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Ed Hamilton

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Ed Hamilton

  1. Every time I go to St Barth's I find at least one new flavored rhum. I have no personal knowledge of this rhum but will give you an educated guess based on my experience with other flavored rhums made in the St Barth's and the other French West Indies islands. If there is any vanilla bean in the bottle, it is probably flavored with real vanilla, and may have a little vanilla flavoring added to the blend. The cost of vanilla has risen considerably in hte las tfew years, so the use of vanilla beans as the sole flavoring has been curtailed. The alcohol probably came from Guadeloupe, the closest French island to St Barth's and the preferred rhum drunk by the French population of that island. If the rhum is sweet, it probably contains some sugar cane sugar syrup, another favorite ingredient found in a lot of the flavored rhums found in the islands. In the islands, sugar cane syrup or sugar is cheaper than aritfical sugar so you can be fairly certain that if the rhum is sweet it has been sweetened with natural cane sugar.
  2. If a rum label, bottled in the US or Puerto Rico, tells you that it is flavored with natural flavoring it has been flavored with flavors that are not synthetically produced. This does not necessarily mean that a vanilla-flavored rum is flavored with any vanilla but only that the flavoring used is from a natural, as opposed to a synthetic source. Natural flavorings include essential oils - distilled from organic sources, flavorings pressed from organic sources and flavors leeched from organic sources. Most rum companies buy their flavors from commercial flavor houses that make flavoring for all kinds of food products. As for a database of flavorings used in rums, most distillers guard their sources for competitive reasons, but look for the words 'natural flavoring.' Take a look at the ingredients on a can of pumpkin pie filling and you'll see that many are actually made with sweet potatoes - a natural flavor. An example of a synthetic flavor is a sugar substitute like aspartame, or an artifical sweetener. It is a little confusing but Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum, sold in the US, is a spiced rum so it can contain a number of things, and if they're 'natural' it's legal in the US. Captain Morgan, like a lot of spiced rums, contains some sugar, other's contain sugar cane syrup. There are standards, but unfortunately, not all of the regulatons are observed by all the disitllers and blenders.
  3. Havevn't see the Gold FdC, interesting that they would come out with that one. The other sound interesting. What do you think of the Trini 1919? The Colombian rum sounds rough. I haven't had any Columbian rum that overwhelmed me yet.
  4. I don't have the website at my fingertips, but the guys that maket Porfidio Tequila are making some rum from sugar cane juice and are trying to market it in the US and the UK. If you are near the Porfidio tequila distillery check them out.
  5. Thanks, I'll definitely check WD 50 out, next week. Time sure flies when you're having fun.
  6. I have to agree that water isn't my favorite mixer. Hot cider is really good and gets my vote. I've used a powered cider mix on my boat, when I didn't have anything else, and there was snow in the deck Christmas eve, in Florida. A few days later I weighed anchor and headed south. Foursquare doesn't add any sugar to their spiced rum, so it makes a very versatile mixing rum. I also like it with a little ginger ale and ice. And there's nothing like a little ginger in a rum drink.
  7. I just receieved this recipe in an email from my friends at Sea Wynde Rum, I sounded pretty good and got me thinking, how else do you enjoy hot rum? I'm going to be spending a lot of the winter above the 19th parallel this year and I've got to find some new hot drinks to keep me warm. Wynter Wynde 1 -1/2 oz Sea Wynde Rum 1 tbs maple syrup Fill a coffee mug with boiling water and the other ingredients. Stir with a cinnamon stick.
  8. Home distilling is not only alive and well in the states, but these guys in New Zealand are making sure it is being done all over the world. Distillers Newsgroup on Yahoo
  9. Where is WD-50? I've got a lot to learn about New York.
  10. Fermenting sorrel sounds like you didn't add enough rum, or you've got too much sugar in the sorrel. Sugar in itself is a preservative. If the sugar content is high enough the mixture won't ferment. Or if the alcohol content is high enough, it won't ferment. Fermentation is basically yeast turning free sugar into alcoho and carbon dioxide, the bubbles you see in a fermenting mixture. Bubbles in a rum and sweet sorrel mixture sounds like it will be sour, the sorrel wine will turn to vinegar if it is left too long.
  11. New York has several good shops where you can buy a number of rums, whiskeys etc.. Park Avenue liquors is one. In the coming days I'll add a few more Manhattan shops. As for history, there were over a dozen distilleries in New England making rum from molasses from the Caribbean when the constitution was signed. And anyone reseraching rum should visit Boston where a million gallon molasses tank broke and drowned a few people in the black sticky liquid.
  12. In the interest of research, I enjoy a ti punch almost every day, but no more than two. Then after dinner, some nights I'll enjoy some of my collection of aged rums. A couple of times a week, I sip some rums, as part of the continuing research, during the day, usually in the afternoon. And when I'm in Chicago, I participate in organized tastings about once a month.
  13. As someone is even more cynical of big distillers than you, I can state with certainty that Bacardi is not reprocessing cachaca from Brazil or anywhere else. On the other hand, one of the reasons how a little island can get their rum into every bar on the planet isn't really that hard to explain. First Bacardi has at least 7 distilleries around the world. A few years ago, they contracted Trinidad Distillers Limited to make rum for export to the Caribbean and South America. The also have distilleries in the Bahamas, Mexico and Europe. The next time you see a bottle of their Ocho, 8, claiming to be 8 years old, take a look at the back label and you'll probably see that's it actually imported from the Bahamas.
