At this point in my Tiki journey, it’s much harder to come across a flavor combination I haven’t encountered before and which knock my socks off. The Banana Life, from the crew at San Francisco’s Pagan Idol, is the first drink I’ve had in a while that accomplishes this feat.
Mrs. Wonk and I recently spent a long weekend in New York City. While the stated reason was for the La Maison & Velier U.S. launch, the unofficial reason was to blaze through as many of top-rated cocktail bars as possible in four nights.
Idyllic images come to mind when picturing rum: Sweeping Caribbean cane fields, historic pot and column stills. Barrels slowly maturing in the hot sun for decades. A master blender wandering the warehouse, carefully selecting barrels to produce the perfect blend, bottled and transported to your local bar or liquor store. While this narrative may be somewhat true for brands like Bacardi, Mount Gay, Appleton, or Havana Club, distillery-driven brands are a relatively modern concept – rarely seen prior to the middle of the twentieth century. The vast majority of rum brands operate in a different universe, much as they did a century or more ago: the world of bulk rum, merchants, and blenders. Continue reading “Liquid & Logistics: Inside E&A Scheer, Master Bulk Rum Blenders”
Longtime readers of this site know well that mad scientist Bryan Davis and his Lost Spirits distillery supply a steady stream of newsworthy stories to this little corner of the blogosphere. From a radical hyper-speed aging reactor (dubbed “THEA”), to an ambitious plan to license reactors to other distilleries, abandoning that, and moving operations to Los Angeles to create an ever-evolving “distillery as theme park,” Bryan has kept everyone guessing as to what’s coming next. It’s never predictable, frequently controversial, and always entertaining.
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.
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.