Friday, April 29, 2011

Rum Renaissance 2011: Part I

Mai Kai Polynesian Restaurant
Zombie Jamboree

Mai Kai is the setting. This undead intoxi-concoction brought to life by Don the Beachcomber over 75 years ago is resurrected. Zombies were called upon and were slayed beneath tiki torches. Drum pulsing fire dances in grass skirts filled the stage of Polynesian culture. Rummies united here to celebrate the first day of Rum Renaissance 2011Jeff "Beachbum" Berry presented its history and another tasty lesson in tiki origins and authenticity was sipped to the end. One more please! This legendary tiki cocktail inspired competition may have determined a winner, but all those voting became Zombies and stumbled away not needing any impersonation of the living dead. A perfect start!

Bermuda Triangle VIP Party

We arrived poolside at the Deauville Beach Resort surrounded by water in all directions. Rum compass? Check. Barritt's Ginger Beer and Fee Brothers sponsored a craft cocktail competition involving local mixologists. Did you say bitters, ginger beer, at least 5 types of rum and fresh fruit? Oh yeah! History tells us there are some unfortunate visitors who travel over the Bermuda Triangle and disappear. Which bartender will weather this storm? Let the drinking begin!

Dressed for Success
(Freddy Diaz, Lindsay Gorton, Joshua Holliday)

The cocktail fashioned by Freddy Diaz of Alambiq made with two types of Ron Dos Maderas was cheered to victory by the crowd. There were other fine attempts at this feat that lost their way. A special mention of the Miami Mule which may have disrupted some of the circuitry in those who were overcome with this very drinkable and delicious libation.

Winner - Bermuda Triangle
(by Freddy Diaz)
Bermuda Triangle
1.5oz Dos Maderas 5+3
0.5oz Dos Maderas PX
1oz Barrit's Ginger Beer
1oz Don's Mix #1
0.5oz Boiron Lime Juice
0.5oz Simple syrup
1 dash Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters
Thin slice of grapefruit & cinnamon stick
wrapped with a cucmber string (garnish) 

Miami Mule
(by Ezra Pattek )
Miami Mule
1oz Ron Zacapa 23yr
1oz Banks 5 Island Rum
3 dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
1oz Lime juice (fresh squeezed)
1oz Barrit's Ginger Beer
Mint sprig (garnish)

Cheers to the beginning of Rum Renaissance 2011!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blackbeard Spiced Rum: A Review

Home >> Blackbeard Spiced Rum: A Review

Blackbeard's Ghost & Blackbeard Spiced Rum
Blackbeard Spiced Rum

Origin: Destilería Serrallés, Puerto Rico

Age: Blend of premium Puerto Rican rums aged 12-18 months in oak barrels (infused with a secret blend of Caribbean exotic fruits and spices)

Strength: 43% ABV (86 proof)

Size: 750ml

Cost: Not available in WA State

In the Bottle: Your eyes are instantly drawn to the intense side profile of Blackbeard's head encircled in red. Reported for his strikingly large black beard, the cartoon is representative. Just below the plastic screw cap opening, Blackbeard (a.k.a. Edward Teach) is depicted wielding two swords and dawning a long jacket and boots almost as if guarding access to the spirit. The red, white and black color scheme is attractive with a Caribbean map in the background. Fittingly, the map starts at the top with Carolina Del Norte, Blackbeard's last stand and extends down to this rum's place of origin, Puerto Rico.

In the Glass: This rum has a light golden brown honey color with glimmering 22K gold nugget highlights. Upon tilting the snifter, the residual legs of the liquid are slower moving with little definition.

In the Nose: Assertive vanilla and caramel aromas dominate at first amidst a mild alcohol background. Further exposure reveals an underlying oakiness with softer details of ground cinnamon and clove.

In the Mouth: First, vanilla and caramelized brown sugar grasp the palate. A soft oakiness is apparent with rolling notes of clove and cinnamon to round out its medium bodied character. Refined palates may detect guest appearances of an elusive burnt nutmeg on coconut cream pie filling.

