In the southwest region of Panama, northwest of the town of David, the Hacienda Carta Vieja is surrounded by miles of sugar cane fields which thrive in the rich soil near the Pacific Ocean. Here we find the distillery that produces the legacy Carta Vieja rum, and their newest expression — 8 Años Double Cask.
After traditional fermentation, Carta Vieja distillates are refined in a modern five-column still made of copper and stainless steel. The distinction that makes this rum unique is the double maturation in American Oak and French Oak barrels in two locations.
Carta Vieja 8 Años Double Cask from Panama is aged in both American and French Oak.
This 8 Años Double Cask spirit is aged for seven years in the warm and humid Solera 1915 aging warehouse near sea level using only American ex-Bourbon White Oak barrels. The final stage of maturation takes place in French Limousin Oak barrels for one year in the temperate mile-high Solera House of Rum in Boquete at 1668 meters above sea level.
The result is a spirit that exhibits far more complexity and nuance than other expressions in the product line. Carta Vieja 8 Años Double Cask spirit transcends the traditional flavor and aroma profiles, setting a new standard for intricacy and balance.
Aromas of caramel and coffee lead to vanilla, treacle, pecan wood, raisin and earthy peat.
On the palate, a dry entry suggests dark stone fruit with touch of cinnamon toast mid-palate before toasted oak, vanilla, marzipan and baking spices. The many layers of complexity are tempered by a smooth and pleasant mouth feel. The finish is long and well balanced — notes of smoky vanilla, pecan and prune wine contrast and balance a bitter wood tannin in the late finish.
This double cask rum makes a fine sipper neat in a proper tasting glass, or with a single good cube of ice. It excels in a high quality cocktail such as the Rum Old Fashioned, complimented by aromatic bitters and a touch of sweetness.
Carta Vieja 8 Años Double Cask aged rum is bottled at 40% ABV. The 750ml bottle costs about $28.
From the central regions of Panama — via Hollywood, California — here is a limited edition aged rum worthy of its title: Selvarey Owner’s Reserve.
The name Selva Rey is based on the Spanish translation of Jungle King. This fine aged owner’s reserve edition was conceived and developed by international super-star performer Bruno Mars, in collaboration with legendary master distiller and blender “Don Pancho” Fernandez — a king of rum in his own right.
Selvarey Owner’s Reserve aged rum was created by famed master blender “Don Pancho” Fernandez in Panama under the direction of international super-star Bruno Mars.
It’s obvious this product is meant to impress rum aficionados and collectors, as well as anyone who appreciates luxury spirts, with a decidedly sophisticated approach and elegant presentation.
The distillery at Las Cabras makes a point of sustainable practices, using the disposed crushed cane to operate their steam boiler, driving a centrifugue that generates about seven megawatts, so the distillery runs on its own clean energy. Waste from the distillation process is used to fertilize the cane fields. They sow, cultivate and harvest their own sugar cane, controlling all aspects of the process.
Selvarey Owner’s Reserve is created by Don Pancho in Panama using his antique copper column stills. After aging in used American Oak Bourbon and Whiskey casks — using wood management techniques developed over decades in Cuba — the most outstanding marques for this owner’s reserve are masterfully selected and blended for near-perfect balance.
The resulting fine rum is bottled in limited edition for this special owner’s reserve release in a stunning package designed by Bruno Mars, featuring a tall statuesque elegant bottle enclosed in an artful box that faithfully reflects the unique nature and quality of the product.
Initial aromas of rich toasted oak, smokey honey, dark fruit and cocoa nibs are followed by suggestions of creamy vanilla and bread pudding. On the palate, a smooth entry of rich caramel, raisin and prune leads to treacle, hazelnut and vanilla custard with baking spices and toffee, before hints of old oak tannins and a bitter cacao note adds balance. The very long luxurious finish echoes the notes of charred oak, caramel, vanilla bean and cocoa.
Bruno Mars proudly presents his Selvarey Owner’s Reserve aged rum from Panama
Selvarey Owner’s Reserve is an exquisite example of the best of Panama’s rum, available in limited supply at select retailers in the USA as well as several online sources. It’s best enjoyed neat or with just a single cube of clear ice in a generous tumbler or proper tasting glass.
The 750ml bottle of SelvaRey Owner’s Reserve, bottled at 40% abv, sells for about $150.
The third expression in the Distillery Collection — Diplomático Pot Still Rum defines and delivers the rich essence of Diplomático’s signature style.
The distillery in La Miel, Venezuela has a long history of producing fine rums, using traditional copper pot stills, as well as batch and column stills. This expression highlights the classic John Dore copper pots — originally used in Scotland to produce whisky — that provide the heart of robust and delightful flavor in the various blends.
Here, isolated for reference, is the pot still component, made from sugar cane honey in a long fermentation cycle, before resting in small American white oak casks for eight years.
At 47% ABV, the rich, deep and complex flavor profile easily embodies this higher proof spirit with a fine balance. The resulting intensity earns Diplomático Pot Still Rum a reputation as a fine sipper or a potent component in any classic cocktail.
The deep amber color signals a well rested spirit. Aromas of sweet fruit cake and vanilla are accented by toasted oak, smoked honey, caramel and dark fruit. On the palate, a dry entry of charred oak, coffee and cocoa leads to a suggestion of burnt sugar and toffee before ripe dark fruits linger in the long, complex, warm finish.
This limited edition Diplomático Pot Still Rum — Number 3 in the Distillery Collection — bottled at 94 proof, is available throughout the USA with a list price of about $79.
