Can the U.S. Recognize Rum Regulations?

As Caribbean rum gains in popularity and rum enthusiasts push back on the “Rum has no rules” trope, a common refrain is “The United States doesn’t recognize rum’s rules.” It’s been said by well-meaning advocates online and at public events such as Tales of the Cocktail. In fact, I’ve said something along those lines myself, previously.

If you’re a proponent of artisanal rum, striving to improve its reputation among anybody who will listen, it’s easy to shake your virtual fist at the faceless bureaucrats in the U.S. government who seemingly don’t care about the rum regulations of Jamaica and other countries.

That frustration is misplaced.

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Your Guide To Winning $2500 with Minimalist Tiki

As you may have seen recently, Reàl Ingredients has generously agreed to supply the prize money for a fun little contest involving our book, Minimalist Tiki.

In brief, thirteen bartenders and ten bars are featured in the book, along with their recipes that follow the Minimalist Tiki ethos – about 100 recipes in total.

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Can You (Ever) Use Too Much Angostura Bitters?

“Hey Matt, I think I found a bug in your book,” began a recent message from my friend, Mike. ”The Trinidadi Issues recipes calls for 1.5 ounces of Angostura bitters…seems like that can’t be right (?)”

I chuckled. Mike wasn’t the first person who’d messaged me about this recipe, certain they’d found a typo.

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Still Life: Saint Lucia Distillers

Every few months, a tanker ship pulls into Saint Lucia’s Roseau Bay, and anchors. A diver drops into the water and attaches an 8-inch flexible hose to the ship. The hose is connected to a 12-inch pipeline that runs for 194 meters underwater before hitting land and popping up in the middle of a beach and continuing overland for just over a kilometer. Eventually the pipe connects to one of several gigantic tanks.

For the next several hours, thick black liquid flows from the ship to the tank—liquid that is vital to the site’s operation. Not oil, but rather molasses: Since Saint Lucia no longer grows enough sugar to make any appreciable amount of molasses on the island, this undersea dance is how the island’s one distillery– St. Lucia Distillers – receives its vital feedstock.

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Spiribam’s Benjamain Jones – Director’s Cut Interview

In February 2019, I sat down with Spribam’s Benjamin Jones at the Miami Rum Congress to talk about all manner of wonky rum topics. Jones has been essential to bringing rhum agricole to the North American market over the past fifteen years – specifically the Rhum Clement and Rhum J.M brands. More recently, he’s spent a lot of time integrating St. Lucia distillers into Spiribam’s portfolio. Although not as omnipresent on social media as some rum industry luminaries, he’s deeply knowledgeable about today’s rum industry.

My recent Bevvy “Ruminations” column shares his thoughts about the revamped St. Lucia Distillers product lineup, including the new (outside of St. Lucia) Bounty offerings.  However, we talked about many more topics that didn’t fit within the Bevvy interview: behind-the-scenes takes on the St. Lucia Distillers distillery upgrades; innovating within and outside the Martinique AOC regulations; the structure of Spiribam and parent company GBH; the influence of Richard Seale; sugar cane availability; how the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai competition came about; his own family connection to the Rhum Clement family.   Lots of interesting information to be found in Ben’s answers, so rather than leaving his insights on the cutting room floor, I present it here.

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