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Ed Hamilton

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Ed Hamilton

  1. Any good liquor store in NY can get the Zacapa rums. I agree with Jason that you are looking for Ron Zacapa Centenario which is their 23 year old. The packaging was changed a couple of years ago but the product is still very good, although like Jaso pointed out, it is a little sweet, but good.
  2. The Phillipines and Thailand make rum and it is widely consumed. China doesn't have much of a market yet. In Japan special rums are enjoyed by businessmen on expense accounts but rum consumption certainly isn't main stream. There are too many other spirits including Scotch Whiskey and Cognac which are marketed in Japan and have become symbols of success.
  3. I haven't seen Slanted Door mentioned in this thread. Though it is quite busy and the restaurant can be noisy, the lounge is nice with great attention to cocktails. Farallon is also worth a visit. And Solstice, Kieran Walsh is working hard to produce great drinks to accompany the outstanding food. I look forward to dinner there next weekend and a ti punch before dinner. Enrico's has dropped their standards a notch or two since Dave Nepove left, but it's still a comfortable place with great music on some nights. On the other side of the bay, Forbidden Island is also making a mark in their new Tiki bar.
  4. There is no rhum agricole in Michigan to my knowledge. There is a rum locator for La Favorite Blanc on the Caribbean Spirits website.
  5. quaraibea_turbinata is one name for this plant.
  6. A lot of rum moves through Spain, though I'm not sure Bacardi has a plant there. But Bacardi and other brands vary with the country of origin, though Bacardi has the most plants around the world. Likewise I don't know how much Cuban rum is bottled elsewhere. Typically the best rums are bottled in the country of origin. But to add confusion to the issue, bottling Cuban rum in Spain wouldn't necessary make it non-Cuban rum. Rum from Barbados is now being bottled in Oregon as Barbados rum.
  7. Low alcohol beverages aren't influenced nearly as much as high alcohol spirits by aging.
  8. I definitely disagree that if you take 25% new rum and add it to 75% aged rum you won't get the same taste as the old rum, or even anything close. Distilled spirits take much more of their taste and flavor from aging. Look at the difference between aged rum and unaged rum. The higher alcohol content of the distilled spirits works as a much more effective solvent is dissolving the esters and tannins in the wood, to a point. If you age neutral spirits you will end up with something that has a nice color but no body, just a nice aroma and a smoother finish.
  9. I've often wondered why, if Bacardi has the magic recipe for the great Cuban rum of the past, why they aren't making it and bottling it under some label or another? Wayne Curtis writes a lot about the changing taste of rums and how the Cuban rum of the 50s is different from what is being marketed today.
  10. Only a smalll part of the sugar cane in the Eastern Caribbean is burned before being cut. Environmentally it's a mess for everything downwind from the cane field. Trinidad used to burn some of the cane before the sugar industry went broke and closed.
  11. Well, they certainly haven't spared any expense on their website.
  12. I talk all the time to producers about how I think the rum industry might be able to raise their reputation, but sadly, distillers as a very small part of the equation, many of the biggest money brands are marketed by people who are much more motivated by money than quality or the reputation of the rum industry. And there is the proposition of getting a bunch of distillers to agree on anything, until it's too late. On my first serious research trip in the Eastern Caribbean I heard of plans to produce and market a Caribbean rum of high quality blended from a number of different rums from different islands, that plan is probably further from the bottle than it was more than a decade ago. Another problem is that all of the rum distillers see each other as competitors rather than partners in the rum industry. And then most distillers think they make the best rum, they just haven't been discovered yet, so the thought of cooperating with anyone else is as foreign as drinking spirits made from anything but sugar cane.
  13. Mount Gay Sugar Cane Brandy is not the same as their white Reserve Rum. I haven't tasted the Reserve for a few years after I made a special trip back to a liquor store in Antigua to buy a bottle because I didn't have enough money in my pocket at the time to buy another bottle of rum and the other things that I had to have. Frankly, I was very disappointed and although I have since seen this rum in the US since, I haven't had the desire to spend more money on something that I thought should have been discontinued many years ago. According to my liquor store friends it isn't flying off the shelves so you might find it around for a while. My guess is that if it isn't discontinued, it should be. On the other hand, Mount Gay used to make a very good white rum called Mount Gay Premium White Rum, which was far better than the Reserve White.
  14. I couldn't agree more, but as you say Quality Will Prevail. The closest thing I know of to the rum police is the Martinique AOC, which only governs a few drops in the whole bucket of the industry. The biggest problem is that the biggest companies have the most to loose and they control the established lobbying groups, so there will not be any credible policing done until they see a threat to their bottom line. The good news is that with the internet and forums like this, I see more and more factual information being disseminated and more fiction being debunked. From my experience, drinkers of finer spirits are spending more time finding out about the actual products and not just spending silly money on things which just aren't what they are represented to be. In the US, the TTB and other police agencies don't have the time or inclination to address what many would consider to be small problems. In a recent NY Sun article some of the other problems with availability to quality products are addressed. Business as usual seems to be the status quo, but all of the stores mentioned in this article do go out of their way to find and stock better quality products that aren't colored with fictional hype.
