit of a bitter edge to it.

But before I post the recipes, here`s just a little short note on how I find the World`s End Tiki Spiced rum neat:

The first thing that hits my nose is allspice and cinnamon with hints of citrus and sugarcane. The citrus is lingering around, lightly caressed by the sweetness of sugarcane. it´s backed up by the spicy notes of the allspice and cinnamon.Then at first sip I feel a warm cinnamon flavor with orange peel and hints of allspice followed by sugarcane notes. It´s quite balanced even though cinnamon dominates a little. it`s sweet and in my opinion does best in mixing where you can balance the sweetness with lemon or lime. It mixes very well in tiki drinks (and other cocktails) No burn either, it´s not harsh at all.

At the German rumfest last year I tried it with chocolate, but a chocolate pairing is another thing, and with the dark quality chocolate we had it became a different and elevated drinking experience.

The aftertaste is semi long with lingering orange and cinnamon notes.

Bitter Caribbean Punch

0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz falernum
1.5 oz Chinotto* (to top)
1 oz World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
0.5 oz Plantation OFTD overproof rum
0.5 oz Foursquare Triptych Barbados rum (or similar)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1/4 tsp fassionola (or hibiscus grenadine)
4 drops La Maison Fontaine Absinthe Chocolat Liqueur
1 cup crushed ice

Blend at high speed for 5 seconds, (or shake it) pour unstrained into a suitable glass or tiki mug, and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with something tropical. It turned out to be very refreshing, with a pleasant bitter backbone from the Chinotto that just blended so well with the spicy notes of the rum.

Chinotto is an italian carbonated soft drink made from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree. It looks like coca cola but have a taste of it`s own, a bit cola-like, a bit orange-flowery, less sweet and with a slight bitterness, it`s truly delicious.

Marama Kula

1 oz /30 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced rum
1 oz /30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum
0.5 oz /15 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffee liqueur
1 oz/30 ml fresh lime juice
0.5 oz /15 ml Cream of Coconut
0.5 oz /15 ml Guava nectar
0.5 oz /15 ml fresh pineapple juice
1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice

Blend at high speed for 5 seconds and pour into a chilled snifter, add more crushed ice to fill, dust a little cinnamon powder on top. Garnish with paper parasol lantern.

There´s 2 oz of sweet/semi-sweet ingredients here and I found 1 oz of fresh lime still made a nice drink but if you prefer it more on the sour side just add up the lime a bit.

World`s End Rum &  Bitter Cola

2 oz World`s End Tiki Spiced Rum
Top with equal parts Chinotto and Mexican Coke (or other craft coke not containing HCFS syrup, I used the old fashioned organic Kitty Kola)
Squeeze of 1 lime (or more to adjust the sweetness)
Cracked or crushed ice
Garnish large cinnamon stick, lime piece and speared amarena cherries.

Shake rum and lime with cracked or crushed ice, pour into a fancy tall glass and top up with more ice if needed. Garnish with a large cinnamon stick, lime piece and speared amarena cherries.

The combo of organic cola and chinotto makes a bitter-sweet combination.

Hidden Secret

1.5 oz/45 ml fresh lime juice
0.25 oz/7.5 ml ginger syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml cream of coconut
0.25 oz/7.5 ml strong cold brewed coffee
0.25 oz/7.5 ml Alamea Hawaiian Coffe Liqueur
0.5oz/15 ml World`s End Tiki Spiced rum
1 oz/30 ml Plantation OFTD overproof rum
1 oz/30 ml Plantation Stiggin`s Pineapple rum
1 oz/30 ml fresh pineapple juice
Garnish – 3 speared Fabbri Amarena cherries, orchid and pineapple leaf.

Add ingredients to a blender. Blend with 1 cup/2.5 dl crushed ice at high speed for 5 seconds, pour unstrained into a suitable tiki mug, or glass.

In the picture I used 2 mugs that belongs together and are called “Lieutenants Marqative and Posquesan”, made by Robbie Toth and you can view his artwork on Instagram here. Swizzle stick by MkGrider.

And like i said in the beginning of this post, the World`s End are launching two more rums! the Dry Spice and the 57 Navy Rum. You can find World`s End Rum on instagram here. They just won bronze medal for their new Navy Rum at the German Rum Festival,

They now have four rums in their range of rums, and a Falernum. They are so worth checking out!

Nu Lounge Bar Tiki XMas Tribute to the Mai Kai Party & a Tasty Dessert with Alamea Spiced Rum!

Two posts in one … the Nu Lounge Bar Tiki XMas Tribute to the Mai Kai party and a sumptuous tasty tropical rum dessert recipe.

I think it doesn`t matter when or where… we always need a decadent dessert every now and then to add some sweetness and spice to life … and when they are spiked with rum it´s even better!

Here`s a tropical tiki style dessert, using the amazing Alamea Spiced Rum and Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur created by Daniele Dalla Pola, owner of the Nu Lounge Bar in Bologna, which btw on december 18th threw THE party of the year, the Tiki Xmas Tribute to the Mai Kai at the bar with guest bartenders, seminars, tiki market, live tiki carving, Polynesian buffet, tiki drinks and show at the bar, plus a live rockabilly band, the Lucky Strike, playing all night, and a tattoo artist doing alamea tattoos and a very lovely aloha vibe all around the place for almost 12 hours straight! I have added a few pics and videos after the dessert.

I was actually supposed to make this dessert for the Polynesian buffet but then it turned out not practically possible so instead I present it here so you can make it at home and you should because it´s that good…

Aloha Coconut Ice Cream with Alamea Hawaiian Coffee & Spiced Rum Pineapple!

For 3 servings, you need:

1/2 pineapple cut in 2 quarters, one with leaves still attached.
1L coconut ice cream
¼ cup (1,25 dl) demerara sugar
2 oz (60ml) Alamea spiced rum
0.5 oz (15 ml) Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur
Tropical orchids for garnish.

Cut up the pineapple in 2 pieces and save one for garnish with the leaves still attached. Peel the other pieces and slice them in ½ inch slices (1.2 cm) and set aside.

Pour demerara sugar in a nonstick pan on high heat and make sure to coat the entire base with sugar and place the pineapple slices on top of the sugar in one layer filling the pan. Cook and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes or until caramelized.

Add Alamea spiced rum and Hawaiian coffee liqueur and cook for another 2 minutes or until it`s brownish and syrupy. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Place coconut ice cream on a serving plate, just a little bit ahead of time so it becomes a little bit soft. Garnish with the quartered pineapple and tropical orchids at the base of the ice cream. Pour the rum sauce on top.

Ideas for garnish: Crushed walnuts, macadamia nuts, mango slices, passionfruit pieces.

This is a variation of a dessert I saw somewhere and turning it tiki style! it fits any tiki or tropical party or any other occasion or just no occasion at all, it`s simply delicious! and ridiculously easy to make. The only thing to pay attention to really, is to let the sauce cool down to room temp before pouring and to not take out the ice cream too early, but at the same time allow it to become just a little bit softened.

The Alamea exotic infusions are available at various places in Europe, and soon in the US and an online source is in the works. I will post more info when I know.

Nu Lounge Bar and the Tiki Xmas Tribute to the Mai Kai Party

Nu Lounge Bar is amazing,  ecclectic and one of those tiki bars so full of things everywhere that you never get tired of looking. And the drinks … they are great, the menu fun and variable (and beautiful) the bartenders excellent and the aloha vibe is embracing you like a soft Hawaiian breeze…

There`s a restaurant there too and you can eat both outside and in the bar and Italian food does not suck … personally I`m a huge pasta lover but there`s so much more. But the last thing I had there the day after the party was an amazing lasagna al forno with a Nu Painkiller! not a bad combo.

Before the party we had a tasty fusilli pasta dish for lunch with a lovely tomato sauce served in a huge pot, very typically italian and with tiki drinks to wash it down of course … or was it rums shots? and during the party there was a Polynesian luau style buffet with all kind of tasty things. You can say that both the”food-me” and “drink-me” was very happy! but it was so much more than just food and drink, the ambiance was fantastic, the seminars interesting, the Lucky Strike band great, the tiki market beautiful with plenty of mugs from Maka Tiki (mostly)and wood carvings from Tiki Matt and Tiki Sam.

Here`s a few photos and videos of the fun, not the best of quality but hey I wasn`t there as a professional photographer … I was there to meet friends, party and visit the Nu Lounge Bar!

