Saturday, October 31, 2009

Funky Pot Still Jamaican Rum

By Confucius' pointy beard, I love this bottle!

About a year ago I think, the intrepid Mr. Seed pulled a couple of rum samples of his legendary black bag (seriously, anyone who knows the man respects the hell out of that bag.) They were Jamaican pot still spirits that I had never heard of, each was pretty out-there. Full of tropical fruits and odd spices and above all else, funky. I really wasn't quite sure what to make of them. A few months later, on another visit, Mr. Seed , M. Cate and myself met for dinner and a new sample came out of the black bag of myth and fables, this time it was a blend and it blew us away.

We didn't have enough to make a drink, but we both saw and smelled truth in that little bottle. Well I just got a chance to make a drink with it tonight...and wow. I simple rum sidecar with it yielded incredible tropical fruits like mango, papaya and pineapple with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. The three of us that were tending bar were stunned.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Dealing with the Angostura shortage.

How a certain whiskey bar in San Francisco is dealing with the Angostura shortage.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Angostura Bitters Shortage

set-72157594584832755.jpg I have been off the blog for way too long as a result of some travel and a tech meltdown. Rather than try to catch up all at once, I am going to ease back into it at the regular pace.

So for today, lets talk Angostura bitters. I am quite surprised there is so little chatter about the what is going on in Trinidad and how it is effecting us. The short version is that the global financial crisis forced Trinidad & Tobago to bail out CL Financial, the parent company of Angostura, and it's bank in January of this year. This is after a few years of some aggressive dealing including the investment in the company that owns Appleton in Jamaica and a defunct distillery in Kentucky. My understanding is that the company was spending money it planned on making before the economy lowed and credit dried up. Apparently the books were so bad that the company had to be pulled from the stock market and has been in limbo.

What this means to us is that the one ingredient that is present in every bar that mixes drinks, Angostura bitters, has not been in production for almost a year. This clearly a very selfish view of things and in realty, I am pretty disgusted that the worker class folk that are responsible for our beloved cocktail bitters are suffering because of greed and mismanagement. The good news is that we might be moving towards resolution. An article last week in Newsday Trinidad says things might get straightened out soon.
This is a good thing. Major distributors on both costs have been out for awhile now and bartenders have been cleaning out corner liquor stores to keep the Manhattans flowing. Cocktail Kingdom has secured a good supply and I have it on good authority that BevMo (in California at least) has a solid source for the 4 oz. size as well. I believe I have about a year's worth stashed, but am still feeling a little nervous about it so I started a huge batch of homemade just in case. Here is the recipe that I based it on.