Monday, September 30, 2013

From Friday, Tailwinds Pairings - First Impressions

As mentioned here earlier, Chicago's Craft Spirits week was celebrated just this last week. I managed to join in by heading out to Oak Forest and enjoy a Rum Food Pairing at The Blarney Stone Pub. This is a quick reporting of what happened, filling in with large coverage later.
Let me mention the Tailwinds was the first Rum Distiller I visited in person and the second Craft Rum I had tasted. In addition, it helped me consolidate the whole American Made Rum identity possible and complete in my mind. As busy as they have been this last year, it was nice to connect with Tailwinds and renew our connection.

Cooking using Rum as an ingredient and/or paired with foods is a growing phenom and I had hoped a fun one as well. I was not disappointed at any point. Also, a few Rum drinks were offered so I had to try those as well.

Let me give you a hook here and say the following:
1. Pork Sliders with Rum -- Yeah baby
2. BBQ Rib Tips paired with Rum -- Wear a bib when I describe this one
3. A little Black Magic that brings out the natural marriage for coffee Rum and makes a winter Rum drink, warming and fun!
4. Rum drinks too sweet? - As discussed here last week, not so fast lil Runner. A refreshing, not so sweet summer Rum Drink ....

When I left, Jamey was handling the crowds well and Tailwinds was getting many Thumbs up for the Rum..  We will have bigger better Wednesday and Friday -- watch for videos too!!!
Updates on Spirit Tasting 2013 Next time!

We will talk more -- Wednesday!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Speaking of Rum, Sugar, Food and Stuff

I can't tell you how many times I pour a sample of rum for someone and they say, "It isn't sweet. I thought all rums were so sweet." Well, Grasshopper, while Rum is made from sugar (or sugar like sources - molasses, cane juice etc. I have heard of Sugar Beet juice being used as well as Sorghum. The latter I have tasted and found it makes a damned good rum, although legally they can CALL it Rum, Mississippi River Distilling does a great job. They have a variety of spirits and Rum is only a Seasonal, not even all-the-time offering, so I feel pretty lucky to have a bottle!

Rum, when it is thoroughly distilled, has no discernible sugar in it. I often talk about a sweetness or a molasses flavor, even a sugar, burnt sugar tang. Well, I'm lying.
Kidding. It's hard to describe but sweet is a flavor as well as a state of being. Most of the time the sweetness is an after-taste or develops in the mouth long after you'd detect actual sugar. Smell also plays a part. Many aged rums have some of the sweetest aromas. Using Richland Rum as an example -- You pop the cork on this rum and the room is filled with so much butterscotch, caramel perfume that you'd think the liquid would be sweet enough to make your cavities ache. Wrong. I'd compare the flavor to many aged spirits coming from a barrel, smokey, floral, crispness and -- a sweetness that rum only can claim -- but as an aftertaste like your tongue recalls the root of that aroma, Cane Juice.
When all is said and done. Rum can taste sweet, but only if sugar (or any sweetener) is added after distillation. Yes some distiller do add it and sometimes the sweetness IS tasted that way. Adding sweetener is not a bad thing, it is just like adding seasoning to a dish. It is an additive (albeit a very natural one) but added by desire from the distiller.
The biggest reason why most people think Rum is sweet is because a majority of drink made with rum tend to be sweet. Also, the addition to sweet mixes seems to fire up or almost multiply the sweetness of a rum flavor. For instance, many dark rums lose much, if not all of their caramel flavor. When added to a sweet mix of say... cola; which is caramel flavor based -- BINGO it multiplies that same caramel flavor (really try this. its fun). Putting a Coffee infused Rum into say a Piña Colada invents a totally different drink! The coffee suddenly morphs (partially) into having a chocolate undertone! The sweetness of the drink actually diminishes a bit and subtler, deeper flavors leap out.
So, don't be afraid of rum if you fear sweetness. In fact, Rum in most cases has less calories that many spirits save vodka...

Til Next time..
Oh -- Look for my blog on Rum and Food pairings. I am headed out to a tasting Friday -- so you should hear all about it - NEXT WEEK!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Center of The Week! Updates!

Had a great response to our updates so we continue.

Seems Our Twitter account, @Rick_Rum_Runner, has been percolating and attracting new followers (and new follows for me). I neglected to welcome another Twitter follower --- The Rum Trader @therumtrader. Sounds like a good follow for my faithful, so please, follow when ready! Their description; "Rum lover who's endlessly searching for Uncharted, Micro-distilled, or Macro-distilled rums." Sounds right to the point and a great point it is!