It´s a Zombie…

The topic of this party, Tribute to the Mai Kai.

Tiki Diablo Mai Kai Mug 2017. This mug is based on the Barney West tiki, one of the tikis in the Mai Kai garden. Amazing mug!

The tribute drinks.

The man behind the party … Daniele Dalla Pola, owner of the Nu Lounge Bar and Tiki King is on his throne, so the party can start!

But before that, our lunch…

And of course, espresso!

Then tiki drinks… this is Kama` Aina`, a mix of Plantation OFTD, tropical juices and spices.

Don the Beachcomber is watching over us.

And the rums…

Cool tiki mugs on the shelves in the bar.

From another era…

The King of fruits!

Seminars, here with Oriol Elias talking about tiki in his “Expanding the tiki flavors palette” and Clementine Guillot presenting Rhum Damoiseau. There was also a Masterclass called “Banks: il Rum di nuova generazione” by Daniele “James” Pons, sponsored by Bacardi, but I didn`t see it because it was in italian and I wouldn`t have understood much 🙂

After the seminars, the tiki market started. Mugs from Maka Tiki and wood carvings from Tiki Matt and Tiki Sam.

Mugs and decanters from Maka Tiki. http://makaproject.altervista.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/MakaTikiProject/ and  http://www.makatiki.it/

Carvings by Matteo Cappellozza aka Tiki Matt,  https://www.facebook.com/Tiki-Matt-1198157160275432/ and Instagram – @tiki_matt_

Moai by Tiki Matt and it`s mine…  🙂 (happy happy)

And tiki carving by Samuele de Vietro aka Tiki Sam,  https://www.instagram.com/the_tiki_sam/?hl=en

I bought this cool little tiki while Oriol scored the one and only pineapple jigger…

Bad mobile pic… the pineapple jigger on the left side, how cool is that!?

More drinks! this one in a Re`al mug designed for Daniele Dalla Pola by Baï Tiki ( http://bybai1.wixsite.com/artbybai )

The Last Fang with edible cinnamon straw… I get really happy when I get these kinda drinks in my hand!  rummy, fruity, spicy, rich and big! (by Oriol Elias)

And here´s the recipe.

And the man behind it, Oriol Elias, www.threeofstrong.com

And the oh so tasty Elixir Tropical…

Created by Maurizio la Spina. It was so tasty I ordered more than one… This amazing cocktail was in the Bacardi Legacy Competition.

The Nu Mai Tai with passion fruit…

Happy bartenders 🙂

And the rockabilly band Lucky Strike kept playing all night…

Me getting the alamea tattoo, both a memory and a hommage.

One of the things I like about this place… among all the tiki stuff you see a deer horn?  🙂

And some videos…

What a party! they say this was the party of the year and I agree on that, it was amazing.

Mahalo and Aloha!

Three Dots and a Dash.

When RUMS comes to Berlin…. The 7th German Rum Festival 2017

 

Europe is exploding with rum events in the fall and just a week after the rumfest in Athens, it was time for a few others, for example the ShowRUM in Rome, UK Rumfest in London and the German Rumfest in Berlin which is the one I headed to, but unfortunately this year, London and Berlin happened at the same time. I have been to the UK Rumfest a couple times but never to Berlin so this was extra interesting, and it didn`t get worse by the fact that Baba au Rum had a pop up bar the whole week from the start of the BCB (Bar Convent Berlin) to the end of the Rumfest at the My June bar.

They had even, with the help and organizing by Alexandra Barstalker brought the same wallpapers (which btw I learnt is made by a Swedish designer) that are on the walls in the Baba au Rum bar in Athens to My June Bar to make it even more like “at home in Baba”, well that my friends is looking into the details! if you go to her website you can read about how the idea about “Baba au Rum goes Berlin” came to be.

Berlin is a huge city but with a packed schedule on a few days I didn`t see that much of the city itself, except for going to some bars, restaurants and tastings, among them the “My June Bar” where Baba resided. The first night was apparently THE night to be there because virtually everybody in the booze/rum industry was there and it was really a crazy kick-start of the rumfest weekend and at the same time the closing down party of the BCB.

The German Rumfest is really huge and very well organized, and the rum selection was very good, I just missed the Velier rums there but they were in London at the UK Rumfest. Luckily the next year these two will not happen at the same time!