  15. We've probably all seen the report of the women who sued Bacardi after they got burned by flaming 151 proof rum, and while I wouldn't even consider passing judgment on who is to blame the safety of flaming drinks is important. There is a right way and a wrong way to add alcohol to something which is cooking on a stove or to flaming drinks. I've seen it done the wrong way enough times on television that apparently even a lot of professional chefs and bartenders don't appreciate what can happen. First of all, whether it is 151, just 80 proof hooch it will burn. To limit the chance of becoming a headline on this or other forums, or worse, pour the amount of liquor that you want to add to the pot into a small glass and then pour it into the frying pan. That way if the fire goes into the container the damage will be limited to the volume of the burning liquid. Alcohol fires can be extinguished with water, unlike grease or fires which will spread. The danger of pouring the spirit from the bottle comes from the possibility, which increases with the proof of the spirit, that the fire will race up the liquid being poured and enter the combustible air space in the bottle. The next thing that will happen is quite spectacular, especially in a small dark space like the inside of a boat, or a crowded late-night bar. The fire in the bottle heats the airspace very quickly, expands, and forces the liquid out of the bottle resembling a flame thrower. The flaming liquid will set fire to almost anything on which it lands within as much as 8 feet; drapes, cushions, guests, you get the idea. If on the other hand, you use a small, wide-mouth glass and the fire inadvertantly climbs the liquid stream and sets the contents of the glass on fire, the wide mouth won't contain the expanding gas and won't force the contents to be propelled across the room. Instead, you will be left holding a flaming glass which can still be poured into the frying pan before the glass breaks from the heat. Lastly, don't be fooled by thinking that if the bottle is almost empty that it is safer. Actually there is more combustible air in an almost empty bottle which will propel the last bit of your spirit even further across the room.
  16. After years of researching rum from the more business end of the still, and discovering first hand how rum is part of the West Indian fabric of life, Wayne has given me a new perspective of how rum was woven into the fabric of colonial life as well. Unlike some writers, Wayne tends not to suggest facts but researches them. But there is more than rum that makes this a memorable addition to your bookshelf. Who else would tell you about a published procedure to revive drowning victims by rubbing hot rum on the victim's breast while using a mechanical device to blow cigar smoke in the victim's orifice that rarely saw the sun?
  17. 'Tee' is correct or 'tea' if you prefer, it is a derivative of the French word 'petit.' Just don't call it a rum tee!
  18. I'm just getting started on this book, but I like the style and it appears to be very well researched. Apparently Wayne is a well known writer, though I didn't know much about him. I'll follow this up over the weekend, I hope.
  19. The fact that the word Tequila has been registered in Mexico, like Cognac, Champagne and the Bordeaux, doesn't tell half the story. There are few enforced regulations that really mean much. Would you believe a lot of the tequila on the store shelves in the US is actually almost half molasses based spirits? The wine industry is full of lawsuits over appelations in both California and overseas. And then there is a growing dispute over vodka with some EU countries claiming that vodka can't be made from such things as grapes or molasses, a position that is strongly opposed by English distillers. Certainly the rum industry has it's share of pirates, but there are plenty of others in the wine, tequila, whisky, vodka and other spirits segments that make Captain Morgan look like a saint.
  20. I have to disagree. There are a number of rums produced by reputable distillers and marketed by reputable people which I would put up against any of the other spirits in terms of quality. In Martinique, the AOC mark is a pretty good mark of quality standards for production and labeling. These rums differ but the AOC works tirelessly to maintain the integrity of their mark and I for one consider some rums to be premium spirits. Yes there are rums marketed by people that will put anything on a label or website in order to sell their product, but there are also rums being produced and marketed by honest professionals. I often equate the quality of a product by the lack of glossy ads. Quality sells and I'd rather pay for quality than expensive ads.
  21. Well the answer isn't exactly clear. It really depends on who is doing the aging or in some cases the labeling. The Solera method of aging comes from Spain and is a process of topping off barrels of spirits with spirits which have aged a year or so less. In the end you are left with a blend of spirit which is composed of many different vintages. In reality a lot of bottlers don't actually refill their aging barrels but simply blend spirits from different vintages and call it solera. Do you think Bacardi has a separate warehouse for their solera aged rum? In another example I've seen a 10 Solera Blender and a 15 Solera Blender from the same company which were the same color but packaged in different colored bottles.
  22. Yes, Macoucherie is a little different from a lot of other rums as it's made from sugar cane juice and then distilled to a higher proof, but it's made the way people like to drink their spirit in Dominica.
  23. Zacapa is aged in a very cool warehouse at about 6000 feet elevation so the evaporation is much less than it would be at sea level in the tropics.
  24. Although I have to admit guilt on more than one of the above counts, I've never brought my own bitters to a bar, my next coat will have a larger pocket. The true cocktail geek wouldn't be seen on a second date with someone who ordered grey goose in their presence at the Pegu Club or anywhere else, suggested they go to a bar where their best rum drink was a mojito or ordered the same drink twice at any place to which a cocktail geek would go.
  25. Puerto Rican rums are supposed to be aged a year before they're bottled. But there are a lot of rums from the Virgin Islands bottled under a variety of labels which aren't aged. A few weeks ago, I was introduced to a rum called Calypso from Barbados which doesn't appear to be aged. On Barbados ESA Fields isn't aged. There are also a few rums bottled in Kentucky which haven't seen the inside of a barrel. And then there's Prichard's Crystal White Rum. This rum isn't aged but is filtered numerous times and has underlying fruit flavors. Of the unaged white rums, I can recommend Prichard's if you're looking for a nice rum. If, on the other hand, you're looking for the cheapest rum on the market, there are others. I'm not quite sure why you're looking for unaged industrial rum, but I hope this helps.
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