Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Musings - Plans, Drinks, Fun

Spirit Tasting
Planning and scope of the Spirits Tasting (Sept 28 2013) is still underway. We will have quite the variety of Rums to taste. Some new ones arriving every day! Thanks you to the distillers who have sent or already supplied Rum for us to taste (and add to Rum Ratings). I will list all the rums and their distillers as time approaches...

Distilleries that Sell Online or Have an Online Availability
A painstaking process. The first pass is not completed (I am lazy, I know...) but after that further research will be made (watch out Distillers expect email from me!) to ascertain availability. So many laws and rules about what can or can not be done in one state or another.... It would make ME dizzy (Dizzier? More like it)

Rum Drinks for the Weekend!
With this being the Labor Day Weekend, I felt compelled to list three of my favorite rum drinks. All three are classic (I think the Cuba Libre is my all-time - Simple, flavorful and fun! But NEVER forget the lime!)
In celebration -- No Blog Monday -- See you Wednesday!!

Classic Cuba Libre

4 ice cubes
2 fluid ounces rum
4 fluid ounces cola
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
Fill a 12-ounce glass with ice cubes. Pour the rum and cola beverage into the glass. Stir in the lime juice, and serve.


1/2 teaspoon confectioner's sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
1 sprig fresh mint, crushed
1/2 cup crushed ice
2 fluid ounces white rum
4 fluid ounces carbonated water
1 sprig fresh mint, garnish
In a highball glass, stir together the confectioners' sugar and lime juice. Bruise the mint leaves and drop into glass. Fill glass with crushed ice and pour in rum. Pour in carbonated water to fill the glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint.


The Perfect Mai Tai

2 cups light rum
1 cup dark rum
1 cup 151 proof rum
1 cup orange curacao (orange flavored liqueur)
1 cup almond flavored syrup
1 cup simple syrup
10 limes, juiced
1/2 gallon fresh orange juice
In a large jar or drink cooler, combine the light rum, dark rum, 151 rum, orange liqueur, almond syrup, simple syrup, and lime juice. Stir and top off with orange juice. Do not use grenadine if you want the true Mai Tai! Serve in 8 to 12 ounce glasses with ice.

RUM, n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers.
Ambrose Bierce

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Working on the Blogsite and Gearing up for Spirit Taste 2013!

Hello fellow #Rumlovers.
Yeah I know it's a hashtag -- and one in use by many lovers of rum on Twitter. But I used it to show that we are growing as a Twitter presence, I try to use #RTRR on all my tweets now and of course we are @Rick_Rum_Runner if you want us to really see your tweet. I am SO behind how it all works -- but you can follow us and get updates on our posts, as well as comments and other unsolicited murmurings.

We have a Facebook presence (American Made Rum) as well, please visit us there and click the LIKE button.
The Facebook page is a great way to read about what many of the distillers are doing, plans and just a lot of fun. Also, a great source of recipes for rum drinks (and many others as our Distillers are a talented bunch and rum is just part of their offerings).

Our Appearance at and DrinkWire 
This is very exciting. You can see the presence of our Contributor Badge. This means every blog I post here is also exposed to their large audience, getting us more readers and making more Distillers aware of us. Good stuff. Please visit there and read us and other great bloggers, writers, authors, even bartenders writing about fun stuff and passing on information that you may want.... Oh and make sure you click on the articles you've read (don't forget us!) so they know you like the input!

Internet Sales
This has just started. I think we may have been up to Connecticut the last time I looked so it IS happening. We are adding a notation to all Distillers that offer internet sales we will use the symbol -> *I* This will indicate Internet sales. Now we are not infallible, but we hope we get everyone right. Distillers -- PLEASE feel free to send me the correct info - if your product(s) is (are) available over the net. This would include the availability to by directly from your site and ability to buy from distributors who DO sell on the internet. I want to get it right and help you be available. I want to be the place people go when they want to know about Craft Distilled Rum, so I want to get it right!

Spirit Taste 2013
What stared as a tasting for a few friends and family has grown. We hope to have a group of people, some rum lovers, others wanting to learn, some just curious; tasting as many Rums (and a few other spirits we have accumulated) as we have in-house. I am very gratified that we have received very positive support from Distillers in our venture, we took our first delivery of Rum samples from a fine Distiller (I will give out more information as time comes closer) and we have heard from MANY just asking for an address and sharing their enthusiasm to help... Believe me I really appreciate it and hope this grows!!

I will keep everyone up to date and will report as we continue.
More later...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wrapping Up August

Seems like so much time has slipped by so quickly! Here at RTRR we have begun to plan our Spirit Tasting to take place Sept 28. I have a good supply of Rum and a few other spirits I have gathered from Distillers we know and have visited. I have had some positive reaction to a plea to Distillers to send samples for us to taste and comment. While reading comments and notes from various Distillers, a new idea popped into my head:
We need to identify Distillers that have online selling. Now there are few lines I need to add to the web which I have fallen into. What about those who have distribution that is outside their State and may include your?? Hmmm? 
See this came about from more than one Distiller that was very positive about what we do here at RTRR, but since they have limited distribution say local or only state-wide, they really felt it was not in their best interest to be included in the tasting. I can see their point. Face it I'd love for everyone to send me free booze -- but I can see their point if the limited audience to this site along with a distribution that may not leave their establishment let alone their state, really is not going to help them. So yeah -- I totally understand.
BUT(a big But)

Many Distillers distribute beyond their states (and within the states that sometimes are pretty darned BIG) and some can and do have an online sales position. Now the online sales kind of fit into my lifestyle so well. And the easiest way for most of us to buy. Face it, to sit here and click onto a Distillery some 1700 miles away and punch a button or two to get some eye-rolling, lip-smacking - glass-licking rum is well worth the shipping costs. Now, if it is distributed to my state and is less than an hours drive... OK we can buy it! Or if my local Binny's will order and get it for me... LOVING IT! So we need to make it known that it is very important that you -- That's you, yeah you the one reading this and wondering how many tastes I have had already (none of your business friend), and have that quizzical look on your face, that you GO TO THE WEBSITE. See most of the Distillers have a tab that says WHERE TO BUY OUR PRODUCT, or some similarly worded statement. This will tell you if they have an on-line option - a local store (local for you) or some other method to get that bottle to you and into a glass very near you soon. For now and for the ease of us who don't want to risk drinking and driving (yeah sometimes buying a new rum -- driving home with it in the car -- is sometimes like driving home with burgers and fries....) Thankfully, we can't SMELL the rum like the fried potatoes but oh... if we could.... I digress
Woman love for Rum, it's a beautiful thing
I can list if the Distiller has an online store by changing the color of their listing! That way you can spot the online ones to explore a new rum taste from a far location - brought directly into your Rum Tasting Room... Sigh.. Paradise. It is my job -- no, MY DUTY; to make sure you, the appreciative lover of fine rum is made aware of the easiest path to said elixir.
So I -- Rick The Rum Runner (#RTRR) have a new task and you all have a new duty -- LOOK at my listings of distillers and watch the colors change!! Hey -- check out the Distillers before you vacation - and see which ones you can stop into visit - I'm telling you -- It is a good time and a great way to expand you Rum Horizons! But now know which ones you can order directly from!
Till Wednesday! I Remain

Friday, August 23, 2013

Let's talk - Rock Town Distillery

I was looking at Twitter and exploring distillers that were unfamiliar to me. I came upon Rock Town Distillery. So we have exchanged some email and I have installed them into our list of places to visit (over on the left of this blog - please click and visit or representative Distilleries there). I think today is a great day to explore their site....

Riverboat Rum
Their rum, aptly named, sounds intriguing. If I read correctly - they use Brown Sugar rather than molassas. This makes for a nice taste and, as they mention, a distinct vanilla. The whiskey barrels will add some flavors and a nice nose as well. I would love to wrap my tongue around a taste of this and report back to you. Let's let their site describe this rum to us:
"Riverboat Rum is slowly distilled from premium dark brown sugar in our copper potstill. Aged in used whiskey casks and then filtered to a clear beautiful spirit.
Riverboat Rum is full of character, exceptional smooth, light bodied spirit. On the nose it has delicate notes of vanilla and brown sugar, on the palate it is rounded with vanilla and spice.
Riverboat Rum is smooth and mixable, just like riding on a Riverboat. Perfect for a Mojito, Daiquiri or a Riverboat and Coke.
Take a ride on the river, Riverboat Rum."

