Robs Rum Guide

your guide to the world's finest rums

Category: Florida (page 1 of 2)

Alligator Bay Distillers in Punta Gorda

With a nod to the backwater regions of Southwest Florida, Alligator Bay Distillers is a family-run operation producing a line of boutique rum products from their production facility in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Alex Voss at Alligator Bay Distillers

Alex Voss with Robin and Robert Burr at Alligator Bay Distillers

Alex Voss grew up in Naples, a small town south of Fort Myers. In 2012, he moved to Maui, Hawaii where he learned to make rum. He started as an apprentice and worked his way up to distiller at Haleakalā Distillers.

Returning to Naples, Alex brought home his knowledge of cane spirit production, collaborating with family members to launch their own facility in 2015.

While Alex concentrates on rum production, brother Ben Voss leads the marketing efforts and serves as chief mechanic at Alligator Bay Distillers.

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon for a look around and a tour of the facility. Alex welcomed us and spoke of his process and philosophy of making rum at Alligator Bay Distillers.

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Starting with molasses from Clewiston — the legendary sugar town near Lake Okeechobee — Alex has perfected his fermentation process with an ideal active dry yeast strain that thrives in the warm humid climate of Southwest Florida. The fermentation process takes seven days and produces a rum mash with an alcohol content of 8%.

The distillation process involves double distillation in a traditional copper pot still to 70% abv, retaining much of the molasses and cane flavors in his distillate.

The aging room is completely filled with resting oak barrels. The aroma of rum and wood is enticing — and certainly whets the appetite for the next stop on the tour — the tasting room.

Alligator Bay rums

Alligator Bay rums

Indeed, the clear rum retains a true flavor of cane and serves as the base for the spiced rum. The Sun Gold rum is lightly aged and the addition of Black Mangrove honey offers a nice finish. The Saba Treasure offers a subtle hint of fennel.

The rum that brings home the most awards is the chocolate-infused Dark Rum. This boutique specialty took home a gold award in the 2017 RumXP international tasting competition at Rum Renaissance Festival.

With a motto of “cane to bottle,” the small batch rums made by Alex Voss at Alligator Bay Distillers are distinguished by his artisan hands-on approach to production.

The distillery is open for tours Monday through Saturday from 11am to 3pm, starting on top of the hour, at 25522 E Marion Ave. Punta Gorda FL, 33950.

Call 941-347-8419 or email: info@alligatorbaydistillers.com. Visit the web site at: http://alligatorbaydistillers.com/


For more information about types of rum, see Rob’s Rum Guide tutorials.

To stay informed about news and updates in the world of rum, subscribe to Robs Rum Guide.

View insightful and succinct video rum reviews: Rum Minute YouTube Channel.

Experience the ultimate rum travel adventure: Rum Renaissance Caribbean Cruise.

Naked In Jamaica dark rum

A rich planter’s style dark rum, Naked In Jamaica is a private label spirit produced by famed flying ace, aerobatics champion and vintage airplane collector Kermit Weeks. The rum was created to his own specifications by Florida Caribbean Distillers in Winter Haven, Florida.

Naked In Jamaica dark rum is inspired by a song of the same name depicting a lifestyle of casual enjoyment in the tropical setting of Negril. Kermit sees clothing as a metaphor depicting the sublimation of one’s true self potential. He hopes the rum might inspire friends to strip the perceived inhibitions, false pretenses and limitations on finding their true self. A noble message in a bottle.

Naked In Jamaica Tasting Notes

Naked In Jamaica dark rumAromas of rich molasses and brown butter dominate the nose, before a suggestion of vanilla, cinnamon bun, toasted coconut and dark fruit. On the palate, initial notes of sweet caramel, butterscotch and vanilla butter cream precede prune wine, chocolate brownie and treacle with just a hint of oak. The finish fades slowly with echoes of sweet coconut, then bitter chocolate over buttery croissant.

Old Fashioned Dark Rum

Naked In Jamaica dark rum strives to rekindle old-fashioned tropical essences used to make classic cocktails such as Planter’s Punch. It’s a good base ingredient for tropical punch recipes and makes a fine dark floater on top of tiki cocktails. The rum includes a warning to please drink responsibly and use sunscreen.

Naked In Jamaica took home a gold award in the Boutique Dark Rum category at the RumXP Tasting Competition at Rum Renaissance Festival, as well as a gold award from the Consumer Rum Jury.

The 750ml plastic bottle of Naked In Jamaica dark rum at 80 proof sells for about $19.

http://www.nakedinjamaica.com/

About Kermit Weeks

Kermit Weeks is an American aviation enthusiast, pilot, and aircraft collector. He has competed in aerobatics, designed aircraft, and is well known for promoting aviation and the restoration of vintage aircraft.

Kermit Weeks operates Fantasy of Flight, one-of-a-kind aerial attraction and mega-event space in Central Florida that blends Old Hollywood glamour with modern elegance. The property houses his substantial vintage aircraft collection at his private airport.

