The setting? The Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne. Um, yeah! Ed Roberts (don't bother--he's a Twitter Quitter) asked if I wanted to go and I didn't hesitate to say yes. We arrived a few minutes early, duh, just as the food was being served and the Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum was starting to be poured.
After grabbing a glass of the rum, Ed and I wandered around a little bit. The reception was in the Rum Bar of the hotel. The walls had actual bottles of rum in them, kind of the rum version of how some places show off their wines. Mount Gay bottles were showcased tonight. Cheers to the chick that wanted to know why everyone was taking pictures of that wall. She just didn't get it, I guess! Oh, and the main bar was really cool too.
About that time, five minutes later, I was ready for a refill. While waiting in line for too long for a little more rum, I bumped into one of my bosses, James from Soul Of Miami. Of course, he wanted to know if I was on the job. I nodded. Apparently his camera is in the shop. LOL. I don't have a camera that is shop-worthy, but you're still gonna love my pictures.
More rum, fruit, little pastries, other desserts. This was a dessert event to pair with the rum, apparently. Right about then, the DJ (who was very good) gave way to a live band. I almost got trampled by the salsa-ers but survived.
That's when I spotted Rob Burr from the Rum Renaissance. I introduced myself again, this time mentioning the interview he did with me for Total Wine, to jog his memory. He totally already knew it, somehow. Such a cool guy. We talked about the Mount Gay launch in particular, wondering about where this product stands in the market.
Rob told us that at some point, Mount Gay realized they didn't want to be the cheapo brand on the market, that they wanted to reignite their long heritage of making quality rums in pot stills. Rob called it "the pivot" in more than one sentence. So if you've been looking for those inexpensive Mount Gay bottles lately and struck out, it's because they've pivoted to a focus on quality--Black Barrel Rum. As Rob put it, Black Barrel Rum is "Rum With Balls!" That conversation was the highlight of the evening, and Ed and I left with an invitation to Rob's home rum bar with 1000 different rums and 1000 rum stories!
As for the rum, I had 3 or 4 shots to consider (in addition to the nice lesson the ladies pouring gave). Nice spicy aroma, very wood forward from the aging. A nice sweet caramel, butterscotch and vanilla flavor trio meets more of that wood from the barrels. Good spice, good heat. The finish was dry, flavorful and lasted for a long time (at least until the next sip). Very good rum. I enjoyed it a lot.
Since Ed and I didn't bring our dance partners, we left when it got crowded and hit the Lokal for burgers and beers in Coconut Grove. We didn't exactly park like champions and walked through some questionable blocks of stares. Haven't felt that uncomfortable since a few similar mis-parking episodes in certain parts of Manhattan a decade ago. Food was great. Bathroom art so good I didn't even use the facilities ( I forgot), but you'll need to wait for another day to see those photos. Ed had a sour beer from the "Secret Menu." I just grabbed something I knew I'd like. Was a good night all around!
|Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne|