On the occasion of the last day in July, we celebrate British Royal Navy traditions with a remembrance of Black Tot Day — July 31, 1970 — the infamous day that British sailors were served their last daily ration of rum aboard the ships.
The End Of An Era
For more than 300 years, the navy had issued a ration of rum to their sailors daily, but it all ended on Black Tot Day. Nearly a decade later, the recipe was exhumed and the tradition of enjoying Navy style rum was rekindled with the first release of Pusser’s Navy Rum in 1979.
at 84 proof, Pusser’s Navy Rum is the key ingredient in the Painkiller cocktail
Pusser’s Navy Rum
The classic navy-style dark, rich, full-flavored rum, Pusser’s British Navy Rum Blue Label, at 84 proof, is the key ingredient in the famous Painkiller trademarked cocktail.
As with the original British Navy formula, principal marques in this blend are created in legacy wooden pot stills in Guyana, providing a rustic distillation process similar to those used centuries ago, producing a bold, rich flavor profile.
This medium bodied, deep orange amber rum offers heady aromas of citrus candy, molasses, vanilla, sassafras and smoked honey. On the palette, Pusser’s Navy Rum offers bold flavors of toasted oak, dark tropical fruit, burnt sugar, creamy caramel and sherry are presented before the warm, long lasting finish offers fading echoes of treacle and old wood.
Pusser’s Rum Expressions
Pusser’s also produces a 15 year old version of its Navy Rum, a spiced expression and a unique gunpowder edition, along with several collectable versions in elaborately decorated ceramic vessels.
A substantial donation from the sale of each bottle of Pusser’s Navy Rum benefits The Royal Navy Sailor’s Fund, a legacy charity more commonly called the “Tot Fund.”
The Rum Jury announced the winners of their 2019 Rum Jury Gold Awards at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival held in Coral Gables, Florida. Judges were sequestered for two days for blind tasting evaluation with 96 rum products submitted for judging. The results were analyzed and sorted by a seasoned team of statisticians. The top-ranked rums were identified for awards.
The 2019 Rum Jury Gold Awards were announced at Miami Rum Renaissance Festival
The Rum Jurors
Established in 2014, the Rum Jury offers the perspective and opinions of enthusiast rum consumers, especially those with large collections of rum. These super-consumers are important influencers among their own friends and associates and can accurately represent what the public might find most interesting.
Over time, their Rum Jury Gold Awards recommendations have offered rum consumers insightful guidance based on their real-world experience with many rums.
Rum jurors evaluate rums within a specific set of guidelines established by the International Rum Experts team. Rather than judging rums by favoritism, the products are judged by attempting to discern the intent of the producer and evaluating the results of their efforts.
Rum Jury Gold Awards
The following products were judged superior in the blind tasting competition and earned their 2019 Rum Jury Gold Awards.
Autentico Nativo 15 – Panamá
Autentico Nativo Overproof – Panamá
Copalli White Rum – Belize
Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva – Venezuela
Diplomático Planas – Venezuela
Just Rum, Simple White – Oregon
Just Rum, Maple Rested – Oregon
Lemon Hart 1804 – Guyana
Lemon Hart Blackpool Spiced – Guyana
Maggie’s Farm Queen Share 55 – Pennsylvania
Maggie’s Farm Spiced – Pennsylvania
Maison La Mauny – Acacia 50° – Martinique
Maison La Mauny – Spiced 40° – Martinique
Maison La Mauny – XO 40° – Martinique
Naked in Jamaica – Florida
Paratiana Ouro Cachaça – Brazil
Paratiana Prata Cachaça – Brazil
Plantation O.F.T.D. Overproof – various
Plantation Original Dark – various
Puerto Angel Añejo Uruapan – Mexico
Puerto Angel Blanco Uruapan – Mexico
Ron Caribu Spiced Black Strap – Venezuela
Ron Caribu Gold Superior – Venezuela
RumJava Cacao’Mon – Florida
RumJava Expresso Rum Cream – Florida
RumJava Mahtini’Mon – Florida
RumJava Signature – Florida
Saint James Rhum Blanc Agricole – Martinique
Tanduay Double – The Philippines
Tanduay Gold – The Philippines
Tanduay Silver – The Philippines
Three Roll Estate Brazilian Style – Louisiana
Three Roll Estate Premium Agricole – Louisiana
TierraMonte Essential Eight – various
Trois Rivières – Rhum Blanc Agricole 50° – Martinique
Trois Rivières – Cuvée de l’Océan 42° – Martinique
Trois Rivières – VO – Cuvée du Moulin – Martinique
Trois Rivières – VSOP Réserve Spéciale – Martinique
The winners received gold medals and certificates at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival at a ceremony before a gathering of the public, the spirits trade and rum producers.
