Friday, August 29, 2014

Lyon Distilling Company - Today's look

We have touched upon Lyons Distilling before, this time I wanted to give some detail. Located in St Micheals, Maryland, LD has a menu of spirits - certainly not least of which is Rum. Their own
Description is:
"Maryland's premier craft distillery - producing hand-crafted spirits by transforming raw ingredients (molasses, sugar, local grains) into splendid liquor (rum, corn whiskey, rye whiskey) step by step, in very small batches, using traditional pot stills made in Kentucky."



I know little about their Rum itself, but do know they only sell it at their distillery, for now.I will endeavor to discover even more.
I have not been able to locate a website but their Facebook page is quite informative. Seems to this Rum Runner that the East Coast has a great representation of Distilleries that make Rum. I need to plan a vacation there.... Or invite them here.


Along those very lines, we are attempting to secure credentials (Pass) to attend The Chicago Indie
Spirits Expo on September 30. I'd love to hear from you Distillers out there that will be attending - so we can get a chat in and sample those long awaited spirits! I have reached out to the promoters, who have written that they will give me a promo number that I can publish here allowing you a discounted entry! Come back Monday for your code!

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Rick, The Rum Runner (RTRR) is a contributor to DrinkWire.com and has written features for Liquor.com. Both are great places to find out more about all forms of adult beverages.
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You can also read our blog on DrinkWire....



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We look at - Wilderness Trail Distillery



The journey through rum, even just those distilled in the USA, is a long one. When this blog started (nearly 2 years ago) I figured we might see 30-50 Distillers that made craft Rum in the US. Well, readers; I was Wrong! Seems there are more and more, and the growth seems to be steady. The wine industry followed by the beer brewers were vanguards of this growth. I may be wrong, but this is from my myopic viewpoint, the first
real sight of craft distilled spirits was for Vodka. Of course Moonshine was there - had been forever, but it began to grow, even having its own TV show. I often wonder what a Rum Reality Show would look like?? We may be able to see that some day....

Soon the Vodka makers began to age their spirits and adjust their recipes and now we have many, many whiskeys being distilled and aged. Rum, has popped its head up and in my mind the variety and diversity of flavors, distilling processes, ingredients etc, is much more than I can keep up with. So "home" brewing has grown into a business, home distillation has as well, just as wine production has. Still in most of these the passion for making the product is what drives the business. Sure, there are most likely people out there home distilling an unbelievably good rum, that will never see the light of day, as well as a group that makes, at best, a passable rum that just explodes on the market. I think that in the long run, the market will promote and deny brands that exceed or do not meet standards. 

All that to talk about a Rum that found me. Twitter (@Rick_Rum_Runner) as a real source of new rums that has become a bit of a wild animal to tame. I get "followed" by many every week (Thank YOU!) and some are distillers; some distill spirits and some distill spirits including a rum. Many I miss... sorry. So if YOU are a distiller or know one that makes a rum that is already on the market, is looking to expand their market or is about to get into the market, sure - Follow us on Twitter: @Rick_Rum_Runner, Like us on Facebook and read our blog.... BUT most importantly --- send me an email! Emails don't generally get ignored (unless it is Pharmaceuticals by mail or dating sites). I try to read every one (except the aforementioned). I often get GREAT ideas for blog articles from them. So please - Following us on Twitter is wonderful, but drop us an email if you want to really get the message to use, besides the character count is longer in email.

Today's Rum - as teased so many times, Wilderness Trail Distillery's (WTD): Harvest Rum.

