Posts Tagged ‘rum’

Sunkist2 Island Traveler

This page gives you a little insight of my Travels through my lens.


Chemist, Oscar Waithe, perfects the blending formula for Mount Gay Rum in their Lab in Barbados, WI

Chemist, Oscar Waithe, perfects the blending formula for Mount Gay Rum in their Lab in Barbados, WI

I kind of like exact regularity in a process, as I was given a unique private journalistic tour of the Mount Gay Plant of Barbados.

Monastraki Flea Market of Athens, Greece is the closest to organized confusion seen, yet the details get accomplished.

Monastraki Flea Market of Athens, Greece is the closest to organized confusion seen, yet the details get accomplished.

I also love the random madness of this treasure in the center of the Plaka District and every turn presents another remarkable quality of industrious detail.

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No Problem, Mon, Every ting is Irie!


My purchase of the vinyl record Rastaman Vibrations in 1976 got me started.  The rest all fell into place, as I picked up guitar, and listened to the Bob Marley lyrics.  Sure, I remember the “ska” tunes of Desmond Dekker’s  The Israelites, and the My Boy Lollipop by Millie Small.  Each had the lilting sway of the island beat and the swagger of Reggae roots.  But, Jimmy Cliff, the Marley Clan, and those Jamaican pioneers of the 70’s showed that one did not have to be a Rastafarian to feel the vibe.

The tribute to artist Bob Marley for the 2013 55th Grammy Awards Ceremony and the emergence of a slew of media advertisements featuring artist Jimmy Cliff at the 2013 Super Bowl Championship for Volkswagen is an image of respect to two of the Jamaican culture’s strongest emotions.  Harmony and independence are summed up in the Jamaican Nation’s independence motto:   Out of Many One People.

Negril Beach posseProfessor Dr. Carolyn Joy Cooper, literary scholar of the Department of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona Jamaica has worked  for the preservation or as she says: ” of the vernacular – that the genuine Jamaicans embraces so wholeheartedly. The class structure is of such that some considers others to be illiterate if they embark on the illumination of the common language of the locals.”  Patois is the distinctive Jamaican language or as ‘Patwa’ being the preferred language of youth.

I began to learn Patwa twenty plus years ago on the beach from Jamaicans. Back-a-Yard, the gathering place of family life, board games, BBQ and Redstripe is the proper place for complete Patwa education. The commitment in the preservation of the Jamaican Creole dialect needs to be supported as true Jamaican Tongue.

IM NEVA NAA BADDA MI, FI WHA GWAAN BACK A YARD IM A JAH KNOW.  ZEEN?   That’s the attitude:” Mind your business and your neighbor’s issues are between he and his maker.” “Do you understand?”

Elvis rules the beachIn that VW Commercial the blonde Tow-Haired Fellow from Minnesota pulls the Beetle into the Managers parking spot after a too long lunch hour and says: EVERY TING CRIS ( “groovy”), BOSS MON?  That is: “Go with the flow, Volks.”

How can you not love this Language.  Want to learn more?  Take a couple of mile stroll along the seven mile sugar sand beach of Negril, Jamaica one day.  For now , ” Respec’, Brudder Mon!”

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Flying in to Sint Maarten, W. I.Sometimes I think back to a short time before the 1995 Hurricane Luis hovered over Sint Maarten for those thirty-six immeasurable hours and I have to roll my closed eyes back in my nodding head and sigh,”What a waste.” An exposed and windy place is this point of land. No, it looks more like a jagged little island. It is connected to the ironshore coast, but the razor sharp edges of each foothold prevent any temptation to test a pair of Keds. The waves that suck under the hollows on the extreme verticals to the open sea leave the bellowing of the humpback’s long deserved breath. This is a rugged and exposed place. It does not invoke comfort. It is also the touchdown point of the island’s international airport.

When the bohemians found paradise, the Dutch side of this Sint Maarten/ St. Martin tiny island prospered. Small comfortable enclaves sprang up in the secluded nooks and bays. Not fancy, but club-like, these refuges built a following of word-of-mouth guests, who could not think of any alternative. Caravanseri began as this and continued to thrive through the nineteen eighties tourist boom while keeping the intimate character- a home in the tropics.

This brings me to the Pirate of Sint Maarten.