Prep-work for Spirit Taste 2013 continues so we will update you on that when things change. I have to make comment cards and think about staging, set-up; all that stuff...

Tailwinds Distillery, a local Rum maker is having a Rum Pairing gathering at a local pub (The Blarney Stone) this Friday. I intend on being there so watch out for info and content from there. Who knows I may even try a video!!

As the weather changes, I hope to have more time to update the blog-site. I have to search out some new Distillers and finish the internet access index for our Distillers of record. 

Have a great Hum..... no; Not gonna say it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Birtday Plans & New Twitter Followers of Note

I can't recall where/when I got the idea (brilliant/stupid you choose) to have a Spirit Taste and for some reason tie it into The Fall, October, Halloween etc.... Today as I was drawing up the invites (If you'd like to come just email me and we can try to set you up!) and trying to keep the number under 50, It hit me. #1 Town-home living does not afford a lot of guest space. #2 RTRR will be 1 year old October 28th! Literally, two days after Spirit Taste 2013! So I got that working for me...
So far we have now sent out the invites, planned the tasting (and the social hours to follow) and even put together a bit of food and snack plan as well. I want to make it informative, fun, tasty, fun and expand everyone's' palette a bit (and have fun).

Contacts continue to grow and I hope in a mutually beneficial way. I have as a Twitter follower and to whom I also follow SippingRums @SippingRum whose intro says: "I am a new convert to aged sipping rums vs. my usual scotch, cognac or bourbon. I hope to share my beverage of choice with great people like you!" So we are thinking cross linking etc etc... but in the meantime include SR in your rum tweets! Also, The Rum Log @RumLog and his intro: "Rum … pirate or parrot head, historian or connoisseur; if you have an appreciation for rum, join Steve Orne and The Rum Log and explore all things rum. Cheers!" Again include @RumLog in your tweets and enjoy even more rum news!!
Good time to let you know -- Add us on you Twitter account as well -- @Rick_Rum_Runner, make sure you visit our Facebook page (And please like it!) 
We are always looking for things rum related. Can't say we use everything but we love looking, reading and tasting it...

Happy Monday.. Remember without Mondays, there would be no time to think about the last weekend.
Go Bears!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

News & Stuff from around the Rum Barrel

Striped Pig (Love that name!) has notified me that they are sending a sample in time for the Spirit Taste 2013. I will hopefully get a chance to taste it before that day and register it here. The date has been locked for October 26th (about 3PM, but still in the planning stage) playing nicely into the "Spirits" thing. I am having a gathering (we hope for 20-30 people) to try out a taste of these rums and hopefully spread the word. So many times I have asked about craft rum at a restaurant or bar and get blank stares. I want to see if we can spread the word a bit and get some exposure to the people who can offer these rums to those who might like. However, I want to practice the whole "taste" thing so am starting with a small group, friends, family neighbors etc that have expressed interest. Then we can move onto the people who can really offer these fine beverages to the public. My dream is to get it into the "Brew & Vine Festival (we need to work spirits into there)" that has grown SO large, that it attracts businesses and crowds from all around the Chicagoland area. I don't need to tell you that is a LOT of people.
Again if you are reading this and would like to attend -- please drop me an email and I'll get right back to you. It will be just a little presentation - the tastings and ratings as well as some comments on video if you wish and then we will mostly just mingle.... We figure the tastings to last about 2 hours and we have no idea how long the mingling will last. I know usually once the family gets together we are talking a L-o-n-g night, so who knows!?!

Reaction From Tastings.

It is always great to hear from you and it was real nice to hear from a new distiller (new to me) who sent samples - and had comments about my taste rating. Gotta say, it is some facinating stuff. I'll comment futher after the post below:

Hi Rick,

Thanks for the write up.

I felt I should point out though, that as happy and amazed as you were with the smoothness of our gold rum... it is actually not an aged rum! That smoothness is 100% indicative of the amazing still we are using to produce it (and realistically all of the spirits we produce). The color and vanilla/caramel notes imparted on the rum are a result of exposure to wood, but not in the traditional method of barrel aging. Normally, when tasting an aged rum... you get the barrel first, with oak and vanillin dominating the palate and the molasses/rum actually becomes an afterthought. With our gold rum, however, we purposefully meant to preserve the molasses/rum experience first, in a nod to the special flavor characteristics of the 100% Hawaiian molasses, by adding wood to the rum, instead of adding the rum to wood.. we get the flavor and color extraction from the blend of differently toasted oak, but the rum is all there. it hasnt been evaporated off in aging, nor effected by the concentration of remaining flavor components as a result of the aging process. It makes this gold rum truly unique. Sorry for waxing poetic, but we are very passionate about our creation.. and apparently, very proud as well ;) Cheers Dave Jr, Head Distiller, Essential Spirits Alambic Distilleries 