As a rum judge we had two days to do the rum tastings before the rumfest started and so that kept me busy and in very good company! always so nice to see friends from the “rum family” at various rum-filled events. Interesting to me was the contrasts between attending first a small and intimate rumfest (Athens) and then a really huge one. And both has their own charms.

The German Rum Awards are a competition in which professionals blind taste the rums submitted and make subjective, yet neutral assessments to a points awarding system where each juror only has to make one mark within a particular scale. This enables the juror to focus on the essentials – without the distraction of having to figure out how many available points to award.

An international jury will taste all submitted rums in a two-day evaluation process. The flights are divided into categories, e.g. Special Cask, Single-Cask, Agricole VS/VSOP, Overproof, Spiced Rum, No-Age-Statement, Cachaça aged etc etc. In total 18 categories, around 160 different rums and cachacas. The jury’s conducts the tasting blind at a quiet location and rates the rums according to a point system.

In order for a submitted product to be awarded and to receive a medal, a specific number of points must be achieved. The jury awards only one gold, silver and bronze medal in each category, which is different from many other competitions. Out of all the submitted products, there is also a “Best in Show“ award – it goes to the rum with the highest number of points, regardless of category.

This years results of the tasting competiton is here.

The venue for the rumfest, the Station Berlin is very large with high ceilings making it very roomy and that is needed with such a large crowd of people, it was still hot at the back of the room! I had a great experience in Berlin and hope to be back!

I will as usual, show the rumfest, in a parade of pictures:

Well crafted tasty cocktails and fun with the rum family at the June Bar with Baba au Rum! who came among the 50 Best Bars again this year.

Plantation Rum made for Baba au Rum, a multi island rum aged in bourbon oak, cognac barrels and peaty whisky barrels… It had an exceptionally fine and balanced flavor.

And then….the next day, time for work, rum judging at the BRLO Brewhouse.

There were many rums to taste for two days, around 160 different rums.

And when the tasting was done, they revealed the rums to us.

And this is where it gets really interesting because now you can compare your own notes and the points you gave to see which rums they were. After this was done we went for a brewery tour at the BRLO Brewhouse which I think had a pretty cool sign on the wall.

BRLO is the slavic origin of the name Berlin.The beers made here are really tasty! they make handcrafted beers in small batches and they do not filter the brews to keep all healthy nutrients. From December and onwards you can visit them at their brewery and restaurant. And this is located in a one of a kind building constructed from 38 shipping containers!

The next day….time for the rumfest! and what is better than starting a rumfest with some freshly pressed sugarcane juice? (by Mr Zuckerrohr) in which, you a bit later add some rum….

There were quite a bit of rhum agricoles to try (to my joy) since my favorite rum categories are cask strength molasses based rums and agricole rums.

And who is happier to show you these rhums than Jerry Gitany?

I like La Mauny…

And these…

Complex and aromatic, Reimonenq Rhum Vieux Réserve RQL from Guadeloupe, aged in bourbon and Cognac casks.

Toucan rhum agricole from French Guyana, here is their Boco (spiced)

And what is a rumfest without some Real mcCoy and Don Q rums and coconuts?

Or Plantation…

Or Angostura?

Presented by the ever so charismatic Daniyel Jones! (and look at that cool striped bois lèlè swizzle stick!)

Walking around here tasting rums and meeting people is like being in a candy-store for grown-ups…

But you need a resting place sometimes…

Before heading over to By the Dutch, to try their amazing Batavia arrack. It says “Indonesian rum” on the bottle, but I call it only Batavia Arrack – because there`s a significant local, cultural and historical difference between the two even though they are closely related (rum and arrack both uses molasses but the arrack also contains a little bit of fermented red rice added to the yeast) so “same same but different” as the saying goes. (in my opinion)

Talking Batavia arrack with Jos, which I later poured some in my glass of fresh sugarcane juice which also had some rum in it, because that`s typically what a rumnerd do at a rumfest… 🙂

And a special cask….which I hope they will offer for sale in the future. This one brought my mind to the flavorful high ester rums from Hampden.

And there`s more interesting rums in the works…something for us rumlovers to look forward to!

By Foursquare. Always reliable when it comes to the quality, nothing added to these rums, they are exactly what they say they are and they do taste good!