They have open tours and the Distillery sounds and looks like a nice place to visit.  
Lastly I add a video --- All pictures and this video are from Rock Town Distillery's website.
Go there -- visit the site and the distillery -- Try their products (read Rum) and tell them you heard about them here, at:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Spirits Tasting at the Rum Cave

 (Our taste Mistress)


With the travel I have done and the rums I have tasted and now have on hand, I have decided to have an informal, yet hopefully informative tasting here at my home (the Rum Cave). We have a pretty good variety to try already and it is in the works to expand that as well. Things are still rather tentative and somewhat nebulous but it should work like this:
We will have a pretty large group of friends and family in late September, gather here and both taste and comment on the different rums. There will not be a winner or loser just some commentary about the rums. I have been approached by family members and a few friends that they haven't tasted rums to -- well -- taste rum. Considering the general lack of knowledge of rums beyond the few we often think of, I felt that this would be more of an education and an experience with friends and relatives and with their comments passed on to you, the reader, and fellow drinker. If this works out -- who knows we could move forward from there!
I will, of course supply written word, lots of pictures and hopefully, video. I think this multimedia presentation should be pretty fun and educational to read, see and watch. I am open to ideas that any of you might have and we will tell more as the time approaches!
To distillers that are reading this, if you'd like to have us include you -- please contact me to get information on getting product to us... And thank you! Thank you for helping and for expanding my knowledge of American Made Rum and passing it on to others!

More as we go forward.
Friday we look at Rock Town Distillery in detail... Don't miss it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

We Welcome a New Distiller -- And other stuff

The week begins with a pleasant discovery:

Welcome to the list, Rock Town Distillery! For those of you who may be a bit new (more further into the post as to why some of you would be new) the colorful list to the left of these posts, of cool sounding places is, in fact, a list of cool places! let's explore:


A pretty self explanatory title, it is such a list. Next:

RUM RATINGS. This is a live link to This is where I put all my personal tastings of all the rums I have had the opportunity taste. Because most of the rums I taste are somewhat unknown (and it's my job to reverse that) outside a relatively small area there is often a long delay from when I write about my tasting and its appearance in Rum Ratings. Please though feel free not only to visit there but join in on teh fun and start stocking your rum shelf and rate your rums!

 American Made Rum -- The Facebook Page... (Like Us!)

You click that link and are brought to our Facebook page, American Made Rum. Please stop by and like us. OK I know some of us are not into Facebook as much as others but when you are asked to "like" a page -- we don't mean clicking the the little "Like" next to the Comment and Share spots under a post. It is very nice that you may like a post and are more than encouraged to click that like. But the Like I need you to click, is near the top of the page under the heading and banner picture -- it shows LIKE enclosed in a box with a check mark next to it. That Likes the page and helps our visibility in Facebook, helping us get even more participation. So please stop by and LIKE the page -- Thank you so much!!

So the next heading is: 

By State (Distiller's name is link - click to open)

This is the list of every known small Distiller in the US that produces a rum. They are listed by state and are live links to every one of them. If you are a Distiller or know of a small distiller of craft Rum -- Please let us know - send us a link Email

So while looking through posts at American Made Rum and Twitter (@Rick_Rum_Runner), I found Rock Town Distillery -- so to them I say a hearty welcome! To my readers - please check them out (hint -- they are in Arkansas and on my list, plus most mentions of their name is a live link!). I will be getting back to you about them very soon!

Why so many new readers?

Earlier I mentioned I'd talk about why so many of you might be new readers. Well RTRR is now published on in the DrinkWire section which is from contributing blogs. Well we are now contributing! Since this has started, our already satisfying readership has grown. So make sure if you are not aware of -- pay a visit there as there is a WEALTH of information about all types of liquor and many articles, recipes for fine drinks and just a bunch of great writing!


Coming Soon.....

Next we talk about a Spirits tasting party at the Rum Runners home.... Tune in here Wednesday!



Friday, August 16, 2013

Ugly Dog Distillery & Big Cedar Distillery

Excited about these two Distilleries -- And we will get to the story as we go, but first this announcement! It is Friday and it nearly is:

September 20 is National Rum Punch Day and this recipe is from a local Liquor Store. Sounds great -- may give it a try! I LOVE rum punch...! We can practice for the day!

Rum Punch
Ingredients for 12 drinks

4oz of fresh lemon juice
4oz of fresh orange juice
4oz simple syrup
3lemons quartered
1orange quartered
1/2 Tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks broken
12 oz boiling water
8oz of light rum
8oz of dark rum
4oz of orange curaçao

In a container, mash the lemons, orange, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add syrup, lemon and orange juice. Pour the boiling water over the mixture. Let it cool. Strain out the solids. Heat the juice mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool and refrigerate overnight.

In a punch bowl, combine the juice and spice mixture(approximately 24 oz), light and dark rums, and the rum liquor.
Serve the punch over ice with some orange and lemon wheels.
Top with grated nutmeg and cinnamon.


Let's talk Rum Tour
In our efforts to find and taste as many Rums made in the US as possible, we did our homework and tried to fit in as many as we could. We were excited to include these last two as part of the return home. I am very glad we did!