As my little de Havilland Twin-Otter aircraft hovered yards from touch down on the beach front landing strip, waving below was J.J. and the gang outside the villa at Caravanseri. It was a long day on the island of  Saba and my throat was begging for more than those steel cylinders carrying that beautiful air all during a scuba day at 100 feet below on  Saba’s ocean gardens.  At Caravanseri I knew my destination: the open air octogonal restaurant; the Bar, manned by Moncel and the “Pirate”. Fifteen mintutes later, having been hosed down with the villa’s outdoor shower and with a fresh linen shirt,  I was ready to roll. Moncel was ready. Two glasses in hand, and a grin on his face, he began to perform his magic.



Hurricane Luis for 36 HoursThat year it was all gone ; just a nice piece of barren land with great waves crashing over those jagged rocks. All blown away; villa, octogonal bar, Moncel? (hope not); everything!  But you know, we still have the Pirate, though, we can leave Hurricane Luis for another two hundred years. Enjoy.
UPDATED from October 1999
The hotel was rebuilt under the name Millennium, only to be devastated once more by the 1998 storm: George.  After three months of repairs, it opened to be renamed Caravanseri with 75 rooms and a repaired restaurant on the cliff. Sadly a freak October 1999 storm again destroyed this hotel, shutting it down completely. Thank you Mother Nature!
UPDATE-September 2012 season   A time-sharing hotel of several stories and  re-named Caravanseri is on the location.  The octogonal restaurant is back in the islands. Where’s Moncel?

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OPSAIL 2012 delivers as promised to Boston Harbor

     Take one colorful Colonial Captain and the twinkle of the Tall Ships at night and you get Christmas.  Sir Jeremy Bell delivers as promised on the Clipper Liberty for Rum and Revolution on the summer night.  While in the destination of the OpSail Boston, the clear full-moon evening produces the glitter of the holidays of December.  Rum helps, too!


CISNE BRANCO (Brazil) – on Fish Pier

GLORIA (Colombia) – on Fish Pier

GUAYAS (Ecuador) – on Fish Pier

DEWARUCCI (Indonesia) – on Fish Pier

USCGC EAGLE (USA) – at Charlestown Navy Yard

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Why would anybody drink a 75% alcohol fluid? There have been times that even I questioned myself on this notion. It lasts for a very short space in time. The term Over-Proof speaks for itself. Most alcohol spirits are in the 40% by volume range of Alcohol to fluid ratio. I’m not a chemist. The Spirits Industry uses the term “proof” as the scale: percentage of alcohol is doubled and that is your : proof. 40% becomes 80 proof.

I have watched the spirit maker at the still. The concocting of 100% alcohol is a reality. Once filtered several times, that fluid can be consumed. I have tasted 100% spirits in a demo. It fills your eyes with tears, as it is brought to the lips. Not tears of joy. Once it touches your lips or tongue, you’ll remember it. The burn is habanero peppers laced with open safety pins. Then your eyes do well up and gush. It lasts several seconds.

The West Indies knows Over Proof. The know rum. They know simple village drinks of fishermen and farmers. They know the exotic cocktails of the yachting crowd. The know the fruity punches of the Charter tour groups, they know it all. The best Over Proof Rums come from the Spanish, Jamaican and French root West Indies islands, and the country of Guyana, on the South American mainland. The sugarcane fields are rich and the stills are active. English have it down pat on Barbados. My favorite vision of “The Process” is at the Mount Gay Rum factory in the Colpitts region in the north on Barbados. Chemist Kenneth Waithe from the distillery demonstrated the blending of the quantities of batches to produce the perfect proof and the right color. The process started with the Over Proof. Mount Gay makes a fine 151 proof. They do not advertise it on the Remy-Cointreau.com website, as it’s really only a Barbados thing. And, down there Charmaine at the main office can help you organize a tour at the tourist St. Micheal’s location. charmaine.hooper@remy-cointreau.com.

So what do you do with OverProof? Ti Punch, of course. 6 cl de Rhum blanc Damoiseau 50°, that’s 100 proof., 1 cl de sirop de canne, & 1 zeste de citron vert. Damoiseau Rhum is a product of Guadeloupe, FWI. Several very fine producers reside on the island and on Marie Galante Island just offshore. The fishermen found that this drink at daybreak after a night in small skiffs, got them the energy to get to the market to sell. No ice was used. I prefer one cube. I mash a few small chunks of lime in the stout glass, too. Another variation of the Over Proof comes from Guyana, as Demerara Rum. This is 151 proof with a red warning label on the bottle. A small tin screen covers the mouth of the bottle. This golden, aged rum with a carmel hint, is used for the saucepan and rich desserts love it. The flambe use and pourability of this mixer rum for the best cocktails can’t be topped. Finding these rums is not very hard at the mega liquor stores. Go easy. They pack a ‘Punch”!

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