Sunday, March 11, 2012

And the Winner is . . .

Jim Adams of Huntington Beach, California. Jim and i have shared a few rum (along with his lovely wife Holly) and i knew he was a lover of great rum, but this story knocked it out of the park.

Read and enjoy!

A Rum Story, by James Adams:

The best Rum experience I’ve ever had was last year when my wife and I finally realized our long-time dream of visiting Cuba, often regarded as the birthplace of Rum.  We were part of a humanitarian group delivering medical supplies, exploring the country, meeting Cubans and of course, drinking fine Cuban Rum.  Our days were filled with organized tours and lectures about Cuban culture, but the evenings were free for us to enjoy and explore.  Each evening in Havana, we ventured out for dinner and then to various bars to enjoy the amazing live Cuban music and Cuban Rums. 
On one such night a Cuban man came into the bar, selling cigars.  The guys in our group all bought Cohibas from him -- these were the real thing!  We proceeded to chat with the man and invited him to join us at our table.  His name was Leo and he told us that he had purchased a “license” from the government that permitted him to speak with tourists, as he showed us the badge he was carrying. 
Leo told us stories about Fidel and Raul Castro, the Cuban government, Cuban cigars and the history of Rum in Cuba.  He spoke of the introduction of sugar cane from the Canary Islands by Christopher Columbus to the evolution of the Bacardi and Havana Club brands.  We learned that there were fruit bats in the Bacardi distillery which led Mrs. Bacardi to suggest the bat symbol be used on the Bacardi labels.  Apparently bats were considered to be good luck and the symbol was easily recognized since many Cubans at that time could not read or write. 
We listened as Leo told us how the Bacardi family strongly supported Fidel Castro and even encouraged distillery workers to help Fidel’s rebels.  Raul Castro was even married to the daughter of a Bacardi worker.  Yet, the new Cuban government confiscated the Bacardi company after the revolution.
Leo spoke of how Havana Club was started by Jose Arechabala, a Spanish immigrant, who eventually had his operation confiscated by the Castro government.  These Arechabala family members, like the Bacardi family, fled the country.  But unlike the Bacardi family they did not have the money to rebuild their company and left behind the Havana Club name and trademark.  The Cuban government seized and continued to produce Havana Club Rum.  Leo pointed out that ironically, the Cuban government began producing ‘Ron Arecha’ as a tribute to Arechabala, after they seized his distillery and forced him into exile. 
Much later that night we left the bar delighted with Leo’s stories and the many Cuba Libres, Mojitos and glasses of Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos.  Visiting Cuba, conversing with Leo, listening to Cuban music and sipping fine Cuban Rum was a truly amazing Rum experience I will never forget!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Congratulations Jim! You deserve it.
Can't wait to be sipping some rum with you in Miami!

Thanks again to every one who participated. Even if you didn't win you can stil join us at the Miami Rum Renaissance! you'd be crazy no to.

Tell me a Rum Story contest---what they win.

So not only does winner gain international recognition from an esteemed panel of rum loving people; they will also win 2 VIP Passes to the Miami Rum Renaissance-- valued at $250 dollars a piece! (easily worth 10 times their weight in gold!).
I mean seriously click on the link and see for yourself the events that are all part of the VIP package for Rum Renaissance...Those are only the ones that are scheduled.. that can't can be announce... the fun literally is incalculable.
On top of that there is still the Grand Tasting and they get early admission to try everything before everyone else with some extra elbow room to boot!
I am glad that my first contest got so many great responses. Thank all of you for visiting, reading and most of all for your stories... They all touched me. Sorry I couldn't post all of them.

Also i would be foolish and deeply remiss if i didn't mention the Burr's.. Without them this contest couldn't have been and Miami Rum Renaissance would not exist the world would be lacking. Check out the Robs here:  and say hello to Robin when you make it to any of their awesome events.

Which leads me to the next point. There are still spots for the Miami Rum Renaissance get them while they are available!

So without further adieu, the winner is . .

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Rum Story, by Kelly Patterson

Here is another Rum story, this one is from Kelly Patterson. I asked if i could share it with you, and here it is:

A Rum Story, by Kelly Patterson.

My favorite rum stories involve our elderly relatives, particularly my mother-in-law.  87-years-old and in dubious health, she is still never one to turn down a well made cocktail.  She keeps up with any cocktail-related stories in her newspapers, since she knows we're interested, and because she doesn't get out much these days my husband and I try to bring the cocktail experience to her.  Mai Tais are often on the menu and she has a special connection to Trader Vic's since she and her late husband celebrated their engagement at Trader Vic's in New York City in 1963.  She kept the swizzle stick she got that night and, when friends came over the first time my husband made her Mai Tais, she took great relish in telling everyone "It's what they serve at TRADER VIC'S!"  It was interesting to note that not a single senior turned down the drinks that night!  Rum: it bridges the generations.

You can check Kelly out at:
www.kellycamillepatterson.com 
 
I love that story--Mai Tais are on the menu and Rum: it bridges generations--indeed.

Another Rum Story by Shauna, from The Minty...

