Meermaid Infused Rum – A rum with a lot of love!

 Mermaid rum (16)

When I first heard about the Meermaid rum I got quite curious, “Meermaid rum” what on earth is that? then I saw some pictures posted and they picked my interest especially since I also read positive thoughts about it written by trustworthy people. Being an infused (or spiced) rum you tend you get a bit suspicious…..too many spiced rums are way too sweet….

But not this one! in fact there is no sugar or artificial additives at all – or as the label says on the back of the bottle – “17 real fruits & spices macerated in a blend of Jamaica/Trinidad rums. No sugar, artificial flavors or nonsense added” – Bravo! that elevated my hope! btw I like how they say “nonsense” ……..

Meermaid rum comes in two expressions, and they come in some really cool stoneware bottles – a 70ml 40% infused rum and then an overproof version of the same rum at 62% in a 500ml bottle, also stone, which is really cool. The one thing I feel could be improved is the wooden cork because it doesn`t hold very tight… I wouldn`t try to bring an opened bottle with me if I was going somewhere and that`s a pity. So a better tighter cork is needed!

What this rum is – is interesting, and with an overproof version of the same rum it opens up for some tiki fun and rum pairings!

Something to note – Meermaid rum is not to be mixed up with the “Mermaid rum” from Florida, the “Meermaid” rum is infused and bottled in Berlin, Germany.

Meermaid rum began with a passion to learn how to produce flavored rum…the thought is to preserve the actual rum flavor and with the 16 all natural ingredients like fruits, dried fruits and spices they add, just enhance the flavor. The rum is recommended for use in tiki cocktails (yay here I come…) or ginger beer or ginger ale, or on the rocks.

Recommended is also pineapple…..did they say pineapple? now this really talks to me!

Meermaid collage 2

Meermaid Infused Rum – Conceived in a long gone Tiki Bar….

And it got even more interesting when I learnt that Stefan Waltz, the maker of this infused rum, once set up a tiki bar on a boat….and later used to be the co-owner of the since now long gone tiki bar in Berlin called “Tabou Tiki Room“….

Where he had a mermaid painted on the door to the Ladies Room, which later on also became the design picture for the Meermaid rum, a name that he first discovered on a cup from the 60s where there was a recipe for a cocktail called “Meermaid”…I love when I stumble upon interesting things like this while researching for writing a rum post…that*s how it comes that I sometimes sit up all night…

The Tabou Tiki Room was inspired by Stefan`s visits to Trader Vic in London and Munich, and the Mai Kai and Tonga Room in America and the idea of escape from the outside world that real tiki bars is all about.

Tabou collage

Here is the history of this infused rum as told on the website by Stefan Waltz:

I used to be the co-owner of the “Tabou Tiki Room”. An infamous tiki bar, and first of its kind, in Berlin, Germany. The place is long gone now, but it was there that the dream to produce my own infused rum was born.

“Tabou” was a bar that focused on the almost forgotten, rum based cocktails of the old days served in authentic tiki mugs, and an assortment of sipping rums fifty strong. I had the pleasure of acquiring these rums from around the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are fine spiced rums out there nowadays, but I want to show that it is possible to produce handcrafted infused rum at a reasonable price, while maintaining a far superior quality to the industry standard.

I began by trying several recipes using quality rum with an assortment of exotic spices and various types of fruit infusions. After several months of experimenting, analyzing, and taste-testing I concocted several unique possibilities, but felt that something crucial was missing. In the end, it was my girlfriend who suggested the last, key ingredient and I knew that we had crafted something special. Two weeks and several business meetings later, I had found a way to make naturally infused rum in small batches.

As you can imagine, it being in charge of searching and was a fun and exciting job. However, back in 2004 I just could not find a brand of spiced rum that met with my high standards. What I found was mass produced liquor, flavored with artificial vanilla to cover up the taste of what was quite obviously mediocre rum. It was through this search that the idea to make my own bottled rum began to form.

Quite interesting story isn`t it? And now he finally has his infused rum which btw is excellent!

Bottles back collage

Here`s my thoughts on the flavor:

Meermaid Infused Rum:

The color is lightly straw and when I swirl the rum in the glass, legs are quickly formed on the sides. The nose is very pleasant with a lot of citrus fruitiness, some herbs and a bit of spices with a very slight hint of rum in the background.

The nose is very mild yet has a lot of flavor notes in it.

The taste is spicy and herbal with he rum resting discreetly in the background, it´s mild and balanced and has an interesting flavor which is complex. It also has a pronounced fruitiness. It`s more mild and balanced than I expected and there`s no “overly sweetness” or “too much vanilla” in it, there´s a clear hint of cinnamon but there`s nothing that takes over.

There`s also something else there I cannot put my finger on…cherry?

There’s fruity orange and a bit of woody spicy aftertaste with hints of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, herbs…and the finish is medium long. It`s definetily one of the better spiced rums and this one distinguishes itself from the rest in that it`s a bit different.

Meermaid Overproof Infused Rum:

The overproof version has a naturally sharper nose with creamy fruitness in it, light on the spice and little bit herbal. I really like this creamy fruitness, it`s an intoxicating scent.

The flavor is also very fruity and herbal, even a little bit floral with a touch of woody spices like cinnamon and clove. It`s mild enough to sip, the alcohol doesn`t kill you. In all I would say that both these rums are well balanced and mild enough to not overpower anything which so many other spiced rums does.

They can be both sipped and mixed! and yes they are right, it really pairs well with pineapple!

Bottle overproof collage

Pretty cool labels, with a skeleton mermaid on the overproof…

Wim Thielemans from Flap`s Tikis made a special tiki mug for Meermaid rum – is it the captain with a mermaid tail? or is it a tiki face? a really cool mug!

Meermaid mug

Ok and now it`s time for the drinks! i`m in the mood for pineapple, rum, lime and coconut! so it´s a lot of fresh pineapple juice and tiki drinks…

First drink is a pineapple bowl…a mix of fresh pineapple and lime juices, orgeat and three rums to make it strong plus dashes of Angostura and Zulu bitters to make it nice! the whole awesomeness is served in a scooped out pineapple garnished with pineapple leaves, lime wheels and tropical flowers.

I wish I had one of those little plastic cocktail garnish mermaids to add to the bowl….she could swim around there in all the rum…

Meermaid Pineapple Bowl

Meermaid Pineapple Bowl

2 oz/60ml fresh pineapple juice
1 oz/30ml fresh lime juice
0.75 oz/22.5ml orgeat
1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
0.5 oz/15ml Meermaid overproof rum
1 oz/30ml demerara rum
A couple dashes of Angostura and Zulu* Aromatic bitters

Blend in blender with 1 cup crushed ice for 5 sec, then pour into a scooped out pineapple (or glass/tiki mug) and fill up wityh more crushed ice and garnish.

This drink is very refreshing!

*The Zulu bitters are hard to get outside of Brazil where they are made from local ingredients in the rainforest, ( try e-mail zuluheadbartender@gmail.com ) – Otherwise using Angostura is just fine!

The next drink….looks very innocent but it is not!

Naughty Mermaid

Naughty Meermaid

2 oz /60ml fresh pineapple juice
2 oz/60 ml fresh orange juice
1 oz/30ml  Coco Real or Lopez cream of coconut
0.25 oz/7.5ml cold brewed coffee
1 oz/30ml fresh lime juice
1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
1 oz/30ml aged Jamaican rum

Blend in blender at high speed for 5 sec with 1 cup of crushed iced and pour into a large snifter.