Spanning the globe in search of authentic expressions of rum, Alexandre Gabriel’s Plantation Rum brand celebrates the diversity of rum and brings a unique perspective to the marketing of sugar cane spirits.
Plantation’s myriad rum offerings celebrate the incredible range and richness of rum in both culture and taste, from points of origin to fermentation, distillation and barreling techniques.
Having spent countless days in the Caribbean in search of the best rums, Alexandre Gabriel’s dedication to understanding rum’s diversity is without equal. This decades-long obsession has effectively provided the enthusiastic consumer and rum collector with a global rum education on a silver platter.
Plantation Rum will present a seminar entitled “Exploring the Diversity of Rum,” at Miami Rum Festival on Friday, May 17 at 7pm. This seminar, lead by Rocky Yeh, will guide participants on a journey across rum’s broad landscape to explore that magnificent multiplicity of variety within the rum category.
The Miami Rum Festival takes place at the historic Coral Gables Woman’s Club on Friday, May 17 from 4 to 8pm, and on Saturday, May 18th from 4 to 10pm. VIP admission begins at 2pm each day.
The festival features rum producers from near and far exhibiting their products, along with seminars and master classes, cocktail demonstrations and a blind tasting competition by international judges.
The Plantation Rum brand will be highlighting some of their most outstanding expressions with tasting samples that explore the diversity of rum across many regions, including Xaymaca from Jamaica; Fiji Grand Terroir 2009; Jamaica Grand Terroir 2005; Barbados Grand Terroir 2005; Old Fashioned Traditional Dark Overproof; Original Dark Double Aged; 20th Anniversary XO from Barbados, 3 Stars White from Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad; Barbados Five Years; and Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple rum.
The Diversity of Rum seminar takes the participants on a journey across rum’s broad landscape to explore that magnificent variety within the rum category.
Rums to be sampled at Miami Rum Fest include: Abuelo Centuria Reserva de la Familia; Abuelo XV Napoleon Cognac Cask Finish; Abuelo XV Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish; Abuelo XV Tawny Port Cask Finish; Admiral Rodney Extra Old; Appleton 21, Antelope Island Red; Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez 10; Barbancourt 15; Barceló Imperial; Barnacles 12 YO; Barnacles 8 YO; Bones Aged Butterscotch; Bones Aged Cinnamon; Bones Aged Dark; Bones Aged Spiced; Bones White; Botran 1893 Solera; Brugal 1888; Bumbu XO; Cachaca Paratiana Labareda; Cachaca Paratiana Ouro ; Cachaca Paratiana Prata; Cartavio XO; Cashcane Black Smoke 45%; Cashcane Saloon Cask; Copalli Barrel Rested; Copalli White; Cruzan Single Barrel; Diplomatico Mantuano; Diplomatico Planas; Diplomatico Exclusiva; Diplomatico Vintage; Don Pancho Origenes 18; DonQ Gran Añejo; Doorly’s XO; Dos Maderas 5+5; El Dorado 15 YO; El Dorado 21 YO; Facundo Exquisito, Flor de Caña 25; Foursquare Dominus; Foursquare Premise; Foursquare Zinfindel; Foursquare 2005 (12 year); Gordian Knot; Gubba Gold; Gubba Silver; Hamilton St. Lucia 10; Hamilton Jamaica Gold Pot Still; Hamilton Demerara 86; Hidden Harbor White; Islamorada Dark; Islamorada Reserve Single Barrel; Islamorada Select; Islamorada Spiced; Jan Stephenson Mango; Jan Stephenson Passion Fruit; Jan Stephenson Pineapple; Kavana Gold; Kavana Java; Kavana Silver; Lemon Hart 1804 Original; Lemon Hart Blackpool Spiced; Maggie’s Farm Dark; Maggie’s Farm Pineapple; Maggie’s Farm Queen Share; Maggie’s Farm Spiced; Maison La Mauny Acaia 50; Maison La Mauny Honey 35; Maison La Mauny Spiced 40; Maison La Mauny VSOP 40; Maison La Mauny XO 40; Matusalem Gran Reserva Solera 15; Medellín 12; Mezan Guyana; Monymusk Classic Gold; Monymusk Special Gold; Monymusk Special Reserve; Mount Gay 1703; Naked In Jamaica; Nativo Aged Special Reserve 15 YO; Nativo Overproof; Nativo Aged