SYDNEY’S VIKING BAR, MJØLNER

I love themes; themed parties, themed dinners and above all, themed bars! So you can probably imagine how excited I got when I came across an article showcasing a new Viking themed bar in Sydney! Now, not only is this Viking bar called Mjølner – you know, old mates hammer, it is also a carvery, a whisky bar and most importantly, right down the road from me. Seriously guys, I almost lost my shit! I grabbed a team of meat eaters, booked in a table and counted down the days to which we would drink all of the mead and feast on all of their beasts, before heading off to war at sun break… or just home to sleep.

Now, of course I was initially a little hesitant about the whole thing. You see, there’s always some new themed bar popping up around Sydney; some that run the distance and those that don’t. But the more I looked into Mjølner and saw the posse they were rolling with – the Speak Easy Group (Eau de Vie Sydney, Eau de Vie Melbourne, The Roosevelt), the more my mind was put at ease.

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The day had arrived and boy was I excited! We entered through a heavy wooden door, wondered down the stairwell and greeted by a shit load of people fighting to get a drink at the bar! Okay, maybe not fighting, but huddled … intensely! The bartenders were working a million miles a minute and people just seemed to keep piling on top of those already waiting – how very vikingesque!

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I must admit, usually I am not a fan of the usual hustle and bustle you get at some bars. It’s pretty intense and not exactly the most pleasant of experiences having someone elbow you in your tit whilst you wait to grab a much needed beverage. On this occasion, I kinda’ loved it – well not the elbow in the tit malarkey but the hustle and bustle… I thought added to the atmosphere!

As I slowly moved my way closer to the bar, I took a second to have a look around at the decor and was pleasantly surprised. There was no tack in site! Just robust wooden tables, beautifully lit display cabinets presenting soon to be carved meats and just the right amount of Viking themed paraphernalia. I liked it alot. An open wood fire would have topped it off for me, but I can’t have it all now, can I?

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So, the real reason I am here: TO DRINK … oh and eat. My review is not going to spend too much time on the food (which was tasty as fuck and the theater that goes along with it is… hilarious) but on the drink situation they’ve got going on. As I mentioned above, the bar was hectic, but we persevered and managed to have a peak at the extensive bar menu and choose our poison.

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There was plenty to chose from, but the star of the show for me would have to be the Kon Tiki: Havana Club 3yo rum, Vida mescal, soured apple juice, salt water & samphire orgeat.

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This cocktail is based on the classic mai tai but with a Nordic twist. I loved this cocktail; it was so different to any rum cocktail I’ve ever had before which is always super exciting for me! Fresh, dangerously potent and deliciously smoky, it was an overload for my senses – which could be a bad thing for some people, but for me, a run ride!

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The bar itself has an incredible selection of poison from beautiful wines, a wide variety of whisky and my love in liquid form, rum! I would highly recommend heading to Mjølner and attempt to drink your favourite tipple from a horn whilst cutting into your steak with a horn-handled hunting knife!

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     Mjølner
     267 Cleveland St,
     Redfern NSW 2016
     0422 263 226

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Photography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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This article is posted on karasrumquest.com – All rights reserved – Copyright © 2017.

DRINKS WITH… NIKITA WARD

I’ve met some really interesting folk so far on my little rum quest. Whenever I get a positive response to my meeting request, I’m always super grateful. In saying that, not a day goes by where I don’t worry about getting a “fuck off you weirdo” response to my invites – which I’m happy to say I have not received… yet!

Anyway, when I sent my request to the lovely Nikita Ward, I did not realise that gin was her thang – what, not EVERYONE’S life revolves around rum like mine? Fear not, I don’t discriminate!

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PS40 is where we agreed to meet; an amazing little cocktail bar that I’ve been keen to check out for a while. I arrived a little earlier than expected (which sadly meant I interrupted Nikita eating her dinner) but Nikita didn’t seem to mind in the slightest. In fact, she greeted me like I had known her for years, grabbed me a stool up next to her, fixed me a drink (an amazing rum and coke made with Plantation OFTD Rum and their amazing, in-house produced wattle cola) and we got crackalacking!

