Rum for All Comes to Washington, DC

How’s this for a way to spend a Tuesday afternoon?

Source: had the pleasure of blind tasting 12 different rums. The Rum for All seminar, held at Smith Commons on Washington, DC’s uber hip H St NE, was led by F. Paul Pacult and Sean Ludford. The 40 or so attendees were comprised mostly of bartenders from the DC area’s finest establishments, such as Jack Rose Dining Saloon.

Pacult and Ludford gave an introductory lecture on the subject of rum, then marched us through a sniff-and-two-sips sampling of each. We were encouraged to guess whether the rum’s country of origin, whether it was made from cane juice or molasses, and whether it had been produced by column still, pot still, or both. Suffice to say, many of us guessed wrongly—such is an advantage of blind tastings. The rums ranged from water clear and lightly flavored to dark and brandy-like. Pacult and Ludford suggested a cocktail for each of the 12 rums.

Rum for All is an educational project—Pacult and Ludford aim to increase the knowledge and appreciation of rum. The effort began three years ago and involves a rum newsletter and website (see and tasting events around the United States. A bevy of rums (see here) have signed on to the Rum for All and their products are featured in the tasting.

After the tasting, we all ambled up the second floor of Smith Commons to enjoy a roast pig and other tasty eats, along with rum cocktails. One real eye-popper was a Rum Old Fashioned—it was made with Appleton Estate 12 Year rum and garnished with toasted mini marshmallows.

Mixologists and bar professionals wishing to attend one of these events are advised to e-mail Rum For All.




Cocktails with Charro or The Crazy Alize Boat Party


Editor’s note: We’re republishing this post from our archive as part of a reorganization of the site’s content. This event occurred in the late 1990s.

Cocktails with Charo, or The Crazy Alize Boat Trip
by F. Sot Fitzgerald

We took a boat ride around the southern tip of Manhattan with the irreverent folks of Alize cognac. It was a night of twisted kitsch.

The South Street Seaport dock was transformed into a Frankie-Avalon-era beach party, complete with male and female bikini models… and the eternally splendid Charo (koochie, koochie!)

Once we set out to sea, there were drag queens spinning albums and dozens of party-goers danced crazily.


Tasty Alize cocktails were dished out at a furious pace. We two fisted it, gulping Alize VSOP on ice with one hand an chasing it with Alize Red Passion and Champagne cocktails.

While our editor maintained his sobriety, both F. Sot Fitzgerald and Charles Westbrook got loopy and spent much of the journey home grappling in the streets of Manhattan and arguing over whether to head uptown to watch the drag queens throw another party.


National Bourbon Day and $22 Small Batch Bourbon

It’s National Bourbon Day—so celebrate accordingly!

For us, it will be Four Roses Small Batch.  One of us will have it neat, the other will enjoy it with a cube or two of ice.

And we should mention that Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is on sale now for the INSANELY low price of $22 here. Buy it in bulk!

Who says it is National Bourbon Day—who cares!  It is an excellent excuse to hoist one!


Whisky Magazine Hosts a Single Malt Scotch Whisky Tasting

Marcin Miller, editor of the UK’s Whisky Magazine, was the host of a scotch tasting on September 17, 2002 in Manhattan. Twenty-plus journalists and brand representatives gathered in the second floor dining room of The Leash an exclusive club, where thirteen malts were presented. Among the standouts were:

Glen Garioch (pronounced Glen Geary): A $20 malt which is a terrific bargan. Soft, with a thick honey note, light peat, and a long close (Rating ***3/4).

Bruichladdich 15 Year (pronounced Brook Laddie): An astonighingly complex malt. So soft, so intriguing… Not to be missed. (Rating ****1/2) See our full review of Bruichladdich 15 and other Bruichladdich whiskies here

The Macallan Cask Strength: A whale of a malt. Orange colored, big, spicy, and a real belly warmer at 50.6%. (Rating ****)

Glen Morangie 1981 Sauternes Finish: Glen Morangie is always fruity and these wine casks add butter, wood, and a dollop of chocolate. Fascinating malt. (Rating ****)

Talisker 20 Year Old: 62% alcohol, it is, like other Taliskers, immense, with iodine, must, smoke, seaweed, and black pepper. There are only 1800 bottles allotted to the U.S. Alas. (Rating****)

Ardbeg Provenance: Taken from 1974 casks this whisky amazed a numbered of the tasters. 26 years (it was bottled in 2000) has made for a unique and glorious malt: peat that smells like burning embers, oaky-bourbon, and a bit sweet. It isn’t super complex, but it is perfectly integrated and balanced. A miracle, as it should be at $600 a bottle. (Rating *****)

Laphraoig 30 year: Big, gooey legs on this malt. Unlike the 10 year it is a touch sweet, and the peat has mellowed. It’s salty, soft, and delicious. (Rating****1/2)

To see if our retailer currently has these malts, click SHOP FOR WHISKY and type the brand name in the search engine and click the magnifying glass image.



Oktobertfest at the German Embassy in Washington, DC

Aren’t we lucky? The Rosen Group, who does PR for DRAFT magazine (a beer glossy), pitched us an invitation to the Oktoberfest held at the German Embassy. What fun we had! Horst D. Dornbusch, the author of Prost!, the easy-to-read book on German beer, was on hand. There was music, dancing, heaps of food, and folks dressed in both Black Tie and German finest.

We were given a beer stein when we entered, which we used to sample the dozen or so German beers being poured. The on-tap TUCHER HELLES HEFEWEIZEN was very refreshing (Rating ****),and the WARSTEINER PREMIUM OKTOBERFEST was malty sweet (Rating ***3/4).

Moving onto the bottled beers… The ZOTLER KORBINIAN DUNKEL struck us as pleasant but bland (Rating ***), and the ST. GEORGEN-BRAU KELLER BIER, an unfiltered, low carbonation lager, was intriguing — its slightly dry, slightly malty, and slightly bitter. (Rating ****) We enjoyed the MECKATZER GOLD, which was clean and showed citrus notes, making it a nice palate-cleanser. (Rating ***3/4)

The stars of the show were the LAMMSBRAU ORGANIC DUNKEL, which was light-bodied and delicious (Rating ****1/4), and the unbelievable MILTENBERGER HELLES HEFE-WEIZEN, a wheat beer with an almost effervescent body that boomed with clove, bumble gum, and banana notes. (Rating *****)

All in all, we and the couple hundred others who thronged the Embassy had a blast. We’ll put it on the calendar for next year, for sure.