Special Reserve 20 YO; Neptune; Nine Leaves Almost Spring Cabernet Sauvignon Cask; Nine Leaves Angel’s Half American Oak Cask; Nine Leaves Angel’s Half French Oak Cask; Pampero Aniversario; Penny Blue XO; Plantation 3 Stars; Plantation 5 YO; Plantation Barbados 2005; Plantation Fiji 2009; Plantation Jamaica 2005; Plantation OFTD; Plantation Original Dark; Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy; Plantation Xaymaca; Plantation XO; Prichard’s Cranberry; Prichard’s Crystal; Prichard’s Fine; Prichard’s Key Lime; Prichard’s Peach Mango; Prichard’s Spiced; Puerto Angel Anejo; Puerto Angel Blanco; Real McCoy 10 year old Virgin Oak; Real McCoy 12 Lost Lake Edition; Richland Single Estate Old Georgia aged rum; Ron Centenario 18; RumJava Cacao’Mon; RumJava Caffe Con Horchata; RumJava Cinnamon’Bay; RumJava Expresso Rum Cream; RumJava Mahtini’Mon; RumJava Signature; Saint James Imperial Blanc; Saint James Rhum Paille; Saint James Rhum Vieux; Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera; Sebago Lake Coffee; Sebago Lake Original; Tanduay Cappuccino; Tanduay Coconut; Tanduay Double Barrel; Tanduay Gold; Tanduay Silver; Three Roll Estate Amber Rhum Agricole; Three Roll Estate Brazilian Style; Three Roll Estate Dark; Three Roll Estate White; Three Roll Estate White Rhum Agricole; TierraMonte Essential 8; Trois Rivieres Blanco Agricole 50; Trois Rivieres Cuvee de I’Ocean 42; Trois Rivieres Rhum Ambre Agricole 40; Trois Rivieres VO-Cuvee du Moulin,; Trois Rivieres VSOP Reserve Special; Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve; Zacapa XO; Zafra 30; Ziami Overproof; Ziami Platinum; Ziami Ruby Rush.
Since 1703, the legendary masters of rum, at their production facilities of Mount Gay Distillery in Barbados, have been creating fine aged rums, acclaimed the world over.
On Friday, May 17 at 3pm, the Miami Rum Festival will present a special seminar that pulls back the curtain on the Mount Gay Distillery production process, revealing the traditions and time-honored routines that remain unchanged over the decades and centuries.
Classic Wooden Fermentation Vats at Mount Gay Distillery
Learn about their fermentation methods, the use of classic copper pot batch stills and modern fractional column continuous stills, their wood management philosophy and techniques, and perhaps most interesting of all — the art of blending their marques to make their world-famous rum expressions.
“We know the Mount Gay brand of fine aged rums as some of the best in the world, defining the style that we equate with the island of Barbados,” said Robert Burr, host of the Miami Rum Fest and publisher of Robs Rum Guide. “This is the heart and soul of Barbados.”
“While many have visited the Mount Gay Welcome Center in Bridgetown while visiting Barbados, few have been invited to the actual Mount Gay Distillery in St. Lucy Parish to see first-hand how these magnificent rums are created, aged and blended into the awarding winning products revered around the world.”
The traditional Copper Pot Stills at Mount Gay Distillery — with “double thumper” retorts — are largely responsible for the classic Mount Gay rum profile.
Samples of pot still rum and column still rums from Mount Gay Distillery — at varying ages — will be tasted, compared and evaluated.
Seminar: Inside the Mount Gay Distillery in Barbados
Date and Time: Friday, May 17 at 3pm
Miami Rum Fest: Coral Gables Woman’s Club
The 11th annual Miami Rum Fest takes place at the historic Coral Gables Woman’s Club. General admission on Friday, May 17th is from 4pm to 8pm and Saturday, May 18th from 4pm to 10pm. VIP admission starts at 2pm each day. For complete details, visit the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival web site. http://www.rumrenaissance.com/
One of the most interesting seminars at Miami Rum Festival (May 17-18 in Coral Gables) is the American Rum Report Panel Discussion — shining a light on American Rum producers, their philosophies and techniques, in the emerging American Rum market.