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I am always so curious how most people start off in this industry. It varies from person to person and Nikita is no exception.

My first degree was in fine arts and my second degree was in secondary education, so after a brief stint bar tending during uni, I went on to be a teacher! I taught art and dark room photography in Kalamunda High School but then realised you can’t drink and teach at the same time… and plus kids are really fucking mean! So, I moved to Sydney and right back to hospitality!

It’s at that point; I knew this was going to be a bloody fun interview…

After I finished my degree I got a job at a restaurant/ bar. I remember watching the guys behind the bar making up drinks and I thought that looks really fucking cool! You don’t have to touch food, you don’t have to walk around as much as the waitresses and you get to hang out in the bar! I used to badger them every day. Every time they made up a drink I was right there, wanting to know everything that was going in to it. The boys would also let me come in and muck around when it was quiet, which was great. I loved it, wanted to do it full time… so I did!

There’s always one point in your life you can look back at and go, “yeah, I really got my shit together there”. For Nikita, there were two:

Hazy Rose and The Rook played a huge part in helping me get my shit together. During this time, I took part in World Class and was introduced to a lot of people that work in the industry here in Sydney. I then moved on to an ambassador role with William Grant & Sonsat this point, Nikita shows me her Sailor Jerry tattoos on her elbows and I honestly died… in a good way – and then I went on to help open Jangling Jacks as a bar consultant, now I work as a brand ambassador for The West Winds Gin! Phew!

Like that point, there is always a certain person who (whether they know it or not) turns into your mentor.

 My dear friend, Mitch Bushell really inspired me in this industry. Seeing him as a bartender and seeing him, as a brand ambassador is actually pretty amazing. He is just so professional and has such enthusiasm for this industry. It’s hard not to be in awe of him. He always goes that extra mile and has such an incredible work ethic that has influenced how I go about my work. I am incredibly grateful to have him in my life!

Nikita’s middle name is Chardonnay; she adores wine and is a brand ambassador for The West Winds Gin … but what about the rum?

 Like most bartenders, a daiquiri was the first cocktail I ever learnt to make and after that, at Hula Bula Bar in Perth is where I learnt the rest about rum. I worked there for a good two and half years and together we would smash out nearly 5000 cocktails every month. Also, here is where I also had my most interesting rum experience, one of the boys was mucking around with something called Gunpowder rum…it definitely …interesting to say the least….

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 We wrapped up the interview and I thanked Nikita relentlessly for her time, (and apologised profusely for cutting into her dinner) but before I left we decided to make a gin/rum cocktail – Come on, it was pretty inevitable that this would happen!

I must admit, I was a little nervous. Gin has never agreed with me but I was intrigued. The lovely James Snelgrove, who you will see shooting the breeze behind the PS40 bar, made us a very yummy rendition of a Suffering Bastard. It was honestly gorgeous! So, for your taste buds pleasure, I noted the recipe for you all the try at home.

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All hail, The Suffering Bastard

  •  Plantation 3 star white rum
  • The West Winds Gin- The Cutlass (which is made with lots of Australian elements, including cinnamon myrtle, lemon myrtle and Australian bush tomato)
  • Lime cordial or fresh lime and sugar
  • PS Blackstrap Ginger Soda
  • Angostura bitters

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 More information at www.thewestwindsgin.com

You can buy The West Winds Gin at all good alcohol retailers such as Dan Murphy’s, Vintage Cellars, Camperdown Cellars etc.

TheWestWindsGins

     PS40
     2/40 King St, 
     Sydney NSW 2000

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Photography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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This article is posted on karasrumquest.com – All rights reserved – Copyright © 2017.

 

BAHAMA QUEEN!

One name you all need to know, Gertrude Lythgoe!

Also known as the Bahama Queen or the Queen of Rum Row. She is literally my all time favourite lady in history.

This beauty was the only woman to hold a wholesale liquor license in Nassau, Bahamas during the prohibition era (1920-1933).

She used her charm and business savvy to send shipload after shipload of the finest rum and whiskey to America while never breaking a single law.

“Impeccably dressed, and always carrying a gun, Gertrude remained ever a lady. She carried many monikers, but for four years she reigned supreme as “The Bahama Queen.”

Whatta’ woman!
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MY FIRST EVER VLOG | SAILOR JERRY RUM REVIEW

Who’s ready for my first ever VLOG?!?!?

Today I’m giving you the low down on my favourite go to rum… Sailor Frickin’ Jerry!

In this video I’ll take you through the first time I tried Sailor Jerry, what I like about it and ALOT of waffling!

If you like this video, please do not forget to subscribe and throw a thumbs up my way!

 

♡ Thank you for watching!
♡ Please remember to Like and Subscribe 🙂

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Videography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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This video is posted on karasrumquest.com – All rights reserved – Copyright © 2017.

KARA’S SPICED APPLE RUMBLE

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My favourite rum combo ever is fresh green apple and spiced rum. Sadly, it is not a combo that many bars offer and when they do, it doesn’t really keep very well when made- it turns into a brown slush if you don’t drink it fast enough.

This power couple are so good together it’s borderline ridiculous. The crisp tart green apple mixed with the spiced rum is a force not to be messed with. Top that with a little nutmeg and cinnamon and, well, let’s just say, every other drink may as well go home as there is no way they can complete.

On this occasion, due to my lack of a fruit blender, I have had to use fresh organic apple juice and a touch of Ginger Ale to complete this cocktail. And I got to say, it was the bees knees. So I thought I would share my recipe with you guys.

I hope you enjoy it:

Kara’s Spiced Apple Rumble

  • 100ml Bacardi Ocho 8 Year Old Rum
  • 200ml Organic Apple Juice
  • 20ml Ginger Ale
  • Grating of Cinnamon stick
  • Grating of Nutmeg

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Pour 100ml Bacardi Ocho 8 Year Old Rum into a highball glass. Follow that with 200ml Organic Apple Juice in to the glass and top with ice. Add 20ml Ginger Ale and add some crushed up ice to the mix. Grate some cinnamon and nutmeg on top and dive in.

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This is a super refreshing cocktail which is perfect for a summers day. You will find it not overly sweet but has a lovely tang to it. The spiced rum adds an apple crumble finish which I adore! As we are using apple juice in this cocktail, there is thankfully no risk of this cocktail turning into a brown slushy you would get if you used fresh apple.

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Photography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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This article is posted on karasrumquest.com – All rights reserved – Copyright © 2017.

COTTONS RHUM SHACK REVIEW- Shoreditch, London

Cottons Rhum Shack in Shoreditch was my favourite place to go whilst in London. It is situated in London’s Boxpark, which is basically a pop-up shipping-container mall full of wonderful delights like bars, clothing boutiques and bric-a-bracs stores. Located on the upper deck, away from the hustle and bustle of Shoreditch High Street, Cottons offers you a little taste of the Caribbean without the hefty price.

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Cottons is a lively little place with music to match. If you are looking for a place to grab a drink before heading out for the night, you should definitely come here. Not only will the atmosphere set you off in the right direction but the amazing selection of cocktails they have on offer will no doubt help 😉

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DRINK

The bar holds a hefty selection of rums, a selection that surpasses pretty much any other bar in London. All 250 of their rums are lined up neatly behind the bar, so it super easy to get carried away when ordering a few tantalizing cocktails.

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I ordered:

These drinks were all amazing but sadly I had to stop there as my jet lag was kicking my ass 🙁

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FOOD

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You have a choice of two spots to enjoy your meal here at Cottons. The outside area is made up of long tables and benches, which people seem to head to for a more lively backdrop. Or you can do inside in their restaurant for a more quieter affair. I tried out both each time I went there and much preferred the outside dining area.

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The food was good value but sadly I was not blown away by my meal of curried mutton with rice n peas, coleslaw and plantain. It was yummy, but I did feel like it was missing something? Or maybe it could have been that everything was served in it’s own little bowl and all I wanted to do was put it on one plate and dive in. Either way, it was filling and reasonably priced for a decent sized meal, but I did feel a little underwhelmed.

CONCLUSION

Although the food did not blow my balls off, the drinks did and for that I would highly recommend everyone heading here if you ever get the chance.

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Photography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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This article is posted on karasrumquest.com – All rights reserved – Copyright © 2017.

