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 sense of what the interviewee is all about, at least with regards to rum.

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Great Cringe-Free Gifts for Rum Enthusiasts

Picking out a gift for a friend or family member who loves rum, but you’re not a rum expert yourself? This short guide has your dilemma in mind!

In what follows, you’ll find concrete recommendations for readily available rums that have a much greater chance of delighting the giftee. I can’t promise you that every bottle will be the perfect selection for the recipient, but by following these recommendations you’ll have a much lower chance of them slapping their forehead in dismay after your departure.

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Setting the Record Straight on British Navy Rum

History presents a special challenge to those writing it or seeking knowledge from its pages: It constantly changes underneath your feet. Facts we once believed to be true may be contradicted later by later-arriving sources. Reasonable assumptions made about one era may not apply to another. New sources come to light which recast conclusions made by prior sources.

I’ve seen this firsthand when it comes to British Navy rum, a topic I’ve dug deeply into over the past year. Its stories are popular with rum enthusiasts and even make it into the mainstream press on occasion. Unfortunately, these stories mutate over time and become factually incorrect, much like the children’s game of “telephone.” And once a less-than-accurate narrative is released into the wild, it’s particularly difficult to stamp it out.

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The Montanya Files: Wonking Out with Karen Hoskin

The American craft rum scene is blessed with several high profile women at the helm of the company. Having started Montanya Distillers eleven years ago, Karen Hoskin is legitimately a pioneer among them. I recently sat down with her in San Francisco, on the day before the 2019 California Rum Festival. Over the course of an hour, we had a fantastic and enlightening discussion.

We went deep on a number of topics, including the emerging identify of American Rum and what’s holding it back, why she makes a “low ester” rum, the challenges and benefits of making rum at high altitude as compared to the Caribbean, a deep dive into how Montanya’s source materials are made, the debates in the rum community about authenticity, how improved labelling may be better than categorization, and what Constellation Brand’s investment in Montanya means for her. Plus, a whole lot more!

With no word count dangling over our heads, Karen could really explain her thoughts in detail, rather than compressing everything into a one paragraph answer. While this interview may be a little longer than you’re used to, you’ll come away with a much deeper understanding of what Karen and Montanya are about.

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