More rum distilleries have opened in the United States in the past six years than the rest of the world combined. Many American Rum brands make a big splash at the Miami Rum Festival, garnering attention from the international rum experts, judges, distributors and collectors, while establishing their reputations among rum enthusiast consumers.
Moderating this panel discussion is Will Hoekenga of American Rum Report, based in Nashville, TN.
“We’re honored to host these fine rum producers and their seminar on American Rums,” said Robert Burr, Miami Rum Festival organizer. “There is so much activity among American producers that it takes a dedicated media channel like American Rum Report to keep up with all the emerging trends. Will is doing a great job with his web site and timely newsletter, a must for all who have a serious interest in the new American Rum Revolution.”
“American rum is growing and evolving faster every year, but what’s really exciting is it feels like we’re still at the beginning of something that’s going to be much bigger,” said Will Hoekenga, publisher of American Rum Report. “The producers in this panel aren’t just the people putting American rum on the map right now — they’re the ones influencing what it will become for the next several decades.”
Among the American Rum producers participating are Phil Prichard of Prichard’s Rum in Tennessee, Tim Russell of Maggie’s Farm in Pennsylvania, and Jonny VerPlanck of Three Roll Estate (formerly Cane Land Distilling) in Louisiana — each the recipient of numerous awards for their fine rums.
With more than 230 rum distilleries now operating across the U.S. — and more opening each month — the vast majority of Americans can easily find locally distilled rum. Florida alone has more than 20 rum distillers, while California, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania all have more than a dozen each.
But what might be most surprising is the variety of rum styles distillers are making across the country. You’ll find everything from fresh cane juice rums made from heritage varieties of sugarcane grown by the distillers, to full-bodied, molasses-based rums aged in new white oak barrels.
The American Rum Report seminar takes place on Saturday, May 18th at 5pm. Seating for the seminar is limited. Please RSVP in advance.
Advance tickets to the Miami Rum Festival in Coral Gables on May 17-18 — starting at $50 for unlimited samples — are available online. http://www.miamirumfest.com
American Rum Report is tracking U.S.-produced rums to reveal emerging trends, provide transparency, and offer a full picture of the American rum revival. Its weekly newsletter and comprehensive index of American rums and distilleries allow both rum enthusiasts and producers to keep up with all the American rum stories that matter.
Gubba Silver artisanal American rum is made with natural coconut to produce a lightly flavored, smooth, clear spirit.
This rum is produced, blended and bottled in small batches at a craft distillery in Denver, Colorado. The process begins with organic evaporated cane fermented in stainless steel.
The fermented wash is double distilled, first in a classic Alembic copper pot before a second distillation in a copper column hybrid with 20 plates.
After distillation, the base rum is blended with an infusion of natural coconut in high proof rum, then diluted with Colorado Rocky Mountain snow melt water to bottling proof.
The result is a subtle coconut flavored spirit that goes down easy.
Gubba Silver Tasting Notes
Subtle aromas of coconut water precede a bit of ethanol, butter cookie and river rock. On the palate, soft coconut creme and a mild sweetness reveals a slight viscosity at mid-palate, which seems to enhance the tropical notes into the finish.
Gubba Silver Rum was designed to be enjoyed on the rocks, but also provides a wonderful tropical base for cocktails. The brand likes to describe this lightly flavored rum as being “wicked smooth,” a descriptor that’s entirely fitting.
The 750ml bottle of Gubba Silver Rum, at 35% abv, sells for about $22.
An iconic Navy Style rum brand has re-issued its limited edition luxury expression – Pussers 15 Year Old – which now contains only rums of Guyana, with a freshly updated bottle design, label and packaging.
Often referred to as the “Crown Jewel” of the product line, this prestige expression of the legacy British Royal Navy formula, sets a high standard for the category and is sure to become a collector’s item among connoisseurs.
18,000 bottles of Pussers 15 Year Old will be released worldwide, with 6,000 bottles destined for the United States.
“Pusser’s Rum ‘Crown Jewel’ is a true aged rum of 15 years and is crafted in small batches. Due to the rarity of true-aged wooden pot-stilled stocks, only 3,000 six-pack cases could be blended,” said Gary Rogalski, President/CEO Pussers Rum. “This new, improved blend is 100% Guyana origin. We replaced the column stilled portion of Trinidad origin which was no longer available for export. While blended to the exact time-tested and award-winning formula, connoisseurs and aficionados have found the new blend a tad less sweet and even more desirable from a sensory perspective. We also feel it is a superior product and deserves to be commemorated with a new bottle design, label and packaging. As with all our expressions, true-aged Pussers 15 Year Old is 100 percent rum with no added sugars, artificial flavors or colors.”
