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If Wine had a cousin…would it be Rum?

With the second month of 2011 upon us, I finally find myself with 5 free minutes to post on the site.  January has been a weather nightmare and at this point there looks to be no end in sight for February.  However, that’s not what Punxsutawney Phil thinks. I really believe the “powers” that be in little Gobblers Knob, PA, didn’t have it in them to tell us we actually have another full 6 weeks of winter.  I think they’re just as sick of snow as we are! So here we are coming off a major 2 day snow/sleet/ice storm, looking down the barrel of another snow/sleet/ice storm Saturday, followed by another snow “event” next Tuesday. As I stated previously…no end in sight.  The good news is…well at this point there is none, but I digress.

 

Like years past, this one looks to be another busy one travel wise.  I have at least 1 trip scheduled each month for the next 3…a break over the summer and then in October it’s back to Santa Barbara.  I think I am most looking forward to that trip, I really enjoy the area and the wineries are great.  I am excited about hitting some old favorites and finding some new ones also.  By that time my “California” stock of wines from the last trip will be perilously close to empty, so it will be a great time to stock up again.  I was fortunate enough this past Christmas to receive the Blackjack Vineyard 2006 Pinot Noir.  I really enjoyed the 2005 vintage and I am excited about the 2006.  I will definitely be picking up some extras when we travel out west.

 

We recently escaped, all be it briefly, from the frozen tundra of New Jersey for a 4 day trip to sunny Costa Rica.  Located in Central America and nestled between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica offers some amazing experiences that cannot be missed.  The country prides itself on ecotourism and is a leader in that area and it has also become one of the most visited countries in Central America.

 

While not at the top of the Wine producing countries, or really even on the list at all, Costa Rice does offer another type of libation, Rum. And if you are so inclined to put the wine glass down for a little while, there are some amazing Rum offerings to be found. While not the world’s foremost expert on anything including Rum, I will try to provide some minor insight into the drink of Pirates.  Rum is the drink of the Caribbean, as that is where the majority of it is produced. 

 

It is made utilizing molasses or sugarcane juice which is often a by product of sugarcane. 

In order to create rum, you need distillation and fermentation. During distillation, the molasses is heated in either a pot still or column still. As the molasses heats up, the sugars react and alcohol is released in a gaseous form, it travels up through the top of the pot, through a system of pipes, cools and comes out as a clear liquid which is then fermented. (Remember no expert on the process of making Rum.) 

 

Not unlike wine, this clear liquid is then placed in a barrel or cask to be aged most times at a minimum of at least one year. Aging of the rum generally takes place in bourbon casks but can also be in a steel tank. The age of rum and how it was stored will determine the color of the final product. Once rum has been aged, it is often blended and may be filtered or caramel added to adjust the color as needed.

 

Centenario Internacional is one of the main distilleries in Costa Rica. They offer 5 separate products, the Centenario which is offered in 5, 7, 9, and 12 year aged and the Ron Centenario Fundacion XX Aňos. For more information you can visit their website at http://www.roncentenario.com/

You can also get more information about Rum at: http://www.ministryofrum.com/index.php

Next trip is Denver, Colorado in late February, we’ll see what type of excitement I can get into.

Until next time Salude!!

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