The Rum Diary: Zaya Gran Reserva Rum

This is the season of cozy sweaters and other things to keep you warm, so we thought we’d bring a little island warmth to keep you toasty during the cool fall season. When we think of fall, we think of seasonal flavors like apples, and spices such as cinnamon. Our inner child loves the combination of apples and cinnamon, but as an adult, naturally we love our fall flavors with a bit more kick, specifically a perfectly aged rum. There’s something about a dark rum that screams fall season to us, it may be its dark amber hue, or its smooth and sultry full-body. For those who think of rums as purely a tropical cocktail spirit, may we present you with one of our favorites, the exquisitely aged Zaya Gran Reserva Rum, a decadent sipping rum with a unique blend of 12 different, rare aged rums.

The 80-proof Zaya Gran Reserva, double-distilled in copper pot stills is sourced and blended on the island of Trinidad. this premium rum is made from premium blackstrap molasses and aged in used whiskey and bourbon barrels. Zaya has a distinct nose, boasting a combination of sweet (thanks to caramel and vanilla), spicy, nutty chocolate, and smokey notes, most of which are very present in its taste, and a long pleasant finish. As we previously stated, this is a decadent sipping rum, a perfect spirit to end the day with, but it also brings a stunning amount of robust flavor to a rum-based martini, especially one that encompasses bold fall flavors, like the below Spiced Apple Martini.

Spiced Apple Martini

2 ½ oz. Zaya Gran Reserva Rum
2 oz. Apple Juice
Splash of Amaretto
2 Pinches Ground Cinnamon
Cinnamon/Superfine Sugar mixture (optional)
Optional Garnish: Cinnamon Stick
In a mixing glass, add Zaya Gran Reserva Rum, apple juice, Amaretto, ground cinnamon, and ice cubes.
Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass dusted with cinnamon or superfine sugar and ground cinnamon mixture (optional). Garnish with a cinnamon stick, if desired.

We promise you will enjoy yielding to this velvety smooth rum, it’s heaviness and sophisticated body is perfect for the fall season curled up in front of a fire, or your television set. Grab a 750ml bottle of this rich, decadent rum for approximately $30.00.

Tasting Panel Magazine Presents the 2013 Tour of Double Gold Winners

Once again, thanks to Tasting Panel magazine, who hosted the nationwide wine and spirits tasting tour of the 2013 Double Gold Medal and Premium Award winners of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, we got to enjoy the finest from the alcohol industry. This year, the 7th year of the tasting our, 22 Spirits and 25 wines were available at SD26 during the New York segment of the tour, for attendees to sample and enjoy. The last time we attended, we almost didn’t make it out so this time we concentrated on spirit brands we were not familiar with, check them out below:

Red Leg Spiced Rum – Double Gold Medal Winner

Miodula Presidental Blend Honey Vodka – Best Flavored Vodka & Double Gold Medal Winner

Gran Duque d’Alba Oro Solera Gran Reserva Especial Brandy XO – Best Spanish Brandy & Double Gold Medal Winner

Chila ‘Orchata Cinnamon Cream Rum – Best Cream Liqueur, Best Liqueur & Double Gold Medal Winner

Arta Añejo Tequila – Double Gold Medal Winner

Huizache Reposado Tequila – Double Gold Medal Winner

Peel Bananacello Liqueur – Double Gold Medal Winner

We loved just about everything we tasted (although we were extremely careful with the tequila and gin…those two are dangerous). We devoured the Peel Bananacello and we’re not ashamed to say we went back for more; the Miodula Presidental Blend Honey Vodka was indeed the best honey-flavored vodka we’ve ever tasted and we’re looking forward to adding the Red Leg Spiced Rum to our drink wish list.

You’re Invited to the 2013 Holiday Buying Show Beverage Sampling Event

Are you someone who’s always on the look out for hot new cocktail ideas? Want to know what’s the newest trends in alcohol or what your favorite brands are launching? Then attending the Holiday 2013 Buying Show, the largest alcohol buying event for the bar, restaurant and retail industries, is an absolute must.

What can you expect to experience at the Holiday 2013 Buying Show? New York World Wine and Spirits Competition (experts from around the world of wine and spirits judge a wide variety of grade-A beverages, many of which are featured on the convention floor), seminars, amazing beverage and food sampling from some of the most delicious alcohol brands – over 400 vendors actually. With your show floor ticket, you can sample a very extensive selection of beverages both alcoholic and non alcoholic, domestic and imported. For a complete list of exhibitors visit

In addition, over a hundred new craft and artisan brands will be on display for sampling; other vendors being showcased include barware, legal services, photo workshops, a variety of 19 seminars (not included in show floor ticket). For information about seminars and pricing, visit

Along with the amazing show floor activities, attending guests will also enjoy parties, networking opportunities, drink-making demos, and specialty vendors. The regular cost for a ticket is $40.00 but with discount code 1951, you get 25% off – $30.00 for show exhibits and sampling only and $100.00 for seminars and show floor. 

