Saturday, January 26, 2013

Meet Bob!


As an intro to a project on Mamajuana Rum, I want to introduce you to the man who really set my interest in the subject on fire.

Bob Davies is a Rum XP judge who I had the fortune to met in Key West last September. Bob was a hoot to hang out with, and a great source of information, no matter what we were drinking... And he’s a beer guy too!
Enjoy my Q&A With Bob!

Bob, who are you? What do you do and where do you come from?
I am originally from Wales and moved out to the Caribbean in 1989 to work as a PE teacher in the Bahamas.
I am now Distribution Manager at the biggest liquor company in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Here we have introduced are own rum, Bambarra Rum which has been a huge success.


What did you grow up on? Coors light, like me, Rum, Moonshine, where do you come from in the alcohol world?
I grew up on Real Ale in Wales but obviously got into rum in a big way when I moved out to the Bahamas, it was a natural progression. Many of my friends drank Bacardi Anejo, so I grew up on pints of Anejo and Ginger Ale, affectionately known as a Conch Cay Joe, the nick name for white Bahamians.
 
I see on Facebook that you occasionally like to have some Mamajuana. Where did you first experience it, and what does it mean to you?
Bob with Mike Streeter of RumConnection.com
There are many Dominicans living in the TCI and many bars have Dominican barmaids and staff. Everyone has their own version of it, but most taste medicinal, more of a shot drink than a sipper.
 I am not sure if all the medicinal benefits are true or just fiction, but it is always a good talking point in a bar to try some.
 
How do you feel about the traditional beverages of both the Caribbean and other lost societies compared to the commercial, main-stream junk we see on the shelves today?
The huge liquor companies are monopolizing the liquor industry and making it hard for the small companies to survive. The electronic age has made the world a global village. Whisky is a status symbol in Latin countries, anyone can buy a bottle of rum but you have to appear to have money to buy a good bottle of whisky. It is much easier to go to a local liquor store than it is to make something for yourself. I love experimenting, making my own rum, aging rum, blending fruits and spices into rum. You never know how it is going to turn out. One of my favorites was Jerk Spiced Rum and  my Skittle rums.

I was examining culinary trends the other day, and noticed that the more “Civilized” a society becomes, the less flavor and tradition is reflected in it’s culinary menu. Do you see this happening in the beverages as well?
Certainly, the growth of a tasteless spirit like vodka is proof of this, you have to add all the flavor back to it to make it drinkable. Fortunately the rapid growth of aged rum is correcting some of this for many people. Originally people could only drink what was made locally, we need to return to these ways in many cases. Buy local!!
 

Our Beer has become bland and flavorless, our rum smooth and without character and our cocktails fruity and indistinguishable from their Tiki Bar counterparts! Am I imagining things?

Mamajuana at Bugaloo's
Craft beers seem to making strong growth these days. I was involved in the Campaign for Real Ale back in Wales so I am happy craft beer is growing as a category. We are in a beer desert here though, and  import duty on a case of beer here is around $34 a case, so it is cheaper to drink rum these days!!!
 
What can the average person do to help correct this loss of tradition? And where does a product like Mamajuana fit into this trend of making better spirits at home fit in?
I think more people should try making their own spirits and Mamjuana is an easy starting point to learning the art of infusion. Fruit infused liquor is an easy introduction to homemade drinks. Always use a good base liquor, don’t use a liquor you would not normally drink just because it’s cheap, this is the most important ingredient.

To follow Bob, and learn more about his projects, check out oldbahamas.com and read up on his rum at www.bambarrarum.com

Stick around, I will be creating a bottle of Mamajuana for you next week!

~Cheers!

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The adventure never stops

The adventure never stops
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