Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fashion World and the Drinks World Unite

     Because the spirits industry produces "lifestyle" products it seems to be following along with the trends and what is fashionable with the other "lifestyle" happenings.  What was old and out of date seems to be reworked a little and becomes "Vogue" again.  Many of the classic cocktails have bees tweaked a bit and are being served in big numbers again.  The spirits are just like the cars, the retro revolution is happening now.

     Bacardi recently appointed Akiko Maeda into the newly created role of vice president of fashion.   According to insight from Spiros Malandrakis, senior alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor International, the alcohol industry falls within the lifestyle category and as such follows similar trend patterns as would be found in other industries.   “While trend cycles tend to last longer than six months it is becoming an indisputable fact that drinking patterns evolve much faster and more frequently than they used to,” said Malandrakis.

      “Alcohol is first and foremost, a lifestyle industry. In other words, the drivers of change are aspirational and start with symbolism and the semiotics of style.”   He continued to explain how many consumer choices are formed off the back of celebrity collaborations with specific brands, from Iggy Pop and Sailor Jerry to David Beckham and Haig Club.   Furthermore, he added it was Bacardi’s most recent statement of creating the role of vice president for fashion that “formalized the affair”.

     “From the ‘Mad Men’ effect making Old Fashioned cocktails suitably fashionable once again to immaculate fashionistas sipping Aperol Spritz shortly before it became the ubiquitous, pop culture and the zeitgeist provide the cues for both industries’ future directions, positioning and core message,” he explained.


     I love seeing the fashion world going back to short shorts and skirts and I love to take some of the oldies and revamp them with rum and share them with my friends.   I think that Bacardi was right on with its moves to become a part of the world of fashion.

Friday, April 24, 2015

From the Classics to Today

     One of the most fun things for me is reviving some of the classic cocktails made with various other spirits using an appropriate rum.   The Bloodhound is an old gin cocktail from an era long past that I felt like had a real possibility as a great summer cocktail.  It is made with fresh strawberries and vermouths this makes a wonderful fruity daiquiri style cocktail ideal by the pool or in the evening on the patio.

Brugal Bloodhound
  • 1 1/2 oz. Brugal Especial Extra Dry Rum
  • 3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 3/4 oz. Extra Dry Vermouth
  • 3 or 4 Fresh Strawberries
Cut up the strawberries and place them in a shaker with ice along with the rest of the ingredients. Shake until really chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a fresh strawberry.

     Tis really turned out to be one of those really flavorful cocktails fitting for the aft deck in the early evening.  I just hope that you enjoy it equally as well.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What is a Cocktail Name Really Worth?

     The battle over what ingredients have to be used in a "trademarked cocktail" is heating up again.  A few years back Pusser's Rum flexed its muscles about the use of rums other than Pusser's in the "Painkiller", now Gosling Brothers Ltd. is making noise over their "Dark 'N Stormy"

     "A margarita doesn't have to made with Patron tequila, and a bloody mary doesn't need to made with Stolichnaya vodka, but, according to Gosling Brothers Ltd., a "Dark 'N Stormy" can only be made with Gosling's Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum. "  

    " That's because the name of the cocktail - dark rum, ginger beer, ice and lime, apparently invented after World War I - is a registered trademark of Gosling Brothers, one that the Bermuda-based distiller told The New York Times a few years back it "defends vigorously." 

     "So the company didn't take it lightly when a black rum rival - Proximo Spirits' upstart Kraken Black Spiced Rum, which is made in Trinidad and Tobago - applied for a trademark registration on "Kraken Storm" for use on its own line of ginger beer."   "Gosling and others have long promoted the mark 'Dark 'N Stormy' as designating a cocktail made exclusively with Gosling's Black Seal Rum and mixed with ginger beer," the company said, noting that its rights go back "decades."

Whether it be a Bacardi Cocktail, Hand Grenade, Sazerac, or a Painkiller, the laws of this country allow the trademarking of cocktails and their ingredients.  In the opinion of this writer, you really have to choose your battles.  Is it worth drawing the ire of a lot of bartenders and writer just to make a point.   This is an issue that keeps coming up again and again, but who really wins and who loses?  I think that this is one of those lose, lose situations.  There are times that the property needs to be protected and there are times that you need to "let a sleeping dog lay".  You can sometimes win the battle and loose the war of sales.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Afrohead Rum From Harbour Island in the Bahamas


The Landing, Harbour Island
     Afrohead Rum is a very unique rum, that is produced from Dominican molasses, fermented with special Trinidad yeast, and distilled and aged in Trinidad.  Toby Tyler will then blend the rum into his own special expression and it is then bottled in Barbados.   The rum was initially made for the consumption by the customers of Joe Farrell's The Landing on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, but because of the demand it is available here in Florida, Tennessee and available at the Rum Bar here in Key West.
     Toby Tyler moved to the Bahamas and immersed himself in the island’s rich West Indies culture.  He has established himself as the island’s resident rum expert.   When he was asked, “Which rum is your favorite?” and he replied, “It hasn’t been made yet.”   In 2008, after 18 months of blending, Toby tasted his favorite rum.   Nothing defines Toby Tyler, he is this free spirit turned rum blender who  effortlessly moves from behind the bar to the recording studio to catching waves.
     The very special logo pays homage to the West Indies culture and traditions.  There are many components to the afro stylized head.  If you look carefully at the hair, you sill see images of a crown, junkanoo, a mind's eye, rising sun, and a seashell that makes up the shape of the head,
     The rums are of an rich amber mahogany color, boasting aromas spices with notes of bourbon.   On the palate, there is a very natural sweetness from the barrel and notes of tropical and dried fruits, and a light spiciness that leads to a long and tastefully smooth finish.
     All in all a very special rum with a very special story behind it.  Joe and Toby make up a very special team that has done wonders to bring this fine rum into the mainstream of the spirits business.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

