All posts tagged rum

The 89'er Blue and Gold

A Salute to USNA ’89 Women

July 2, 1985, I stood in the humid Annapolis afternoon and raised my hand with 1374 others, of which 135 of us were women, and took the oath as a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. It’s not a fact many know, or that I share often outside of those uncomfortable and awkward getting to know you bingo games featuring personal trivia. (Which I always win because no one EVER associates US Naval Academy with me.)

I’m not embarrassed of my time at the Academy. I am proud. But when I left after a year and a half, and watched so many friends tough out their college years there and then serve honorably in the Navy or Marine Corp, my eighteen month stint seemed trivial. Plus, I had moved physically beyond the corridors of Bancroft Hall, the Academy’s massive dormitory which houses all 5,000 or so Midshipmen. And with the physical move, I also needed to embrace psychologically my life choices, thus forever identifying myself a Virginia Wahoo.

But, recently I have thought often about those eighteen months, which were without a doubt the most difficult of my life. This weekend, the women of the class of 1989 are gathering to celebrate our forthcoming significant birthdays — you do the math. Although I’m not attending the reunion, I have been included in all of the communications and feel welcomed to this event.

At the Naval Academy, once a Middie, always a part of the family. That is only one life-long lesson I learned at the Academy. I correctly decided that the Navy was not the best career path for me, but I experienced friendships and teamwork there which I’ve never seen replicated in the civilian world.  The sense of mission. The unwavering commitment to pull together as a unit. The ability to multi-task to the 89th degree. How to be crazy and zany and laugh because it is the only way you’ll get through the day. How to keep going when you don’t think you can. Finding out the answer when you don’t have a clue. Allowing yourself to be pulled along by a shipmate (for me that meant on any run), and then doing the same for him or her when you were the stronger. And the pervasive, unbelievable trust.

To all the women of the USNA class of 1989, I salute you!  GO NAVY!!

In your honor, here is a recipe for an ’89er Blue and Gold, a  concoction reminiscent of Navy grog (usually rum with some lime and maybe pineapple juice), but good enough for an 89’er Woman:

2 ounces Sailor Jerry rum

1 ounce pineapple juice

2 dashes grapefruit bitter

1/4 lime

1/2 ounce blue curacao

Mix rum, pineapple juice, bitters and juice of lime in shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into cocktail glass. Using a funnel set into bottom of glass, add blue curacao. Enjoy the blue and gold, but stir gently to get the color of the sea before enjoying.

  • IMG_1483Cane Garden Bay, home to Callwood Distillery
  • IMG_1487Callwood Distilery
  • IMG_1488Yes, it's really old.
  • IMG_1489The Arundel Rums
  • IMG_1490Who can resist the Panty Dropper?
  • IMG_1491Ready to drink, any time of day.
  • IMG_1492The pipes used with the still.
  • IMG_1493Oak casks used for aging.
  • IMG_1494The oldest copper pot still in the Caribbean.
  • IMG_1495The Caribbean's oldest pot still!
  • IMG_1496Rum kitty.
  • IMG_1497I didn't go in.
  • IMG_1498Cane from their property ready to be cooked. The first step to making rum.
  • IMG_1504Melanie Callwood keeps the tourists in line.
  • IMG_1508Master distiller Matthew Callwood and master drinker Thirsty Jane.

Callwood Distillery Keeps Rum Flowing

Nestled in the corner of Cane Garden Bay in Tortola, BVI, a tiny limestone building houses the Caribbean’s oldest continuously operating pot still. The Callwood Distillery has made its way into tourist guidebooks, but visiting this unique place is unlike any other distillery tour.

Our taxi driver dropped us off and showed us where to walk to the beach afterward. The haphazardly painted sign on the small stone building announcing we were at Callwood Distillery gave me pause. No guard booths. No massive signs. No tour trams. No gift shops. And no one else was there, except for a friendly tabby cat.

We ventured inside to meet Melanie Callwood, daughter of the owner, who introduced us to the Arundel rums her family has made for the last two hundred years. Before the Callwoods bought the distillery, it had already been operating for two hundred years! For a few bucks, we bellied up to the bar and Melanie poured us a shot of each of their rums, the white rum, the golden rum, the 10-year aged rum, and yes, the “Panty Dropper.”

Unlike most Caribbean rums, the Callwoods distill their rum from pure cane juice, not molasses. A quick walk around the building revealed a stack of cane next in line for cooking. They use cane grown on their property and cook it in vats they’ve been using for centuries. The juice is then naturally fermented in oak barrels from 8 to 21 days. The fermented cane juice is then distilled in the copper still outside the building. The family distills with the help of several family members during the months of March through September. Unaged rum is stored initially in the hand-blown glass demijohns and cowboys and the aged rum is put away in the oak casks. On average, they produce 25 gallons a day for around 300,000 gallons of rum each year. All of their rum is distilled at 80 proof. The rum is sold on property and at stores only in the British Virgin Islands.

During our sampling, a tall young man whom we’d spied the night before at a local bar wandered in. Melanie introduced us to her brother, Matthew, the master distiller and heir to the Callwood distillery. Matthew shyly introduced himself as a master drinker. Hmmm…. my kind of guy. After checking in with his sister, Matthew headed out to work on the rum, but agreed to a few photos.

As for the rums, cane rum is definitely different than the typical mass-produced molasses rum we are used to. There’s much more flavor and a sweeter, smoother end. The unaged versions are intended for mixing and would do justice to a Cuba Libre or rum punch. We enjoyed the 10-year aged for sipping. A light amber color, the aged rum has a smooth caramel smell with notes of spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. Over ice, it’s a refreshing treat, especially after dinner while on a sun-kissed beach. As for the “Panty Dropper,” that is a sweetened rum which allegedly appeals to the ladies, although not this Thirty Jane. Who can resist the risque label, though?! We took a bottle home for one of our favorite booze hound who was thoroughly impressed with our find.

My trip to Callwood Distillery was one of the highlights of my week long sail through the Virgin Islands. Melanie and Matthew were delightful and their family’s commitment to producing rum is admirable. Once Tortola boasted 27 distilleries with 7 located in Cane Garden Bay. Today, only Callwood remains, and rum drinkers and adventure seekers are grateful.

Find out more about Callwood Distillery at www.vicanrum.com and at their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CallwoodRumDistillery.

Special thanks to the Captain and crew of Marauder Sailing Charters for suggesting a visit to Callwood.

 

 

The Buck Buck Is Open

The Buck Starts Here: A DIY Easy Summer Cocktail Party

Having a signature drink at a party doesn’t require you to spend the entire night behind a bar or to hire the local college-aged student to play bartender for the evening. Creating a DIY cocktail bar not only frees up your time as host, but also engages guests and gives them the takeaway of  knowing how to make a simple, and delicious, drink. One of the best ways to set up a DIY bar is to pick a drink which can be made with only a few simple ingredients and for which various spirits can be interchanged. The “Buck” will kick off your summer and keep it going through Labor Day.

Guest in Action at the Buck Bar

Guest in Action at the Buck Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A classy classic, the Buck was first made with gin, but other spirits horned in, with the vodka version, also known as a Moscow Mule, perhaps being the most famous. Another famous Buck is the Dark And Stormy and Jamaican Buck. The distinguishing characteristics of a Buck are simple to remember and to mix. Easy on the brain and the wallet, two of my most cherished traits in a cocktail. Here’s all you need to know:

1. Get a tall glass

2. Add a lot of ice

3. Squeeze in 1/4 of a lime or lemon and then drop the rind in the glass

4. Pour in 2 ounces of your favorite spirit

5. Top off with ginger beer or ginger ale

Got it?

Yes, it is that easy. At a recent gathering at my home bar/lair, we sampled gin, dark rum, light rum, tequila, and bourbon. But, don’t forget Scotch and brandy bucks, too. I made a simple instruction sheet (placed in a plastic page protector, lest a sloppy mixer ruin my careful explanation), and then laid out the ingredients in the order listed above. Then, I let my guests go at it. Always timid at first, after the first round, everyone was experimenting, mixing and matching spirits and citrus and ginger beer vs. ginger ale and debating over who’s Buck packed the most punch.

Create your own favorite and make it your summer sip. What’s not to like about citrus, booze and ginger? Speaking of ginger beer and ginger ale…

I got creative for this party and brewed my own ginger beer based upon the instruction in the May/June 2014 edition of Imbibe Magazine, a wonderful magazine and online resource for anyone, from beginner to expert, who is interested in “liquid culture.” Here’s what I did:

Ready to make ginger beer

Ready to make ginger beer

 

4 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped roughly

2 quarts water

1 cup demarara sugar (I didn’t have this handy, so substituted the Turbinado sugar lurking in my pantry from some obscure recipe used last year)

1 tbls. molasses

3/4 cup fresh lime juice (yes, that cost a pretty penny given the lime shortage)

1/4 tsp. champagne yeast (found at a local home-brew supply shop)

1. Puree ginger and 1 quart of water in a blender

2. Combine ginger-water, sugar and molasses in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves (around 5 minutes), then remove from heat and let cool. You want it a little warmer than room temperature, but not boiling so you can activate the yeast, but not kill it.

Cooking the ginger and sugar with water

Cooking the ginger and sugar with water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Strain the sugar-ginger-water mix through cheesecloth into a 2-litre plastic bottle.

Straining

Straining

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Add the lime juice and enough of the remaining water until the bottle has about 3 inches left at the top. Sprinkle the yeast on top.

5. Squeeze the bottle until the liquid comes to the neck and then cap. Let the bottle sit at room temperature until it is hard. The recipe said 12 hours, but my house was chilly and it took about 18 hours. Be careful because it will explode. DO NOT use glass because that will shatter under the pressure.

Contents Under Pressure! Ferment in a Safe Zone

Contents Under Pressure! Ferment in a Safe Zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Once the bottle is hard, put in the refrigerator to stop any more fermentation. Drink within a week.

 

That’s all! The Buck might have stopped with Harry S. Truman, but it starts with Thirsty Jane!  Enjoy your summer and let me know your favorite Buck.

IMG_0635

It’s Cookie Cocktail Time — Simple Cocktails for Your Sweet Tooth

It’s cookie cocktail time. About this time of year, you might find yourself wondering how many boxes of cookies did you order from those cute little girls in vests and beanies? What are you going to do with all of those sweet delights? Or maybe you didn’t get any ordered and are craving something minty and chocolatey. Each of these recipes is simple to make, using a minimal number of ingredients which are also easy to find at most liquor stores. If you don’t have cookies to rim your glasses, never fear, just channel Thirsty Jane and make the drink anyway! The neighborhood lushes taste tested each of the drinks against the real deal cookie and gave their enthusiastic guzzle-worthy stamps of approval.

 

Chocolate Mint

The chocolate minty delight that cookie hoarders stock pile in their freezers every year grows up in this perfect cocktail version. And, it’s easy!
1 oz. white rum
1 oz. creme de menthe
1 oz. creme de cocoa
1/2 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream

Rim glass, using simple syrup, with crushed chocolate-mint cookies.  Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Triple-C Threat

Coconut. Chocolate. Caramel. ‘Nuf said.
1 oz. coconut rum
1 oz. caramel vodka
1 oz. creme de cocoa
1 oz. Caramel Bailey’s

Rim glass, using chocolate syrup, with unsweetened coconut. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Nutter Lover

A friend challenged me to make a peanut butter cookie cocktail. After getting over the initial “eeeuuuuwww,” I went to work. The peanut butter simple syrup is easy and adds the perfect amount of nuttiness to the drink. You could add some half-and-half if you like creamier drinks, but I like this straight up simple cocktail.
2 oz. vanilla vodka
1 oz. Frangelico (Hazelnut) liqueur
1/2 oz. peanut butter simple syrup

Rim glass, using peanut butter simple syrup, with crushed peanut butter cookies. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Peanut Butter Simple Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbls. smooth peanut butter

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter.  Let cool.

From left, clockwise, Golden Glove, KC Royal Ice Water, Royal Passion

Simple Cocktails for KC Royals’ Opening Day

Opening Day at the K is only a day away, so get your shakers out for simple cocktails to celebrate the Kansas City Royals. Each of the drinks is easy to make and will keep you chilled through the hot summer season when the games get heated. Who needs a beer when you can have a Golden Glove? I’ve been a life-long fan and am looking forward to seeing the team win this weekend while I’m at the ball park with my family. “Let’s go Royals, let’s go!”

Golden Glove

This classic drink is essentially a daiquiri with the addition of Cointreau. It is included in the Royals’ cocktail club in honor of the THREE 2013 Golden Glove winners from our team: Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer.

2 ounces white rum

1 ounce Cointreau

1 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

Shake with ice and pour into a cocktail glass. Drink after any spectacular double play!

KC Royal Ice Water

This drink is a variation of the Kansas City Ice Water, which is actually a drink and not just tap water from the Mighty Mo.

1 ounce gin

1 ounce vodka

1/2 ounce wild berry simple syrup

1/2 ounce lemon juice

3 ounces club soda

Mix together in a highball glass filled with ice. Creat one of these in about ten seconds if we’re heading into extra innings.  Sip with caution.

Royal Passion

2 ounces Crown Royal

1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup

1 ounce lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. A perfect toast for any die-hard fan like myself.

The Original Endless Summer with a Killer Bee Attack

I love summer. But, there comes a point when temps in the 80’s and 90’s get old even for a tropical weather loving fool like myself. With what appears to be two more days of summer, I look forward to my Final Friday Happy Hour with one of the best summer beach drinks I’ve ever had — an attempt at the Killer Bee which is the famous trademark rum punch at Sunshine’s Bar in Nevis. A few years ago, my guy and I joined some friends for a vacation in Nevis. As the other Jane of the trip (nicknamed “Bad Jane” for the week) said, the Killer Bee made her like rum.

The problem is that Sunshine and his bartenders guard the secret recipe with their lives. A friend recently sent me a link to Rum Shop Ryan’s Caribbean Escape Blog in which a recipe for something as close as possible to the Killer Bee appeared. I was ecstatic and have been contemplating when making this for Happy Hour would be best. I conveyed my excited to a fellow cocktail guru, who scoffed, “Nothing is secret.” You can imagine my deflation.

He promptly directed me to David Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks where after the recipe for the Bee’s Knees is a note that you get a Honey Bee by using Jamaican rum. Hmmm….Not exactly a recipe for the Killer Bee, but I got the point. Cocktails are created often by taking a recipe and then changing an ingredient here and there or adjusting a ratio. So, a Bee’s Knees is gin, lemon juice and honey, and a Honey Bee is rum, lemon juice and honey, and a Killer Bee is rum, orange and passion fruit juices, and honey, with a smidge of pepper and nutmeg and a splash of club soda.

Cheers to the end of summer! Any day now.  Really.

And, next time you say you can’t create a drink, just find a recipe you like and do a little tweaking.  You might be surprised to find how original you can be!