Sunday, February 6, 2011

An Evening with Ron Abuelo at Smuggler's Cove

Home >> An Evening with Ron Abuelo at Smuggler's Cove
I enter and descend down to the lower levels of tiki heaven. Martin Cate, owner and mastermind of Smuggler's Cove, greets us offering a fresh crafted libation, The Grito. Mahalo!
The Grito
by Dr. Dane Barca
Smuggler's Cove

The Grito
0.5 oz Lime juice
0.5 oz Cinnamon simple syrup
0.25 oz Creme de cassis
0.25 oz Maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)

Shake, then strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.
Garnish with an orange twist and mint sprig.

I could continue on illuminating Smuggler's Cove's many fine attributes but our focus tonight is on a special rum brand from Panama, called Ron Abuelo. Ricardo March, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Varela Hermanos, warms the audience with a smile and begins discussing the importance of his relationships with people. Developing relationships is not a problem for Ricardo as his humorous jokes provoke laughter and a light hearted discussion from the get-go.

Ricardo March 
Speaking of relationships, I am liking the one I am forming with a glass of Ron Abuelo 7yr. Ron Abuelo is made by Varela Hermanos using a Solera method. I learn they don't burn their sugar cane fields after harvest, an uncommon practice today, as it requires significantly more workers and more time. This is positive news, a twofer if you will. The utilization of human labor and not a machine provides jobs to local workers and in effect eliminates the fuel required to power the machine and the emissions it would otherwise produce. Green friendly and sustainable are positive attributes to be supported today. As we move from tasting Ron Abuelo Anejo to the 7yr and on to the 12yr rums my suspense builds as does the flavor profile and complexity of each one I taste. I am experiencing a smooth silky liquid rich in oak overtones with hints of cocoa and caramelized brown sugar in this glass of Ron Abuelo 12yr. I feel my relationship is maturing nicely as well.

First impressions are important in any relationship. Tonight Ricardo announces the US debut of Ron Abuelo Centuria at Smuggler's Cove. Awesome! The ambience at Smuggler's Cove sets the stage. Could you pick a better location to launch such a rum? Ron Abuelo Centuria was produced to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Varela Hermanos. 
Martin Cate and Ricardo March
Ron Abuelo Centuria
Smuggler's Cove

Ron Abuelo Centuria
 This nectar of the gods is a blend of rums aged up to 30 years. Ricardo calls it the "Reserva de la Familia". My glass is served and after a close visual inspection, taking its aroma in several times over for distinctive smells, I take a sip, allow it to move throughout my palate and swallow. I have to pause and stop time, but just long enough to capture and realize the mosaic of flavor notes as the liquid mysteriously disappears moving to the back of my mouth. The textural elegance and finish are noteworthy, sophisticated and tantalizing. One tasting portion isn't enough to understand its qualities in full, but enough to provide evidence and a face to a rum, a contender for the highest praises, hopefully making a few top shelves at locations near you.

Thank you Ricardo for an educational evening including the premier US tasting of Ron Abuelo Centuria!

Cheers to Martin Cate and the staff at Smuggler's Cove for another outstanding display of quality craftsmanship and generosity!!


  1. The Grito will be worth trying out indeed. Looks like Smuggler's Cove is a cool place to hang out and taste these rums.


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