In 2012 Weeks was awarded the Lloyd P. Nolen Lifetime Achievement in Aviation Award by the Wings Over Houston Airshow. In 2010 he won the Freedom of Flight Award by Bob Hoover. In 2008 Weeks was inducted into the Florida Aviation Hall of Fame, and in 2006 was named a “Living Legend of Aviation.”

About Florida Caribbean Distillers

Florida Caribbean (originally Florida Fruit Distillers) quietly produces 10 million proof gallons each year of wine, beer and spirits, mostly bulk rum sales and industrial alcohol. The state’s first registered distillery opened in 1943 making neutral spirit with molasses from Florida Citrus producers.


For more information about types of rum, see Rob’s Rum Guide tutorials.

To stay informed about news and updates in the world of rum, subscribe to Robs Rum Guide.

View insightful and succinct video rum reviews: Rum Minute YouTube Channel.

Experience the ultimate rum travel adventure: Rum Renaissance Caribbean Cruise.

NJoy Distillery Tour – Florida Mermaid Rum

You’re sure to enjoy a visit to NJoy Distillery, the producers of Florida Mermaid Rum.

Just beyond the bustling modern suburbs, remnants of the pioneer era of west central Florida remain hidden in plain sight. Several miles down a sandy dirt road, an old hunting cabin has been transformed into the paradisaical home of NJoy Distillery.

Persistence pays off as you near the entrance to this large ranch property just north of Weeki Wachee’s famed clear springs and mermaid shows, hidden within a massive undeveloped state park.

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NJoy Distillery Tour

You’ll be surprised and delighted to discover what Natalie and Kevin Goff have created in this rustic environment. It’s more than a craft distillery, artfully tucked into a barn. It’s a working spirit production facility that begs to be seen and admired by rum enthusiast visitors from near and far.

N-Joy Distilery - the hand-hammered copper pot still

the hand-hammered copper pot still at NJoy Distillery

As you gaze off in the distance of this large farm, beyond the old water wheel, past the horse stables, six acres of tall green sugar cane — featuring seven different varietals — grows in long rows.

A small stream running from the picturesque waterwheel leads to a large pond with a tall fountain. This is old Florida revisited. This is a special place.

Kevin gives us the tour of the works, established in 2012, starting with the crusher, fermentation and distillation sections of the barn. They’re collecting rain water — filtered three times — for the mash and proofing.

This still is a beauty — a classic 300 liter (80 gallon) hand-hammered alembic-style copper pot still from Portugal.

Florida Mermaid Rum

Their popular Florida Mermaid Rum — with a nod to the local Weeki Wachee natural attraction — features their own boutique rum blended with a special Caribbean pot still rum, bottled at 100 proof, without colorings or flavorings.

NJoy Distillery - Florida Mermaid Rum

NJoy Distillery – Florida Mermaid Rum

Only steps away, the blended rum rests in 25 large Wild Buck Whiskey barrels in an outdoor shipping container for 90 days.

The nose begins with bold aromas of black banana, flowers and butter. Next, vanilla and almond emerge over oak with a big funky fruit basket.

On the palate, complex esters offer a delightfully fruity astringent entry that evolves to big warmth in the mid-palate. Wood and brown butter dominate before some baking spice as the finish slowly fades.

Florida Mermaid Rum is the recipient of many awards and accolades from numerous competitions, including Best In Class in the boutique rum category at the 2018 International Rum Expert Panel tasting competition at Rum Renaissance Festival.

Mermaid Rum is now available in many Florida locations, including ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and Total Wines & More, distributed by Republic National Distributing. The 750ml bottle retails for $39.95.

NJoy Distillery Products

NJoy is also home to Wild Buck Whiskey, made from 401 black rye grown on the farm, plus Ryes In Shine moonshine.

The farm also hosts 600 bee hives for pollination, as well as a source for delicious honey for sale. A local baker delivers fresh rum cakes every weekend, adding a delightful element to the visit.

The NJoy Distillery is open for free tours and tastings every weekend from 11am to 3pm, with tasty cocktails to imbibe on the shady deck by the pond. Take home a bottle of Florida Mermaid Rum, Wild Buck Whiskey, Ryes In Shine, some local honey and a rum cake.

The address is 7237 Wild Buck Rd, Weeki Wachee, FL 34613. Call 352-592-9622.

https://www.wildbuckwhiskey.com/mermaid-rum


For more information about types of rum, see Rob’s Rum Guide tutorials.

To stay informed about news and updates in the world of rum, subscribe to Robs Rum Guide.

View insightful and succinct video rum reviews: Rum Minute YouTube Channel.

Experience the ultimate rum travel adventure: Rum Renaissance Caribbean Cruise.

Sugar Sand Distillery near Lake Placid

Hidden in the midst of a cane field, on a road that’s far from any highway, an open-air boutique distillery is attracting the attention of rum enthusiasts with their classic plantation method of turning sugar cane into rum. Sugar Sand Distillery crushes their own cane, ferments the fresh juice daily and uses their wood-encased copper pot still to make small batches of rum — the same way it was done centuries ago.