A popular place to be….

And so was this! Our Rums and Spirits booth with the rum that was my favorite, the “Guyana 2003 Diamond” at 63,7% which together with the “Our Blend Jamaica, Trinidad, Martinique” was awarded gold in the categories “Single Barrel” (Guyana 2003) and the “No Age Statement”. Further there was this 24 year old Demerara rum (Enmore) which I have at home 🙂 very tasty too.

I think Thanos, Alexander and Elias from Baba agreed…

And their Jamaican, which I also liked very much.

We are into some serious rum drinking now, continuing with the Kill Devil rums, my favorite? the red one in the middle. Cask strength (63.1%, Diamond) from Guyana.

After all these amazing strong rums it was good to change to a rum and chocolate pairing at the World`s End Rum booth….together with a refreshing and very cold cocktail. I spent quite some time here chatting with all the fine folks in and around this booth.

World`s End scored some awards too! in the middle, the Tiki Spiced (by Tom Neijens.)

Then I saw this guy…guarding the Meermaid Rums, he looked pretty content, full of rum and rather sleepy…it doesn`t take much imagination to”hear” him snore…

Meermaid rum, they also make a pretty cool overproof rum which I like to float over tiki drinks…

Rum, Rhum, Ron…that`s what we are here for.

Fine rums from Worthy Park, Jamaica and I really liked the Oloroso!

And of course, there was Rum Bar with their fine overproof which I had in daiquiris at the Athens rumfest 🙂

And another fine overproof, Rum Nation Jamaica which won the overproof category.

These three expressions from New Grove Rums from Mauritius are tropically aged and made from molasses with ageing in different woods.

Moscatel – Slightly woody with notes of honey and fruits. Aged in French oak for 7 years, then aged in barrels of Moscatel for one year. ABV 47,7%
Acacia – Slightly dry peppery and fruity rum with notes of acacia wood, it has been aged 7 years in French oak and 1 year in acacia. ABV 47,7%
Merisier – Notes of currants, wild cherry and dried apricots. Aged in French oak for 7 years, then aged in Birch barrels a year. ABV 47,7%

And Velho Barreiro Cachaca from Brazil.

Don Q, of course! representing Puerto Rico.

And from Sweden, the Gun Room Rum from Renbjer and Magnusson.

Kirk and Sweeney is a rum from the Dominican Republic which have taken their name from the name of a wooden schooner that was best known for smuggling rum from the Caribbean to the United States during Prohibition.

3 Island Rum is a brand of rum that was launched in the beginning of 2013 by Charles Hosie, the firm of spirits importers and founded in Hamburg 1918.

Aged rhum agricole by Trois Rivières.

The Hall of Fame where you could see all the award winning rums.

Ti Arrangèes de Cèd, rhum arrangè which is something I find cool to use instead of simple syrup in tiki drinks…a way to use it that is not the traditional way which is sipping it, which btw is good too and typical French island tradition.

Santa Teresa 1796, hailing from Venezuela.

This is what`s it´s all about! 🙂

More rum after the rum judging…and the BRLQ Brewery tour – we went to a masterclass/tasting of La Mauny and Trois Rivières rhum at the Stairs Bar held by Daniel Baudin, cellar master of La Mauny & Trois-Rivières.

These are some very good agricole rums!

And now I think you`ve had enough of my “blurs” and pics and I finish with a picture of the Tempodrom which is located right beside the hotel Crowne Plaza. The Tempodrom is an event venue that was founded by Irene Moessinger, and opened in 1980 next to the Berlin Wall on the west side of Potsdamer Platz, housed in a large circus tent.

Thank you Berlin for having me! hope to be back the next year!

Credit for some of these pics goes to:

Joshua Singh
Daniyel Jones
Florian Cuntz
Christian Nagel

Athens Rum and Whiskey Festival 2017

This was the second rum festival in Athens (rum and whiskey together this year) but my first time to attend the event which was taking place in the impressive neo-classical Zappeion Hall, built in 1878 which also is conveniently located near the beautiful park, the National Gardens around the city center with two metro stations nearby.