Mermaid Ginger Cooler

Meermaid Ginger Cooler

In a rocks glass with large pieces of cracked ice, add:

1 oz/30ml Meermaid Infused rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
A little squeeze of fresh lime
Top up with ice cold ginger beer and stir

Garnish with fresh mint and lime

It packs a bit of a punch!

Grande Pina Colada

Grande Pina Colada

2 oz/60ml fresh pineapple juice
1 oz/30ml Coco Real or Coco Lopez
2 oz/60ml roasted coconut water
1 oz/30ml fresh lime
1 oz/30ml Jamaican rum
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
A couple dashes of Angostura bitters

Blend in blender at high speed for 6 sec with a cup (2.5dl) cracked ice)
Pour into a goblet or pineapple filled with cracked ice.
Add a generous float of black strap rum

Guanabana Kula

Guanabana Kula

2 oz/60ml Guanabana (soursop) juice
0.75 oz/22.5ml fresh lime juice
0.5oz/15ml macadamia nut syrup
1 oz/30ml Meermaid overproof rum
2 oz/60ml Santeria rum or a dark Jamaican rum

Flash blend in blender with 1 cup of crushed ice for 5 sec, pour into a tall glass and fill up with more crushed ice.

Garnish: wrap the glass in banana leaf and tropical orchid.

Overall I think for this infused rum, it´s a work well done! The Meermaid rum is for those who appreciate quality handmade flavored spirits – if you want your own bottle of Meermaid you can order it here. ( I do not know if they ship outside of Europe) And if you are going to the German Rum Festival in october (15-16) you can also find it there!

Okole Maluna!

FB LINK MERMAID

Rhum Agricole – Arcane Rum from Mauritius!

Arcane Rums

Here´s sunny rums from a sunny island…Mauritius!

Arcane rums are made from pure cane juice, a rhum agricole. As always when you come back from a rumfest, in this case the Rhumfest Paris, there`ll be rums to try out and to write about. I`m starting with the three expressions from Arcane, plus a spiced rum called “Beach House Rum” (not Arcane but from the same producer)

The three expressions in their range are the Delicatissime, Cane Crush and the Extra Aroma. The Extra Aroma I tried for the first time at Maria Loca during Daniele Dalla Polas Tiki Night and I was amazed by the strong banana flavor of this rum which mixed wonderfully with his amazing tiki drinks.

On the webpage it says  –  What Arcane stands for is this : in a white rum or in a 12 years old rum, you will always taste, in different versions,the magnificence of cane aromas. Arcane rum is always made from the distillation of pure cane juice.

So let´s start with the Cane Crush, it´s a very aromatic rum with lots of fresh “green” sugarcane flavors, grassy, floral and lively. It´s distilled twice, first in pot stills on Mauritius and then a second distillation in small alambics is made in Cognac.These alambics are the french variant of the alembic – which is an arabic word for a type of still that originally was used to make perfumes and it´s the alembic still the modern pot still is based on.

So in short, here´s my thoughts on the rums, remember this is how they taste to me, to you they may taste a bit different since we all have different taste perceptions:

CANE CRUSH

Color – crystal clear

Nose – It´s crispy and fresh, grassy and a bit floral in the nose with slight hints of citrus.

Mouth – A very pleasant flavor, fresh and crispy just like like the nose but a little bit peppery with a fruitness and roundness backed up by the typical grassy agricole flavors of fresh cut cane.

Finish –  I find the finish to be medium long  with a fresh light cane flavor that stays for a little while.

A very pleasant and tasty rhum agricole that can be sipped easily and also mixed equally well, it´s tasty and balanced.

EXTRA AROMA

Color – Golden light mahogany

Nose: Here´s something entirely different….this rum has a strong nose of banana and coconut and the notes of grassy agricole flavors are quite restrained.

Mouth: Banana….hints of coconut and something perfumey and floral, hints of cane and some grassiness. It`s a tropically flavored aged agricole rum with strong banana and coconut flavors if that makes sense. It`s like a spiced rum with coconut and banana and quite sweet. I believe it´s a “like it or not” type of rum. Personally I like as a mixer because it mixes well in tiki drinks and tropical cocktails.

I tried it the the first time in Paris at Maria Loca when Daniele Dalla Pola did his “Arcane Jungle Bar” tiki night and made tiki drinks with among others, this rum which mixed wonderfully in his drinks.

The pronounced banana and coconut flavors (and some other tropical fruits) paired with the aged rhum agricole notes makes a statement to try to best describe it, if you like those flavors you`ll probably like this rum, if you don´t like banana and coconut you won`t like this. In tiki drinks and exotic cocktails it´s wonderful and I like the aftertaste of coconut.

In the description it says “12 year old solera aged in oak barrels” which does not mean that all the rum in the bottle is 12 years old but that there´s a percentage, how small, we do not know, that should be 12 years old in the blend of younger rums.

Finish: Aftertaste of coconut that lingers in your mouth for a while that gets me to think of a brown coconut that has been cracked and all the brown pieces spread out on the ground. The name “Extra Aroma” surely is true, this rum has a LOT of aroma! but as a sipper there´s bit of a sugar-bomb warning.

DELICATISSIME

Color – very light golden

Nose – A bit herbal and spicy, with hints of freshly cut grass, vanilla and some spice.

Mouth – Hints of vanilla, peppery, pronounced herbal grassiness and hints of floral notes as well, lively agricole flavors.

Finish – Spicy finish that ends with sweet notes of vanilla

This rum mixes as well as the Extra Aroma in exotic cocktails and I found that mixing the two, or any of them with Cane Crush is just as great, any of these rums adds a lively flavor to cocktails. This is a young golden rum that has been aged for 18 months in oak barrels and it`s kinda dryish but with sweet vanilla aromas.

Afterthoughts:

For sipping, the one I prefer is the Cane Crush because it´s the cleanest and driest of them to me and for sipping neat I prefer a bit drier rums that has nothing added to them. It also makes a fine ti punch of course.

For mixing I find them quite versatile, especially with tropical type of drinks, the flavors just comes together….

I have no idea if these rums contains any additives but I`m positively sure that there´s some kind of sweetness added to the Extra Aroma since it has such strong banana and coconut notes. I believe it may have natural flavors added or at least so I hear, and then some sugar, but there´s no info…anyway, it´s not cloingly sweet, it more makes a real strong statement of banana and coconut.

Then we have the bottles, I really like them, they have a cool design and the labels look exotic which pairs well with the rums they contain seeing to where the rum is made. But I would like to see more info on the labels as to what the rums contain as well, the more transparency the better.

BEACH HOUSE SPICED

Beach House Spiced

And now on to the last one, a sort of bonus in this post,  it´s a spiced rum.

This spiced rum is not the Arcane brand, it´s called “Beach House Spiced” which is a rum infused with tropical floral and spicy flavors dominated by orange which comes in a very pretty bottle at 40% abv. The nose is very floral and perfumey with hints of orange and spice. To be honest it´s  too sweet for my palate but I can see it as a cocktail ingredient and also as a dessert rum – or if you like it sweet, as a sip on the beach at sundown which it says it´s designed for. I think this rum would benefit from a reduction of the sweetness though especially since the spice flavor is a bit on the floral side. But those with a sweet tooth will probably love it.