  14. Along the lines of edsel's cachaca recipe, I'll offer this island drink from the French West Indies. Strain the seeds of the passionfruit and mix the pulp and juice with a little raw sugar and a measure of white rhum agricole. Mix and serve over ice. One of my distiller friend's serves this drink before lunch, made with fruit from his yard, and it's one of my favorite drinks made with rhum agricole. Like cachaca, rhum agricole is made from fresh sugar cane juice, though the distillation process is more refined.
  15. After only a cople of days in Toronto and a couple of days in Halifax, here's my prejudiced view. Of course I can't be objective. One of the first things I noticed was the labels. Many don't seem to be the same as I see in other markets, especially the Caribbean. This began to make sense after I discovered that there are significant advantages for distillers to have their products bottled in Canada, many blended with Canadian rum. Captain Morgan, for example, is distilled and bottled in Nova Scotia. And unlike the Captain Morgan sold in the US and other markets, in Canada you can buy Captain Morgan white, dark and black, three varieties of the pirate no available south of the border. The good news is that everyone I talked to at the Liquor Control Boards, in both Nova Scotia and Ontario, was very interested in offering Canadians more choices of rum and are actively pursuing new brands. Soon, Cruzan products will be available, bottled in Florida at the parent companies own operation where Cruzan products are bottled for the US market.
  16. I'm in Toronto for a couple of days and have been asked to do a radio segment this afternoon on MOJO radio. There will be call-ins and chances to win some things from the Ministry of Rum and maybe even some rum, if I don't take all the good stuff with me. Cruzan is now going to be available on a regular basis in Canada, so things should be improving in Canada soon.
  17. Thanks wnissen. I travel with rum all the time, and sometimes airline ticket agents, etc, will try to give you a load of crap about what you can carry. If the bottles are unopened, you shouldn't have any trouble with carry on, especially to Puerto Rico. There is no customs between Puerto Rico and the US mainland, since they have the same tax structure. My advice is to stock up, but like wnissen suggests, stay away from the overproofs to avoid problems.
  18. Fest USA will be holding a RUM FEST at The Castel on the Hudson, at the end of November. The Castle is just north of the NYC, and the fest will feature a variety of sugar cane spirits including rum, cachaca and several new products. I look forward to seeing you there.
  19. To be imported to the US, the country of origin must be stated. Martinique is considered France, like Rene wrote it is a department of France, Guadeloupe is another department of the mother country. If that rhum was bottled in Martinique, St James probably would have made it clear that it was bottled in Martinique, France. There are a few distillers that are using the XO Appleation, Depaz is another. But to date there is no agreement among the distillers about what constitutes an XO. Sorry you were disappointed, but it has been my experience that rhum that is not bottled at the distillery just won't be the same as what you buy at the distillery.
  20. I have seen a decline in the number of small rums in the market that are actually selling any volume of rum. And while I agree with scheer, I believe that educated consumers in America and Europe are searching out the better rums from the small distillers and though these brands are more expensive to produce, transport and deliver to the shelves, they will make a significant impact on the rum market in the near and long-term future. Of course there will be some knock offs with fancy packages but most of these brands won't succeed in the long term unless they improve the quality of their product.
  21. El Ron de Cuba, can you determine where that bottle of Extra Old was bottled? Some of the St James rhums are bottled in France and some in Martinique. If it was bottled in France, it will be different from that bottled at the source. The water used to reduce the alcohol content will be different, probably not as good since it will be from a municipal source and not from a mountain spring as found in Martinique. During my last trip to the states, I bought a bottle of St James Amber, called Ambre in the islands and I was sorely disappointed, then I discovered that it was in fact bottled in France.
  22. Haleakala Distillers I was recently contacted by Jim Sargent from this distillery in Hawaii. Has anyone seen any of these rums? Any comments?
  23. Rene's rum tour. Rene, I'm sorry to have missed you in Martinique. I would love to show someone who appreciates rhum some of the secrets that you just can't discover in a week's tour.
  24. That Old Havana is made in Panama and has a somewhat light character. I'm surprised that it is being sold in Puerto Rico. Peter, like my own database, has the occasional flaw. But the rum is worth trying.
  25. I hope Jeanne didn't leave you in too bad of shape. It could have been worse. Hurricane parties can be great fun, as long as the house doesn't get blown away. Nothing like trying to get sober and do the right thing when the roof blows off and all of a sudden you're in 100 mph wind and rain in your living room. In the islands we usually wait for the storm to pass, then pass a bottle of rum and give thanks that we survived and say a prayer, over another drink, for the less fortunate. As for the drink, well, rum and whatever is left after the storm. Usually plenty of limes blown off the trees and plenty of rum. In Grenada, during Ivan the prison blew down and all the prisoners escaped. They looted the usual places, then hit the brewery and the distillery. The next day the roads were blocked with debris, and there were more than a few hungover ex-prisoners. Police have come in from the French islands, Trinidad and St Lucia and claim to be getting the situation under control, after three weeks. Drinking during the storm may sound like fun, but it's a lot more fun after the storm has passed.
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