Let's start the conversation about Harvest Rum by mentioning that is not "traditional" rum, it is distilled from a beer made from Sorghum Molasses. If you are a reader of my missives, this is NOT the first time we've seen this, and we tend to like the rum made this way. Let's read what the Distillery says:

Harvest Rum - a Kentucky Sorghum Spirit

Harvest Rum Label"Harvest Rum is very unique and handmade from locally grown Kentucky sweet sorghum molasses. We like to call our award winning Harvest Rum–the Bourbon Drinkers Rum as it presents itself with a Bourbon front and sweet rum finish when enjoyed neat. Danny Townsend, in Mt. Sterling, is the foremost expert on sorghum molasses and his farm hand picks the batches that turn into our Harvest Rum. Sorghum is of the cane-grass family, being we are using the molasses processed from the cane sorghum allows it be classified as a US Gold Rum but it is not like your typical cane sugar rum. The process starts with squeezing the fresh cut stalk to get all of the sweet juice before that is cooked down to remove the water and impurities the old fashion way, by hand and by Danny himself. The spirit is offered at 90 proof and slightly aged for several months in used Kentucky Bourbon barrels from Four Roses, creating a sweet finish and great sipping rum. Of course it’s always a welcomed addition to your favorite cocktail mix such as a Whiskey Sour or Rum Runner for example."

I like the idea of the Bourbon Barrel aging... Have to wait and see to get a taste.

All in all WTD looks like a great Distiller. If you are in Kentucky, or planning to be in the vicinity of Danville Kentucky, make a stop - get a tour and tell them Rick The Rum Runner sent you!

See you next time


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Rick, The Rum Runner (RTRR) is a contributor to DrinkWire.com and has written features for Liquor.com. Both are great places to find out more about all forms of adult beverages.
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You can also read our blog on DrinkWire....



Thursday, August 21, 2014

One Year Later -- Nice Same Place

Manitau Passage Rum
As we lounged but looked for adventure, my wife and I would drive about the Bay Area of Michigan during a week in early August. Last year we had found a new Distiller that made a rum. So off we went on a mission of discovery, this year. We were impressed by the place, by Mark and Mandy Moseler and their spirit for ah-h-h spirits! Having been open for only a short time their selection of various spirits was quite extensive. I don't want to call Mark (Distiller) a mad-scientist but I found his excitement in experimentation very invigorating. Now, I like my drink, but he made it so much fun TO drink. Both are gracious hosts and the store/distillery is party-like all day.

Northern Latitudes Distillery is a destination, not just a place. Mark does all the distillation in view of the public from behind his caged room (appropriate signs asking the public not to feed are posted). The room is part cabin, part store, part distillery and part
cocktail bar. It pretty much has it all. So we were ready for a great visit this year.

The place is pretty much the same as when we last visited. Unfortunately, Mark nor Mandy were there but we sampled some new spirit; Ginger Root Vodka -- Oh my, quite good - have no preconceived notions on this! Had a nice swig of Manitau Passage Rum, and a sip of their Limoncello di Leelanau. That BTW is a treat! 

It is nice to see that the place is busy.  A tour-bus was parked out from ant we saw at least 3-4 couples come in on their own from the parking lot. People have discovered this place.

As from the original visit my take on Manitau Passage Rum (MPR) is simple. It is a blackstrap molasses base and I find while there is sweetness a lingering peppery taste when compared to most other white rums. So a bit of spice even in a clear. I find it a very good mixer. If you are drinking a Dark and Stormy - while 99% of the time you will want an aged rum, MPR fills the gap.

See you next week!



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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We Find New Rum and an Old Distillery

Calling Grand Traverse Distillery (GTD) old is really a misnomer. It has been around for a good period of time as far as craft Distillation goes, but that makes it pretty new compared to the mass distilleries. They have been on the market for about 6 years. 

From their website:

Grand Traverse Distillery is proud to be Michigan’s largest micro-distillery celebrating our 6th year in business 2013. Our Lineup of Spirits celebrates the natural gifts abundant to Michigan’s 45th parallel, home to the United States finest cherry industry and award winning wine producers. The finest rye in the world is grown north of the 45th parallel and our rye is grown right here in Northern Michigan by Send Brother’s Farm. Using crystal clear glacial waters and high quality rye, wheat and corn make the 45th parallel an ideal location to distill our spirits.
Located in Traverse City, Michigan, the Grand Traverse Distillery is the vision of Kent Rabish, a Michigan native. After visiting micro-distilleries on the West Coast, Kent saw the opportunity to bring hand crafted spirits to Michigan. Across the country a renaissance is
taking place in the distilling industry. Small craft distillers are bringing back hand made, high quality spirits using fresh locally grown ingredients.  Because of his Polish heritage, Kent has always appreciated a high quality spirit and he has decided to share his passion with the rest of us.
Hand crafting spirits is not a new idea; distillation of grain has existed since at least the fifteenth century. In what is now Poland, monks began distilling grains in the fifteenth century. Prior to prohibition, America had a strong tradition of family owned local distilleries, each with a local character. Beginning in the early 1990’s, micro brewing became popular in America. It is with this history in mind that micro distilleries are beginning to make a comeback.
GTD - Distillery

