Sunday, February 20, 2011

Black Tot Last Consignment: A First and Final Offering in Seattle


Black Tot Last Consignment
The Original Royal Naval Rum that made history has arrived on the shores of Seattle. Black Tot Last Consignment is from a time past, but not forgotten. On what is called, Black Tot Day, July 31, 1970, a presumably sad day for seafaring service men, the Royal Navy ended the 300 year old practice of rum rations. Fortunately for us there were a few imperial gallons remaining to be bottled. How old is this rum you ask? The exact age has been lost in time, but the informative Black Tot website indicates it may have been distilled in the 1940's! Care for a taste of rum fit for Admirals? Smartly packaged in a elegant wooden box, you receive a 1/2 gill copper measuring cup, a book on rum written by award-winning author, Dave Broom to accompany the black 750ml bottle (see photo). Black Tot may be priceless to some, but it will cost you, regardless of where you buy it. Currently, it is retailing in Washington State Liquor Stores for $1,112.35 USD per 750ml bottle. Black Tot is not listed on their website yet, but it can be requested in store. I am aware the University District location (store #96) is able to order them. This piece of liquid history will not be around forever and when this rum is gone, no one will ask why.


To those who made Black Tot Last Consignment happen, The Rum Collective salutes you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Late Night Rum Desserts at B&O Espresso


Rumballs
photo by Sheila Farahani
A Seattle favorite, B&O Espresso, brings the love with a couple of rum desserts match-made in heaven...or at least Capitol Hill. Need I mention today is Valentine's Day? Attraction, sensuality, rum, desire, rum, lust and rum are all words that come to mind. I will try to recapture in words what my senses revealed on my visit. It's a late, stormy, Sunday night and I am quietly enjoying a cappuccino at the oldest espresso serving, dessert cafe in the neighborhood. I glance up to look around and the dessert menu notices me. I pause, smile, and slowly ogle back, noticing a few attributes I wouldn't mind having my way with. Scanning from top down, I like what I see. Dark skinned, well dressed and not to expensive finds me curious. I might fancy trying something new tonight. Caution to readers, this affair may be more than a one-nighter. The first dessert starts with Rum!

Black Muddy River Cake
A slice of Black Muddy River is my first choice. Listed first under the Darker Chocolate section, this succulent delicacy is composed of a "bittersweet chocolate mousse with espresso, rum and a hint of orange on a genoise layer." To my delight the slice appears horizontal with a side of whipped cream, decorated by a European style chocolate swirl stick (see photo). The slice is outlined by an eloquently thin chocolate coat over its top and side. In regards to its name, the textured surface of the mousse takes an appearance of a dirty river. A river of rum that I must plunge into. I take my first bite confessing a flavorful, rich cocoa mousse. The homogeneous texture of the mousse is perfect. It creates a silky blanket for my mouth bite after bite. The mousse releases notes of Grand Marnier liqueur balanced with very subtle hints of Myers's Rum. The base is a thicker yet sponge-like contrast to the mousse. A most dangerous dessert indeed. If one slice isn't enough, you can order a whole cake. Awesome!


Rumballs
photo by Sheila Farahani
These Rumballs are captivating and a solid dessert choice, literally. Their size may make some men uncomfortable. But size is no matter here and actually is a bit deceiving for those who give it a go. The menu describes them as, "cake soaked with Myer's Dark Rum--dipped in ganache." I respectfully disagree. The Rumball's interior cake is not "soaked" but may be judged as dense and supersaturated, pursuant to the creation of a great rumball! The ganache coating not only adds another dimension of flavor but makes for a pleasing appearance. These Rumballs at least live up to the classic rum dessert if not exceed it in sheer mass. For most people, a single Rumball is enough to satisfy. Just going for dessert and drinks? Rumballs pair perfectly with a hot espresso beverage or espresso cocktail...rum-based of course.

The Rum Collective would like to thank B&O Espresso for their dedication to quality rum-based desserts!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

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!!