Now on to the drinks!

Funky Colada

Funky Arcane Colada

With some funky grassy, sugarcane, banana and coconut flavors from the rums paired with the darker roasted coconut water and nutty macadamia and orgeat flavors, this is my funky Colada!

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Cane Crush

30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice

30 ml/ 1 oz roasted coconut water

7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz macadamia nut syrup

7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz orgeat

15 ml/ 0.5 oz Coco Real

30 ml/ 1 oz fresh lime

Dash pimento dram

Blend all ingredients at high speed for 5 sec in a blender with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice. Pour into snifter and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a pineapple crown. The roasted coconut water can be difficult to find but can be subbed with unsweetened and if possible, fresh coconut water.

The Pina Colada is in my opinion an underestimated drink and it´s one of my favorites. It`s also a fun drink since it lends itself to a lot of experimentations!

Coffee Dots

Coffee Dots

 

A coffee flavored take on the ”Three dots and a dash” which is one of the classic tiki drinks. Coffee is one of my favorite tiki drink ingredients,so why not combine the two? That´s how “Coffee Dots” was born…

Adding an agricole rum with rich banana aromas gives this drink an extra tropical dimension.

15 ml/0.5 oz each of fresh lime and orange juices

15 ml/0.5 oz honey-mix

60 ml/2 oz Arcane Extra Aroma rum

15 ml/0.5 oz strong Kona coffee, cold

7.5 ml/0.25 oz pimento dram

Dash Angostura bitters

Blend in blender at high speed with 2 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice, 5 sec and pour into a snifter

Garnish with a pineapple leaf and 3 coffee beans

Banana Daiquiri Speciale

A Banana Daiquiri a day….is the #DRINKTROPICAL way!

Arcane Banana Daiquiri small

Banana, both fresh and in syrup paired with rich coconut palmsugar syrup flambèed in 80% Stroh for the sweet…

Fresh lime juice for the sour and for the strong, Arcane Extra Aroma and Delicatissime blends together into a sumptuous tropical daiquiri drink….there´s no other “weak” in this except for the crushed ice….but the spice “to make it nice” is there in the dust of cinnamon and in the rums. Now this is not a Planter`s Punch but an extra lush banana daiquiri!

22.5 ml/0.75 oz fresh lime juice

1/2  banana, sliced

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Delicatissime

15 ml/0.5 oz banana-palmsugar syrup*

Blend in blender with 1 cup crushed ice for 10 sec and pour into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a piece of frozen banana and a dust of cinnamon.

To make the banana-palmsugar syrup:

For a small bottle of syrup, make a simple syrup with 2.1 ratio of coconut palmsugar and water (about 1 cup of sugar) and slice 1/2 banana in it and mash slightly with a fork and boil on medium heat for a couple minutes but do not let it caramelize. Take off heat and add 2 tbsp 80% Stroh ¨(or other overproof rum good for flambeeing) and flambè before leaving to cool and flavors to set for about 30 mins, then strain and bottle.

Beach House Bird

Beach House Bird

This drink is an experiment, since I wanted to try the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient and due to it`s pronounced orange aroma I decided to use equal parts hibiscus grenadine and the spiced rum instead of simple syrup in a Jungle Bird since orange and Campari pairs so well.

It tasted like a sort of lightly floral Jungle Bird with hints of bitterness…

As for the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient, it works just fine and can be used instead of for example orange liqueur or simple syrup giving a subtle floral, slightly exotic perfumey character to the drink. Now this drink has Campari which in itself adds a lot of flavor with it´s herbal, bitterness so you get it in double measure here :-).

22.5 ml/0.75 oz Campari

30 ml/1 oz fresh lime juice

7.5 ml/0.25 oz hibiscus grenadine

7.5 ml/0.25 oz Beach House Spiced

45 ml/1.5 oz Appleton Extra

Shake with plenty of cracked ice, strain and pour into a old fashioned glass filled with fresh cracked ice.

I think that was all for now….enjoy the drinks if you decide to try them 🙂

Tiki Bars – Latitude 29

Latitude 19

And so finally I got to go the Latitude 29! I´ve been waiting since they opened with great anticipation and (high) expectancy…..well…I try to not have too high expectations whatever it is, better to have an open mind, but with this one i`s a bit different….because this is the BUM`s place….this is the man who uncoded all the secret codes and brought us all these lost drink recipes and who wrote no less than six stellar books on the subject if you count in Taboo Table.

His books have been my to go tiki drink (and history) books for years and so now he and his wife Annene Kay aka Mrs Bum opens a real tiki bar in my favorite city New Orleans!

And I wasn`t there when they opened….and had to wait all the way until this year´s Tales before I could finally go and see it  – and in the meantime I`ve been drooling over all the food and drink pictures (can you say Tahitian Steak Frites?) and the drinks…..oh the drinks….

I`ve seen so many beautiful pictures of these drinks that I didn`t know what to start with….but I ended up ordering a Pontchartrain Pearl Diver as my first drink – in the NEW Pearl Diver`s glass! 🙂

The Pearl Diver`s glass, the Swizzle cup and the skull barspoons are all new for this summer in collaboration with Jeff Berry and Cocktail Kingdom and they were sold at the Tales but are also available online. The vintage Pearl Diver`s Punch glass is more or less impossible to find anymore so I`m really happy they are re-making them and same for the cool swizzle cup! I hope to see more re-making of these type of vintage tiki drink glasses….

And not only are the glasses really cool they come in beautiful vintage looking packages too!

Latitude29 Pearl Diver 3

The Pontchartrain Pearl Diver was good…..very very good – well balanced and oh so tasty! I didn`t try so very many drinks during the Tales because it was so incredibly busy….and so was I…so I decided to wait until after Tales and THEN go there for some serious drink tasting!

So last friday I went there early and I sat there and happily indulged Tahitian Steak Frites with luscious Coconut Butter and later a Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi accompanied by a whole array of drinks until in the evening, I actually spent a whole “working day” in the place!

And I had a nice chat with the Bum, about rums and rums and rums…and of course, tiki drinks. I was indeed a very good day….The place is so cool and relaxed, beautifully decorated and the music is great! with everything from real good and cool old style Jamaican reggae to surf music! and the co-bar manager Steven Yamada and his staff are very attentive, friendly and nice.

It`s really a place to go not only for the great drinks and food but also to escape from the world outside and it doesn`t matter if there´s big windows to the outside world…..because this is New Orleans! and the view from the beautiful arched windows is nothing but beautiful….over the pool and the tropical plants in the courtyard of Bienville House Hotel.

This used to be housing the former Iris restaurant, I went there in 2009 with all the Tales bloggers and now I cannot recognize the restaurant and bar anymore, it´s a total different world! quite the transformation….the only things that looks the same is the courtyard and the hotel lobby.

Take a look:

2009-2015 2

Back in 2009…Alan Walther tends the bar at Iris…..and he did serve some amazing cocktails! he later moved on to Loa, this was long before the Iris became what it is today – a true tiki haven!

2009-2015

The Tales Blogger Dinner in 2009 in the former Iris restaurant, the same view today of the beautiful courtyard and pool but the dining room has dramatically changed…..

Bienville House Hotel Courtyard

This is such a tranquil and peaceful place….if staying at this hotel you get both all this plus the Latitude29 in one place…..

Pool view through window

Eat Drink and be Merry!

drinks collage

Hurricane, Kea Colada and Royal Hawaiian Cocktail.