Ugly Dog Distillery


Ah-h-h-h Taste testing..
As I had mentioned in my first report; made it here on the skin of our teeth! We were greeted by Dewey, one of the owners, and his son, Austin. They had spend a long day bottling and were ready to head home. That did not matter. Dewey is a great guy and a great businessman. He took the time to tell the story of Ugly Dog and as in so many before, the idea and business was born from a series of conversations. A great group of friends, Jon Dyer  and Dewey Winkle included, would meet for cards or fishing/hunting trips and while together they'd treat themselves to cigars, fine foods (served on china in fine table settings in the most rural of conditions, these guys know how to live!) and spirits. Since they each tried to out-do past presentations the subject of the drinks came up. Bet you can't guess what happened next! Rugar, their dog, was chosen as mascot and name for the Distillery. Yes that is a real dog and really, Ugly? Not really - pretty cute in person and friendly. It took 15 seconds for him to lay on the couch in the Distillery tasting room and put his head in my lap - looking for scritches.
After a talk, and with interruptions for customers (now well past closing time), Dewey introduced me to their line of spirits and their rum.
Almost apologetically, he said their rum was in white only and was more "the mixer type" comparing it to some of the mass marketed white (crystal, clear, etc, etc) rums. He poured me a sample. I checked the aromas. I found them light, sweet. The cane was in the menu with only the slightest of caramel whisping in the background. A taste: Subtle, light with a nice alcohol "bite", at 80 proof a very nice flavor definitely sweet, more a sugar flavor. Yes, this is a very, very good mixing rum. I agree that this (most whites really) is not a rocks drink for everyone. But to compare it to mass-marketed rums -- no sir-ee, this is quality, smooth and could easily be a sipping rum. Guys, be very proud of your rum!
Ugly Dog offers other spirits as well. Their vodkas are very sought after by locals (we witnessed many sales as we chatted and sipped, literally an hour after closing) and their bacon flavor vodka (yes not a typo) is a great mixer with a Bloody Mary. Bacon, lettuce and tomato anyone??
Ugly Dog is still a work in progress (aren't they all?) and they are constantly tweaking and improving. I can see continued success and and expansion into a wider market and audience. Great job guys!
The Rick The Rum Runner decision? Yes, great people (nice dog) - great Spirits and a very good addition to your bar. Don't let the Ugly Dog escape!


Big Cedar Distilling

Here is a tale of success being restricted. We drove to Sturgis, Michigan to find Big Cedar Distillery. The GPS guided us to a driveway at a home. I went to the door and was directed to a driveway back at the end of the property and a Tasting Shed/Distillery at the rear. Seems they have outgrown their current place and were looking to escape some restrictive business practices at this locale.
Almost empty!
We were told that we were there on their first day after they were to be shut down. They still had stock and they were not to be closed "forever" but were in need of newer, bigger digs. I was able to taste their rums and was impressed.

Flavor infusion
Castaway Rum: Light - white and a very good mixing rum. Aroma of molasses was minor with more sugar and vanilla. Taste was light as well. An "unobtrusive" rum but with good flavor. 
Plans to age it are in the works. I think this will age well, and be a light alternative to some of the heavily aged rums out there. These tend to be great alone and mixed with ingredients that let the smokey, woody goodness through.  The picture shows an "Aging Stick" which is put in the rum to infuse the cask aging. It is an innovative way of imparting flavor.

Castaway Spiced: The spiced rum was very good. As with many good spiced rums, this can easily stand alone. the spice aroma and flavors are homogenized and treat the taste-buds. This has a very bright future.
I hope they expand and grow with a new location and greater marketing opportunities. Please guys - keep us in the loop, we want to follow your re-emergence!

Read our posts here along with MORE!
Heads up to all the Distillers that read here -- We are talking about having a "Spirit" night (Think Halloween) here at the Rum Runners Shack. If you'd like us to sample and comment (written and video are in the works) please feel free to make sure we have some of your rum on hand. If you need information - email me!

