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 a candy factory, I’d soon be wandering through hallowed ground in the rum world.

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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 at DDL. Among Sharon’s many tasks is overseeing the blending for DDL’s many rums.

We talked about the challenges of managing so many different distillates for a wide product line, how limited releases impact things, DDL’s use of caramel over the years, her personal preferences in rum, and many other topics.

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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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