20 Years of Barrel Aging in Just Six Days?

Bryan Davis
     Aging without spending the time and money of storing the spirits would be a real boom forA breakthrough came in 2010, when Davis says he finally figured out how to force 'oak catalyzed esterification,' a key part of the maturation process."   

the spirits industry.  Just think, if my rum could attain the smoothness and flavor of a 20 year old rum in just six days.   What he has done is to identify the components and chemistry of aging and applying the science of it to young spirits.   "
    The booze industry has been looking for shortcuts to the aging process virtually since its inception, ranging from dumping extra oak chips into barrels of whiskey to artificially heating and cooling them to rapidly simulate the passing of seasons. While some of these tools have had modest levels of success, many have been complete failures. In fact, even Jesus weighed in on the dangers of trying to hasten the processes of nature when he said, "No one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined." (Luke 5:37) 

     If Bryan Davis has his way, that's all about to be totally upended, sacrilege or not.   Davis has come up with a method of producing spirits that taste like they've been aging in the barrel for 20 years, but his process only takes six days. Davis doesn't accelerate the aging process like so many of the methods that have been tried in the past. Rather, he shortcuts it by taking new distillate and running it through his proprietary chemical reactor. Davis's device forces the creation of the same key chemical compounds that give a well-aged spirit its unique character. Give him a week, and Davis says he can create a booze that tastes decades old.
     I have some reservations about this, but if it is true, the world of spirits might be changed forever.   Yes the mystique of aging in wood would be lost along with the "angel's share", that is so costly to the industry.  Also lost will be the enormous expense of storing a product for 20 years before it can be sold.   I don't see this transformation happening really soon, but if what Bryan Davis has discovered is truly correct, things will really be different in the future.   ;o)

Monday, April 20, 2015



     KINGSTON, JAMAICA (April 14, 2015)Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum today unveiled its re-envisioned line-up of its premium rum range.  While making no changes to the award-winning liquid, Appleton Estate announced a new naming classification and packaging design for their core range that conveys the quality, care and passion that goes into producing these premium rums and emphasises the crafted blends that fill each bottle. 

     Notes Richard Black, Global Integration Director for Rums at Gruppo Campari:  “Appleton Estate has been producing premium, quality Jamaican Rum for more than 265 years.  While the liquid in the bottle remains exactly the same, we decided to bring a consistent and coherent naming structure to help consumers appreciate the differences among our three core variants as well as the hierarchy between the new variants. 

    “We feel that the new naming classification is unique to the rum category and to Appleton Estate and, more importantly, celebrates the art of blending which is so integral to the rum industry and is what makes our Appleton Estate rums so rich, complex and flavorful.”  

     Under the new naming structure Appleton Estate Signature Blend is the new name for Appleton Estate V/X, Appleton Estate Reserve Blend is the new name for Appleton Estate Reserve and Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old is the new name for Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old.  
      Appleton Estate’s Master Blender Joy Spence, the first female to be appointed Master Blender in the industry notes: “We wanted the new packaging to capture the craftsmanship and exceptional quality of our range and celebrate the uniqueness of the Appleton Estate including our heritage, our land, our process and our people.  

     “Although the names and packaging for our three core variants have changed, the award winning liquid inside the bottle remains the same.  In addition, we have not changed the names, packaging or liquid for our luxury brands, Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum or Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum.” 

The New Packaging:  

·         Bottle:            Appleton Estate’s iconic bottle, which has been a hallmark of the brand since it was first launched, has been retained to provide consumers with a familiar visual cue. 

·         Closure: The cap now includes the signature of Master Blender Joy Spence to reinforce Appleton Estate’s crafted approach to producing rum and ‘Estate Distilled’ & ‘Jamaica Rum’, are repeated at the base of the closure to highlight the brand’s Estate and Jamaican provenance

·         Cartouche: The name of the variants have been moved from the cartouche to the main label and Appleton Estate’s rich heritage as a rum producing establishment since 1749 is now highlighted on the cartouche.

·         Label: The new label now features the lush landscape of the Appleton Estate and Jamaica’s world famous Cockpit Country where the Estate is located.   

     The Appleton Estate logo has been updated and the words “Crafted in the heart of Jamaica” have been placed under the logo to speak to the care and passion that goes into making Appleton Estate rum as well as the geographical location of the Appleton Estate in the heart of Jamaica.   

     The historic medals, which date back to the 1800’s, are featured on the bottom left of the label and the Appleton Estate heart icon appears as a watermark on the bottom right of the label.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Saturday Grand Tasting

   Saturday is filled with the public and a collection of some of the finest rums in the world.   An arena filled with so many award winning rums that it is unbelievable.   You can spend the day wandering the rows of booths and enjoying a sip of so many rums that it isn't even funny.  In many cases a single booth will have four, six or even more expressions for you to sample.

Tito Cordero
     The arena gives you an opportunity to talk with the people that produce the rums and learn just a ton of information about how it is produced and what gives it the flavors that you are tasting.  This is a very unique opportunity to talk with such famous rum masters as Don Pancho Fernandez, Richard Seale, Tito Cordero, and Frederico Shultz.   All of these people are very interesting to talk to and are the producers of some of the finest rums in the world.

     If you missed this year, don't fret, it will be back again next year and I am sure that you won't miss the opportunity again if you have any desire for fine expressions of rum.  I have had a wonderful week here in Miami  for the festival and will be headed back home to Key West in the afternoon.  I hope that I have peaked your interest enough to be able to meet you here next year.  ;)