After years of research, Rabish decided to purchase a 16 plate, 1200 liter reflux still from Arnold Holstein in Germany. Craft distillation is about quality, not quantity. Using world class rye grown in the TC area and pure glacial waters, our distiller strives for quality. Nothing is more important. Craft distillation means hand made one small batch at a time. The distiller decides when to make the cuts, from heads to the heart of the run and from the heart to the tails. These cuts are made not based on technology or automated instruments but to the taste and aromas as determined by a single person, our distiller. The result is the elimination of undesirable characteristics that can produce a harsh spirit. No automated equipment can do the task better than the individual. We decide every day the characteristics of our spirits using our senses, one small batch at a time.​
---



We've been fans since that first year and GTD played a part in my desire to write about distilled spirits. Rum was not on their list and those of you who know my history know of its origins. The craft distillation though grabbed me. It was soon after I searched the words rum and craft distillation that began this journey nearly a year ago. Loved their Cherry Vodka - their Wheat Vodka and always enjoy tasting new things flowing from their barrels and vats.

Still, No rum. Then last year, reading their newsletter (sign up at their Website!) I discovered a column written by Landis Rabish, he's The Distiller. So we began to exchange the occasional email. I found him, as I often do with Distillers, passionate about quality, the art of making spirits, beyond the science of making it happen. He told me that a rum was in the works.

This year in one of the newsletters I find Rum is in the barrel! This is a great move. It means somewhere on their property there was, at least, one barrel of Rum to be sampled. On our nearly annual trip to the Grand Traverse Bay area, I knew I had to seek out a sample.

When we got to the distillery (they have several stores but only one distillery), I asked the charming young lady in front if Landis was in. He was and she was gracious to get him and bring him back.

After introductions, conversation pretty much steered to RUM. He said that the rum they had made was in barrels and was about 4 months in. They were new American Oak barrels and they were testing as they went. Upon my inquiry as to when they planned a release, he answered, "When its ready." Good answer!

They had pulled samples the day before so once in the distillery section, in his office, Landis poured me a nice shot. It had a slightly woody aroma, but a clean molasses scent was there as well. Upon tasting - I found the clear taste of sweet once the rum had circled my tongue. A hing of Oak, a mild, pleasing molasses, a quite sweet finish. Mr. Rabish said they did not like the amount of woodiness, and that it had a goodly amount of time to age before it passed HIS taste. I feel is was beyond passable now, a mixer for absolute and a sipper sure. But nothing that could not improve with age! So age it does. As we talked, he mentioned that they were going to go with a clear rum as well, but had not produced any yet (that may have changed). I asked that he please send me a sample if he could.

To rate his aged Rum now, when the Distiller clearly says it is not ready, would be a disservice. However, to this taster, it was as good as many highly ranked rums I have swished, better than a few. With age I expect even better things to develop!

So this was the second Distiller we visited while up on Bay Country. We will talk about the third next time... Stay tuned as we have lots to discuss in upcoming articles!

Until later this week I manage to remain.....


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Friday, August 15, 2014

New Rums - National Rum Day This Saturday!


I have been still finding new Rums and Rum Distillers as well as many of them finding us. Three I'd like to mention are:

Lyon Distilling: The link is to their Facebook page... Hoping to find out more and see if we can't long distance Taste-Test.










 Gubba Rum: Link is hot. This sounds like another place that deserves a real look. Can't wait to bring you more!! 