Thank YOU Dave -- and I have to say what you distillers do to make the rum better is interesting. I recently tasted a rum mad in Michigan (Big Cedar) that used "Oak Sticks" in their process to impart the barrel flavors without the barrel. Yours (Sgt Classick Gold) was especially tasty and if you check my rating at rum ratings -- you'll see; a favorite of mine.
I get a kick out of Distillers thanking me for a write up/review, I get so much enjoyment from doing this that the thanks are all mine. Besides - you're even supplying the booze!

Always looking to share rum stories so please use that email address as much as you'd like!

That's about it for me.. A little hoarse from talking like a pirate all day yesterday..
Oh and one quick vacation story. It took over 60 years for me to visit Disney World (It was fun) and one ride I absolutely HAD to ride was Pirates of the Caribbean! We stood in line (fast-pass so not long at all) I was actually pretty excited as we climbed into the boat and we were launched into The Dark... We got the intro stuff and a need projection onto a waterfall with admonishments for entering the lair. We just started to come upon the first tableau with skeletons on the snow-white beach, a great looking animatronic crab and a seagull.. when the whole thing shuddered to a stop as we slowly rammed the boat ahead of use (who had done the same we saw as had the one before that -- on into the dark...) We sat.... We were told that the ride would restart, a number of times... after 45 minutes, cast members with waders came out, pushed the boats back to where there was a place to get off and we left the ride. Sure we got fast passes to re-ride, but it never stared again that day and we were gone the next.
My Tee-Shirt Idea?
I Broke Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney... What have you done this weekend?

Til next time...

Monday, September 16, 2013

We explore the Visual and Literary Side of Rum

Some notable Rum Quotes -- Feel free to use:

“The first time I played the Masters, I was so nervous I drank a bottle of rum before I teed off. I shot the happiest 83 of my life.”

Chi Chi Rodriguez


“The only way that I could figure they could improve upon Coca-Cola, one of life's most delightful elixirs, which studies prove will heal the sick and occasionally raise the dead, is to put rum ... in it.”

Lewis Grizzard


"It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking rum: the arrival of a friend, one's present or future thirst, the excellence of the wine, or any other reason."



All roads lead to rum.

W. C. Fields




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tasting - Essential Spirits Alambic Distillery, Rums!

Another fine Distiller who sent me a two bottle set for sampling at our Spirit Taste 2013, was Essential Spirits. R. David Classick is the Master Distiller and makes rums under the name Sgt Classick. They offer both a Silver and a Gold.
Please take the time to visit their site and read the fascinating story of both the business and the method used to distill. We try to make each mention of names brands etc a link for your convenience. Their products are available online as well, from the site.

An excerpt:
Hawaiian Rum from San Francisco?
Sgt. Classick gold and silver rums are crafted at a small, family owned and operated distillery in the heart of the San Francisco bay area. "San Francisco?" you ask. "How can you call it Hawaiian rum?"
Sgt. Classick uses 100 percent Hawaiian molasses from the island of Kaua'i. We ship it to San Francisco directly from Hawai'i and take it to our distillery in Mountain View, CA. We use Hetch Hetchy water (among the best water anywhere) in our distilling process as we work diligently to craft what spirits experts and customers call one of the the best rums in North America. Don't just take our word, read some of the reviews we have received. (See Awards/Reviews page.)

They have a historical and professional interest in Rum and have a great educational page (fun stuff to read) as well: Here

Let's have a taste. First, The Silver:
The aroma is sweet, I detect a honey-like bouquet that actually lingers after drawing it in. A caramel is there as well (Always a great addition when cola mixing I have found). The first taste is very, very smooth. My tongue gets a complex sweetness all at once. The sugar (no molasses) lingers in the mouth but is not cloying or heavy - very light. The "buzz" as I call it is very minimal when I sipped - not much alcohol buzz on contact, more instant flavor. The flavor expand and you can pick out a hint of marshmallow? The taste settles into a clean, cool mouth with a dab of caramel on my tongue. While this would be a wonderful mixer - do not pass up its stand-alone taste! I am sure we will have some fans at Spirit Taste 2013!