Sugar Sand Distillery - Lake Placid, FL

Sugar Sand Distillery features an open-air copper pot still hidden in the midst of a tall cane field.

The result is a simple and delicious cane spirit.

Some of the rum is maturing in small oak barrels to be bottled as golden aged rum.

Rum’s Natural Environment

Way out on Henscratch Road, near the town of Lake Placid, Florida, we found Don Davies and Jessica Giffin (the Distillery Queen) busy hosting folks in their tasting room and overseeing the craft distillation equipment they use to make fresh rum.

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In the background, tall green sugar cane stalks are swaying in the gentle breeze of a former citrus grove, cleverly fed by a hydroponic system that delivers water and nutrients directly to the base of each plant. It’s a modern and efficient method for raising cane (pun intended) in the sandy soil of south central Florida, a by-product of Don’s decades of experience in the fertilizer industry.

Sugar Sand Distillery Philosophy

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know when we started,” Don tells us. “Apparently no one else does it this way in Florida. We want to grow our own cane, rather than use molasses. We have a special device that peels the cane before crushing for a cleaner juice. And, we want to make each small batch by hand so we can control the process. It’s about quality, not quantity at Sugar Sand Distillery.”

There’s plenty of enthusiasm in the tasting room, as visitors savor the rum made only 20 feet away in a still that looks like something borrowed from a Willy Wonka movie. It tastes like cane, with a bit of smoky flavor from the heavily charred oak barrels. The sense of discovering something new and unique is a delight to those that make the journey.

Sugar Sand Distillery Rum - Lake Placid, FL

Sugar Sand Rum from Lake Placid, Florida is a limited edition authentic boutique craft spirit.

Distribution is a challenge, but they’re making steady progress throughout Florida. Sugar Sand Distillery also sells a moonshine and a vodka product made from cane. Almost everyone buys a bottle or three when they visit the distillery and that makes a big difference to the bottom line for this emerging production facility.

Visiting Florida Rum Distilleries

It’s great to see small Florida distilleries like Sugar Sand popping up all over the sunshine state. It’s a movement that benefits consumers by having more and better choices for unique styles of rum to enjoy.

Visit Sugar Sand Distillery for free tastings on Saturdays between 11am and 6pm. The address is 264 Henscratch Road near Lake Placid, FL 33852. Call 863-449-0470. https://www.facebook.com/sugarsanddistillery/


For more information about types of rum, see Rob’s Rum Guide tutorials.

To stay informed about news and updates in the world of rum, subscribe to Robs Rum Guide.

View insightful and succinct video rum reviews: Rum Minute YouTube Channel.

Experience the ultimate rum travel adventure: Rum Renaissance Caribbean Cruise.

Big 5 Gold Rum evokes wistful era

A trio of rums from Florida — including Big 5 Gold Rum — seek to echo the spirit of rum’s classic era in Cuba’s high society of the 1940s and 1950s.

Modeled in the light bodied Cuban style of aged rums, Big 5 Gold Rum is a fine example of a modern spirit finished by craft distillers in artisan copper pot stills. Continue reading

American Rum Portfolio debuts at 2017 Miami Rum Festival

America is returning to its roots with a proliferation of local craft distillers creating authentic rums — as evidenced in the new American Rum Portfolio showcase at the 2017 Miami Rum Fest and Trade Expo. Is this the New American Rum Revolution?

Festival organizers recognize the rapid growth of American craft spirits. The 2017 Miami Rum Fest scheduled for April 22-23 at the DoubleTree Miami Airport Hotel and Convention Center will highlight a collection of fine American rums selected by the editors of Robs Rum Guide.

American Rum Portfolio at Miami Rum Fest and Trade Expo

The 2017 Miami Rum Fest and Trade Expo April 22-23 will feature the American Rum Portfolio — highlighting a collection of award winning American rums selected by the editors of Robs Rum Guide.

The American Rum Portfolio Debuts

The American Rum Portfolio offers craft spirit producers an opportunity to present their best products at this large gathering of rum enthusiasts, experts and professionals.

Rum connoisseurs and collectors will discover the most complete collection of American rums ever assembled under one roof.

The New American Rum Revolution

Before the American revolution, more than 8,000 distilleries in the American colonies were producing rum from the plentiful supply of molasses available through trade with Caribbean islands. Most ceased production by the time prohibition decimated the American spirits industry. Now, that downward trend is reversing.

“In the past few years, more national, regional and local rum distillers are gaining well-deserved attention. Many are making their mark as true artisan spirits by winning awards and setting new standards for authentic, hand-made rum,” said Robert A. Burr, publisher of Robs Rum Guide.

“We’re now tracking more than 150 producers of American rum. It’s nothing short of a rum revolution — changing the American rum industry. They’re bringing back the art of craft distilling, presenting American rum in a most favorable light by emphasizing the quality aspects of small production.”