Harvest Rum - Wilderness Trail Distillery: Rounds out the trio. I will be following up about
them as well, soon....










Don't forget National Rum Day - Have a Rum Saturday and have an American Made Craft rum - if your favorite place doesn't carry them -- ASK...

This segment is to let you know how a local Distiller has gotten some real publicity and is showing big-time growth...

From The Plainfield Patch:

High-Flying Family's Rum Dream Takes Flight: Big Things in the Works for Plainfield Distillery

A reality TV show will feature the Plainfield business, which is expanding its reach.

High-Flying Family's Rum Dream Takes Flight: Big Things in the Works for Plainfield DistilleryToby Beall runs Tailwinds Distilling with the help of his family. Credit: Submitted photo
When you think of rum, you think of warm, Caribbean breezes – not cold Illinois winters.
But two years ago, Toby Beall and wife Jillian took a leap of faith and opened Tailwinds Distilling Co., making several varieties of rum and blue agave spirit out of industrial building at 14912 S. Eastern Ave.
“These are two of the spirits you don’t normally see in the Midwest,” 34-year-old Beall said. “We’re the only ones making rum and agave spirit in Illinois,” he added, joking, “Nobody is worried about us stepping on their toes.”
Now, the company is expanding by increasing its distribution to other states — and Beall said he expects the popularity of the products to continue to increase.
“It’s just a matter of time before [rum] is as big as whiskey,” he said.
Tailwinds produces three varieties of its Taildragger rum — white, amber and a coffee-flavored seasonal — as well as “Silver” and “Rested” Midnight Caye agave spirit. Beall said the company is taking rum back to its roots in the original American colonies.
“There are not a lot of U.S. producers, despite America being one of the first producers” of the spirit, Beall said. Tailwinds uses organic molasses imported from Louisiana, as well as Caribbean strains of yeast, to make its rum, taking care not to use products that have been overprocessed.
“We’re not doing anything different than it’s been doing in the last 300 years,” Beall said. “We’re just doing it differently than it’s been done in the last 50.”
Tailwinds is a family affair — brothers Jamey, 29, and Casey, 24, also work there, Beall said. Like Toby, Jamey also works as a pilot.
Beall said it was their travels to the Caribbean and South America that inspired the brothers’ love of rum.
The family’s love for aviation — as well as all things tropical — can also be seen in the décor in Tailwinds’ Eastern Avenue tasting room.
“It’s kind of our little beach bar,” he said. “Something to make you forget when it’s 30 degrees in January.”
In addition to a tropical motif, the tasting room boasts a large aviation map. Beall said pilots who have stopped by have left a bit of themselves behind by signing the map.
‘We can’t keep up’ - demand high for Tailwinds spirits
After launching in 2012, Tailwinds currently only distributes its products in Chicagoland, but that will soon change. Beall said the company recently signed deals to ship to Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana.
“It’s moving a lot faster than I thought it would,” he said. In its first year, Tailwinds produced 250 cases of product; this year, Beall estimated it will make more than 800 cases.
“We can’t keep up,” he said. “Chicago has been great for us.”
Tailwinds products are available at area Binny’s and Whole Foods locations, as well as Chicago-area restaurants.
You can also taste the locally produced rum and agave spirit in the tasting room. “It’s great because we can see people’s reactions” to the spirits firsthand, Beall said.
Eventually, Beall said he would like to be able to sell cocktails out of the location. For now, patrons can stop by and sip rum and agave spirit at the Eastern Avenue tasting room, which also sells bottles.
Reality show in the works
Beall said the family recently finished filming on a reality show — adding that he can’t divulge when or where the show will air just yet.
“I can’t give the details,” he said, but did reveal that the show will also feature Blaum Brothers Distilling in Galena, a producer of whiskey, vodka and gin.
Check out Tailwinds’ website and Facebook page for updates on the soon-to-be announced details.
Tailwinds’ tasting room is open from noon to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit the website to schedule a tour, or check out a list of places to buy Tailwinds products.

 Congrats guys -- You were my first Rum Distillery visit, so you have a special place here. Can't wait to hear more!



