The Age of Angostura – Part One

You might think what follows is yet another story about Angostura Bitters. Sure, the iconic skinny bottle with the over-sized white label is as essential as shaker tins in cocktail bars around the globe. Hands stained red from the Trinidadian-made bitters are a sure sign of a professional bartender. And of course, there’s the story... Continue Reading →

Begone “Overproof” Rum!

With the help of many passionate rum enthusiasts doing a lot of ongoing education, we’re finally starting to make progress in disabusing people of the idea that categorizing rum by color (White, Gold, Dark, Black) makes any sense at all. (Hopefully, brands also get the message.) There’s simply no correlation between a rum’s color and... Continue Reading →

DDL’s Komal Samaroo: On the Record

Komal Samaroo has played a pivotal role in the extraordinary changes in the rum industry over the fifty years he’s been a part of it, starting with Booker’s Rum Company in 1969. Today, he’s the Executive Chairman of Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL), one of the largest Caribbean rum producers, and home of El Dorado Rum.... Continue Reading →

Bourbon vs Rum: Technical Head to Head

To my great delight, interest in rum from bourbon enthusiasts has gathered steam recently. As a writer I’m keenly aware that many topics in the bourbon world are well-tread ground, while rum has far more undeveloped land, so to speak. Many of the recent stories here on Cocktail Wonk have focused on rum, but it... Continue Reading →

Inside the Uitvlugt Sugar Factory

Without sugar cane, there is no rum. While some rums are made directly from fresh pressed sugar cane juice, the overwhelming majority of rum comes from molasses, one of the outputs of sugar cane processing. An extremely simplified description of sugar cane processing is: Input: Sugar cane stalksOutput 1: Sugar crystals – The primary output,... Continue Reading →

Demerara Distillers Ltd – Part Two

This is part two of a series about Demerara Distillers Ltd. In Part One I covered the history of Guyana’s rum industry, how Demerara Distillers came to be, and their operations today. Much of it is necessary background for what follows. There’s lots to cover here, so I won’t be reviewing material given in Part... Continue Reading →

Demerara Distillers Ltd – Part One

In Roald Dahl’s classic book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the plot hinges upon a handful of golden tickets tucked into chocolate bars, granting undreamed-of access to a mysteriously magical candy factory. That story came to mind one day as I scanned a newly arrived email—my own golden ticket! But rather than an invitation to... Continue Reading →

Don Q Deep Dive

In the annals of rum history, Puerto Rico often gets short shrift. While the stories of Barbados, Jamaica, and Martinique rums are well trod ground for writers, Puerto Rico’s rum story is far less known despite being today’s largest producer of Caribbean rum. One reason for the lack of attention among enthusiasts is that the... Continue Reading →

Talking Rum with DDL’s Sharon Sue-Hang

In September 2019, Demerara Distillers Ltd (aka DDL) brought me to Guyana to tour their facilities and meet key members of their staff. I came away with many things to share, which I’ll spread out over several stories. While there, I conducted several interviews. The first one was with Sharon Sue-Hang, Director of Quality Assurance... Continue Reading →

Alexandre Gabriel – On the Record

One of my favorite things about writing Cocktail Wonk is the opportunity to sit down with key people in the rum industry and go deep with geeky questions of interest to rum enthusiasts. Without any space constraints, I can let them really elucidate their unique perspectives. While these interviews are long, you really get a... Continue Reading →

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