The food menu has something for everyone! executive Chef Chris Shortall and his staff creates their own take on modern Tiki Cuisine which is playful and tasty and there`s something for everyone including options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free guests.

First thing I opted for was the Tahitian Steak Frites which I`ve been dreaming about since they opened…..

The Tahitian Steak Frites are tender, luscious and juicy (I ordered mine medium-rare) served with hot crispy thin fries and a tasty dipping sauce plus a dollop of coconut butter on top! the Bum told me that in Tahiti they add coconut to the cow´s diet and therefore everything the cows are producing have a touch of coconut flavor…heavenly….and so they wanted to re-create that idea here with the coconut butter.

I LOVE it!

Steak frites collage

I`m not joking, I think I could eat this almost every day….the meat is so tender and melts in your mouth together with that lovely coconut butter….

The Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi is wild caught Mahi poached in coconut oil, jalapeño, sriracha, and shallot….and at a Chef`s Challenge before the Tales I tried the ribs which are very tasty too….and not to forget the crispy green beans!

Another nice dish is the Shrimps in Blanket, the gulf shrimps here really are something special. They are big and juicy….and have more shrimp flavor than shrimps I`ve tasted anywhere else.

Latitude shrimps in blankets

Shrimps in Blanket

Latitude 29 Sahimi beans

These green beans were amazing…..

An array of seductive tropical tiki drinks…..

Latitude 4

When you enter a tiki bar you want to be seduced….you want to forget the daily struggles and take a “trip to the South Seas” with exotic tropical drinks! (inspired by drinks in the Caribbean….) 🙂

So I started with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver….it`s such a good drink!…..balanced, fruity and rummy! The Pearl Diver is a mix of honey-butter-spice mix blended with passion fruit, lime and Jamaica rum. The butter adds a wonderful slightly viscous mouth-feel, if you didn`t know it was butter in the mix you wouldn`t know what it was but you would know there was something there….

After the Pearl Diver I had the namesake drink of this bar – the Latitude 29…..it comes in a tall glass wrapped in banana leaf for that real tropical feel – and you get that cool gorgeous swizzle stick! – made after the wall art by Bosko! The drink is made with eight-year Demerara rum, passion fruit purée, house made Madagascar vanilla syrup, orange, pineapple and lemon.

They are both gorgeous in their presentations with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver in the new re-made super cool Pearl Diver`s glass.

Latitude29 collage

The Latitude 29

The Rum Barrel is according to the menu a communal drink but it says “For 2 to share, or 1 thirsty pirate to hoard. A kill-devil’s brew of 3 rums, 4 juices, multiple herbs, spices and sweeteners …” – so apparently I`m a “thirsty pirate” since I had no problem drinking it all by myself….

It sure makes you feel like a rummy pirate! 😀

It`s presentation is BEAUTIFUL! and fun! see the picture….they really take time to garnish up these beauties….and the drink itself is strong and rummy/fruity/spicy. One of my favorites!

Latitude 7

Rum Barrel, complete with pineapple peel, cherries, orchid, swinging monkeys and umbrella! superfun garnish 🙂

And so is the Coffee Bongo…..also incredibly nicely garnished….with a pineapple leaf cut out to look like a palm tree frond…..topped with two coffee beans….stunning! the drink is also strong/spicy and rummy with lots of character and if you like coffee and pineapple together, you find it here.

Latitude 23

Every drink is not rum though….there´s a drink called “Outcast of the Islands” which was amazingly tasty and is a mix of London gin and Persian lime…with cinnamon, ginger, almond and anise, heavenly….

And it LOOKS heavenly too! it comes served with an ice shell…..how cool is that? and the Navy Grog comes with the iconic ice cone which is made with the Bum`s ice cone device sold by Cocktail Kingdom (as well as the Pearl Diver`s glasses, the swizzle cup and the skull bar spoons)

And there are drinks with bourbon, brandy, tequila, beer and vodka….but I haven`t tried them all yet….there`s something for everyone in the drink menu too. Me, I tend to mostly stick to the rums….

Ice cone shell drinks

Outcast of the Islands and the iconic Navy Grog

The Professor Remsberg`s Punch is a very interesting drink and very tasty too, the drink contains “Fine old Guadeloupe rum, gently stirred with lime and a Caribbean spiced syrup discovered over 30 years ago in San Juan by the Professor himself”…….I wonder what is in that syrup? If you didn`t know, Stephen Remsberg is the world´s biggest rum collector.

Latitude 21

Professor Remsberg`s Punch

All the drinks at Latitude 29 are good and well balanced, from the (real, no chemical-mix) Hurricane, Mai Tai, TOTC Swizzle, Nui Nui, Kea Colada, Royal Hawaiian Cocktail, Lapu Lapu, Hawaii 504, Missionary`s Downfall and the Paniolo….which is Kentucky bourbon and Hawaiian macadamia nut liqueur shaken with lime, house made cranberry syrup and a dash of molé bitters.

It`s evident to me that they pay as much attention to the garnishes as the drinks themselves because some of these drinks ar off the charts when it comes to beautiful presentations! you get a little work of art in your hand!

And the drink names alone takes you on a exotic journey…..a lot of them created back in the heydays of tiki.

Tasty, exotic and beautiful.

Hawaii 504

The Hawaii 504

You know, you need to go there and just try all these heavenly things! btw….between 3 and 6 pm every day it´s Happy Hour with a special menu….where among the drinks you`ll find the Banana Banshee and the Royal Hawaiian Cocktail….both perfect to cool you down when it´s hot outside which is a guaranteed thing in New Orleans during the summer.

And the best thing of all….you get the Steak Frites for half the price! what is there not to love?

The Banana Banshee is a frozen cocktail with Jamaican rum, lime, coconut milk and coconut cream, fresh banana and aztec bitters and topped with grated chocolate!

Lat29 Banana Banshee 2

Banana Banshee

I also ordered a few off-menu drinks with the help of Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki app, such a handy thing to have! and they were delivered top notch! I think Steve outdid himself with the Coconaut….coming beautifully garnished with a Cruzan Blackstrap float on the side. It tasted absolutely heavenly…..it was a mix of Hamilton 151 Demerara, El Dorado 5, for the rums plus that lovely float of blackstrap to pour yourself 🙂

Coconaut collage

This Coconaut was incredible!

The Zombie was spicy and nice just as I expected, and just about right with the strength, and the Kamehameha Rum Punch did live up to it´s name…..

Kamehameha and zombie

Kamehameha Rum Punch and the Zombie…..

This interesting drink recipe is from Sippin`Safari and originates from the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii, as the origin of the drink around 1960.

So who was King Kamehameha you might ask?  Kamehameha – also known as Kamehameha the Great was the head of a dynasty ruling the Hawaiian islands for more than a century. The name Kamehameha (pronounced kuh-may-ha-may-ha) means “the one set apart.” He conquered the Hawaiian islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawai`i in 1810.

This drink is actually named after the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii who took the name after the great Hawaiian King – Kamehameha.

Every year on Kamehameha Day (June 11, a state holiday in Hawai’i), National Statuary Hall is the scene of a ceremony in honor of the king and the statue of Kamehameha the Great is draped with lovely (and loooong) leis of fragrant flowers from Hawai’i. The Festival continues to pay tribute to Kamehameha and acts to preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.