Pussers 15 Year Old Tasting Notes
Pusser’s 15 Year Old Rum is a luxury expression of authentic navy-style spirits from yesteryear.
Aromas of dark dried fruit, earthy molasses and big oak dominate the nose. On the palate, burnt sugar and dark dried fruits over charred oak lead to a pleasant creamy vanilla note with caramel shortbread cookie and baking spices. The rich, dark tones and old oak linger in the long warm finish.
This rich navy-style rum profile is a critical ingredient in some iconic tropical cocktails like the Pain Killer, the Hurricane, and the Zombie.
Pusser’s 15 Year Old Navy Style Rum is bottled at 40% abv and sells for about $80.
The Pusser’s Legacy
Re-creating the legendary naval blend of rich dark rums for the modern era was a distinct challenge that the founders of Pusser’s Rum managed to achieve. Evoking the spirit of centuries of life on the high seas, numerous battles and engagements, and the rituals of serving rums to sailors on the tall ships, Pusser’s succeeds at expressing a critical aspect of rum’s storied history.
The ship’s purser was the officer principally responsible for handling money and valuable cargo onboard, including the issue of the daily rum ration. The Pusser’s name is a slang derivation referring to this officer in charge of rum.
Pusser’s Rum Limited is a British Virgin Island Company with administrative offices in Charleston, South Carolina. Its products are imported into the United States by Shaw-Ross International Importers.
In 2008, the Miami Rum Festival began as a small but elegant rum tasting event at Coral Gables’ historic Venetian Pool with 54 luxury rums and 150 rum enthusiasts in attendance. Eleven years later — after growing the event to be the biggest gathering of rum experts and professionals in the world — event producers are returning to their roots in Coral Gables with a more intimate and elegant tasting event at the historic Coral Gables Woman’s Club.
Miami Rum Festival returns to Coral Gables May 17-18
On Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18, 2019 the producers of Miami Rum Festival will once again gather a myriad of rums from around the globe for a delightful and informative tasting event, punctuated with seminars lead by industry leaders and demonstrations of how to make the most popular rum cocktails.
“Rum is a spirit that brings people together,” said Robert Burr, festival organizer and producer of Robs Rum Guide and the Rum Minute YouTube channel. “Our mission is to help our friends learn about rum, learn how to taste rum, understand rum and shine a light on the very best rums in the world. We are experiencing a rum renaissance of epic proportions, with so many fine rums coming to market. This is a chance to learn, and better appreciate, the fascinating spirit of rum.”
The Rum Tasting Schedule
The Friday, May 17 Miami Rum Renaissance Tasting Session begins at 2pm for members of the trade and VIP rum enthusiasts. At 4pm the general admission rum tasting session begins. At 8pm, the first day of rum tasting concludes.
Miami Rum Fest continues on Saturday, May 18 with VIP admission at 2pm, followed by the general public at 4pm. The tasting event continues until 10pm Saturday evening.
Miami Rum Festival is the place where rum reputations are made, where new products are first released and where the public has easy access to an incredible range of cane spirits.
Miami Rum Festival Tickets
Tickets are $50 per day for general admission and $75 for VIP guests. Friday’s trade admission — for members of the spirits profession — is $25.
Rum producers from near and far will attend, providing samples of their finest rums. Industry experts present seminars of interest to rum collectors, enthusiasts, connoisseurs and those hoping to learn more about rum. Rum cocktail experts show the basic techniques and recipes for creating fabulous rum libations.
A Celebration Of Cane Spirits
The Miami Rum Festival has long been billed as “a celebration of cane spirits in the New World,” a reference to the importance of sugar and rum production in the Caribbean, as well as North, Central and South America.” Rum is intricately connected to the American Revolution, the economies of many countries and the cultures of many territories.
The United States leads the world in rum consumption, with nearly 40% of all sales. Florida is the number one state for rum and Miami is the number one local rum market worldwide.
Miami Rum Festival is the place where rum reputations are made, where new products have first been released and where the public has easy access to an incredible range of cane spirits.
