Alligators, Hurricanes, and Mojitos

What’s not to love about Florida!? Sub-tropical weather, sailing blue ocean, white beaches, and rum! My favourite Florida variety is Bad Bitch from Key West, which is well worth a trip! 

When I arrived for a wee break on the beach it was apparent that there were storms brewing in the Atlantic! Could there be a Hurricane heading my way? By Hurricane, I don’t mean the sugary New Orleans favourite that has contributed to so many “where am I” moments. 😉

Side note: I must say if they don’t use the obligatory mixes and do it classily with restrained use of Passion Fruit syrup you can get a rather splendid drink.

Anyway, real hurricanes are more scary than refreshing. When I realised one may be heading to the West Coast of FL, where our sailboat was resting comfortably under the care of Seaking, my son’s yacht management company. I thought ok, I’ll head out east to west.

Since I had time, I jogged north a little to visit our friends Rocky and Nish at Rocky’s rather splendid cigar bar ‘Burn’ located in the very entertaining Mercato Naples. I enjoyed a perfectly appropriate lancero by our proprietor and a rather pleasant Bacardi-based Mojito with just the right blend of sugar and mint. All cool here, let’s head South to check on that Beneteau ”Puffnaway “.

Arriving at the  Marina it was a beautiful sunny day, but there was a hustle about the place as it seemed more likely that the storm was heading this way.

So some hours after helping clean and prep the boat, for what we still hoped would pass us by…I hopped into the Marina pool for a cooling swim and a ‘boat‘ made Mojito.

Every sailor has a stash of rum and mine includes some that I have to carry with me from the other side of the Atlantic due to not being able to buy Cuban rum in FL. El Rumbo is to me the ideal base for a Mojito, 100-proof Cuban rum shipped to Wales that spent time resting in Snowdonia Distillery in freshly emptied Cognac casks, it punches through the sugar and mint with just the right balance of flavour and strength. Now storm concerns are drifting away…at least for me after the 2nd one…though the chatter and nervous energy around the Marina sense more.

That evening we enjoyed a family dinner with an array of nicely prepared fresh seafood at Fin Bistro and Antinori Pepoli Chianti, one of my favourites. After a peaceful sleep on the boat, we battened down hatches and left the rest to the professionals to get her ready to brace for whatever may come.

We are heading back east, away from the inevitable visit of Hurricane Ian. The best part of my exodus from stormy weather is one of my favourite Florida spots, which is on the way, Everglades City! This Stone Crab capitol of the World has so much to offer Alligators, Airboats, and Awesome fishing in 10,000 Islands. This little historic town, once Calusa Indian territory, houses the rather splendid, although admittedly a touch tired Rod and Gun Club.

 

As you step through the doors you step back in time. A dark embrace of nostalgia floats the hallways with stunning taxidermy and relics of its illustrious past as a premier fishing hunting lodge. We sat down and shared the best of the season (stone crab season hasn’t started), so fresh out of the Everglades sautéed alligator, fresh local frog legs, and blackened Hogfish will do just fine thank you!

Before we embark on our journey back East, I spend an hour or two in my favourite of swimming pools, now don’t ask me why. Sitting to the side of the R&G Club it’s a relic that I treasure, a stone waterfall and rough stone coping. It’s certainly not everybody’s favourite but then again it’s one of the reasons I love it.  Mostly it’s mine alone or shared with a couple local kids, but perfectly cooling from this hot balmy air.

Now there are no cocktails available at R & G club, however resourceful I am and thanks to my wife picking up mint at Seed to Table. With a little rum and soda from the bar, I have my primitive but tasty Mojito in the pool while enjoying an Oliva Orchant seleccion cigar. Tell me that’s not living!

So now back across alligator alley to our wee spot on the beach, where I’m sure I have some rum! Oh, maybe not, might have to fly back to Blighty to stock up!

I did find some El Rumbo Coconut rum made with fresh sugar cane and fresh coconuts…makes a lighter more tropical variation Mojito. That saved the day.

-Ron

 

 

*Update: Hurricane Ian devastated part of Florida’s west coast. While we escaped with only minor damage, our prayers are with those who lost families, homes, and boats.

New Releases from Snowdonia Distillery

One of favourite distilleries has just released not 1, not 2, but 3 new bottlings! The folks over at Snowdonia Distillery in North Wales have just given us 2 new variations of their El Rumbo Rums and 1 new addition to their Marsette Liqueurs. The distillery, who of course is responsible for Foragers Gin, put an incredible amount of time and heart into each of its spirits. They have taken multiple awards across the whole lineup, most recently a Silver for the Y Bēt Chocolate Vodka. The small team there really does an incredible job at bringing you the best that Wales has to offer.