NIGEL’S BOOM BOOM SNACK SHACK- British Virgin Island

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Temperatures are hitting above 40° C here in Sydney and I gotta’ admit, I’m struggling. And I don’t mean I am a little sweaty and a little uncomfortable. I mean I am rendered basically useless during this heat! But this got me thinking; out of all the places I visited whilst away recently, where would I like to spend this scorcher of a day? Without any hesitation, I’ve got to say I would love to be back at Nigel’s Snack Shack at Smuggler’s Cove! Now let’s get this straight, I am not a beach person, a sun person, a heat person or an insect person… and this place pretty much has it all… but I still love it! Nigel’s Snack Shack at Smuggler’s Cove was honestly, by far, the highlight of my amazing trip around the Caribbean.

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Nigel’s Snack Shack is in no way fancy (pretty far from it to be honest), BUT what this place lacks in glitz and glamour is made up by the amount of love and heart that is bursting from it.

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Nigel is pretty much, a one-man band. When he is not serving people drinks he is cooking up the most amazing grub on his simple two burner BBQ. This guy does not miss a beat. He makes sure you have nibbles while you wait, and has some amazing stories to tell whilst he does all of the above.

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This guy also has no interest in using a jigger when he is pouring his drinks. He free pours – which is either super amazing or super dangerous depending how you look at it. When you ask for a dark n’ stormy, be prepared for pretty much a glass full of Gosling Rum and a splash of Caribbean ginger beer on top. Nigel is also very keen to do a Belly Bumper shot (which was a shot of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky) with visitors he likes. Not everyone get’s one, but you know you are in his good books when he breaks out the shot glasses- let’s just say, snorkelling was a million times more fun after I finished up my lunch here.

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I got talking to Nigel about how his snack shack came about. Growing up on the island, Nigel began his career hiring out beach supplies to visitors along with refreshing drinks from his esky. Smuggler’s Cove is a beach is in the middle of nowhere, so this would have been a very welcomed treat for it’s visitors. Nigel put the money he saved towards making a little snack shack for the beach, a little bar that sells cold beverages and authentic Caribbean food for all it’s visitors. Sadly Nigel’s presence has attracted some unwanted attention from BVI holiday homebuyers around Smuggles Cove. They claim that Nigel’s business was illegal and is making the island look bad! To me, they are making the island look bad. People flock to Smuggles Cove just to see Nigel. And those who know nothing about him fall in love with him as soon as they meet him.

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Considering the constant battles Nigel faces with BVI holiday homebuyers, Nigel is the most amiable person I have ever met. I wish I could take a leaf out of his book as I would not be handling his situation as gracious as he is.

Visit Nigel’s Snack Shack, you will not be disappointed.

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Photography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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This article is posted on karasrumquest.com – All rights reserved – Copyright © 2016.

 

 

 

 

GOOD FOR WHAT AILS YOU!

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It’s been a little over a week since I landed back home in sunny Sydney from my month long rum travel  – god it feels so good to be back in my own bed! Annoyingly though, half way through the last leg of my trip in London, I was struck down with a cold and only went and bloody lost my voice – not the best when I only ever come to London to see my family and friends once every two years! Cue my aunt fixing me up a glass of Hot Toddy (whisky, lemon, honey and water), which was surprisingly really tasty and super soothing on my throat.

Now I am back home, I have been on a mission to mock up my own delicious, rum based Hot Toddy to soothe all future sore throats. It took quite a bit of perfecting, but I am pleased to introduce you all to my little baby:

Kara’s Rum Toddy

  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 60ml water
  • 2tsp Manuka honey
  • 60ml Bacardi Ocho 8 Year Old Rum
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Grating of Nutmeg

1. Place all your spices and lemon peel into a small pan.

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2.      Pour water into said pan and begin to gently simmer over a low heat.

3.      Add your honey into the pan once it has begun to simmer- I use Manuka honey for it’s healing properties.

4.      Pour in your choice of rum – I chose Bacardi Ocho 8 Year Old Rum for this due to its very smooth and fruity tones.

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5.      Pour your Toddy into a heat proof glass- feel free to taste for sweetness.