Thursday, August 14, 2014

New Craft Rum - Gearing up!

As noted in earlier blogs I was able to visit Joel Bierling, owner and Distiller of Devil's Message Rum, while in Sparta Michigan. Bier Barrel Distillery is located in Cellar Brewing, a really nice Brew Pub and Brewery. BBD is included in a small section and is glassed in so patrons can see Joel distilling, while they visit, drink and eat.

Joel Bierling was a Computer Programmer and was looking for something to satisfy his need for diversity and his growing entrepreneurship. He eventually was introduced to brewing and distilling, found he had great satisfaction both learning and experimenting. He liked distillation enough to parent 5 spirits to date. While there my Wife and I sampled them all.While Rum is my favorite always - his Heart Cut Vodka is very good and as much as I avoid Gin - the Mom's Ruin was quite delicious! I invite you to visit and sample at this cozy yet very cool Pub. 


Lets talk Rum, specifically Devil's Message Rum. Joel comments on his Rum in the website:

"Today there are a variety of rums based on the type of sugar cane product used in the fermentation process. Various grades of molasses can be used, resulting in a stronger or more rustic flavor. Panela, unrefined whole cane sugar, and processed cane sugar can also be used. Rum may be aged or unaged and is sometimes spiced. Our rum, made from unrefined dehydrated sugar cane juice, will absolutely quench your thirst. It has a distinctly sugar cane flavor without an overly assertive molasses tone."

I took my first sample and upon inhaling found an earthy cane-like aroma. This is not the candy smells that often permeate rum, even whites (which this is). Sip; the flavor is subtle, it sweetens while it stays in your mouth. Very smooth, at 90 proof it is silken. I can see where the "Quenching thirst" claim comes from - clean, refreshing is s very good description. This is a very very good mixing Rum, also can be sipped. My feeling is this rum would definitely improve with aging. To my delight, Joel has a couple of casks, aging and allowed me to taste as well.

Partially aged (Bierling claims he is about 1/2 way home) the Rum assumed a VERY distinctive aroma and taste. The woodiness of the oak and the cane aromas mix into a very attractive bouquet. Once I tasted it I immediately told Joel, "This is a winner!" the flavor just comes alive and the cane/sugar taste is sweet, smokey and delicious... 

The Devil's Message is just new on the market and I ask that you go to the website for more information to get a bottle. The Aged Rum is still months away but I think well worth the wait.
I wish Joel and everyone at both Bier Barrel Distillery and Cellar Brewing a thank you and best of luck... Big fan here

----Oh as a funny story and a warning to Rum-Lovers everywhere; We left with a bottle of Devil's Message for home. The car was pretty well packed as we were hours away from our final destination for the day (here). We simply put it in the open side bin in the rear of the cargo area. Left there when we got into our room, it was the next day when I detected a delightful, but disturbing aroma. Seems the heat in the car had expanded the spirit a bit and it popped the SEALED top - "wax" coating and all! Lost nearly 1/2 -- but later taste tast proved the remaining is just fine!----

As we continue our week - watch for new Distillers that I found or that found me, as well as a local Distiller that gets some great newspaper publicity... Until then...
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Our Summer Travels to Traverse City and Environs 2014

Always love to spend time at "The Bay". Seems everyone else does as well, but this year we got to Traverse City as the Annual Film Festival ended, and things were quieter, and so relaxing! However, on the trip up and while we were there we managed to visit distillers and make new friends in the Distilling business. Over the next week or so we will discuss in detail - but right now, just wanted to fill you in one the Who, What, Where, When of it all.


On our trip up we stopped in Sparta Michigan, there we followed the GPS to Bier Barrel Distillery, located inside Celler Brewing. Within minutes we met Joel Bierling and we struck up a great conversation. Devil's Message Rum is a clear rum with a distinctive aroma. I think you'll enjoy reading more about our taste test and how I managed to drain 1/2 bottle in just a few hours.... There are Five spirits distilled there and we will touch on those in the next blog.