Now for The Gold:
I find the aroma a bit more subdued. It has a caramel and brown sugar richness. I get a smoke hint as I would expect but very delicate. Taste; has to be a smoothest aged rum I have had. There is a fruitiness to it and just a hint of burned sugar (like the edges of Flan). Again I can't believe it is 80 proof for the mouth buzz is minimal and the flavors are so robust. Here is a wonderful sipping Rum. Character, robust oaken flavors mixed with a sugar crust sweetness that is never heavy but heavenly. The taste stays with you and fades nicely. This too will be a favorite of those looking for a rum that speaks to you. 

There you have it - Two rums from Essential Spirits today and two from Montanya Rums last time. I have to say this blogging rum thing has its advantages. Two distillers two
distinct families of rum. Flavors for all -- I rated Montanya's Oro quite high and the Gold Sgt Classick Rum is a great find as well. Sgt Classick Silver and Montanya's Platino are absolutely delightful. As usual - My rating can be found on and as both of these were already entered you can go there directly, read the ratings and compare with other tasters and PLEASE add yours when you taste!

I will be out of town for part of next week so I will post a fun blog for Monday! In the mean time I am ---

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Taste Montanya Rums!

I announce that we are having a Spirits Tasting (more about that at the end of today's blog) and that I'd LOVE to have distillers send samples so I can provide a great taste to the people coming to my home to sample Craft Rum. Well, lo and behold - Montanya Rum contacts me -- gets the address etc and sends not one but two, not samples but actual bottles of their Rums. Both the Platino (White) and Oro (Golden) rums. Now other Distillers have given us Rum when we visit and they are represented in the Spirit Taste 2013 as well, but since Montanya has not been savored by me (tough job but -- hey - get your own blog) and it might be a while before I get to the High Mountains of Colorado, I figured, why not both thank them and sample the rum too? In fact, Friday will be another rum that sent us samples - so Do Not Miss that day's blog either!

Back to Montanya, First The Platino

Aroma: soft, sweet I get vanilla, perhaps a bit of almost licorice. This is an aged rum (in Oak barrels) so I do get just a hint of almost floral in nature. Crisper than I'd expect, let's taste.
The sweetness happens first, then a very crisp transformation to an almost peppery end. At 80 proof , it has just a pleasing bite up-front. The sweetness tends to stay on the tongue and the edges finish with a dry, clean taste. The aftertaste is slight - I find drier. Very nice indeed. While a great mixer - this Plantino is just a much at home in any glass with a splash, a rock and some time.

Now, let's savor the Oro:

Immediately - the butterscotch is wafting up from the glass. A much more pronounced vanilla is in the air. The initial taste, vanilla for sure, a sweetness that lasts longer. Almost a honey flavor that marries with the smokiness of the Oak. This is a real sipping rum, although I can think of one or two drinks that would benefit from it as a mixer. This is not going to last long behind my bar. A warming drink for teh long Football season just starting!
So there you go. Colorado Rums are in the mix. More of a sugar based rum - but the flavor is there and the diversity of taste is what it is all about!

As usual -- You can find my review (and that of other rum aficionados) at In this case Motanya had been established on the site so I was able to post my rating immediately.
Our thanks to Montanya Rum for making their rum available for tasting and rating. Please visit their website and if you wish - you can ascertain if it is available where you live (they have a wide distributions list and I can be bought online).

Spirit Taste 2013
We have nailed the date. Due to some scheduling commitments we have moved the taste nearly a month later than originally planned. Now October 26 (Saturday) will be the date. We will join this group of rum enthusiasts, rum triers and rum learners (still on a permit), as they try the over 12 varieties of rum we will have available. I hope to gather comments, questions and answers perhaps video and just a bunch of information for you, the rum drinker....

Don't forget -- Friday we feature Essential Spirits and we will taste their Rums here - for you....

Until Then; I am:

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Quick Update Monday

After listing the rums we have lined up for the Spirit Taste in late September, I realized that I had tasted all but two Distillery offerings. Montanya Rum and Essential Spirits. I will be tasting these ( and any others who may send rums to add to our list) this week and setting aside some blog space for them.
Please excuse the short blog as we are working to get our Internet access back up and this was done on the 4G LTE... See you Wednesday!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Getting Set & Singing....

OK not me -- but click the Video and listen while you read. The Andrew Sisters do SUCH a better job of it.