The festival was small but sweet…with a good vibe – and drunken crowds, thankfully, I did not see. Nice and relaxed! I stumbled on some rums I’ve never tried before too and to my pleasant surprise the Alamea Exotic Infusions that are soon to be launched at the Berlin Bar Convent on october 10-11 by Daniele Dalla Pola were there as well. Read more about Alamea here in my review. They made some very nice cocktails with it and I really enjoyed having drinks with the Alamea.

There were cocktails made in most booths plus there was a little Baba au Rum pop-up booth there as well so one could choose to both sip rum and whiskey neat but also get to drink very nice cocktails which I appreciated!

Baba au Rum once again came among the 50 best bars – this time no.30! so again I say congrats to the Baba team! was it only a couple days ago I was there? someone fly me back please! but then again – they will have a pop up bar in Berlin in a few days….during the BCB (Bar Convent Berlin) and the German Rumfest and I`m luckily heading in that direction.

 

As for seminars I went to the  “Artisanal Cachacas, Authentic Sugarcane Expressions” by Jimmy Bertazzoli and “The Holy Grail of Martinique” sponsored by rhum St James held by Konstantinos Vasilakopoulos and then Sly Augustin’s (Trailer Happiness, London) seminar about Tiki where he did talk about the movement of tiki and where it’s going, specifically from a European view, something I’m also talking about in ny (upcoming) book. It was like hearing somebody else express my mind! The good guys from Trailer also did a guest bartending at Baba where they presented four tiki drinks, (the one with the jerk spice was amazing)

As for bars in the city, Athens have a very vibrant bar scene with worldclass bartenders and a hospitality next to none! they really are that good! but I already said that before…and not only do they make great cocktails in the bars but they also play very good music! You are guaranteed to have fun! also, the rooftop bars….the views are incredible.

A few great bars to mention are Baba au Rum, Speakeasy, Gin Joint, Clumsies, Kolokotroni 9, Bank Job, Rabbit Hole and the seasonal Mary Pickford by the water in Piraeus (awesome rooftop bar with a great view of the water and all the boats, plus great food, drinks and music), and then the rooftop bar at the hotel “A for Athens” with an unrivaled view and occasion to see the sunset over the city with a stunningly beautiful lit up Panthenon/Acropolis by night….a sight to see I promise!

This is a good start for the Athens rumfest which I believe has potential to grow nicely to something really great and I hope to see it happen again next year.

Enjoy the rest by pictures! I think they say more than my words!

The Rum and Whisky fest:

Entering the rum and whisky fest under the high pillars of the Zappeon building is quite impressive…

And then you`re met by a familiar sight…booths with booze….and bartenders serving cocktails. The Bayou rum

I first discovered in New Orleans during the Tales.

And like they say in Nola, let the good times roll…that`s what`s rum is all about! I know this was a rum and whisky festival but the rum girl I am, I`m focusing on the rum…

FINE Drinking Magazine, one of the best bar magazines today, get yours here.

Thanos Prunarus and FINE.

This was delicious! the Cuban Swizzle with Santiago de Cuba Greece rum and Alamea Pimento Liqueur which is with the other Alamea products launched now at the BCB in Berlin and to soon be sold online and shipped worldwide so all the tiki folks and everyone else will be able to get them.

And the Santiago Mulata, with Alamea Hawaiian Coffee Liqueur and the Santiago de Cuba Greece rum. As tasty as the Cuban Swizzle.

The Almaea Spiced, one of the very few spiced rums I found to be really good, that is – not too sweet – and with natural flavor and ingredients. And how about that tiki label? 🙂

Moving on to some Hampden rums…a favorite brand from Jamaica. RumFire needs no presentation and neither does the Hampden Gold. World famous high ester Jamaican rums at it´s best!

Similar to the RumFire with that typical vegetal grassy and “kerosene”- like flavor notes (but much less up in your face as the JWray), the Rum Bar overproof is a blend of three pot still unaged rums. The Worthy Park Estate have produced sugar and molasses since 1720. And then a new expression I haven`t seen before with the blue label, called Full Flavored White Rum. Good rums!

Cheers to overproof Jamaican rum!

And a daiquiri with it was in order.

Another rum brand I like, Compagnie de Indes, I wrote about a few of their expressions here.

A Mediterranian style Rum Old Fashioned with Rum Nation`s agricole rum from la Rèunion. Beautifully presented and very tasty.