Miami Rum Fest and Trade Expo Celebrates Rum

Miami Rum Fest and Trade ExpoThe annual gathering of rum experts and consumers in Miami is the place where rum reputations are made. The RumXP panel of expert rum judges from around the world gathers for their blind tasting competition. Rum producers from far and wide — as well as locals — gather to present their products to an eager audience.

Rum distillers, importers, distributors and retailers come together once a year to collaborate and put their heads together to assess the direction of the rum industry.

Now, American rum producers will take a front row position as the American Rum Portfolio debuts at this global gathering.

For more information about the American Rum Portfolio at the Miami Rum Fest and Trade Expo, call 707-278-6736 or visit the Miami Rum Fest web site: www.miamirumfest.com

Oak And Cane rum launches in Florida

Produced in small batches in Riviera Beach, Florida, the new Oak And Cane boutique rum launched in Ft. Lauderdale recently, seeking to deliver a very smooth and delightful expression to the local market.

The Oak And Cane Project

Oak And Cane rum from Fort Lauderdale, Florida rests in orange peels

Oak And Cane rum is a distilled specialty spirit from Fort Lauderdale, Florida rested in orange peels.

Fred Greene leads the project. His new rum, bottled at a gentle 35% (70 proof) is classified as a Distilled Specialty Spirit, rested in Florida orange peels and finished in charred American oak.

The brand’s stated goal is to create an American lifestyle product that is smooth on the rocks or can be mixed into timeless classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned, Mojito or even a Mimosa or Sangria.

Tasting Notes

Delicate aromas of light vanilla and faint citrus are revealed over a hint of aromatic wood. On the palate, this pale spirit initially reveals creamy vanilla and bright orange, leading to a light viscosity and mild texture in the mid-palate. The dry finish is faint and smooth with lingering notes of creamsicle.

Oak & Cane can be purchased for about $47 plus shipping from the Passion Spirits online web site.


To stay informed of the latest rum news from Robert Burr, subscribe to Robs Rum News email list.

Ohana: Luau by the Sea returns to Ft. Lauderdale

Ohana means “family” in Hawaiian. The concept behind Ohana, Luau by the Sea is for Tiki Family to come together with a purpose and have serious fun once a year at a seaside gathering.

Ohana, Luau By The Sea, Mai Kai, Polynesian, Ft. Lauderdale

Ohana: Luau By The Sea is a big weekend gathering and celebration of tiki cocktails and Polynesian culture hosted by the Fraternal Order of the Moai (FOM) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on the first weekend of October.

The Fraternal Order of the Moai Foundation donates all profits to their designated charity: the Easter Island Foundation. The National Fellowship of local chapters is proud to support multiple scholarships administered by the EIF.

Luau By The Sea

Luau by the Sea is a global gathering in Ft. Lauderdale during the first weekend of October organized by the Fraternal Order of the Moai. For those coming in from out of town early, Ohana Luau by the Sea kicks off with a trip to the Planeboat once owned by Howard Hughes — a Ft. Lauderdale oddity — on Thursday, September 29 from 1 to 4 pm.

Floating in the Ft. Lauderdale Intercoastal Waterway, take a tour with Medusirena, the Fire Eating Mermaid and enjoy complimentary classic cocktails for this extra special event. A separate ticket is required which includes transportation to and from the host hotel.

Ohana Vice Party

Later on Thursday evening (September 29) everyone convenes for the “Ohana Vice Party” in the appropriately named Aqua and Terra Ballrooms at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Ft. Lauderdale 17th Street, the host hotel for the event. Here you will find incredible look-alike to James “Sonny” Crockett and Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs of Miami Vice. Show off your costume and blend in to this themed evening to get the Luau by the Sea party started. Pusser’s Navy Rum is awarding prizes for the best costumes.

Friday Seminars

On Friday, September 30, registration opens at 11am. Begin your day by attending four seminars throughout the afternoon.

  • Howard Huges’ Stratoliner Planeboat, a brief history

    Learn more about this local oddity and cultural icon from hosts David Drimmer and Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid.

  • Bitters and Tinctures

    Join Ayme Harrison of Kreepy Tiki as she takes you on an exploration of Bitters and Tinctures for your cocktails. This seminar is both a presentation and a hands-on class. There is an optional Bitters Kit for sale that includes everything you need to make your own bitters.

  • Tiki by the Numbers

    Explore the great variety of flavors of tiki cocktails deconstructed by the Gumbo Limbo Chapter of the FOM. We’ve all seen tiki bar menus that read as though every drink is “a blend of rums and tropical juices.” This interactive seminar will help you visualize and taste the different ranges of the tiki trinity (sour, sweet, and strong), with extra attention to the flavors that come from different styles of rum.

  • Tropical Fusion

    Polynesian Gods, Barrels of Rum, Rogues, Scoundrels and Geniuses. Join writer and seminar host Paul Senft for his discussion about the history of rum and its part in the evolution of the Tiki movement and the people behind it.