As usual I am so happy to be:

Don't forget to visit us at our Facebook page American Made Rum. Please stop by and click the LIKE button!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In Search of Michigan Rum -- Mission Table and Grand Traverse Distillery

Mission Table - Civilized Spirits

I love driving the peninsulas of Grand Traverse Bay and now we are in search of rum! This stop (one of two this blog) is at Mission Table. To call it just a Distillery is wrong; it is a Restaurant, Inn, Brewery and Distillery.
The place is set in the Mission Peninsula of Grand Traverse Bay. The sight-lines, scenery and surrounding are very eye-appealing. We found a place to park (seemed to be a roomy lot as lunch was being served and the outdoor seating was quite filled) and were directed to the door leading to the tasting room. The room is set in the Restaurant building and the people are very nice. I sauntered up and got a tasting of their rum. I saw only the white rum - finding out later that they had a spiced as well... Sorry, my fault (great excuse to go back!). It was a bit crowded and beyond a few questions, we really did not get to chat too much. As I always say - missed opportunities lake that just make it more fun to return.
The Old Mission Premium Rum was quite good. The nose was familiar and had the molasses edge. The taste had a decided buzz at the tongue but a good mixing rum for all your cocktail needs. It is a shame I missed the Spiced. I plan to contact them soon and see if I can get a sample post-haste... I'll keep you all informed!
My complete rum Tasting is listed on as usual. Please go there to see my review of Old Mission Rum as well as my taste reviews of every rum I taste on that site. In fact please join me as a member and post your own tastes and comments!

Grand Traverse Distilling 

The last stop on this leg of our Michigan journey was pretty much predestined. Both my wife and I have been fans of Grand Traverse Distillery for some time. They have amazing Vodkas and their whiskeys are premium not just in name. For us the Cherry Vodka is a sinful dessert drink -- even a great topping for vanilla ice cream... When you open the bottle the entire room is filled with the rich bouquet of cherries.. Yes..!


This is not a Vodka blog and Grand Traverse Distillery has had on their website - for some time - this disclaimer RUM. Right, unless their Rum is named Coming Soon, still no rum for us.... Sigh. Even stopped by the Traverse City Distillery to double check, but alas... The rum is gone, er, has never been there. I will be staying in contact though encouraging them to jump in, the drinking is fun!

So --- we have a few more distilleries to visit in Michigan -- please come back soon and read all about it --- Feel free to subscribe by email -- so you don't miss a single blog.

I am Rick the Rum Runner
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Way North in Michigan - Northern Latitudes

Many of you know the base of Distillers who are starting, or adding, Rum to their product line is growing. Very often rum is just one (or two-three) product in an offering of what could be 20 - 30 other spirits. That's good, that means the distiller has vision, knows that a varied customer base is a good thing and, that his base will change as their palettes grow to include more, different and exciting changes. Still, one has to begin. Such is the case of this Distiller. He has a fine list of product an talent and dedication to the Distillation and is willing to share those things and a great personality too.... 
It brings us too:
Northern Latitudes Distillery
We found the distillery easily via GPS. I think we got there about 35 seconds after they opened and were immediately greeted by Mark Moseler. In the rum trade -- He 'da man. Mark is the Master Distiller and he and his wife, Mandy, own Northern Latitudes. 
The place is a cozy tasting room and full service bar using the entire list of their own products. Make sure you explore their link and drool. I know I do. They had just started up in 2012, around October. I remember being in the Traverse City area last year in early August and seeing a listing for them, but it would have been too early.The wait was worth it.
I like the idea of having a bar as well as simple tasting room. It allows you to explore some of the tempting mixes that not only a Manitou Passage Rum but many of their other fabulous spirits offered. Take for instance Horse Radish Flavored Vodka...... HUH? Yeah, but Mark, sparkle in his eye, says, "Bloody Mary." Suddenly, a sample of vodka is mixed with their Blood Mary mix, I sip and ....... Oh yeah. I am not even a big fan of Bloody Marys and wow. That is how this place will surprise you!

So, on to the rum. Manitou Passage Rum is a white, proud of its Blackstrap Molasses raw materials and with a real nice sip. The nose is sweet, molasses, very light vanilla and I catch just plain sugar. Nice. But, as a white, this is waiting to be mixed. This would be great with Coke (I tried it with Coke Zero) but please don't let me stop you. I likes the caramel outburst white the cola. This rum is at home in any mixed drink - what ever it may be. As usual, a full taste/rating is written at, it may be a few days before it gets posted as this product is new so the webmaster has to add it after I send the information to him. But please feel free to look at all my ratings and join in too!
Starting out early that day, we had other stops and Mark, Mandy and everyone at Northern Latitudes Distillery were so much fun and so passionate about their Spirits that this is a definite Rick the Rum Runner recommendation. If you plan to be in the Lelanau Peninsula of Michigan -- do not pass up the opportunity to stop, visit and try their products.I know we will!
As usual, Rick the Rum Runner reminds you that you must be legal drinking age and if driving; make sure you have a designated driver. Until next time I am happy to remain --

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