While In Traverse City, we often visit the Leelanau Peninsula. Last year we came upon Northern Latitudes Distillery and sampled their Manitau Passage Rum. If you have read our Spirits Taste 2013 you read about our opinion of this great mixer rum. Additionally their line of spirits beyond Rum is excellent. They are introducing a Ginger Vodka  we always stock up on their Limoncello di Leelanau. Really you gotta taste their line! We will talk more about our visit in a later blog.
 





Finally we managed to stop at Grand Traverse Distillery. I have gone there nearly every year since we found it some 5 years ago. Their Vodka was the first attraction and they have added SO much more. The best thing is we talk to Landis Rabish the Distiller and discuss rum, Scotch as well as other Distilled products -- Epic end? we taste a 9 month aged Rum, still waiting to find its best -- And talk of White Rum and more... That too will come in a blog just days away... 



Stay Tuned - there is so much to follow from Rick The Rum Runner!





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Friday, August 08, 2014

Hello From Vacationland

Wrapping up a week in Traverse City and environs. Have to admit, a bit lazy. But, that said we have lots to talk about when we get back. We need to talk about new rums, aged rum and old friend rums... So, till next week.. I am Rick the Rum Runner.... 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Rum Roots - From 2013 - A Re-Blog

This struck me and is one of the most searched and read articles I've posted...

A local paper ran this AP release. I comment after and am looking for your comments and feelings. By "you" I mean the loyal group of Rum lovers (#rumlovers) and Distillers that read this blog every day as well as those who just stumble upon it....

 

Rum plays up — and ignores — its Caribbean roots

By JENNIFER KAY The Associated Press April 25, 2013 9:56AM
When you’re talking about rum, how much does the Caribbean really matter?
For the rum world, it’s a more serious question than it sounds, and the answer exposes a schism in the industry, a divide between massive producers who value uniformity in a global market and smaller players and connoisseurs who prefer nuanced production that reflects the time and place a rum is made.
A walk down the rum aisle of a liquor store sees this played out. While major companies like Pernod Ricard might acknowledge that its Malibu is a “Carribean rum” and has notes of coconut flavor, you won’t find specifics beyond that. Likewise, Diageo’s Captain Morgan doesn’t indicate which island port its jaunty pirate logo calls home.
That’s because the largest liquor companies have realized it’s not critical to promote their rums’ origins in their global branding, says Arun Sharma, professor of marketing at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. That allows them flexibility to produce their spirits where they need to meet demand on the mass market.
“The brand is more important than where it’s produced,” Sharma said.
At Bacardi, which sells more than 18 million cases of rum worldwide each year, consistency and quality are paramount, even as it expands its offerings of flavored, spiced and premium rums.
“Our marketing approach and advertising hasn’t really focused on the Caribbean. ... It’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of life,” said Bacardi brand master David Cid.
Except that rums can vary greatly based on where and how they are produced, something aficionados have long known and smaller producers have begun promoting as a way to distinguish themselves. Cuba and Puerto Rico have lighter, more delicate rums; Jamaica veers to the full-bodied, darker liquors; and Haiti is known for the cognac-like flavor of its Rhum Barbancourt.
Blue Chair Bay Rum, which country music star Kenny Chesney is launching this spring, is a good example. Chesney chose a distiller in Barbados specifically to infuse the spirit with an authenticity he sought to represent his love for the island lifestyle, says CEO Mark Montgomery.
And as rum sales grow, you can expect to see more of that. Fueled by a cocktail revival on the food scene — as well as prominent billing on TV shows like “Mad Men” — liquors captured more than a third of the alcoholic beverage market last year, including sales of 25.5 million cases of rum in the U.S. alone, a 2.5 percent jump over the year before. Flavored and spiced rums account for more than half of that total. 

My turn for comments.....