The Spirit Taste (2013) is coming together. Anyone who is in/near the Chicagoland area who would like to attend -- please slip me an email and we can get you all involved. It was originally set up to be friends and relatives - but why not willing blog readers and American Made Rum drinkers as well?? The date stands at September 28 2013. I know it is not good for some and perfect for others... We have to go with what we have!
Next, I have to thank the supporters of this impromptu event. I have built up quite the reserve of rum and wanted to list our bar:

Richland Rum -- Richland Rum
Essential Spirits -- Sgt Classick Gold
Montanya Rum -- Colorado Mountain Rum Oro
Cedar Ridge -- Dark Rum
New Holland -- Freashwater Amber Rum
FireFly -- Sea Island Spiced Rum
Mississippi River Distilling Co -- Dry Dock Sorghrum

Essential Spirits -- Sgt Classick Silver
Montanya Rum -- Colorado Mountain Rum Platino
Northern Latitudes -- Manitou Passage Rum
Ugly Dog -- Ugly Dog Rum
Tailwinds -- Taildragger Rum White
Journeyman -- Roads End Rum
Muddy River -- Carolina Rum
Prichards -- Chrystal Rum

I want to thank all these Distillers for their Rums. Some were bought by us in our travels - some given by the passionate Master Distillers we were honored to meet and discuss their dreams and ides, still others I have not met who have sent us samples to try and comment about. As time continues I will amend this list as needed.
About the list -- First is the dark rums, aged rums.. Somewhat lumped together but truly each with a distinct personality - of which I have really grown fond of. Next is a Spiced rum -- the only one I have at this date available. The very next is not "legally" a rum at all because it is made of Sorghum. This one struck me as almost the most creative and in a way very American. To be frank -- a damned good rum too!  MRDC has decided to not run it this year so its availability is less - I bet they will make it a constant soon though...

We have a side cart with some Liqueurs and Spirits that are not rum -- they to will be available for tasting and deep admiration. These are from some of the same distillers as represented above.

As promised -- the Video and my suggestion that you read the blog while it plays... very entertaining.

Haven't I always been:

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

News and Ideas From Around the Rum Bar

As we look around the Rum World -- we take you to this tidbit from The Atlantic Wire

By: Alexander Abad-Santos  Published: Aug 30, 2013Drink Your Rum
Rum is back — and it's not just for pirates anymore. People are even distilling it in New England, as they did almost two centuries ago. Supposedly, rum is enjoying a "big resurgence" across this land of ours. The best part? This means it is finally cool to order daiquiris. "It’s such a simple drink and it’s delicious and there are just three ingredients: white rum, lime juice and simple syrup," a San Francisco bartender told Food and Wine. And who are we to argue?

I have no argument about that at all !

Things Gleaned From American Made Rum:
Clean your pipes, come get STRIPED! #Pigisms #StripedPigDistillery #WhatsInYourSpirit #NewPigInTown
YAY, another #TrueAmerican #darknstormy day!

RT @WCVB «@Met_CindyFitz This is it... the last muggy day for awhile! Final round of t-storms possible thru late aftn then we dry out. #WCVB

Wow, what a crazy weekend! We had quite a kick-off with the new Texas Distilled Spirits laws. Thanks so much to my crew yesterday, Dan & Staci Stoller worked their butts off! Thanks also to Matt (for working on his birthday) and Erik for coming and spending the weekend with us at the distillery.
Big tour group tomorrow morning. I will be open for retail sales tomorrow (Wed.) from 10 AM - 2 PM. Every Saturday in September we are open from 10 AM - 3 PM with tours at 10 and 12. Tours are $5 per person. You must be 21 years or older, we are basically a bar now and there additional rules and regulations we need to follow. Come by for your autographed bottle of Railean Rum or Agave, direct from the distillery.
Arrrggghhhh! Look what I made for my first mate, it was his Birthday yesterday. He had to work at the rummery, but we did celebrate with cake.
Montanya Distillers
What an absolutely, perfectly glorious day to be in Crested Butte, CO!!!
 Jersey Artisan Distilling
Happy Labor Day! Hope you're kicking back with some Busted Barrel, our labor of love for you! #livejerseydrinkjersey #bustedbarrel
Happy Labor Day everyone! We hope you're spending it relaxing with your loved ones & your favorite bottle of tailwinds of course!
 Las Vegas Distillery
Thank you everybody for visiting us today! We have new friends!:) Cheers!


Plans continue -- We appreciate the interest of Distillers that have expressed their willingness to help. Thank you to Montanya Distillers whose gift of full bottle samples arrived (THANK YO SO MUCH!) and we have talked to more that have said they will be sending samples soon. I will have such a great selection to taste, comment upon and offer for tasting at ST2013.