Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Rum Collective's Pre-Bastille Day Celebration

The Rum Collective's Pre-Bastille Day Celebration marks the first meeting of Summer. Ti' Punch anyone? Yes Please! Below a quaint street just north of downtown in the Space Needle's shadow we enter Boat Street Cafe. Savory French cuisine and Rhums from Martinique that have been hand selected, thoughtfully paired are being served. Bon Appetite!

Rhum J.M. towel, VSOP bottle and swizzle sticks
Guests are greeted with a complimentary Rhum J.M. hand towel and a Ti' Punch, Martinique style, i.e., you make it how you like it. It's interactive and educational as Rocky Yeh, a local rum extraordinaire, provides guidance and lends a steady and mostly balanced pouring hand behind the bar. It is no secret, quality ingredients make for a quality product.

Ti' Punch Bar
Rhum J. M. Blanc, Rhum Clément Sirop de Canne (not yet available here) and fresh squeezed lime juice with an authentic swizzle stick from Martinique do it right. As guests move from appetizers to another go-round at perfecting their Ti' Punch, the first plate, melon soup with chive blossoms, is being served. Refreshingly cool, texturally elegant with ginger notes. Tasty! The second cocktail, Planter's Punch, follows as our guest speaker, Benjamin Jones of Rhum Clément and Rhum J. M., begins charming the audience. Not only is he mild mannered and personable, but authentically Martinique, growing up around the distillery as great grandson of Rhum Clément's founder. We sip our second punch crafted in a french style while listening to a local's perspective on Bastille Day, the style and story of Rhum Agricole AOC and its cultural relevance in Martinique. Like the addition of the next ingredient into a cocktail, Rocky infuses some cocktailian lore on the drink at, or rather, in hand. Brilliant!

The private room is refreshingly cool as its color creates a soft ambiance with the setting sun. Boat Street Cafe's professional staff sets out the starter dish, cumin true cod with cabbage remoulade. It is served in the company of the classic libation, El Presidente.

Starter Dish
(Cumin true cod with cabbage remoulade)
We learn El Presidente originated in Cuba in the time of prohibition before US-Cuba relations went sour. But this cocktail isn't sour at all; we learn it is one of the few if not the only classic rum cocktail recipe without lime juice (and for the record, Ben Jones' favorite cocktail.) Crafted with freshly made ingredients, the results are rhumtastic! The excitement builds as the main dish is served, Rocky surprises us with a mystery cocktail and Ben demonstrates his dramatic percussion

Benjamin Jones at Boat Street Cafe
skills using silverware and water glasses for a toast. The main dish, tamarind molasses glazed duck breast, is served pink and accompanied by grilled pineapple, sweet potatoes slow roasted with cream on greens. It is presented in time with our mystery cocktail. The presentation is visually stimulating and tastefully rewarding. French cuisine, when done well is a little bit of heaven; when paired with a fashionable Rhum Clément old-fashioned, dining like a God comes to mind.

Those who attended were given a raffle ticket upon entry with a chance to win a bottle of Rhum J.M. VSOP or one of two swizzle sticks from Martinique (see photo). Oh yeah! Cheers began as winners were drawn. Following the raffle, dessert descended upon us and a brief silence ensued. Few escaped the rapture of Boat Street Amaretto Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Cream Sauce. Amazing! Judgement was favorable as Rhum J.M. 1997, a 10 year old exquisite sipping rhum, was served neat with a side of water for diluting to taste. Conversations ensued as each person experimented by using water to open up the bouquet of aromas and flavors. The rhum sipping continued into the night. A tastefully French ending to a perfect dinner.

Cheers to the staff at Boat Street Cafe for their attentive service and a most enjoyable dinner!

The Rum Collective sends a big thanks to Rocky Yeh and Benjamin Jones for their quality support and dedication to rhum!


  1. No matter what the occasion, it's just not the same to celebrate without a bottle or two of booze. In my opinion, it's the alcohol that really lights up a party.

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