The Finish: Upon swallowing, a vanilla laden sweetness lingers in the mouth for a several seconds evolving into a mild astringent sensation pointing to its slightly higher alcohol concentration. Hints of black cherry cola follow a marked warmth that is experienced in the lower throat and upper chest as if ginger was in the cast of spices.

Overall Impression: Blackbeard Spiced Rum may be characterized as a medium bodied rum with large vanilla and caramel overtones among oak and other exotic spices. It is best utilized as a mixer and not as a rum to be sipped neat. Its bottle depicts a dark and feared pirate of a previous time and a fun piece to prompt conversation among history buffs, rum drinkers and swashbucklers alike. Despite Blackbeard's legacy, the price is not scary at all, for example at Hi-Time Wine Cellars a 1.75L bottle is listed for $20.99! Overall, Blackbeard Spiced Rum is a good value with iconic appeal bringing a unique story to the spiced rum table.

Blackbeard's Ghost

Spiced rums work well in certain cocktails and given the remarkable history associated with this label, a representative cocktail is required. Legend has it that after Blackbeard's death, a judge in North Carolina during the 1930s used Blackbeard's skull as a chalice to drink rum. Wayne Curtis's book, And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails indicates his skull may have been made into a base for a punch bowl at the Raleigh Tavern, in Williamsburg, NC. Well laddy, ask yourself, are ye a pirate or fit for the plank? The idea was appealing for this review, but where does one go to find a human skull (model) fit to drink rum from? Gargoyle Statuary in Seattle's University District is just the place to look. Caution to readers, the skull I used is meant as an art display only and not meant to drink from. Caution is just that and throwing it to the wind in my blog sails, I went forward. I learned that the local artist who made this vessel used an actual human skull as a model for the resin replica. The top portion of the cranium is missing, its internal cavity lacks a foramen magnum and is sealed. Perfect for a Blackbeard cocktail! I adapted Blackbeard's Ghost, a cocktail from Grog Log, a book written by the authority on all things tiki, Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. This well researched and insightful book of tiki recipes documents each cocktail in a fun, readable format. Here is my adapted recipe:

1 oz orange juice (freshly squeezed)
0.5 oz Falernum (John D. Taylor's Falernum)
2 oz sweet & sour (homemade)
0.5 oz apricot brandy (Dekuyper)
1.5 oz Blackbeard Spiced Rum
0.5 oz Demerara Rum (El Dorado 5yr)

The website for Blackbeard Spiced Rum cautions drinkers "to take four shots, but don't lose your head". If in Seattle, have a go at Blackbeard's Ghost in skull mug in the shadow of our own Queen Anne, minus the revenge.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Seattle Cocktail Culture iPhone App Release Party!

The debut of the Seattle Cocktail Culture iPhone App at Liberty was marked by an appetite for consumption. Local and awesome describe the event and its guests well. Those present enjoyed Seattle-based cocktail trivia (with prizes) paired with an exquisite cocktail crafted by local talent every half-hour. Kevin Langmack (Kneehigh Stocking Co.), Marley Tomic-Beard (Golden Beetle), Veronika Groth (Poppy), Evan Martin (Naga Cocktail Lounge) and Keith Waldbauer (Liberty) were present to show off their skills in your glass. Did I mention almost all of these libations were rum or cachaça based. Oh hell yeah! I strongly recommend seeking out these bartenders for one of these featured cocktails (see photo). Wendy Miller's thoughtful and rather comprehensive creation brings Seattle's cocktail scene to another level. Its love rises from your hands to your mouth and will also assist you in getting back home again safely. For example, need to know how much a taxi will cost? Download it. Can't find the location of The Rum Collective's next meeting? Download it. Are you uncertain on whether tonight's watering hole is a dive bar and prefer to see a photo or review before you try it? Download it. Those who are visual will be stimulated from location specific photos and their cocktail close-ups. This App includes numerous search filters, an icon for feedback comments and a bar map just to mention a few of its features for you to go wet and re-wet your whistle. Download complete.

Cheers to Wendy for her dedication and the release of the Seattle Cocktail Culture iPhone App!