Communal Drinks

And as every tiki bar should, there:s also a couple of different communal drinks on the menu, the newest one is a monster drink called the “Plantocracy Punch” for 6-8 people but we were only three so we tried the Lapu Lapu which uses a recipe which according to the menu is a Don The Beachcomber’s “lost” unpublished 1964 recipe, recently discovered by the Bum and presented here for the first time in over 40 years.

And of course it`s appropriately garnished with little mermaids taking a rummy ice bath…..

Lapu Lapu collage

Fruity, spicy, rummy Lapu Lapu and little mermaids swimming in the bowl….

Latitude 16

Rums….

Samaroli rums collage

While sitting in the bar I spotted two Samaroli rum bottles….and so of course I ordered a sample of each….and with the rum samples you get a small shot glass with water and a dropper, neat.

One was the 13 year old Guadeloupe 1998 Rhum Agricole and the other 1988 Demerara Dark Rum. The Guadeloupe is spicy and a touch smokey, with a strong character but at the same time, not too aggressive, it´s fruity, peppery, balanced and picky but also smooth.

A few drops of water brings out a whole array of tropical fruits flavors! this rum is incredible. I REALLY liked it!

The 23 year old 1988 Demerara rum had flavors of wood, macerated tropical fruits, apricot, vanilla, banana peel, mango and something else I couldn`t define…..but here a few drops of water didn`t bring out much change….still very woody, strong and fruity. Also a very good rum! Both of these rums are distilled in the Caribbean and then matured in Scotland.

They are not cheap but they are unique rums and they give you something to remember.

Then I saw a curiosity on the menu….it had a sort of mellow toasty coconut flavor…interesting….and I think it also could be used as ingredient in some of the drinks maybe? how about a Toasted Coconut Daiquiri?

Toasted coconut collage

The Interior Decor…..

TD art

Here is top crafts….the first thing you notice is of course the big centerpiece which now is in the same spot as the huge mirror was when it was the bar at Iris. The centerpiece is a huge carving of the Pacific Islands in a map in the forms of small tikis made by Daniel Gallardo aka Tiki Tiablo, and it`s a stunning work of art!!

Here is a collage of close-ups of the “Islands” in the map and there´s a nod to New Orleans too….do you see the fleur de lis on top?

TD map collage

Bosko Hrnjak did all the new (non-vintage) light fixtures and all of the new (non-vintage) tiki carvings, wall panels, etc, over 50 of them in total. And Dave “Basement Kahuna” Wolfe did 8 Easter Island carvings on the hut wall-dividers.

It`s all beautiful….

wall art collage

lamps collage

Another (practical) thing I greatly appreciate are the power outlets with USB ports located on each side of the tables, I wish more bars had that, it should be standard everywhere.

Tiki glasses, Barspoons and Orgeat

Latitude 11

All tikiphiles already knows about the Pearl Diver`s glass, the swizze cup and the cool skull bar spoons which you can find at the Cocktail Kingdom which I mentioned above….but a new thing is the Latitude29 orgeat which comes in a heavy round glass bottle and is sold in the bar.

I haven`t tried the orgeat yet even though I bought a couple of bottles (USD 15 each) but i`m out travellling so that will have to wait.

So to sum it all up, what I was looking for was how the food and the drinks tasted and were presented and if there´s consistency….(and yes I have returned) and how the decor and the feel of the place was, what music did they play and how loud? is it possible to have a conversation or do you have to scream? and how I was treated as a guest.

Personally I have nothing to complain about, the food and drinks are top class, the decor tasteful and genuinely tiki, it`s a laid back and relaxed feel, the staff attentive, professional and very sweet and so I`ll keep coming back, this is now my primarily watering hole in New Orleans :-).

That said there´s a lot of very good bars here, I just happen to really really like well made tiki drinks and in the relaxed vibe and environment of a real good tiki bar, there I feel the most at home.

Samaroli Rums and Pearl Diver at latitude 29

 

Interior pole

 

Bum sign

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

Real McCoy 12 Year Old Rum!

Real McCoy 12

From Barbados…

When a rum is distinctive and genuine, carrying great flavors it makes my rum palate sing and if it´s backed up by a really interesting history it gets even better. Real McCoy is such a rum and i have reviewed the 5 year old rum before, now it´s time for the 12 year old which is a masterpiece as far as i`m concerned. First time i tried it was at the 2013 UK Rumfest and i was impressed by it`s deep flavor.

Real McCoy rum is produced by the legendary Foursquare distillery and it has an interesting and colorful history and is an excellent rum from Barbados bringing that genuine Bajan flavor to your glass – and with no extra sugar added – because rum does not necessarily need extra sugar to taste good!

Real McCoy rums are completely unadulterated — there are no added chemicals, sugars, flavors or perfumes – using blackstrap molasses and spring water. The rums are distilled in a combination of column and pot stills, then aged in American oak bourbon barrels for 3, 5 and as in this case, 12 years.

Real McCoy

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

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

He never came ashore but instead anchored 3 miles off-shore, which back then was international waters, acting as a floating liquor store within sight of the metropolis of New York. People went out to McCoy, bought the rum and returned hoping to escape the Coast Guard on the way back in. An interesting fact about him is that he himself never touched alcohol…(!)

It’s a great story and the rum absolutely lives up to the name.

Yes indeed it does…and the 12 is even better!

The 12 year old Real mcCoy

The nose: It´s really a pleasure to close the eyes and inhale that nose of mature tropical fruits, demerara sugar, oak and baking spices. Sometimes i think i could just sit there and keep smelling these wonderful rum notes but of course i gotta taste it too…and the nose is really promising me of goodness to come.

In the mouth this rum has a wonderful aroma of rich toffee notes, tropical fruits, spices, smoky oak, banana, orange peel and molasses. It´s very balanced and softly caresses your palate while breathing a little bit of old rum history on you. It`s an old fashioned rum and like it. You feel good when you drink it!

The bottle is simple and look like a rum bottle from the old Caribbean, no extra “luxury” nonsense to dress up the bottle which btw is something that often makes me suspicious. If you know the content is solid and good it will speak for itself. That said, a nice bottle is always a plus but i do prefer the not so over-luxury looking ones.

Conclusion – The 12 year Real McCoy is without doubt a rum worth buying, you know what you get for the money and it does taste excellent both neat in your sipping glass or in your classic or tiki drink! and the price doesn`t hurt you either.

McCoy Rum Barrel Punch

McCoy Rum Barrel Punch

This is a hybrid of a Rum Barrel and a Rum Punch… and like i said about the Rum Barrel cocktail – there´s something very relaxing and rewarding in having a BIG Rum Barrel mug filled with goodness to sip…like a giant pacifier for grownups…

Yes indeed, everyone who have had one knows how relaxing this drink can be. The West Indian Rum Punch or Rum Punches, since there´s so many different variations is also such a comfort drink.

I think Real McCoy is one of those rums that is perfectly suited for this type of drinks.

1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
0.5 oz dark sugarcane syrup
0.25 oz honey-mix (equal parts honey and water, heated to dissolve the honey, then mixed and cooled to room temp)
2 oz Real McCoy 12 year old rum
Dash Angostura bitters

Shake everything with plenty of ice cubes and pour into a tiki mug or tall glass filled with chunky cracked ice.

Garnish with a tropical flower and piece of lime.

McCoy Rum Barrel Punch 3

The colors of the tropics…..