Friday Grand Luau Feast

At 6:45pm Friday evening the Grand Luau begins in the Grand Salon of the Embassy Suites where guests will enjoy a wonderful Floribbean/Hawaiian theme feast with lots of wonderful entertainment. Rocking the Luau by the Sea for the second year with their unique combination of surf, exotica and Hot Rod music.

Come see why 9th Wave is called the “Official Band of Ohana!” The Aloha Islanders will perform a high-energy and authentic Polynesian show that is an action packed non-stop revue of dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and New Zealand.

Roy and Malia Anderson of Ronin Taiko combine elements of Japanese instruments, Tiki-exotica music, and theatre to create a unique Pan Pacific experience. And Nani Maka and Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid will be dancing together on the Ohana Stage.

Saturday, The Rumporium

On Saturday, October 1, the Rumporium will open at 12 noon along with all the great Luau by the Sea Tiki Vendors. Enjoy sipping and learning about some great rums while you shop for your favorite Tiki souvenir. And don’t forget to bid on some wonderful items in the Silent Auction and support the Scholarships for the Easter Island Foundation.

Try your rum knowledge at the Great Rum Challenge sponsored by Rob’s Rum Guide and the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. If you can correctly identify all the rums in this blind tasting, you win a ticket to the festival April 22-23, 2017. Learn how to play the Ukulele with Tony Baloney at 1pm.

Tiki Mission to the Mai Kai

At 5pm the Mai Kai opens and everyone will make their way to Happy Hour at the Mai Kai Polynesian Restaurant’s Molokai Bar where special drinks will be available for the Ohana crowd. At 7:30pm Ohana Dinner seating begins. Everyone will enjoy their spectacular evening together watching the Mai Kai’s incredible Polynesian Show.

Sunday at Kreepy Tiki

On Sunday, October 2, everyone meets at the Kreepy Tiki Lounge, before departing, for the Hair of the Dog, Car and Bike Show, hosted by the Gumbo Limbo Chapter. The Kreepy Tiki is on the way to the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

Tickets and Reservations

Your $95 ticket includes the seminars, the Luau Dinner, the Aloha Islanders, the Taiko drumming by Roy and Malia, the Pretty Allrights on Ukulele, the totally awesome 9th Wave, the Rumporium, the Ohana Marketplace, and the Ohana Silent Auction which benefits the E.I.F. for the weekend.

  • First, get your tickets on the web site.
  • Second, call the Mai Kai and make your reservations for dinner on Saturday at 954-563-3272 and tell them you want to join Ohana for dinner on Saturday, October 1. Please reserve your space at the first dinner seating.
  • Third, call the Embassy Suites and book a room in the heart of the action. They are pet friendly, if you want to bring along fido. Call 954-527-2700 or visit the hotel web site.

For more information about Ohana: Luau By The Sea, visit the Ohana: Laua By The Sea web site.

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Florida A1A Cocktail Trail offers tropical libations

In North Florida, take the A1A Cocktail Trail when you want to enjoy a leisurely drive along the coast. The route combines amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean with stops at popular watering holes that feature tropical cocktails made with fresh Florida citrus and local craft spirits from St. Augustine Distillery.

North Florida's A1A Cocktail Trail features tropical cocktails made with Florida citrus and spirits from St. Augustine Distillery.

North Florida’s A1A Cocktail Trail offers a delightful adventure along Florida’s Historic Coastline, discovering tropical cocktails made with fresh Florida citrus and rum from the St. Augustine Distillery.

The Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC), St. Augustine Distillery and the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) have created a trail of bars and restaurants along Florida’s Historic Coastline that serve up original cocktails made by experienced Florida mixologists.

“We are excited about putting Florida on the ‘map’ as a state that is creating some of the freshest cocktails. We’re combining locally made spirits from Florida agriculture with the world’s finest citrus, highlighting our long history of agriculture and sustainable production practices,” explained Philip McDaniel, co-founder and CEO of St. Augustine Distillery. “Together with the FDOC and VCB, we are proud to promote the Spirit of Florida.”

The A1A Cocktail Trail Passport

Get your official A1A Cocktail Trail passport at participating bars and restaurants from Atlantic Beach to St. Augustine.

A1A Cocktail Trail, tropical cocktails, Florida citrus, St. Augustine Distillery, Florida's Historic Coastline

Amy Carpenter from the Florida Department of Citrus (left) and Kara Pound from the St. Augustine Distillery (right) visit with Matt Stevens (middle), manager of A1A Ale Works in St. Augustine, to unveil the new A1A Cocktail Trail program.

Once your passport is stamped at all eight locations, redeem it for a free collectible A1A Cocktail Trail t-shirt and branded, wooden coaster set.

Passports are also available at the I-95 Welcome Center, the I-75 Welcome Center, the St. Augustine Distillery and Florida’s Historical Coast office in St. Augustine.

Discover Florida’s Historic Coastline

Take your time and enjoy the natural beauty, leisurely pace and delightful venues along Florida’s Historic Coastline.

