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 →

Is “Minimalist Tiki” an Oxymoron?

Tiki drinks, by their very nature, lends themselves to excess. Why use one rum when you can use three?  A tasteful, simple lime wedge garnish? That simply won’t do! Not when you can layer together pineapple fronds, mint, a swizzle stick, and perhaps a flaming lime shell for good measure. Indeed, short of molecular mixology,... 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 →

Cocktail Wonk Top Ten Stories of 2019

It’s time once again for my year-end roundup of the most important Cocktail Wonk stories of the year - 2019 Edition! Despite my lest frequent posting in 2019, it was an extremely busy year, and my first full year focusing entirely on writing, education, and research. No pesky software job to keep me away from... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

Rocky Yeh – A Legend Passes

Heartbreak. Rocky Yeh is suddenly gone, leaving an entire industry struggling with how to process his life and his impact on so many people. Although I first met Rocky six years ago, it was only the last year I really got to know him. To sit with him 1-on-1, tell stories, strategize, and muse on... Continue Reading →

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