McCoy Rum Barrel Punch 2

The Tiki mug is created by Wild Thing Creations in Australia, they also have a Facebook page. This particular mug is part of a two mug set with two similar but different mugs called “The Royal Pair” which i was lucky to be able to grab before they were gone…

Check out the web and facebook pages for updates,  it´s great mugs to very reasonable prices which takes away from the burden of high shipping costs and they ship worldwide! shipping prices are not that high either, go figure since they are shipped all the way from Australia.

It was a joy to make this drink with this absolutely fabulous rum in such a great mug!

See other The Real McCoy 12-Year rum reviews on RumRatings

St Aubin Rum from Mauritius

St Aubun 1819 bottle

I`m a lover of agricole rums and St Aubin is new to me even though it`s not new on the market. Hailing from beautiful Mauritius it`s an exotic and exciting rum to review!

St Aubin plantation located on southern Mauritius has been cultivating sugarcane since 1890 and takes it´s name from one of it`s first owner Pierre de St Aubin. On the estate there`s both artisanal and a traditional rums made. And what more is, they also have a tea plantation, Bois Chéri and a vanilla plantation and that`s the vanilla they use in their vanilla flavored rums. The water used in the rum making comes from their own spring water from Bois Chéri. It`s all local produce here which is something i like.

Each rum has it´s specific terroir and on Mauritius there´s abundant sunshine and rich volcanic soil watered by tropical rains creating a micro climate perfect for growing good quality sugarcanes producing this rum made from pure sugar cane juice.

On Mauritius the first pressed sugar cane juice is called “fangourin” and it´s that what makes the artisanal rums at St Aubin. It is further fermented and distilled once in a copper alembic still before being bottled without ageing.

When you open the bottle the nose you get is mild, herbal, grassy, floral, hints of vanilla, crispy and that of green sugarcane. In the mouth it intensifies strongly and the herbal grassiness comes more upfront. It`s not too sweet and rather on the dry side, and it´s a very pleasant and flavorful rum.

I get a mental picture of me sipping on a ti punch….

St Aubin Ti Punch

St Aubin Ti Punch

2 oz St Aubin 50% White Rum

0.5 oz sugar cane syrup

A piece of lime, cut about 1/3 of a lime and squeeze the juice into the glass on top of the sugar, stir a little then add the rum and stir again. Adding ice or not is up to you…some people swear by no ice while others want some ice. I like it cold but you can also chill the glass, that way you don`t get any dilution from ice.

St Aubin 1819 white rum makes a very nice ti punch, flavorful, mild, crispy and refreshing! it´s a pleasure to sip on it. The daiquiri of the french islands! so simple and so tasty!

ST AUBIN FLAVORED RUMS

I also have three flavored rums here, coffee, vanilla and coconut. These flavored rums are made from fresh pressed sugar cane juice and they are flavored with natural ingredients. It`s tricky to make a good flavored rum, but these three here are all very well balanced and it tastes just natural.

COCONUT

Let`s start with the coconut…

It`s a very delightful coconut scent on the nose and the flavor is crispy brilliant with just a very slight hint of herbal grassiness and sugarcane. First you taste the coconut and then comes the sugarcane, it´s sweet but not overly-sweet. It sounds silly but i think it kinda transports you to a tropical beach…

The coconut rum is mild and caresses your palate like a soft tropical breeze…You can drink this on the rocks and also make nice cocktails with it as well as using it in tiki drinks.

VANILLA

Vanilla is my favorite spice and i have tried more than once to spice up rums with vanilla beans leaving the beans uncut in the bottle for various length of times but i have personally found it quite difficult to get it balanced and i don`t know how people manage to leave the beans in the bottle without the rum gets ruined by too much of the vanilla flavor. But this vanilla rum from St Aubin is excellent!

The nose is mild but deep and almost earthy.The herbal flavor is much more pronounced than i could feel in the coconut rum which to me tasted much lighter. This is spicy, with a deep vanilla flavor without being overpowering.

It`s a good vanilla rum and easy on the palate, good to drink as it is or in cocktails.

COFFEE

St Aubin coffee

Freshly ground coffee on the nose! with hints of sugarcane. In the mouth a vibrant coffee flavor, sugarcane and even a slight hint of vanilla. It`s mild and nice and easy to drink as well. This could be used on the rocks with ice, in cocktails and even as cocktail ingredient. Would be great in tiki drinks too especially paired with pineapple juice.

I find that all three of these flavored rums are very good! and i like that they are made from local ingredients.The coffee used is coming from the region Chamarel on Mauritius, the vanilla is from their own vanilla plantation and the coconuts are of course from the island.

COCKTAILS

I decided to make three cocktails all based on the daiquiri – which by the way is the drink that almost all tiki drinks are based on…rum, sugar and lime and then some 🙂

Mauritius Sunshine

St Aubin Mauritius Sunshine

2 oz/60 ml St Aubin Coconut Rum
1 oz/30 ml pineapple juice
0.5 oz/15 ml simple syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass and garnish with a pineapple leaf.

Coffee – Pineapple Daiquiri

St Aubin coffee pineaple daiquiri

2 oz/60 ml St Aubin Coffee Rum
1 oz/30 ml pineapple juice
0.25 oz/7.5 ml dark muscovado syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a fancy glass. Garnish with an orchid stem. I took a bit less sugar syrup in this one because i found the coffee rum to be a bit sweeter than the coconut.

Fiery Sunset

St Aubin Fiery Sunset

1 oz/30 ml St Aubin Vanilla Rum
1 oz/30 ml St Aubin 50% White Rum
1.5 oz/45 ml pineapple juice
0.25 oz/7.5 ml sugarcane syrup
0.5 oz/15 ml fresh lime juice
Barspoon grenadine (preferably home/house made)

Shake everything except grenadine with ice and strain into a tall glass with ice cubes. Add the grenadine and garnish with vanilla beans.

My final conclusion: These are great rums! all of them, if  i shall pick a favorite or two it has to be the 50% white and the coconut but they are all good rums and made with local and natural ingredients. I`d say St Aubin rums is a pleasant surprise!

Here is St Aubin`s website.

See other St. Aubin White rum reviews on RumRatings

UK Rumfest 2014 – Let there be RUM!!! (part two)

Sugarcane Mount Gay stand

Exciting rums…interesting (and tasty) seminars, good rum friends, carnival music and good food – that`s the UK Rumfest!(and in England good food to me spells either Caribbean food or Fish and Chips (with extra hotsauce) and there was Caribbean food in the venue and upstairs in the pub they had the most delicious and crispy fish and chips! oh how i miss that one now!

Here`s the second post about this years UK Rumfest! (the first part is here) I liked it a lot this year, the venue was very good and more intimate than last year which allowed rum lovers and producers to have better and easier discussions, likewise the rum selection was good – but i do have a wish though…i`d love to see Velier rums and more french style rhum agricoles…

Combined with main stage presentations featuring Chef Hasan De Four on cooking with rum, London auction house Christie’s hosted The RumFest’s first ever auction for charity including £5,200 on the hammer for one of the oldest bottles of rum in the world, dating back to 1780 from the recently discovered Harewood House collection. The auction had over 20 precious and rare rum lots sold to the highest bidder, for prices that stretched into the thousands.

Ian Burrell was on hand to take spectators and bidders through the history of each of the rums, while Christie’s auctioneer David Elswood hosted the Saturday highlight and a grand total of £10,670 to be donated to the WaterAid Charity Fund and the Geraldine Connor Foundation in Leeds.