A1A Cocktail Trail, tropical cocktails, Florida citrus, St. Augustine Distillery, Florida's Historic Coastline

Florida A1A – the beach road

Florida’s A1A is a north-south Florida State Road that runs mostly along the Atlantic Ocean, with sections from Key West at the southern tip of Florida, to Fernandina Beach, just south of Georgia on Amelia Island.

Saint Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement within the borders of the contiguous United States. Since the late 19th century, St. Augustine’s distinct historical character has made the city a major tourist attraction.

The St. Augustine Distillery is open for tours Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. The restaurant is open seven days a week for dinner from 5 to 10pm, and lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm Monday through Friday. The bar is open from 11:30am to midnight on Sunday and Monday, until 2am the rest of the week. Call 904-825-4962 or visit the web site.

Their craft rum spirits are produced on-site by master distillers from select regional sugarcane syrups and molasses in copper pot stills and then barrel-aged for a distinct flavor profile.

Drive Safely

If you don’t have a designated driver, consider using a car service to enjoy the A1A Cocktail Trail. For a list of recommended transportation companies in the area, visit the Florida Citrus web site’s A1A Cocktail Trail web page.

Wicked Dolphin announces new beer barrel rum

Florida craft distiller Cape Spirits today announced the addition of a new beer barrel rum expression to their portfolio of artisan spirits: Wicked Dolphin Rum Brewer’s Series in collaboration with Cigar City Brewing.

Cape Spirits produces Wicked Dolphin rums at their artisan distillery in Cape Coral, Florida.

Wicked Dolphin beer barrel rum - A new collaboration between Cigar City Brewing and Cape Spirits has Wicked Dolphin aged rum finished in beer barrels for a unique flavor profile.

The new Wicked Dolphin Rum Brewer’s Series limited edition aged rum expression is a collaboration between Florida’s Cigar City Brewing and Cape Spirits.

This new release is the first in a series that partners Wicked Dolphin Rum with Cigar City Brewing of Tampa. Oak Barrels that once held premium American Bourbon — before aging Wicked Dolphin Rum for two years — were filled by Cigar City with a tropical style stout.

Noted by dark roasted grains, cacao nibs, citrus and dark fruit aromas, Da un Beso a la Bottela stout beer was available only to Cigar City’s El Catador Club.

The barrels were then given back to Wicked Dolphin to be filled once more with their award winning rum, this time absorbing the residual stout notes from the barrel. The result is a delightful osmosis of flavors in this beer barrel rum.

This Wicked Dolphin Brewer’s Rum series with Cigar City is a wonderful aged rum offering a soft nose of cocoa and light bourbon wood over vanilla, with a bit of cocoa butter and a hint of sherry. On the palate, the big bright entry of this 46% ABV spirit is truly unique. Vanilla, butter and wood lead to a dry mid-palate when a subtle warmth delivers an echo of hops into a dry finish dominated by lightly charred wood.

Wicked Dolphin Rum owner JoAnn Elardo is passionate about this new beer barrel rum collaboration. “At Wicked Dolphin, we love experimenting. A lot of our team was brewing beer well before distilling rum, so the new Brewer’s Series is a natural fit for us. We have some great breweries working with us throughout Florida, and we’re going to make some fantastic rum. What better way to start than with our friends at Cigar City Brewing, one of the most accomplished premier breweries in Florida.”

Wicked Dolphin Brewers Series limited edition beer barrel rum expression will be distributed by Republic National Distributing Company to select retail stores throughout Florida. The 750ml bottle, at 92 proof, will retail for $47.99.

Fwaygo Grilled Pineapple flavored rum from Florida

South Florida Distillers, makers of the award-winning Fwaygo Rum, have recently released a unique limited edition expression based on grilled pineapple: Fwaygo Grilled Pineapple Rum.

The small distillery is located close to the largest tropical fruit farms in the United States. Their repeated experiments with pomiculture products lead to the development of this new variation.

Fwaygo Grilled Pineapple - Delicious notes of caramelized pineapple over a well-crafted rum base deliver delightful tropical tones in Fwaygo Grilled Pineapple Flavored Rum.

South Florida Distillers presents their limited edition Fwaygo grilled pineapple flavored rum, made in small batches on a craft still.

Master Distiller Joe Durkin’s passion for produce is notable. “I searched forever to find locally grown — and most importantly — ripened on the plant pineapples. I sliced them and dusted in cinnamon and sugar so the pineapple didn’t dehydrate on the grill. I grilled them to get a nice caramelization and char.”

Joe soaked the grilled pineapples in overproof for three months. He also soaked the skins in overproof distillate, then redistilled the infusion to pull out more fresh pineapple flavor. Finally, it was strained and blended with double barreled rum to get some woody spicy notes and a little more smoke.

The result is delicious. Bright aromas of cane are complimented by the caramelized pineapple notes over a hint of cinnamon apple pie and charred wood. On the palate, the fresh pot still rum makes a fine base for the tropical fruit notes, well balanced with a hint of butter and spice before the medium dry finish slowly fades.

