Plantation O.F.T.D. Overproof: Behind the Scenes and Deeply Deconstructed

In this enlightened era of bespoke, high-end distilled spirits, we celebrate the soloist – the carefully nurtured, single estate gems rising to the top of category: Pappy Van Winkle 23 year bourbon, Fuenteseca Reserva 21 year tequila, Appleton 50 year rum, Macallan M Single Malt, and so on. Each represents a high point, a moment in time and the essence of a particular place. A pinnacle of individuality and greatness.

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First Look at Devil’s Reef: The Pacific Northwest’s New Tiki Wonderland

It’s no surprise to long time Cocktail Wonk readers that Tiki is a central pillar of what I do here. While most nights find me laboring over an elaborate concoction at my home bar, I never miss the chance to sit at the bar of a full-blown Tiki master.  Last night, after many tortuous months of waiting, I slipped into a seat at the soft opening of Devil’s Reef, in Tacoma, Washington.

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The Rum Nut’s Quick-Ref Guide to Visiting Jamaica

Posting this because the same four questions keep coming up on Facebook and elsewhere:

  • What distilleries should I go to? (There are only 6 on the island)
  • What bottles should I bring back?
  • Where should I buy rum?
  • Where should I drink?

Before getting to the answers to the above, if learning about Jamaican rums is your thing, start here with the Jamaican Rum Distillery Cheat Sheet.

Rick Steves, I am not. This is wallet-reference card level stuff, below.

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The Cocktail Wonk Top Ten Stories of 2017

As 2017 draws nigh, it’s time for the traditional year end wrap-up, summarizing the highlights of what appeared here over the last 12 months. Some of what follows could be called self-indulgent navel-gazing; reflections on how my writing has evolved. But I contend there’s also value to you, the reader – it provides a broader context for what the site has become. And who knows, you might have missed a relevant post as the world speeds by.

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Long Pond Returns! Jamaica’s Historic Rum Distillery Resumes Operation

As a confirmed Jamaican rum “dunderhead,” I obsessively track every snippet of news regarding the island’s rum industry. So it was with great joy that I learned about a year ago that the Long Pond Distillery was gearing up to resume operations after a several year hiatus.

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The Main Rum Company: Vintage Cask Valhalla

The seaside city of Liverpool, England (yes, home of the Beatles), was one of England’s major shipping hubs in the not-so-distant past. Magnificent ocean liners like the RMS Titanic, Lusitania, and Queen Mary were all registered there. The city is also infamous for its part in the triangle trade, where rum, sugar, finished goods, and enslaved humans crisscrossed the Atlantic between the Old World, Africa, and the New World, with Liverpool as a northern Hub.

Hugging Liverpool’s dozens of remaining docks are gigantic brick warehouses, built in the 1800s as the city rose to prominence. On a blustery October day, I find myself inside one such warehouse, descending to the basement in a rickety freight elevator, although “suspended metal cage” might be a more apt description. I’m doing my best to contain my excitement at what lies in wait once the doors open. For among my journeys to the epicenters of rum, this particular warehouse has become a singular obsession.

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