On Friday the trade-only Boutique RumFest returned in association with the Cork Supply company (which btw had an interesting short seminar about cork) and allowed buyers, distributors, distillers, press and industry figures from as far as Fiji and India to come together and discuss and sample rum.

So let there be rum…

OVD and Wood´s 100

OVD collage

That was the first stand i stumbled into on the saturday when the rumfest started, first thing i saw was the OVD bottle …

OVD is a demerara rum from Guyana and OVD stands for Old Vatted Demerara, a rum i know since a long time and also wrote about long ago on this blog. OVD was first imported in Scotland in 1838 and is a blend of demerara rums that is aged for seven years in oak casks and it´s the best selling dark rum in Scotland.

But there was also Wood`s 100 which i also have known about for long but had never tried so now i had my chance and disappointed i was NOT! this rum is bursting with good flavors! and a plus in my book – it´s a bit stronger, i have a special love for full proof rums. This is a perfect rum for tots and tiki drinks.

Wood`s 100 is an excellent overproof navy rum also from Guyana and distilled at the diamond distillery using a combination of  spirits made in pot and column stills from sugarcane growing on the banks of the river Demerara. The appearance is dark and syrupy and the flavor is unrefined rich demerara with kick and depth.

OVD Woods collage

Ron Cubay

Next stop was Ron Cubay, i wrote a little about them last year and remember i said i need to re-visit them. This year they had a new rum there, Ron Cubay Extra Viejo – a light gold colored rum which is mix of white rum and extra aged rum reserves. That is old Cuban rums that are aged for an average of seven years and then some of the best whites that are aged for nearly 13 years in white American oak barrels. From what i remember of the taste of this rum, it had a quite intense fruity flavor, balanced and no harshness at all which was expected. The bottles are individually numbered and comes in a velvet leather effect gift box.

Cubay collage

Rum Punch!

Oh how i love these Caribbean rum punches! they serve them and sell them ready made at every UK Rumfest, some are small batch brands. Really, nothing is so Caribbean to me as a rum punch and i love their appetizing colors, usually red and the two i tried at this stand were all that.

The first i tried was the rum punch from River`s Rum from the River Antoine distillery in Grenada, and oh so tasty! after that i tasted W&D`s Caribbean Rum Punch, as tasty as as can be! it`s actually really nice to break off from all the neat rum sampling with a cold Rum Punch, it sort of clear the palate a bit too.

W&D Rum Punch also have a website where you can order both rum punches and Caribbean cakes for all occasions, they also offer non alcoholic punches! You can order from the website and also book them for catering at your events if you live in the UK. You can also check out their Facebook page and get the Party started with W&D’s Caribbean Punches!

More on rum punch later on this blog.

Rum punch collage

Excellent taste and so refreshing….

Foursquare

This distillery and it`s excellent rums and Richard Seale need no presentation. I spent a great deal of time here talking rum at this this stand. I tried a special one that was very interesting and oh so good…. not out for sale yet though. And luckily and finally the Doorly`s XO will soon be launched in the cold country where i happen to live…so a new Doorly`s XO will soon be comfortably installed in my home bar.

Here is a link to a video about the Foursquare rum distillery.

Foursquare collage

St Nicholas Abbey

Here comes the next absolut top quality rum, also from Barbados, i wrote about this distillery and their rums last year and this year they are launching their very own 5 year old, made at the distillery from start to end. A very exciting new rum from St Nicholas Abbey! more on this rum and the white one later.

Real Mc Coy

Another good one, i tried their rum the first time last year, it´s really good stuff and the Real Mc Coy rum has an interesting history that i wrote about when i reviewed their 5 year old rum. I`m gonna write about the 12 year old soon, which is my favorite of the three. But i recommend trying them all.

Pusser`s

This year there are two new rums arriving from Pusser`s to the UK, a 40.5 abv version of the current gunpowder proof rum (54.5%) and also a 100% natural spiced rum which is steeped for up to ten days with stem ginger, cinnamon, clove and vanilla.

Rhum Clemènt and Rhum JM

I wish there was more french caribbean rhum agricole at the rumfest! but at least there was Clemènt and Rhum JM both solid and good agricoles. I made sure i tried them all even though i`ve tried many of them before 🙂 Also on display they had the 25 year anniversary bottle from Rhum Clemènt made in collaboration with artist JonOne which i think is really really pretty! i want one! the glass too! and the content of the bottle is pure good rhum agricole…Clemènt V.S.O.P

Plantation

Plantation had a hut this year with all kinds of rum suspects walking in and out…They had the whole range to try on the stand, well almost…including their famous Stiggin`s Fancy Pineapple rum and the new Jamaican -98 Tokai which was very good.

Angostura

Angostura rum is always around, anywhere i go they are there and they are good, i like all of their rums and the bitters plus their amaro that was launched in the summer and which i`m gonna write about later. Angostura is always solid and consistent.

Angostura

El Dorado

The flagship of demerara rum, they went big this year and had pop up bars and masterclasses around London, they even made a El Dorado pop-up bar which was built like a replica of the Golden City.I will always love their rums, especially my “first love” the 15 year old.

Bacardi

Unsuspecting i passed by their hut…and was gently dragged in with the words, “do you want to try a few cocktails”? then seated at a table and a wooden tray appeared with 3 cocktails that were each made with a different Bacardi rums. One was smoking, the next was blackish and the third was served in a egg shell. Interesting. I looked at the tray, tried them and was caught by surprise…they were amazing! especially the one in the egg cup.

Bacardi cocktails

Taking a look at the menu on the tray revealed the cocktail recipes and which rums they were made with. The first one on the left with smoke in a mini bottle was the Phoenix Daiquiri – made by Rob Libecans – Bacardi Gold rum (stone washed) smoked barrel stave pomegranate oil, citric acid, mineral sugar)

The second in the middle was the Black Butter – made by Rich Woods – Bacardi Black rum, cherry bark, cola and toffee popcorn reduction. The third one in the egg cup (my fav) was the Bacardi 8 PJB – made by Monica Berg – Bacardi 8 year old rum (peanut infused) fresh lime, Norfolk raspberry cordial. A sort of variety on the daiquiri with the raspberry cordial as a sweetener. All three of them were really tasty cocktails! they are welcome to “kidnap” me into that hut again if they want…anytime!

Don Q

Over at the Don Q stand there were fantastic cocktails galore!

Made with the good Don Q Rums by Alexx Mouzouris – Don Q Brand Ambassador in Europe and bartender extraordinaire! I sampled one cocktail that was especially good, it was some kind of punch infused with chile peppers. He also decorated the booth with cymbidium orchids making it look tropical and almost tiki-ish…

The Don Q rums have recently redesigned their bottles honoring it`s heritage as one of America’s oldest family-owned and operated businesses. Destilería Serrallés has for over 149 years been producing many good rums .

Don Q collage

Don Q Cristal, one of  the classic rums from Don Q.

Alexx burning it

Alexx creating good flavors…

Sunset Rums

Genuinely Caribbean…rums, rum punches and hotsauces at this stand. I tried all the rums and punches and also bought a hotsauce and a green seasoning for my cooking at home – you can never have too many rums or hotsauces! Sunset strong rum is probably one of the strongest overproof rums there is (84.5% or 169 proof) and nah i didn`t try it neat but i had it in a rum punch.