Make Your Sprits Bright | Holiday Inspired Cocktails

Drink and be merry – that’s the basic philosophy during the holidays and I’m here to continue to celebrate that very thing. When the stress of work and misery of horrible events show their ugly heads, it’s time to be thankful for and celebrate life, especially during the holidays. I’ve decided to toast to my life, how ever imperfect it may be because I do have said life – what better way than with holiday themed cocktails made with the very smooth from these smooth dark liquors.

Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum, a must-try rum from Nicaragua. Aged for seven years in a combination of whiskey and bourbon barrels, this dark rum with hints of a copper hue is bold yet smooth. It’s extra smoothness and full-body leads to medium-bodied palate of dark caramel and toasted nuts and finishes with a dry toasted coconut fade. While many will love this on the rocks, I implore you to try it in a cocktail like the one featured below:

Santa’s Surprise

1.5 oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum
0.5 oz Lemon Juice
0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
0.75 oz Vanilla Syrup
2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon, strawberry, and sprig of mint.

I’ve always been a huge fan of hazelnut (hello Nutella and Ferrero Rocher® chocolates) which is why I absolutely love Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur. The pale gold liqueur is made with toasted wild hazelnuts combined with cocoa, vanilla berries and a host of other natural extracts giving it a smooth, long finish with fragrant back-note. The real beauty of this classic liqueur is its versatility, it is season-less; drink it in winter and summer to warm you up or cool you down; short or long; straight or mixed. Try it every way.

Frangelico® Truffle

1 oz Frangelico
1 oz SKYY vodka
3/4 oz of espresso
Shake with ice, served chilled up in a cocktail or martini glass. Dust with dark chocolate shavings.

CAMUS VS Elegance Cognac is a careful blend of eaux-de-vie made from wines distilled without lees. The uber-smooth, slightly floral and fruity cognac is perfect for entertaining or sipping by the fire, this recipe will make you and your guests feel extra special this year. The personality of this golden brown cognac is very faithful to the original aromas of the wine and the quintessential flavors of the Charente terroir and is characterized by delicate fruity and floral notes.

Fallen Leaf Manhattan

2 oz CAMUS VS Elegance Cognac
0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
0.25 oz Maple Syrup

Pour all ingredients in a glass shaker (Dry shake).
Add ice and shake until frothy. Served up or on ice. Garnish with candied artisanal Walnut or plain Walnut

What delicious cocktails will you be enjoying this holiday season?

Malibu Rum & Ne-Yo Launch the Fiery Malibu Red

Red hot songwriter, film and television actor, Ne-yo has partnered with Malibu Rum to launch the delicious new Malibu Red, a 70-proof blend of smooth Caribbean rum and fiery silver tequila – the infusion of tequila gives Malibu Red quite a kick which I noted when I tried a shot of this bold rum – you definitely “feel the fire” as the Malibu Red tagline says. “Serving as the “Chief Creative Officer,” Ne-Yo worked closely with Malibu since the product’s inception to lend his ‘smooth’ talents and creative vision to create an experience that will inspire taste buds and give new meaning to brand partnerships.”

As I stated above, Malibu Red has a bite, thanks to the silver tequila, but fans of Malibu Rum will definitely recognize the sweetness of the signature Malibu coconut and vanilla. You will fully enjoy this complex blend of tequila and Caribbean rum – on its own or in a few cocktails. The silver and red bottle, while still remaining loyal to the Malibu brand, has a sophisticated, premium look – designed in conjunction with “The Gentleman” himself.

The crowd at the very packed Liberty Theater waited in anticipation for Ne-Yo’s performance while enjoying several amazing Malibu Rum cocktails (the Malibu Red Margarita was divine), music by DJ Kiss, delicious hors d’oeuvres, entertainment by Malibu Rum dancers, a yo-yo artiste and stilt dancers

Photo credit: Simon Russell 

The crowd naturally went wild when Ne-Yo hit the stage in some fiery red pants (his performance was equally as fiery) to perform his greatest hits – Closer, Miss Independent and Because of You as well as premiering his new song and video – The Way You Move. Check out some of The Gentlemen’s performance below

From this launch party for Malibu Red, they will hit the road with Ne-Yo as the sponsor of his upcoming concert tour. Want to experience this delicious hybrid? Malibu Red is available at bars, restaurants, nightclubs and retailers across the country beginning this month, a 750ML bottle retails for only $16.99. After you get your hands on a bottle or two, make sure you try out these recipes:

Malibu Red Margarita
2 parts Malibu Red
1 part lime juice
1 part agave syrup
Stir all ingredients on ice in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a squeezed lime wedge.

Malibu Red AND Lemon Lime Soda
1 part Malibu Red
2 parts lemon lime soda
lime wedge
Stir all ingredients on ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a squeezed lime wedge.

Check out some more pictures from the event