A new prestige expression from Goslings Rum of Bermuda — Goslings Papa Seal Single Barrel — sets the standard for luxury limited editions from this British island territory in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Papa Seal Single Barrel Bermuda Rum is pot and column distilled from molasses, blended, and then aged in once-used bourbon barrels with a medium char. The humid, salty air of Bermuda provides an ideal environment for aging.
A Very Limited Edition
Goslings Papa Seal Single Barrel Aged Rum from Bermuda
Matured for over 15 years in twelve hand-selected bourbon barrels, only about 2,500 of these exclusive bottles will be released at a price of $199. Rum from each of the barrels, about 200 bottles each, is pre-destined for a specific geographic location.
At 41.5% abv, each bottle features the barrel number, bottle number, and bottling date hand-written on its label, while the name of the store it was acquired from is printed on the neck label. All bottles are housed in an elegant display box, complete with a slide-out tray, open view window, and satin finish foil label.
“Our obsession has always been with crafting the finest rums possible, not the most rums,” explains E. Malcolm Gosling, seventh-generation patriarch and CEO of Goslings International Limited. “With that mantra in mind, we proudly offer Papa Seal Single Barrel Bermuda Rum — the father of all rums — to our celebrated product line. We hope that dedicated Goslings drinkers and newcomers to super premium rum will have the opportunity to enjoy this special spirit.”
Goslings Papa Seal Tasting Notes
Luscious aromas of treacle and butter cookie over wet oak precede a slightly musty earthiness and old leather. On the palate, dark banana, burnt sugar and butter notes turn slightly dry at mid palate leading to creamy vanilla and baking spices over big charred wood. Hints of balsamic, dark prune and leather fade slowly in the very long finish.
Barrel 1 will be distributed in Bermuda. Barrel 2 will go to Total Wine in Florida. Barrel 3 goes to ABC Wine & Spirits in Florida. Barrel 4 is for Crown Wine and Spirits in Florida. Barrel 5 is reserved for NH Liquor & Wine Outlets in New Hampshire. Barrel 6 goes to Blanchards Wines & Spirits in Massachusetts. Barrel 7 is for Total Wine and Spec’s in Texas. Barrel 9 goes to Bourbon Street Wine and Spirits, Phillipsburg, NJ. Barrel 10 will be sent to various retailers in New York State. Barrel 11 goes to PLCB Fine Wine and Good Spirits in Pennsylvania. Barrel 12 is reserved for Wally’s in Los Angeles, CA. The final destination of Barrel 8 is yet to be determined.
The Goslings Legacy
A family business for over 200 years, Goslings Rum is Bermuda’s largest export product and the only company that blends and bottles rum on the island. First exported to the United States in 1980, Goslings offers five distinctive, award-winning rums.
Goslings Black Seal Rum
Goslings Gold Seal Rum
Goslings 151 Proof Black Seal Rum
Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum
Goslings Papa Seal Single Barrel Bermuda Rum
Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer, crafted specifically for use in the trademarked Goslings Dark’n Stormy cocktail, is the number-one selling ginger beer in the United States. Goslings also markets a ready-to-drink Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail in a convenient 8.4 oz can.
Gubba Gold artisanal American rum is made with natural organic vanilla, delivering a smooth and flavorful spirit.
This rum is produced, blended and bottled in small batches at a craft distillery in Denver, Colorado. The process begins with organic evaporated cane fermented in stainless steel.
The fermented wash is double distilled, first in a classic Alembic copper pot before a second distillation in a copper column hybrid with 20 plates.
After distillation, the base rum is blended with an infusion of whole organic vanilla beans in high proof rum, then diluted with Colorado Rocky Mountain snow melt water to bottling proof.
The result is a delicious, unpretentious artisanal rum, finished with a touch of sweetness that makes it quite smooth on the palate.
Aromas of light creamy vanilla wafer appear before a hint of pepper. On the palate, subtle caramel and vanilla bean leads to soft creamy vanilla sandwich cookie at mid-palate with hints of butter. The finish is soft and light with lingering echoes of sweet shortbread and soft vanilla.
Gubba Gold Rum was designed to be enjoyed on the rocks, but also provides a wonderful tropical base for cocktails. The brand likes to describe this golden colored, lightly flavored rum as being “wicked smooth,” a descriptor that’s entirely fitting.
The 750ml bottle of Gubba Gold Rum, at 35% abv, sells for about $22.
Rum has long played a role in celebrations and gatherings in Caribbean culture. The tradition of sharing coquito, a festive libation during the holiday season, continues to expand beyond the region with many home-grown recipes.
National Coquito Day is December 21
It’s a day to celebrate Holiday Coquito, a creamy rich and delicious rum concoction often compared to eggnog. Meant to be shared with family and friends, coquito is most often associated with the rums of Puerto Rico.
While there is no specific data as to the exact date of the creation of the first Coquito, historians place the birth of this drink around 1900. The first published Coquito recipes appeared in the Puerto Rican cookbooks, “Cocine a Gusto” and “The Puerto Rican Cookbook,” between 1950 and 1970.
a glass of holiday coquito
The Coquito has since evolved from its original version of rum and cream of coconut to include an array of flavors, ranging from almond to pistachio to chocolate. Puerto Rican Rum is always featured as the main ingredient in this distinctive cocktail.
It seems that every family has their own recipe with myriad variations on the theme of a creamy, tropical coconut inspired punch. Holiday Coquito is easy to make. It’s fun to share. It’s a seasonal delicacy that signals a return to simple pleasures and family gatherings.
Let’s start with a traditional recipe from the Serrallés family of Ponce, on the south shore of Puerto Rico. Known for making Don Q rums, they are one of America’s oldest family-owned businesses with a rum making tradition that spans six generations and more than 150 years.
The Serrallés Family Coquito Recipe
3 cans evaporated milk
1 can cream of coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups Don Q Cristal rum
add cinnamon to garnish
Method: blend the liquid ingredients at high speed for two minutes, pour into empty bottle and refrigerate for at least four hours. It’s even better after two or three days). Serve in a small glass and sprinkle with cinnamon.
More recipes follow. Enjoy the variations on National Coquito Day. Happy holidays.
Be sure to share your favorite National Coquito Day recipes on social media and use the hashtag: #NationalCoquitoDay
Santaella Restaurant Coquito, San Juan
3 cups fresh coconut milk
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 15-ounce can cream of coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups Don Q Gran Añejo
Method: combine the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum in a blender and process on high speed until the mixture is foamy, about 2 minutes. Pour the coquito into a clean glass, bottle, or pitcher and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. (It will keep, refrigerated, for at least 3 weeks.) To serve, pour into individual glasses and garnish with more cinnamon.
Silvia Santiago, Don Q’s Master Blender
6 egg yolks
1/4 lb sugar
1/4 cup vanilla
5 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
5 10-ounce cans coconut cream
6 cinnamon sticks with 6 lime peels (about 1 cup)
1.75 liters Don Q Añejo rum
Method: boil the cinnamon sticks with the lime peels in one cup of water. Let it cool and strain before adding to the mix. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients. Yields about 5 liters. Keep refrigerated.
Chef Mario Pagan, San Juan – Pumpkin Coquito
14 oz cream of coconut
25 oz coconut milk
15 oz sweetened condensed milk
12 oz evaporated milk
6 oz steamed and pureed pumpkin
1 stick of cinnamon
1 star annise
1 tsp fresh nutmeg
Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum to taste
Method: heat up the milks with the spices in a heavy bottom pan, stirring constantly to prevent burning. When a rolling boil is reached, shut off heat and let steep with a properly fitting lid. After 20 minutes, remove spices, add the pumpkin and process in a blender until smooth. Add the rum to taste, cover and let chill from 6 to 24 hours.
Chef Wilo Benet, San Juan
3 cinnamon sticks (ground finely)
7 star anise pods (ground finely)
2 pints of premium vanilla ice cream
5 cans of coconut cream
3 cans of condensed milk
3 cans of evaporated milk
1 750ml bottle of Don Q Cristal rum
1 cup of Baileys
1 cup of Cognac
Method: mix all the ingredients with an immersion blender thoroughly and refrigerate. Serve cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
Chef Jose Enrique, San Juan
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
1 can cream of coconut
3 ounces Don Q Cristal
3 ounces Don Q Añejo
Method: mix in blender, and add cinnamon stick. Place in fridge and enjoy!
Roberto Berdecia from La Factoria (World’s 50 Best Bars), San Juan
15 ounces coconut cream
14 ounces condensed milk
16 ounces evaporated milk
16 ounces Don Q Gold rum
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
6 balls of malagueta (allspice)
1 pinch of nutmeg powder
2 drops of vanilla extract
grated coconut (optional to taste)
Method: in a pot, put the evaporated milk together with cinnamon, anise, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes stirring constantly, but do not let it boil. Remove from the heat, strain the spices and put the liquid in a blender with condensed milk, coconut cream, Don Q Gold rum, vanilla and optional grated coconut. Blend until all the ingredients are well mixed. Place in bottles and refrigerate before consuming.