Chocka´s Coconut Hub

Fresh coconuts with coconut water at Chocka`s Coconut Hub, freshly chopped in front of you. This is one of these things that i really like…and coconuts makes life go around….drink them fresh as is or pour some rum in it.

Chocka coconut collage

And there`s more….Mount Gay, Ron Botran, Havana Club, Gosling`s, Diplomatico, Mezan…there was over 400 rums at the rumfest and i cannot cover them all….and then we have the masterclasses/seminars and they were good!

MASTERCLASSES

Naval Style Rums Black Tot and Pusser`s with Martin Cate

Black tot seminar MC

This seminar about navy rum, the British Royal Navy and the black tot turned out to be a memorable one when sailors from the Royal British Navy took part in our sampling of the Black Tot Last Consignment Rum, telling their stories about how it was at the time and on that day. The so called Black Tot Day was the last day they could have their daily rum ration called a “tot”

It ended at precisely 6 bells in the forenoon watch (11am) when the last rum ration was issued aboard ships of the British Royal Navy. One of the sailors told me that he cried that day. The last tot was served on july 31 1970 and since then the Black Tot Day is celebrated every year in memory a 300 year old Royal Naval tradition.

So when the tot was not done anymore the British navy had no more use of those rum barrels they had stored in warehouses and so they emptied the barrels into wicker clad stone flagons which were sealed under HM Customs and Excise Supervision and were then transferred to Government bonded warehouses where they did sit for 40 years (!) and the rum was only used for state occasions and royal weddings.

Until when the stocks were acquired and bottled by Speciality Drinks who bottled them under the name Black Tot Last Consignment. When the flagons were opened there were three original solera rums there and these three were blended together to create the Black Tot rum. Original naval records states that the naval rums were rums from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad.

Black tot collage 1

Black Tot rum and story telling, cheers!

The Black Tot rum is the last that exists today from the barrels they used to have on the British Royal Navy ships and this rum fetch a price of 610 British pounds per bottle, or 76 pounds for 5 cl and in the US around USD 1000. This rum is literally a piece of history in a glass and that`s what you pay for, is precious not only because of it´s history but also because this is the last that remain from the original barrels and when it´s gone it´s gone.

The Black Tot rum is a very good rum, containing 54% strong navy rum and one of the rums in the blend is demerara rum from Port Morant Guyana and it really does have a very deep, very woody demerara flavor with a long finish. It tastes old….but in a good way, with hints of very dark coffee, leather, smoke and tar. Not everybody likes the flavor, but i doIt`s believed that these rums were distilled in the 1940s.

We also sampled Pusser’s and their Blue Label which is a classic British Navy style rum, and needs no presentation….it`s inspired by the recipe used to produce the tot and using the same four rums required to make a real navy rum, rums from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad. And as most of you know it`s a great fullbodied rum as well.

Black tot collage 2

Happiness and history in a glass…and yours truly enjoying a precious and memorable moment of tot cheering with the Royal Navy sailors.

Mahiki Cocktail Masterclass by Georgi Radew

mahiki seminar georgi

This seminar followed the Navy rum seminar…so from navy rum straight to tiki drinks! not bad at all…i could spend every day like this…

Georgi spoke about the history of the tiki cocktails from the old favorites to the new twists that are made at Mahiki with demonstrations of a couple of those cocktails including their Treasure Chest, which was tastier than i expected. Overall, the seminar was very good and entertaining, the Mahiki cocktails were all well made and very tasty!

The seminar was sponsored by Duppy Share so we got a presentation of the Duppy by the founder George Frost and of course we got to drink Duppy Share both neat and in the cocktails.

Tiki drinks + Duppy Share, yes i totally enjoyed this seminar!

Mahiki mugs

Awesome mugs made by Cheeky Tiki! i especially like that Zombie mug.

Mahiki session

And the tiki drinks all made with fresh fruits and good rum were all well made! 

mahiki treasure chest

The Mahiki Treasure Chest, it´s really tasty.

Plantation Rum

It´s always a pleasure to listen to Alexandre Gabriel and Paul McFadyen when they tell you about Plantation rums, it´s both interesting and entertaining. And of course we got to sample the star of the show the Stiggin`s Fancy pineapple rum, i consider myself  lucky to get a chance to do that for the third time now since last summer and then their new rum the 98 Jamaican tokai and single cask rums which of course, like the rest of the rums from the Plantation range, was nothing but excellent.

btw i love that Stiggin`s Fancy bottle… i wish i had one, full or empty to beautify my home bar…

Plantation collage

There were many more great seminars i`d liked to attended but you know, you need to be out there in the big room too meeting the people and sampling the rums! and when you do….time flies! And that is all for this year, hopefully i`m back again the next!

RUMFEST PICTURE PARADE!

Chef Hassan

Chef Hassan de Four cooking with rum….

Ian at auction

Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell at Christie´s rum auction

Duppy Share

 The lovely Duppy Share Rum, what a beautiful display!

Real Mc Coy12

The Real Mc Coy 12 Year Old Rum and their other rums as well are excellent! more on this 12 year old gem later!

There were not many agricoles from the french caribbean around for some reason but i did find Rhum Clemènt and Rhum JM….both brands makes excellent rhums.

Rhum Clement collage

Rhum Clemènt VSOP in the beautiful 25 Year Anniversary bottle. And yes indeed i do love me some Ti Punch!

ED rums

Amazing expressions from El Dorado, i like all their single barrel rums a lot! they had all their rums up for sampling, some in exchange for golden tot tokens. There were also of course the 5, 8, 12, 15 and 21 to sample.

The single barrel rums are more for the rum connoisseurs as they are not blended and as sweet or “smooth” as the others since they are straight from the barrels.

Rhum JM collage

Rhum JM, one of the classic good rhum agricoles from Martinique. 

Pussers collage

Only good things can come out from Pusser`s rums and fresh pineapples!  

Colorful caribbean rums

I love these colorful Caribbean rums with the sunshine vibe! and they really do have some interesting strong rums! one of my favorites is the Rivers…it tastes like a smoky JWray. Worthy Park Rum Bar is another good overproof, it actually won the best overproof at the Showrum 2014 in Italy, the Italy Rumfest.

atlas du rhum

I also got a chance to take a look in Luca Gargano`s (Velier Rum) new book “Atlas du Rhum” which is about rum and rum distilleries in the Caribbean. There´s only the french version out for now, it has recently been launched but the english version is on the way.

Mount Gay2

 Beautiful display and another solid rum, Mount Gay from Barbados. I love their XO and the Black Barrel! 

TIKI, TIKI, TIKI………….!

Trailer collage

A collage from Trailer Happiness…excellent tiki bar! i really wish i had been able to visit more of London`s tiki bars but hopefully the next time! I wish i could spend all my time just visiting tiki bars….

bar signs

Sign at the Pub “The George and Dragon”upstairs at the Ibis Hotel.

Ron Jeremy

Last time i saw this Ron Jeremy figure was in San Diego this summer at the Tiki Oasis at one of the room parties…..Ron Jeremy is everywhere…..here adorned with a colorful lei!

guiness cert 2

Guiness World Record Certificate, Largest Rum tasting in the world! well done Ian!

And at last….

Drink more rum

 

Check out my previous post about the Guiness World Record for the World`s Largest Rum Tasting and the Boutique Rumfest!