Here is another Rum story, shared by Shauna from theminty.com i asked if i could share it with you, and here it is:

A Rum Story, by Shauna.
Here's my favorite rum story. About five years ago, before this whole craft cocktails thing started happening in LA, I was a hotel bar in Manhattan Beach. I didn't enjoy my first cocktail there and said as much. The bartender was not hospitable at all and argued with me it was great. He did ask me what else I wanted. At the time, I was transitioning from vodka to rum and asked for a Mai Tai. He didn't know how to make it and asked me what was in it. I told him and he didn't believe me, especially on the orgeat part. He thought it there was amaretto in it. Eventually he consulted a recipe book and with a sullen face said I was correct. After I approved of his Mai Tai, he wanted to make another cocktail for me and we picked one out of the book together. By the end of the night, he handed over a bottle of bubbly and thanked me for helping him be a better bartender.

You can check Shauna out at the spots regularly: 
blog: theminty.com
hot bartenders: bar-stalker.com
bar stories: lacocktails.com 
@theminty

Friday, March 9, 2012

A gift . . .

So yesterday, around 8:45AM, a FedEx driver knocked on my door. He carried a box that screamed "SAMPLE". I love that sight . . .!
So i signed, and opened the box . . . it was a 375 of Breckenridge Spiced Rum; which is something they only do once a year- a gift shop treasures - with no distribution . . . so totally a treat!

So, i was giddy: I'll admit it-- I love to taste stuff most people don't / won't /can't . . .I love being an insider . . ..

Included was a note / card . . . so I looked . . .

Before i go on, I met a couple of big-shots from Breckenridge last week. They were cool, i jabbed and joked with them--they were awesome, charming and Breckenridge makes delectable Bourbon and "better than the rest" Vodka so i was glad... Cool people with great products.. WIN--WIN!

One of the bigwigs was Maya (West Coast / International Sales--la de da . .) . . . and we joked around the most..She was very cool.
So back to the beginning . . Maya sent me this rare rum, after being cool and making the best new bourbon I've tasted in a while (HUGE!), so i am pumped.
And this is the card . . ..

Wow Maya. . .WELL PLAYED!

If you know me . . .You know i laughed, and laughed.. and told people the story, and laughed. . ..
The moral of this story is drink great spirits and it can be easy to have fun, and remember "something to put in your mouth other than smart ass remarks.". . .

I am saving the rum to share with my fellow Rum XP's at Miami Rum Renaissance, so I'll tell you about it later...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Rum Story / Guest Blog.

Inspired by my contest my buddy wrote me a note to tell me one of his Rum stories, so i asked if i could share it with you, my readers. (Mind you this isn't for the competition--we are sharing. There is still a few days for that--so get your stories in.):


This is from a good friend Warren Bobrow. Warren is big shot writer, an enthusiastic spirits zealot and an 'all around good guy'. Here is his Rum story


A Rum Story, by Warren Bobrow.

My favorite Rum story is one that no one that I know of could have made up.. .because truth is always stranger than fiction.
 
I was sailing with my mom and step-father down in the British Virgin Islands on my family's yacht.  She was a sleek vessel.  Completely hand built.  When she pulled into harbor everyone would turn and admire her lines.  A classic that also could do nearly 18 knots in a good breeze.  Pretty fast for an almost sixty foot vessel.

We had just gone to shore for lunch and some rum punches.  Near the Pusser's restaurant where we enjoyed our Painkiller's down on Virgin Gorda there used to be a small bookstore.  Reading from his book, Rums of the Caribbean was Ed Hamilton who is better known as the Minister of Rum.  I sat and listened to his stories of pirates and buccaneers, of rum and revolutions- currency of Rhode Island Rum- and vast fields of Martinique Sugar Cane just waiting, patiently to be crushed into juice.

His appearance was that of a seasoned sailor.  I hit it off with him immediately and bought one of his books.  Ed signed it for me and I treasure it to this day.  After a conversation had passed we had to get back to the yacht.  My mom was readying the grill on board for dinner later on under the stars and there was plenty of ice in the sea chests with bottles of rum chilling for later.  

Another sailboat pulled in next to us and picked up a mooring.  The boat was obviously the pride of this sailor- hardened by storms and obvious travel around the Caribbean.  She was not a flashy boat, but one could see that she was loved greatly by the man who sailed her.  That man, as it turned out was Ed Hamilton.  My step-father, who was a kind and very generous man called out to our new friend and asked him if he needed anything.  Ed called back, no, but if we had some ice- he had some warm rum.  A friendship was born!  We had plenty of clean ice- desalinated and filtered.  In a place where water costs more than Rum- clean ice is worth more than gold.  My step-dad said to Ed that we had as much ice as he needed.  Our yacht had not one but two ice makers on board.  

My step-dad invited Ed onto my family's yacht and we spent the rest of the afternoon sharing sea-tales of down island, braving storms and yes… of pirates!  
And I made a life-long friend who to this day, will always tell the story of how we met.  Over a glass of rum and…clean ice.

The End?
My favorite part of this story is I met Warren through Ed and the circle is ever growing.
 
You can check him out at these places regularly:
http://www.wildriverreview.com/user/18
http://cocktailwhisperer.com/
along with these places:
Williams-Sonoma, Foodista, Voda, Drinking in America, DrinkGal, Served Raw, NJ Monthly, Okra Magazine, Saveur and dozens of others. Or, if your lucky,  at some local place enjoying a drink or a meal, but most likely both.