Naga rum from Indonesia, which I think we will see some more of when a certain tiki bartender starts mixing with it 🙂 it had a bit of an interesting funk to it`s flavor which I think would be good in especially tiki drinks.

Another rum I had never tried before, Ron SumMum from the Dominican Republic.They come in four expressions – from left to right – the Reserva Especial, the Sauternes Cask Finish, the Cognac Cask Finish and the Malt Whiskey Finish.

And Japanese Whisky, Akashi. The version of Akashi produced for the European market using a mixture of Japanese and foreign-made malt and grain whisky.The Japanese version has malt whisky and molasses spirit, which would not be classed as ‘whisky’ in the EU.

Yaguara Cachaca, which is an artisanal Cachaca that comes in these three expressions. From left to right – the Organic and the most flavorful one, the Oro which is aged in three different woods and the Branca. The sweet part in this cachaca is not coming from any added sugar but from the oak. Brazil have at least 4000 brands of cachaca but only 2% is exported and unfortunately most of the exported cachacas are industrial so the best ones with the most flavors stays in Brazil. So most people gets to know just those and mostly in Caipirinhas which I think is a shame. (Nothing wrong with Caipirinhas, they are tasty but there is more)

I hope that will change! so we can see more artisanal cachacas outside of Brazil! it´s an interesting spirit and very much alike the rhum agricole but yet so different.

Havana Club.

The menu from Trailer Happiness at their pop up at Baba au Rum. I especially liked the flavor and spicy kick of the jerk spiced Voodoo Island, both frutiy, spicy and smoky.

The view from the stairs of Zappeon.

Athens:

The Acropolis is like a guardian of the city…The Parthenon and the other buildings were seriously damaged during the 1687 siege by the Venetians in the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded…

The heaters at the rooftop cocktail bar at the “A for Athens” hotel looks like flying saucers that just landed….and the sun started to set…

A to go with the sunset…a matching colored drink called the “Polyphemus the Cyclops”.This drink was actually a sort of Zombie with a blend of Plantation OFTD, Chairman`s Reserve and Bacardi rums, spicy. The drink on the right side is called “Wear Sunscreen” and is a blend of Plantation Pineapple rum, Bacardi Gold, Don`s Mix, Coconut edible sunscreen (whatever that means…)

And the sun exploded in fiery colors…

Part of the menu at “A for Athens”

The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis, built in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power, seen from the rooftop bar at the “A for Athens” hotel cocktail bar. When you see it like that at night, it`s really magic, it adds a certain feel of the past to the present.

And of course it´s stunningly beautiful, pictures does not do it justice.

The Parthenon/Acropolis lit up to spread magic and beauty.

And the view in daylight from the rooftop restaurant at the Astor hotel. This is what you can call a breakfast with a view….

Zoomed in view of Mount Lycabettus/Λυκαβηττός, pronounced [likaviˈtos], a Cretaceous (the period between 145.5 and 65.5 million years ago) limestone hill in Athens, at 300 meters (908 feet) above sea level. Pine trees cover its base, and at its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant.

Rooftops of Athens.

Piraeus, seen from the rooftop bar Mary Pickford which we were lucky to get to on their last day before closing since it´s a seasonal summer bar that was created by the team of Baba au Rum along with Varoulko Seaside. Great view, great cocktails, great bartenders, fantastic seafood and great music sums up this place.

Seafood….at Mary Pickford. I don`t know what I was eating, I just know it was really amazing.

Incredibly tasty, a coffee Mai Tai at the Speakeasy.

Baba au Rum Cocktails.

And their Zombie…

And Baba Rum Sour with Barbancourt rum and a decent float of Cadenhead Cask Strength rum from the Bellevue distillery.

The beautiful National Gardens, located right behind the Zappeon Hall.

Impressive plants in the park. In the 1920s the park was renamed “National Garden”and became opened to the public and in honour of Queen Amalia of Greece, the entrance was moved to the 12 palms she planted and the street in front was renamed Queen Amalia Avenue. Since then the National Garden, is open to the public from sunrise to sunset.

Baba au Rums iconic carousel…just love this one!

And my favorite bar in Athens, Baba au Rum.

Pretty much sums it up! Cafe”Just Made 33″ a great place for breakfast.

Hello Athens and thank you! I will be back!