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Dinner with Ron Zacapa

11 Apr

The second wave of the Trinidad and Tobago leg of the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year competition was held on Tuesday. The featured beverage was Ron Zacapa.

Mario Navarro, Global Brand Ambassador for the Guatemalan rum was in Trinidad to conduct training and oversee the competition which was won by Karlina Permell.

On Tuesday night, Navarro hosted a private dinner at Texas de Brazile, where specially invited guests, including yours truly, enjoyed a tasting session of the Ron Zacapa 23 and XO rums as well as a specially prepared menu of dishes made with the rums.

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The evening started out with signature cocktails from last year’s local finalist, the delightfully entertaining Stephon Scott.

ImageIn the private dining area, Navarro walked us through a brief history of Ron Zacapa, which he said has started the conversation about rum as a premium beverage.

He said the rum differs from others because it is aged above the clouds, 2300m above the clouds, which allows for a slow ageing process. The Master Blender is  Loreno Vasquez, who Navarro said, ensures the rum is blended to perfection.

He also explained the handwoven Petate Band that adorns every bottle, saying that is harkens back to the Mayan influence and with the purchase of each bottle, money is used to send children in Guatemala to school.

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Soon it was down to the best part, the tasting. The Zacapa 23, Navarro explained, uses four casks and is about character. On the nose, there were scents of raisins, spices, chocolate, and as my husband acutely recognised, it smelt like fruit cake. Navarro said it reminded him of rum cakes, which is basically the same thing.

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On the palate, the 23 awakened all the senses with the spices, chocolate mingling with a distinct almond taste which Navarro was surprised that we picked up.  The rum was very smooth and, as Navarro explained to me afterwards, is perfect for a younger drinker between 30 and 40 years old, who wants to discover new things and does not like to show off but simply wants to enjoy his drink neat.

The XO, he said, appeals more to women and is targeted to a over 50 consumer. It is more elegant, he said, is suited to a quiet evening at home and goes well with desserts such as chocolate.

On the nose the XO exudes dried apricots, nuts, and citrus. Smooth on the palate, there were flavours of chocolate, dried fruit, and spices.

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A complete meal made with Ron Zacapa rums followed the tasting. Appetizers were a choice between Chicken Kebab with a Ron Zacapa drizzle or  Zacapa Lobster Bisque.

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The Main Course was a choice between Papillote Tilapia with coconut spiced mushroom or a grilled top sirloin  smothered with caramelized onions infused with Zacapa 23 and served with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans.

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Dessert was either a Zacapa Papaya Cream made with ripened paw paws, cinnamon, vanilla ice cream and Zacapa XO or Chocolate Mousse Cake with Zacapa XO.

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Tallpree promotes Pure Jab Rum

28 Mar

Visited Grenada last weekend and had an interesting convo with Grenadian soca artiste Tallpree, nee Wilt Cambridge. Not only is this soon to be 40-year-old a mean cook (he claims he makes the best oildown ever) but he also has his own rum. Sounds familiar?

Looks like Tallpree took a page out of the Machel Montano merchandising playbook. But it makes sense considering that Montano’s 3Zero rum is distilled in Grenada at Westerhall Estate, one of two distilleries on the island.  Tallpree’s rum, Pure Jab, is made at the other distillery, Clarke’s Court, and is a white rum with 55% alcohol content, more than 3Zero which has 52%.

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Tallpree holds up a bottle of Pure Jab.

Packaged in a plastic bottle with a shadow image of Tallpree on the packaging, the rum is promoted as the fete rum of Grenada and recently was named one of the top rums in the word by FiftyBest.com

Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 22 premium white rums from 11 countries with 17 pre-qualified judges.

Clarke’s Court Superior Light, Pure Jab and Pure White rums starred at the competition, bringing home to local manufacturer, Grenada Distillers Limited, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

Clarke’s Court Superior Light was among rums from Venezuela, Barbados, the US, Martinique, Cayman Islands and Paraguay winning gold; while Pure Jab was among spirit from Panama, Haiti and Mexico winning silver.

The site’s tasting notes described Pure Jab as having: Papaya, lychee, banana, dates on the nose with Hints of honey, butterscotch, tropical fruit, mango, figs, dates, elderflower, mint, herbal, spicy, balanced, medium-bodied on the palate. The finish was described as smooth, spicy and lingering.

Like Montano, Tallpree also plans to promote his rum with a Pure Jab riddim which he will work on for this year’s Spice Mas festival, Grenada’s annual Carnival.

Wonder how Pure Jab would taste with that oildown?

How much do you love Vodka?

6 Jul

Have you ever wondered about the differences between various brands of vodka? One vodka lover did and he even went all the way to Amsterdam to find out in Metro Magazine. Good read.