Aloha! some of you dear readers might have noticed how slow this blog has become since many months, it moves at the speed of a drunken snail or turtle… but there´s a reason for that – there´s a book in the Works! “Best of A Mountain of Crushed Ice” is a book about tiki drinks with the best from this website in updated versions along with new recipes and some “mixed potions” by friendly tiki bartenders and enthusiasts from around the world.
The book is for everyone who loves tropical exotic tiki drinks and the little “tutorials” aims at those who are new to tiki drinks, both consumers and bartenders but the book as a whole is for all tiki drink lovers . So that`s what`s up… and when will the book be ready? I`m not sure of an exact date, there´s a ton of work to be done, and i`m doing most of it myself, researching, writing, making drinks, styling, photography, editing photos etc plus learning about how to write a book because I have never written a book before.
Trying to write posts for this website at the same time as writing the book, plus working with other things, taking care of my domestic life and work turns out a little bit too much for this laid back flip-flop kinda lady so please bear with me when this website is taking a little temporary “half”-break. That said, I might pop in a blog post every now and then… and when the book is ready it will be announced right here.
So why writing a book? well, the blog is celebrating it`s 10th Anniversary this year! that`s ten years of collected recipes, rambles, experiments and knowledge, some better, some worse, some outright crazy… as is the nature of many cocktail blogs. But over time it can be difficult to find some of the best posts even though there`s an archive, but how often do people really bother digging in the yearly archives? blog posts and the drinks in them have a tendency to over time become forgotten. So I think putting the best from it in a book is not a bad idea, plus when I no longer is here this blog will not be either but then the book will be! So now you know why it`s moving so slow here for the moment.
In the meantime, here´s a little teaser picture collage…
Samaroli is an Italian private bottler of rums and whiskies since 1968. Silvano Samaroli made himself well known by selecting and bottling great scotches and rums. His rums are produced from single casks that are selected one by one and the rums are matured or partly matured in the cooler climate of Scotland.
There´s a whole bunch of new Samaroli rums for this year to try out and here´s two, one Trinidad Caroni rum 1999 cask #10 and a Demerara from Guyana, from 1990 and cask #18. Both are very interesting espressions and they have no additives and are brimming with flavors. I think even though the Caroni and Demerara rums are two different styles of rums, some of the Caronis, especialy the heavy ones reminds me in many ways of the old demerara rums even though each have their own typical distinct flavor profile.
It´s the depth of flavors and then something else, maybe that punch…because the light Caronis I have tried does not have that similarity with Demeraras at all. This Caroni here is not a heavy Caroni in terms of proof but in terms of flavor I think it matches the “heavy” ones even though this one is much lighter overall. I wonder how it would have been with a bit higher proof? probably even better.
Demerara 1990, cask #18, 45%
This is an Enmore demerara rum distilled in 1990 and bottled in Scotland in 2015 which makes it a 25 year old rum….it has been double aged, so partly in tropical climate and partly in the cool Scotland climate which brings something from both worlds.
What I get when I sniff in the glass is first of all wood….a lot of deep barrel hits my nose… then molasses, mashed overripe dark tropical fruits, tobacco, burnt sugar and leather, slight very pleasant hints of butterscotch and caramel…
It´s interesting to sit and smell the nose of rums like these because they are so complex and there´s a lot going on. Hard to put words on sometimes.
Taking a first sip the wood explodes in my mouth – old demerara rum barrel and it´s a trip back in time to drink it. There´s the flavors of the same tobacco and molasses notes as in the nose, burnt sugar and mashed tropical fruits, hints of vanilla, leather and earth. It has a deep demerara flavor and is very woody….almost on the way to be overpowering on the wood notes but it sits just right there before it becomes too much. Also it´s not on the sweet side which I like.
I love these old demerara rums as you know, there´s nothing like them and just like the old Caronis, never will be. And sadly, when these are gone they are gone….that is especially true for the Caronis since they are no more produced but it´s true also these single cask demeraras. This one for example, only 340 bottles were made.
These rums are collectors items.
So let it be sipped….
Trinidad 1999, cask #10, 45%
The Trinidad 1999Caroni rum was bottled in 2015, so it´s 16 year old. It was first aged on Trinidad and then further aged in Scotland. This 2015 bottling is indeed a Caroni while the 2016 bottling of the 1999 Trinidad is from Fernandes distillery, which was purchased by Angostura in 1973.
The nose is quite light and it´s pleasantly fruity and here the wood makes itself known but in the background, not upfront like the demerara rum. Sweet hints of succulent tropical fruits but the nose doesn`t really reveal what´s to come….
In the mouth this rum is absolutely gorgeous! it´s brimming with brilliant fruity notes and it has an aftertaste that I really like – a lot! Parts is wood and then there´s something else. And there´s apricot, vanilla and maybe mango…and other mashed tropical fruits, hints of liquorice and it has a very pleasant dry finish.
Then that after taste…I cannot put words on what it is…but it´s so delicious…
Here´s another lovely Caroni, only 260 bottles were made.
The Caroni Sugar Factory
There were originally more than 50 different rums brands produced in Trinidad – by 1950 that number had reduced to 8 and today there is only one left – Angostura. Caroni was established in 1918 on the site of the old Caroni Sugar factory and operated until 2002.
The Caroni sugar factory started to operate a cast iron still in 1918 and at that time there were some eight or ten other sugar factories operating, each producing different types of rums and these rums were bought up by merchants and sold to rum shops all over the island. There were all kinds of “blends” and concoctions being made by both the merchants and the rum shop owners and sold over the counter as “petit quarts”
Eventually Caroni went from the original cast iron still to use a wooden coffey still – until 1945 when they got a copper still which was followed by a single column in 1957 and then a four column Gerb Herman still in 1980.
For nearly 100 years Caroni has had large sugar estates on the island and was the major producer of molasses. Sadly now since it`s closed no more of their magnificient rums are produced.