This article leads to a bit of discussion or at least comment from me. While many of the “Big” rums mentioned are looking for expansion and marketing, the marketing part also falls through to the Specialty and Craft sections of the industry. Smaller distilleries are looking to break into their niche markets and grow at least to the point where their spirits distillation is not just a personal passion and hobby. They'd like to work at what they love and go at it full time. Still are they “ignoring” the Caribbean connection? Ignoring? Let's face it, the Caribbean has always been part of the Rum world, but do rums from Europe, the Orient even Australia ignore Caribbean roots? Don't think so. Also, the United States has been making Rum here in the States before there were states! I think a lot (I will not speak for all, but the few I have spoken with, I think, will back me up here) are building on, and moving forward with what was done here in the US before the Caribbean became (no denying) the driving force, at least in this hemisphere. They honor it's enrichment and growth – but wish to bring back the birthplace of many fine rums. Remember, rum distillation disappeared in 1920 after being here more than 250 years! The romance and mystery of Caribbean Rums took hold during Prohibition, and pretty much maintained their hold since. Now, rums with US roots and some with 100% US ingredients are beginning to take hold. Is it a fad? Will it just go away? For that we need to talk more – that will be next time here –
For now – I am, of course; just

Monday, August 04, 2014

From a year ago ---- Swinging South In Michigan

 Yes, it's me --- the day after my birthday. We are traveling!  A year ago about this time we submitted this blog....

 

 

 

Swinging South In Michigan

Friday looks like we will be on the roll. We plan to leave Traverse City in the AM and head toward Chelsea Michigan and Ugly Dog Distillery (I love Distillery names!!). They have quite a nice line of Vodka, flavored Vodkas and Gin. However, its the Ugly Dog Rum we are searching for.... I can hardly wait! We have been having a great time in Michigan all week and I know I have not really done much since Monday... But even a Rum Runner needs a vacation. Yea sampling rums and hearing great Distiller stories is SO tough...

Back to Friday (Today if the scheduler works) --- We then head to Sturgis, Michigan and pay a visit to Big Cedar Distilling. They have an exciting looking line of Vodkas, Bourbon, Cinnamon and Coffee Liqueurs as well as some Michigan Moonshine.... To top that they have Castaway Rum and Castaway Spiced Rum. Those of you who read regularly (and why don't you??) know that when I started my journey into craft rums - I disliked the spiced rums available to the mass markets. However, tasting the ones made by Distiller with a passion for the product and some creativity and fun for blending, I have become a spiced rum fan.

As usual, once I get back home (maybe a preliminary Monday blog) we will follow up with an in-depth look at all the Michigan Distillers we visited this trip. Yes I'll have pretty pictures, perhaps even a video (if I remember, I forget how easy it is on my iPhone) or two to show. Until then, stop by periodically as I may just post blurbs or three over the weekend....

I am -- of course ---

Friday, August 01, 2014

The Friday Before Vacation!

Back in the day when I actually worked for a living, the Friday before a vacation was special. You almost didn't mind going to work, as you spent the day setting things up to run without you, never passing by the opportunity to jibe your fellow workers that you would be sipping Pina Coladas while they slaved. Of course you knew you'd get it back when they went but it was part of the game.
Now that I am retired.... It still is cool. Even the trip to the bank is different - making sure you have more cash than normal, making the last necessary deposits, generally setting everything up to run with out you. Last minute store stops (to get things vacation-centric) even the act of some preliminary packing and more importantly, travel time table.
Normally the annual trip to northern Michigan (lower) is made in my car, SUNNI1. Unfortunately, this year... It's not gonna happen. She needs to be in the shop and repairs
are set for August 13... Drat. However, the drive for us is part of the adventure. This year like others past, we have some new places to go. For me, most notably, is the Bier Barrel Distillery and meeting (we hope!) Joel Bierling. They have a rum as well as a long list of spirits (and beers foe that matter) so we will be reporting on that new discovery! We plan on stopping buy Sunday August 3 --- on our trip up to Traverse City. I will be posting here when I can but detailed posts after we return.
In our absence I have a couple of my favorite posts from last year... You can re-read or perhaps read for the first time some of out past shenanigans.
During that time We hope to hit some of the past Distillers to re-introduce ourselves, renew relationships and find out what has happened. I will try to post that too as we go. Be prepared for short posts while we are gone - but I will give longer reports upon return....
So -- That's is for me. Until next post I remain: