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Meet Mount Gay’s Master Blender- The Connected Table LIVE!

Rihanna, flying fish, Bajan hot sauce, amazing beaches, sugar plantations and Mount Gay Rum. This is what we knew about Barbados when we went for one of my New Year’s birthdays. One side of this island is serene surf; the other is wild with shards of coral reef whipping around your legs when you try to swim. We opted for casual local places to eat simply prepared flying fish that we doused in addictive Bajan hot sauce. And we drank a lot of Mount Gay Rum…a whole lot!

Barbados: birthplace of rum and Rihanna
Barbados: birthplace of rum and Rihanna

October 5th we visited with Allen Smith on The Connected Table Live. In addition to being the Master Blender for Mount Gay Rum, Allen is an “Ambassador” for the island of Barbados. So, he really blends the old with the new.

Mount Gay's Master Blender Allen Smith originally studied biology.
Mount Gay’s Master Blender Allen Smith originally studied biology.

Mount Gay, named after its first distiller, the business man, Sir John Gay, claims to be the world’s oldest rum, made in Barbados since 1703 where there is an abundance of sugar cane. To be more specific: Barbados is considered to be the birthplace of rum. The spirit was originally called “Kill-Devil” by the Barbadians who first distilled it. Allen will discuss the history of Mount Gay, his work as Master Blender and the “Mount Gay style.” And he’ll share more reasons to visit Barbados.

Our research
Our research

We tasted both the copper pot distilled  (robust with spiced nut notes) and copper column distilled (light bodied and with spiced fruit notes). We tasted the newest blend, Mount Gay Black Barrel, with our first pumpkin pie of the season. We all had seconds of both, and then just the rum.

Nice new packaging for Mount Gay's Copper Pot Stilled and Copper Column Stilled Rums.
Nice new packaging for Mount Gay’s Copper

Pot Stilled and Copper Column Stilled Rums.

Listen to our show with Allen Smith here:


 

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David Ransom Drink Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Do You Know What Defines Cuban Rum?

Carlos Esquivel, CEO of PILSA, distillers of fine rums made in Panama, gave us a short primer on what defines authentic Cuban rum during his interview on The Connected Table LIVE! July 29th. Link: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/?episode_id=27300770

1. The rum must be made from molasses, not sugar cane.

2. The liquid is column stilled, not pot stilled.

3. Aging must take place in American oak Bourbon barrels.

4. The liquid must undergo the Carta Blanca process: Once distilled it must age for three years in barrel under the supervision of a master blender.  After 3 years it may be called rum. Anything aged less than 3 years is aguardiente.

5. The aging indicated on the bottle is based on 3 years plus the amount of time the rum continues to be aged. Therefore, an 8 year old rum is actually 11 years old.

Esquivel has teamed up with longtime friend, Francisco Don Pancho Fernandez, former master distiller for Cuba’s Havana Club rum, to produce Origenes Don Pancho, Cuban style rum made in Panama.

Imported by Terlato in the USA.

Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel
Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel

 

 

 

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David Ransom Drink Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

The Secret To Cuban Rum…Made in Panama

When Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez, master blender for Havana Club for 35 years, decided to leave Cuba after the sale of the brand to an international spirits conglomerate, it was to Panama that he went. Already having a long history of travel to that country, and having worked in Panama to make his “Cuban style” rum for many years previously, this was a natural choice for Don Pancho. However, it was not with the idea that he would continue to make rum or launch his own brand.

That came later, after he met and became friends with one of Panama’s most distinguished spirits authorities, Carlos Esquivel, a Panamanian who had deep ties to the local spirits industry. Together, they created one of Panama’s, and the rum industry’s, most important resources: Proveedora Internacional de LIcores, S.A. (PILSA) Rums (www.pilsarums.com) a custom distiller whose efforts are behind some of the most important names in the category.

Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel
Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel

Now, 20 years after arriving in Panama, Don Pancho and Carlos are releasing his first eponymous effort, Don Pancho Originales rums (www.origenesdonpancho.com), some of which are bottled from reserves dating to when Don Pancho first started making and blending rums in Panama while still living in Cuba.

We met Don Pancho and Carlos Esquivel at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans July 15-19 and tasted both the 8 year ($40/bottle SRP) and the 18 year ($90/bottle SRP). And we learned what makes Cuban rum truly “Cuban”

Don_Pancho_18_Years_Img_1

 

Cuban Style rum, made in Panama. We’ll discuss the process and the story of Don Pancho with Carlos on the July 29th broadcast of The Connected Table LIVE! Tune in at 2pm ET at www.w4cy.com. The show will be rebroadcast on iHeart.com. Link to cut and past and share: www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live

Connect:

www.origenesdonpancho.com

www.facebook.com/OrigenesRum

 

Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple www.theconnectedtable.com
Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple www.theconnectedtable.com

 

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David Ransom Drink Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Rum vs Rhum vs Rhum Agricole

Question: Do you know the difference between Rum and Rhum? Answer: They are both “Rum.” Rhum is from the French speaking part of the Caribbean. Rum from the English part. Then there’s Ron covering the Hispanic Caribbean.

Question: Do you know the difference between Rhum  and Rhum Agricole? Answer: Rhum is made from molasses; Rhum Agricole is made from fresh sugar cane juice.

Oh, there’s more to it. And other designations. including rhum traditionnel, rhum grand arôme.

rhum

According to the Ministry of Rum’s Ed Hamilton, “The French made rhum from molasses and rhum from sugar cane juice. This rhum is called rhum agricole and is very different from rhum, ron or rum made from molasses.”

Martinique has long had the reputation of having the best terroir for sugarcane cultivation. One of the most notable producers was Martinique businessman and former mayor, Homère Clément who had the  idea to press sugarcane to produce Rhum Agricole. Mssr Clément purchased a rundown sugar plantation, Domaine de l’Acajou, in 1887 at the peak of the sugar crisis. The introduction of sugar beets and the increasing availability of cheap South American sugar lead to the collapse of the Martiniquean sugar commerce.

Mssr Clément made the necessary investments and transformed one of the island’s most prestigious sugar plantations into a producer of world-class Rhum Agricole.

hOMERE
Homère Clément

 

Today, Rhum Clement has sealed its place in the top tier of rhum agricole production. Ben Jones, a fourth generation member of the Clément family, has helped bring Martinique’s liquid gold to the USA under the importing and marketing company, Rhum Clément USA. Looking at Ben, who towers north of six feet, you’d expect him to be palming a basketball rather than a snifter of sipping rhum agricole or a craft cocktail. But rhum runs in his veins, and Ben travels extensively to spread the good word.

Benjamin Melin- Jones Fourth Generation Family member, Rhum Clement USA
Benjamin Mélin- Jones
Fourth Generation Family member, Rhum Clement

We’ll be clinking glasses over the airwaves and discussing more about rhum, rhum agricole and Ben’s family’s history shaping Martinique’s rhum economy on The Connected Table LIVE! Wednesday, May 27, 2pm ET on www.W4CY.com  (iHeart Radio). As with all our shows you can listen any time, anywjere on www.iHeart.com and the iHeart App under Shows & Personalities. Here is the direct link: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live

 

Join Melanie and David on The Connected Table LIVE! Wednesdays, 2pm ET on W4CY.com and anytime on iHeart
Join Melanie and David on The Connected Table LIVE! Wednesdays, 2pm ET on W4CY.com and anytime on iHeart

Connect with Ben Jones:

http://www.twitter.com/RhumClement

http://www.facebook.com/rhumclement

http://www.rhumclementusa.com/

Connect with Melanie and David:

http://www.connectedtable.com

http://www.facebook.com/theconnectedtable

http://www.twitter.com/mightymelanie

http://www.twitter.com/ransomwrites