A visit to Maggie’s Farm Rum Distillery in Pittsburgh is an opportunity to experience the production of award-winning American rums. Master Distiller Tim Russell presents a successful philosophy and confident approach to his production techniques, delivering an array of fine rums with consistency.
a selection of Maggie’s Farm Rums at the tasting bar with copper pot stills in the background
Located just off the Allegheny River in the Strip District, the rum distillery features a large inviting open cocktail bar space with clear view of the two alembic copper pot stills, fermentation tanks and racks of aging barrels.
two alembic style copper pot stills produce the distillate for Maggie’s Farm Rums
Maggie’s Farm Rum Awards
At least a hundred awards are displayed on Maggie’s Farm Rum bottles, a testament to the positive feedback from professionals, rum judges and tasting events around the world. Numerous Best-In-Show, Double Gold and Best-In-Class awards — including eight from the International Rum Experts and the Rum Jury at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival — speak to the quality of the product from this young American rum company.
Maggie’s Farm Rums have earned many awards from prestigious tasting competitions
The first commercial craft rum operation in Pennsylvania since the era of prohibition began as a modest venture — without significant investment or bank loans — to create authentic, unadulterated spirits using the best available ingredients, including Caribbean-derived yeasts and Louisiana Turbinado raw cane products. Long fermentation times — up to three weeks — help deliver high esters and big flavor before careful, rustic distillation techniques serve to retain much of the spirit of cane.
The result is a delightful distillate that serves as the base for the white rums, the barrel aged dark rums and all the natural flavored rums in the lineup. It’s clear from the dry profile that modifiers, sweeteners and extraneous ingredients are not in the recipe for Maggie’s Farm Rums.
the fresh clear distillate from the pot still is the base for Maggie’s Farm Rums
The White Rum is a delight, offering soft notes of cane and vanilla, with a hint of butter in the finish. It’s a fine base for all of our favorite rum cocktails and makes a nice sipper with a couple of ice cubes.
Single Barrel Rum
In the Single Barrel Rum, we experience the distillate after the mellowing influence of two years in oak casks, picking up more pronounced notes of vanilla, caramel and toasted oak. This small batch aged rum is a sterling example of the craft distiller’s art form, well balanced and complex for a rum of its age.
Queen’s Share Overproof Reserve Series
Perhaps the most notable of the expressions in the Maggie’s Farm Rum lineup is the Queen’s Share Overproof Reserve series. The name refers to the technique of re-distilling the tails — the most flavorful and pungent portions of the distillate to come off the still late in the process — to refine and extract the very best of these components for special barrelings in used rye, Bourbon and sherry casks. The results are intensely rich, higher proof sipping rums that deliver a magnificent intensity, complexity and depth of flavor.
50/50 Dark Rum
An example of creative experimentation exists with the 50/50 Dark Rum, combining their own pot still aged spirits in equal measures with a well-aged molasses based, column-distilled rum from the Caribbean. The 50/50 blend is aged for an additional six to nine months to marry the flavors, resulting a a delightfully complex and well-balanced expression that manages to remain unpretentious and satisfying while offering good value.
Taking experimentation to the next level, Tim Russell has developed Maggie’s Farm Spiced Rum, an exceptional expression that wows the rum judges and consumers with its unique blend of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and freshly grated orange zest.
Another variation on the 50/50 concept is the Pineapple Rum, derived by macerating fresh pineapple in dark rum, blended with a vapor distillation of their white rum through pineapple barks to capture the natural oils. These two components are combined to capture the full essence of the fruit in a rich rum base. It’s a complicated technique that delivers an exceptional product.
Old Fashioned Cocktail
A creative riff on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail, Maggie’s Farm Old Fashioned starts with rum aged in rye whiskey barrels with additional oak cubes to accentuate the wood notes. A balanced addition of Louisiana turbinado sugar and aromatic bitters creates the base flavor profile for the MFOF bottled cocktail, ready to be poured over ice in a tumbler, accented with a wedge of orange peel.
Likewise, rum cocktail enthusiasts know that Falernum is an enticing and mysterious ingredient that makes classic cocktails like Corn and Oil, Three Dots and A Dash, and the Velvet Fog perennial favorites. Maggie’s Farm Falernum is created in small batches using fresh ginger, grated lime zest, toasted whole cloves and toasted allspice berries, added to the white rum. An exceptional ingredient made to the quality standards that defines Maggie’s Farm products.
Sourcing fresh roasted, fair-trade coffee beans locally, Maggie’s Farm Coffee Liqueur uses the cold-brew technique accented with house-made vanilla extract and a touch of dark brown sugar to achieve a perfect balance.
Hidden Harbor Special White Rum
A recent addition to the fine expressions is a purpose-derived blend for Hidden Harbor tiki bar located in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill. The concept was to create a multi-layered white rum to serve as the base for a perfect Daiquiri cocktail, combining Maggie’s Farm white rum, Queen’s Share rum and carefully sourced distillates from Jamaica, Guyana, Martinique, Barbados and Trinidad. The result is distinctly flavorful and aromatic, with a molasses funk and a smooth grassiness that accentuates the true spirit of cane.
Maggie’s Farm Rum Distillery Tours
Master Distiller Tim Russell presents an overview of production techniques for Maggie’s Farm Rums
For American Rum enthusiasts, a visit to Allegheny Distilling in Pittsburgh is a high-priority to experience the source of Maggie’s Farm Rums.
One hour distillery tours on Saturdays are $20, featuring an overview of the fermentation, distillation and aging processes before a tasting of rums and liqueurs at the bar. Guests receive a custom-branded Maggie’s Farm Rum tasting glass as a souvenir. RSVP online.
The Cocktail Bar is open on Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10pm, on Friday and Saturday from noon to 1pm, and on Sunday from noon to 6pm.
Allegheny Distillers, home of Maggie’s Farm Rum, is located at 3212A Smallman Street in Pittsburgh, PA 15201. Call 412-709-6480. https://www.maggiesfarmrum.com/
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.”
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/
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.
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.
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.