Presenting an iconic flavor profile of legendary Jamaican pot stills, Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum invokes local history and ancestral culture of the island – the Arawak’s land of wood and water.
The classic double-thumper pot stills of Jamaica, in concert with traditional long fermentation cycles, can produce high ester rums — with aromas and flavors of black banana and flambéed pineapple — often described as funky.
In particular, aged rums from the venerable John Dore pot still at Long Pond and the Vendôme pot still at Clarendon are among the most desirable and — until recently — the least available on the market.
Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry pot still blended rum from Jamaica
Lighter ester rums are blended with a dose of heavier rums from extended fermentations. The persistence of bold flavors remains notable in Xaymaca’s wide range blend, without being overpowering or intense.
Xaymaca Special Dry delivers just that — a well balanced blend of aged distillates from these legacy pot stills.
After resting in Bourbon barrels in Jamaica, the rum is rested for a second maturation of one year in Cognac barrels in Southwest France.
Initial aromas of ripe banana, vanilla and smokey oak lead to hints of pineapple, brandy and fine herbs. On the palate, mixed ripe fruit and orange water precede the baked banana notes at mid-palate, with sour dough bread pudding, baking spices and almond butter fading into the medium warm finish.
Xaymaca Mission Statement
Alexandre Gabriel, founder of Maison Ferrand, said: “With Xaymaca Special Dry, I wanted to dive into the iconic culture that is unique to Jamaican rum. I wanted to work with these complex flavours of overripe exotic fruits with an almost animal intensity.”
“We can still find certain white rums with this famous ‘rum funk.’ I think, however, that this great terroir expresses itself perfectly in an aged rum. That is why we launched Xaymaca Special Dry – a tribute to this ancestral culture of rum.”
Xaymaca brings genuine classic Jamaican flavor profiles to tropical cocktails. Unlike some special editions, Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry rum is widely available and quite accessible in price.
At 43% abv, the 750ml bottle of Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum sells for about $25.
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 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.
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
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.
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
Aromas 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.
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.
An unconventional product by any standard, Stroh 160 Overproof Rum is a unique spiced and flavored rum liqueur from Austria that defies categorization. Like Germany’s Rum Verschnitt, it’s made of neutral grain distillate, loaded with strong essences and rich rum flavors.
In Germany and Scandinavia, the traditional holiday comfort flavor profile makes it a favorite for celebrations, but you rarely see it used to make cocktails — or be forewarned — enjoyed straight.
Every rum has a purpose. At 80% abv, Stroh 160 delivers a robust and potent spirit popularly used as a key ingredient in festive punch recipes, representing warmth, friendliness and good cheer. It’s also mixed with black tea to create a traditional warm Jagertee libation popular for after-ski festivities in Europe.
Stroh 160 is used to flambé table-side dishes, but perhaps it’s most popular use is for home baking, like old-fashioned holiday fruit cake.
Stroh 160 Legacy
The rum’s secret recipe was first developed in 1832 by Sebastian Stroh. Like Jägermeister, this “inlander rum” is sometimes perceived as a powerful manly elixir representing a wistful bygone era of old European spirit making.
In a Scandinavian hunter’s cabin deep in the frozen woods, a shot of Stroh 160 might seem appropriate to provide a warm invigorating experience, but otherwise, it’s not advisable to attempt drinking it straight.
Stroh 160 Tasting Notes
The bold crimson vermillion color first gets your attention. Aromas of pound cake, butterscotch, assorted fruit jelly and baking spices belie its overproof nature. On the palate, an initial hint of cotton candy precedes a big explosion of overwhelming fruit flavors and high ester funk before the base of creamy butterscotch, vanilla, treacle and baking spices endure into the very long finish.
Stroh 160 Overproof Rum In The USA
In Europe, this product is known as Stroh 80, referring to the 80% alcohol by volume overproof rating. In the USA, the same rum is named Stroh 160 to underscore its 160 proof content. In simple terms, there is twice as much alcohol in this bottle than your average 80 proof rum, so a little bit goes a long way.
Among tiki enthusiasts, Stroh 160 has earned a reputation as a welcome component in Polynesian-style cocktails and topical libations that integrate a strong overproof rum into the recipe.
The 750ml bottle of Stroh 160 overproof rum sells for about $35.