Fwaygo Grilled Pineapple Rum is available in limited supply at South Florida Distillers for $49.95.

Among Joe’s current works in progress is a dark overproof rum and a beer barrel spiced expression. The distillery’s YouTube channel with their 50 Days of Fwaygo episodes has garnered a fair amount of attention among rum enthusiasts. #50DaysOfFwaygo

To be notified of new releases from Fwaygo Rum, visit their web site and Facebook page.

 

Wicked Dolphin announces Gold Reserve Rum

From Cape Coral, Florida, the Wicked Dolphin craft distillery today announced the release of a new rum expression: Wicked Dolphin Gold Reserve.

Wicked Dolphin Gold Reserve - From Cape Coral, Florida, the new Wicked Dolphin Gold Reserve aged rum rests for three years in Bourbon barrels.

Wicked Dolphin’s new Gold Reserve hand crafted aged rum is produced in Cape Coral, Florida.

This new aged rum was handcrafted from two distinct fermentation styles using both Florida sugarcane and Florida molasses. The rum is batch distilled in a copper pot still before resting in used Bourbon barrels for three years.

“We have worked on Wicked Dolphin Gold Reserve since we started making rum in 2012. Our rum is aged for a full three years in Bourbon Barrels which gives us unique deep whiskey notes for one of the best gold rums on the market”, stated Wicked Dolphin Rum Owner, JoAnn Elardo.

The heat and humidity in Florida play a large factor in Wicked Dolphin’s rum making process. The South Florida climate leads to a rapid aging process which allows for a robust flavor profile.

Wicked Dolphin barrels are then blended and finished to create a smooth and sweet buttery start, followed by a deep oaky finish. Wicked Dolphin does not add caramel or sugar to this authentic craft rum.

Wicked Dolphin Gold Reserve is available in 750ml bottles at 40% abv (80 Proof) at a retail price of $32.99.

Ohana: Luau by the Sea debuts in Ft. Lauderdale

The Fraternal Order of the Moai today announced the schedule for their upcoming event dubbed Ohana: Luau by the Sea.

Tiki fanatics are gathering for a celebration of Polynesian culture and authentic cocktails on the first weekend of October in Ft. Lauderdale as the Fraternal Order of the Moai presents their inaugural "Ohana: Luau By The Sea."

Ohana: Luau By The Sea is a big weekend gathering and celebration of tiki cocktails and Polynesian culture hosted by the Fraternal Order of the Moai (FOM) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on the first weekend of October.

The FOM is the premier fraternal organization and social network for all men and women interested in tiki culture and the Polynesian pop era. Famous for the annual “Ohana: Lua On The Lake” summer event at The Tiki Resort on Lake George in upstate New York, these perennial party people are setting their sights on creating this new tiki-tastic event in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on the first weekend of October.

In Hawaiian culture, Ohana means family in an extended sense of the term, including blood-related, adoptive or intentional.

Ohana: Luau by the Sea is a three-day charity event held in several locations in and around Fort Lauderdale for the great Moai tiki family to meet and enjoy quality time together. Locations include Kreepy Tiki rum bar, the famed Mai Kai Polynesian restaurant and the grand Ohana Luau located at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port Hotel.

If you enjoy classic tiki cocktails done the right way, live music, tiki vendors, great food, custom tiki carvings, poolside fun in the sun and a live Polynesian show, set your sails for Ft. Lauderdale on the first weekend in October.

The Ohana Luau by the Sea Kick-Off Party kicks off Thursday, October 1st at 7pm at the Kreepy Tiki Lounge, voted one of the best Tiki Bars in the US by Traveler Magazine. The theme of the party is Circus Sideshow and the bands and drinks will give new meaning to “The Greatest Show on Earth!”

Friday at the host hotel, the team from Miami Rum Festival will host the Great Rum Challenge, beginning with a short presentation on how to taste rum followed by a blind tasting competition to test the skills of participants. In the Rum Room, sponsor brands will showcase their products as brand owners are on hand to share their stories face to face.

Friday evening features a fabulous gathering at the World-Famous Mai Kai Polynesian Restaurant and Bar starting with a special happy hour for Ohana from 7 to 9pm in both the Molokai Lounge and on the Lanai, with bus transportation. The evening progresses with dinner and a show by the Polynesian Islanders Review, the world’s longest running show of its kind. After dinner and stroll through the gardens there will be even more entertainment in the Molokai Lounge and on the Lanai.

Saturday guests will enjoy shopping for treasures in the Ohana Marketplace, enjoy some pool-side games, fresh music, pop-up bars serving delicious cocktails and several tasting events by sponsoring rum brands and organizations. And then…Saturday night is the grand Ohana Luau, a magical evening including dinner and dancing, with four great bands. All of your fun tiki friends will be there — both old and new.

For more information and to secure your tickets before they’re sold out, visit the web site for Ohana: Luau By The Sea.

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St. Augustine Rum debuts in Florida

The inaugural Discovery Series of rums will soon debut at Florida’s St. Augustine Distillery. On Thursday, September 3rd, the public will be invited to purchase the first bottles of St. Augustine Rum from the distillery’s gift shop, located on Riberia Street in downtown St. Augustine, Florida.

A limited series of St. Augustine Rum craft expressions will be released on the following schedule: Series 1 in September, Series 2 in October, Series 3 in November and Series 4 in December. The St. Augustine Distillery’s flagship rum (or final recipe) is slated for a January 2016 release.

St. Augustine Rum - A limited series of craft rum expressions will be released by the St. Augustine Distillery in the last months of 2015, before the final version of this new rum debuts in January.

The historic St. Augustine distillery will debut their new pot still rum with a series of limited edition expressions. The rums will also be featured at their Ice Plant Bar and Restaurant.

Each of these limited editions has been fermented and distilled on-site by Director of Production Brendan Wheatley from select regional sugarcane syrups and molasses in copper pot stills and then barrel-aged for a distinct flavor profile.

“We want our customers to have the unique chance to experience each of these different St. Augustine Rum recipes as we refine our flagship rum,” said co-founder and CEO Philip McDaniel. “This opportunity is very unique and only available at a craft distillery like ours.”

The production facilities are located in the restored historic Ice Plant, featuring a gift shop, restaurant and bar. Large numbers of tourists flock to the facility daily for a presentation in the small theater, followed by tours of the distillery and tasting sessions every half hour. The tour ends with a visit to the gift shop.

The Ice Plant bar and restaurant are also extremely popular, offering a first-class cocktail program developed by Zach Lynch, a talented mixologist and master bartender. The restaurant menu features farm-to-table cuisine with grass-fed beef and burgers, local seafood and vegetarian options among the daily specials.

The St. Augustine Distillery is open for tours Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. The restaurant is open seven days a week for dinner from 5 to 10pm, and lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm Monday through Friday. The bar is open from 11:30am to midnight on Sunday and Monday, until 2am the rest of the week. Call 904-825-4962 or visit the web site.

Wicked Dolphin releasing USS Mohawk CGC Reserve rum

Known for their outstanding craft spirits produced in Southwest Florida, Wicked Dolphin today announced they will release a limited edition rum expression benefiting the USS Mohawk Coast Guard Cutter Veterans Memorial Reef and Bionic Warriors program.

Wicked Dolphin USS Mohawk - Benefiting the USS Mohawk Coast Guard Cutter Veterans Memorial Reef and Bionic Warriors program, Wicked Dolphin's new limited edition USS Mohawk CGC Reserve rum was created to honor veterans.

Wicked Dolphin Distillery of Cape Coral, Florida has announced the limited edition release of their new USS Mohawk CGC Reserve rum, to benefit the Bionic Warriors program.

The rum will be available July 2, 2015 at Wicked Dolphin Distillery, based in Cape Coral, Florida. Wicked Dolphin will release only 200 signature bottles with the name “Sunken Barrel USS Mohawk CGC Reserve,” a limited edition 750ml bottle priced at $39.99.

USS Mohawk CGC Reserve rum began with the sinking of five Wicked Dolphin Rum barrels filled with distilled water, sent 90 feet down to the USS Mohawk Veterans Memorial Reef last week, and then raised 72 hours later.

The ship was sunk to create an artificial reef environment that encourages coral growth, fish populations and a myriad of marine life.

Wicked Dolphin Rum and Lee Reefs have partnered to create the limited edition rum to benefit the Lee Reefs program and Special Operations Bionic Warriors — a foundation that ensures wounded, injured or ill U.S. Special Operations veterans/athletes receive state-of-the art adaptive sports equipment, coaching and access to cutting-edge sports science that will ensure achievement of their athletic goals.

The barrel sinking at the Mohawk reef site comes just three years after the Mohawk was sunk for use as a veteran’s memorial reef. One hundred percent of the profits will be use to benefit both artificial reefs and the ongoing efforts of the Bionic Warriors.

“We’re proud to be able to create this special rum to honor the spirit of our servicemen — past and present,” said Wicked Dolphin Distillery owner, JoAnn Elardo. “The Mohawk Reef is a wonderful setting to bring this product to life.”

The USS Mohawk CGC has become a premier dive destination in Florida. During its short time as a memorial reef it has been visited by numerous whale sharks, hosted an underwater art gallery, and now, on the third anniversary of her sinking, a new signature product emerges as her legacy continues to grow.

Started in 2012, Wicked Dolphin Distillery is located in Cape Coral; just miles from the fertile sugarcane fields of Florida. Wicked Dolphin Rum was born out of an idea to create true Florida rum. Using 100 percent Florida sugar and local ingredients, the rum is handcrafted in small batches using an American copper pot still — the largest in South Florida. The family-run distillery produces award-winning rums available throughout Florida and the Southeastern United States.

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