In the spirits world, Geographical Indications, or GI for those who are conserving syllables, have recently been in the forefront of many nerdy conversations. This is especially true in the rum community. I’ve written extensively about certain rum-related GIs and have noticed that there’s a lot of confusion about what a GI is—and what it is not—as well as what it accomplishes.Continue reading “Geographic Indication Fast Facts”
The “Wonk” in Cocktail Wonk refers to digging deep to understand as much as possible about spirits and cocktails. Many of the stories here involve the chemistry of aging, as well as the different elements in a spirit – water, ethanol, and other compounds such as esters, aldehydes and higher (heavier) alcohols. It’s these compounds that give spirits their aroma flavor. Each spirit has its own ratios of these compounds, thus making that spirit taste different than any other spirit. The set of aromatic compounds in a spirit are impacted by many processes, including fermentation, distillation, and barrel aging.Continue reading “Privateer Rum’s Maggie Campbell on Barrel Aging Science – Tropical or Otherwise”
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?”
When it comes to whiskey, most imbibers assume that categories like bourbon, single malt Scotch and Irish whiskey have been around since the dawn of time. However, the official, legal recognition of these categories is a relatively recent phenomenon. If you were to go back to 1950 to survey the global whiskey market, you wouldn’t find single malt Scotch whisky for sale. However, you might be surprised to find Mexican and Canadian “bourbon” on the shelf.
One of the joys of my jumping headlong into the world of distilled spirits is meeting highly educated and passionate people who change your perspective and point out rabbit holes you didn’t know existed. One such example was this past October, when I had the pleasure of meeting Nicholas King of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Nicholas and I were on the same ACSA judging panel for American whiskies. Fancy me, a rum-fixated writer judging whiskey!