In addition to the incredible gins they put out, the distillery team likes to venture into the more fun and unique side of spirits. As shown in their El Rumbo lineup by bringing in aged Cuban rum, then letting the rum rest in freshly emptied cognac casks. Now creating an Anejo and Coconut versions of their El Rumbo!

Now their Marsette Liqueurs are absolutely brilliant for the dessert cocktails we’ve been making around here. The Monsoon Coffee liqueur is incredibly moreish and makes a stunning espresso martini! So with the addition of the new Chocolate Essence liqueur it is going to make for some fun in house experimentation!

So, lets introduce the 3 new arrivals:

Ron El Rumbo Premium Cuban Anejo Oro Rum40%

El Rumbo Premium Cuban Anejo Rum is an expression that benefits from our Solera aging process at Snowdonia. Aged for three years in Cuba to then be transferred into our fresh cognac casks at Snowdonia. 

An aroma of classic desserts – sticky toffee pudding and vanilla fudge, this premium spirit is perfect to enjoy with a squeeze of lime and a Cuban cigar.

Nose: Toffee apple, vanilla fudge, hints of cocoa, cognac aromas. 

Palate: Soft, mouth coating, a cognac warmth with lingering apple and pear finish.

Ron El Rumbo Cuban Coconut Rum36%

El Rumbo Cuban Coconut Rum is an expression of natural flavours from the tropics.

Fresh Madagascar Coconut and Cuban Sugar cane combines aromas of fresh coconut milk, pineapple, and a refreshing sweetness.

This superior mixer can be enjoyed as a classic mojito or float it to enhance the flavour of a daiquiri. 

Nose: Coconut husk, Madagascan vanilla, candied pears, coconut milk and sugar cane. 

Palate: An ice cream texture with hints of walnuts and almonds. A palette coating, coconut milk finish. 

Marsette Peruvian Chocolate Essence30%

Marsette Peruvian Chocolate Essence is an enhanced spirit perfect for sipping over ice or enjoyed in cocktails.

The Single Estate Peruvian Chocolate allows for a light experience of 100% cacao with its nutty nature.

Nose: Dark chocolate, a clean break of fresh cocoa, slight hint of banana and freshly roasted walnuts aromas.

Palate: Soft sweetness of vanilla and cream, powerful dark chocolate and a long, viscous, warm finish.

So head over to pick up a new release or 2, so you have some incredible spirits for your summer cocktails!

Until next time.

-Andrew

Grab a Black Friday Deal or Two!

It’s that time of year again, where everything and anything is on sale! Most of which ends up being unnecessary clutter. We may be biased, but I think our industry has the best kind of deals. Consumables that make you happy! The contents go away over time, the container can be repurposed or recycled, it isn’t something that becomes obsolete over time, and most importantly it brings you joy! We don’t need more random stuff…consumables, quality wearables, and things you can use all the time are the way to go.

With that said, we have an abundance of sales across the site at every different price point. Here are just a few of those on offer:

These are only a handful of what we have on offer! Pop on over to our Specials Page to see al the other tasty bottlings we have on sale!

Til next time,

-Andrew

Eminente Rum

We have received our shipment of Eminente Reserva Rum, which is new to the UK shores! A beautiful Cuban rum is from the Central province of Villa Clara. Created by César Martí, one of the island’s ten Maestros Roneros.

Eminente pays tribute to Cuba’s untainted nature, down to its bottle and logo. Its textured glass and crocodile-shaped island on the label are reminiscent of the native animal.

César Martí grew up in working in sugar cane fields, learning his craft from his grandparents. From there he dedicated his career in the pursuit of discovering the highest quality of rum. After studying physics and engineering, Martí found himself being mentored by Cuba’s first Maestro Ronero. César Martí eventually became the island’s youngest Maestro Ronero, in an unmatched 9 years!

I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO CONVEY CULTURE AND TRADITION AND MAGNIFY THE ART OF CUBAN RUM THROUGH EMINENTE.

– César Martí

Eminente combines occidente (western-style rum) from one end of the island and oriente (eastern-style rum) from the other end. This style is a perfect balancing act of refreshing and robust, smooth yet complex. Making it so versatile in however you want to enjoy it!

Aged for a minimum of 7 years in white oak ex-whisky barrels, Eminente is inspired by 19 century traditions in the way it brings forward a depth of a very old rum!

Eminente Reserva is at once intense and delicate on the nose.

The initial aroma of freshly roasted coffee gives way to softer notes of dulce de leche, toasted almond and cocoa.

Full-bodied and incredibly deep, the palate is rich with vanilla and smoky notes, coffee and raspadura, which is the taste of unrefined cane sugar.

Spicy notes of ginger and Sichuan pepper with a slight taste of prune in the background. Unsurprisingly, this is a long finish, fresh and creamy with notes of chocolate and a hint of smoke.”

Eminente will be available online soon! We will let you know!

