There’s no shortage of rum listicles lately. Rum is a hot
topic du jour and publications push them out with abandon: “Nine Rums I Found at
My Local Bar” or “Seven Rums Too Expensive for You.”
All too frequently these stories elicit groans from rum
enthusiasts, because the author only dabbles in rum, thus providing well-intentioned
but often misguided recommendations. Equally wince-inducing are lists without a
unifying theme, or those that rely on outdated
and discredited rum categories such as silver, gold, and dark.
Yes, I cast a suspicious eye toward most rum listicles,
preferring a more nuanced approach to rum writing. Yet here I am with a rum
list of my own. What gives? And why is my list any better? Continue reading “The Cocktail Wonk Comprehensive Caribbean Rum Tour: Bottles $45 or Less”
Among Jamaican rum aficionados, two names hold almost
mythical allure: Plummer and Wedderburn. They’re known as old, obsolete Jamaican
rum marques from a glorious time when all Jamaican rums were chock-full of
funky flavors and hogo.
The main reason most aficionados know these names today is thanks
to Smith & Cross, the gateway Jamaican rum for many people. Its dark blue label
proudly declares, “PURE POT STILL – PLUMMER & WEDDERBURN.”
Classic Rum and Velier have issued rums
labeled as VRW – Vale Royale Wedderburn. Undoubtedly, the Wedderburn name is
still out there in common use.
But what exactly do “Plummer” and “Wedderburn” mean? Continue reading “Unraveling Plummer and Wedderburn Rums”
Telling the story of Barbados rum–and of rum itself–is
impossible without referencing Mount Gay. The distillery operations at its
Barbados site are arguably the oldest and longest running in existence.
Spanning nearly four centuries, Mount Gay has something to say about every era
of rum’s existence. Continue reading “Mount Gay – Cornerstone of Caribbean Rum”
In September of 2018, I sat down with Luca Gargano in London
immediately prior to the Rum
Tasting of the Century, celebrating the launch of Hampden Estate’s aged rum.
We had a wide-ranging interview that covered many topics,
resulting in far too much material for a single interview piece. In my Bevvy Ruminations column, I excerpted two portions that cover topics of broad interest to the rum
audience. Be sure to read Part 1 and Part
However, there was plenty of material left over that’s manna
to the more hardcore rum wonks. Topics that are a bit more esoteric and inside
baseball. A lengthy bonus reel, so to speak. I’ve polished it a bit but haven’t added a ton
of explanatory comments to the numerous references Luca makes. In short, this
is raw, very lightly filtered Luca–and he has plenty to say.– Continue reading “The Gargano Files”
It’s an annual Cocktail Wonk tradition to holistically examine
the last twelve month’s writings and pick the ten stories most deserving of
highlighting and after-the-fact commentary. Continue reading “The Cocktail Wonk Top Ten Stories of 2018”
A recently published “Rum 101” article caught my attention because it asserted rum can be made from sugar beets, as well as from sugar cane. This is simply not the case. While you can certainly make a distilled spirit using sugar beets, the end product is not a rum–just as a distilled spirit made from malted barley can’t be a rum, no matter how hard someone might wish it to be.
While sugar plays part of rum production (and actually, part of all spirits production), the real story is a tad more complicated than most people realize. So, let’s get just a bit geeky and clear up some misconceptions about rum and sugar. Continue reading “Is Rum Made From Sugar or Not?”