Til next time,

Andrew

Black Tot 50th Anniversary

I am always a fan when a brand has a good story behind it, but also can back that up with with an equally good liquid! This Black Tot rum is one of those bottlings. Thought I would grab a bottle to try.

This bottle is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Black Tot Day. Which was the day that the Royal Navy officially brought an end to the 239 year old tradition that was the daily rum ration. At the time it was seen as a “barbaric act by government” to take away sailor’s rum an end to a great tradition. Today Black Tot day is seen as a day for friend to get together to share their rum rations and stories. Seeing as the Royal Navy were some of the first rum blenders as they picked up casks from every different port from all over the world!

This 50th anniversary bottling was created in a very limited 5000 bottle run. It is a wonderful nod to the original Navy blends, marrying rums from the four cornerstones of the original blend. Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana, and Barbados. Pulling from ancient stills and distilleries no longer in operation. A tasty tribute and balanced blend of rums. Because they believe in transparency with their rums. They published the full breakdown recipe.

Guyana:

Barbados:

Trinidad:

Jamaica:

World Blend:

This is a really well balanced blend that just has an array of flavours that just coats your whole mouth! Any different way you prepare it you are going to open up different flavours. Whether it’s neat, with ice, with some water, or in a host of different cocktails, the possibilities are endless. Lots of dark chocolate, mint, liquorice, stewed apples, and vanilla are just some of the notes I come across. Wonderfully rich and making you want more!

Till next time,

Andrew

Currently Drinking Some Hampden Estate

Been waiting a while to get some hands on this bottle of Hampden Great House Distillery Edition. A perfect addition to any rum shelf in time for Summer. Here’s a quick little rundown of our experience with it.

Definitely no stranger to the Hampden Estate rums and always happy when there is an open bottle around for enjoyment. This release is fantastic for the seasoned Hampden drinker or someone who has no experience with them at all. That is because this release was created for the sole purpose of showcasing everything that is amazing about Hampden Estates rums!

This is not like a lot of their other single cask bottlings out there, the Great House Edition is expertly blended by the distillery’s Master Distiller. I also love seeing that they are putting out more of their own labeled rums instead of sending out mass amounts of their liquid to other companies. Like a lot of Jamaican rums, this expression is a high ester (natural compounds created during the fermentation process) rum, which adds to the amazing range of flavours in this rum!

A blend of two molasses based rums and local spring water, the rum bottled at a boisterous 59% ABV. A full funk rum for sure! Everything you love from Hampden Estate. Initially they only had limited amount of 1200 bottles being sold at the distillery and supplied to special events. Luckily for us it made its way here!

You are looking at wonderful array of tangy tropical fruit flavours, with grilled pineapples, tasty puckering lemon, thick molasses, and nice smoked chocolate in there.

Grab a bottled for yourself HERE!

Flor de Caña

Easily one of our favourite rum distilleries to grace this fine planet. Flor de Caña puts out some incredibly tasty rums across the board and have been recognized around the world for it. While yes, there are SO many rums out there to get through, Flor de Caña will always be a constant on my shelf.

These days pretty much anyone can create rum, in most parts of the world, if they so desired. Though you’d be hard pressed to find a rum with as much stature and dedication to the community around them as Flor de Caña.

Established in 1890 at the base of one of the largest volcanos in Nicaragua, Flor de Caña have been creating super premium rum for 130 years! Throughout this long and sometimes rough history, they have been able to remain a family run business for 5 generations!

Not only are they rooted in this great history, the company is committed to running a truly sustainable distillery. They didn’t just do this to be trendy, it is something they believe in. Their spirit has been 100% distilled with renewable energy for over 10 years, and they have planted 50,000 trees a year since 2005. Even more impressive is that Flor de Caña has provided free schooling for the employee’s children since 1913, and since 1958 offered free healthcare at the company hospital. So not only do they care about the environment around them, they also strive to invest in their workers and the community. The distillery is also one of just a few spirit companies to adopt the Fair Trade practices.

Flor de Caña has taken so many different awards over the years. Not limited to: “Worlds Best Rum Distillery”, “Global Rum Producer of the Year”, and “#1 Rum on the Planet”. You know you will be getting something truly delicious

All the rums are truly natural from the field to the bottle. Naturally aged in premium white oak bourbon barrels sealed with Nicaraguan plantain leaves. All of their rums are matured without artificial ingredients and no added sugar content. Not many large rum companies promise that.

The Luxury Collection includes the 25 year old and is their finest full body sipping rum. The Ultra Premium Collection includes the exceptionally smooth 12 and 18 year olds. The 7 year olds fall in the Super Premium Collection and are balanced, full-bodied rums perfect for high end cocktails. The Premium Collection are young and light rums great for classic coctails.

Make sure to give this awesome brand a try if you have not already!