6.      Top with a little nutmeg, breathe that bad-boy in deeply and enjoy.

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What did you think guys. How did my Toddy compare to all the others you have tried? Leave me a message below as I would love to know 🍹

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Photography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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This article is posted on karasrumquest.com – All rights reserved – Copyright © 2016.

PUSSER’S BRITISH NAVY RUM REVIEW- British Virgin Island

You can’t go anywhere in the British Virgin Islands without spotting Pussers British Navy Rum being sold behind every bar you step in to. So it would seem only right to spend the evening in one of Pusser’s official pubs when we landed in Road Town, British Virgin Islands.

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Overlooking Baughers bay, this pub is in prime position for all cruise shippers and boaties docking in Road Town. But this pub is not just for visitors, (even though it looks like something made specifically for us) it is also a meeting place for Road Town locals later on in the evenings.

When you walk in, you feel like you are stepping into an old Victorian tavern – Disney land style. Complete with a deep mahogany infostructure, a cluttered assembly of navy portraits, bric-a-brac’s hanging from the ceiling and Pusser’s branded pewter mugs everywhere… this old English pub seems a little out of place here in Road Town, but the novelty was not lost on me.

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Pusser’s Rum was first introduced to the Great Britain’s Royal Navy in 1655 as a substitute for beer. The Navy supplied its crew a daily “tot” of Pusser’s Rum for well over 300 years – and always double downed before battle and after victory! With such rich history, I was pretty excited to try Pusser’s Rum in all it’s cocktail based forms. So here is what I have to report:

  • Pusser’s Rum PunchA delightful blend of Pusser’s Rum, tropical juices, grenadine, Angostura Bitters and grated cinnamon.

This was the first Pusser’s cocktail I had in the BVI. Really nice and fruity but incredibly deceiving- you will get very drunk after just one. Sadly, I could not taste much of the rum itself in this cocktail- but I could feel it 😉 As a drink in itself, I would give this a 9/10. You really can’t go wrong with a rum punch in my eyes. 8/10

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  • Pusser’s Painkiller®Pusser’s Rum with pineapple and orange juice, cream of coconut and fresh grated nutmeg on top.

The Pusser’s painkiller is a pretty iconic cocktail in the BVI. It is usually the first listed on the drinks menu and the first people recommend you try. So I did… and I didn’t like it. It tasted like a really strong Pina Colada on the rocks, and that just doesn’t do anything for me to be honest. I am not a fan of super creamy beverages, so it is not surprising I did not enjoy this cocktail. 1/10

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  • Caribbean MargaritaA classic cocktail with a Caribbean twist. Pusser’s Rum, Cherry Heering, Jose Cuervo Margarita, Mix 2-3 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Blended with ice or on the rocks.

I had a serious hankering for a Margarita the day I ordered this and was a little let down by what I got. Now I know Margarita’s are typically made with tequila and what I ordered was a rum based one so it was bound to taste different. But what I got looked nothing like the photo on the menu and what I got was not drinkable! Sadly I had to throw it away in the end. The weird thing is, I have no issues with anything that is stated to be in this cocktail. I am used to these ingredients and enjoy them in other cocktails. So sadly, I am blaming the Pusser’s Rum for this heinous crime against cocktails! 1/10

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  • Classic rum and cokePusser’s (Blue Label) Rum, Coca Cola and lime.

If all else fails, stick to what I know and love. A good old-fashioned rum’n’coke. To be honest, nothing was overly offensive about this. It just tasted like a rum and coke, with a little bit of a heat to it. All in all, it was pretty standard. 5/10

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Honestly, I don’t think I will be running back to Pusser’s rum. I didn’t get much from it in smell or flavour. I would liken it to Bundaberg UP- without the afterburn. So if you are a fan of Bundy UP, you may very well enjoy this rum. Sadly, it just wasn’t for me… which is a shame as it was bloody everywhere!

 

“The only way to drink a tot [navy rum] is to swallow it whole, grimace, and sit down to appreciate the glow which spreads from the stomach and engenders that wonderful feeling of peace and bohomie”

– Nelson’s Blood by James Pack.

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Photography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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This article is posted on karasrumquest.com – All rights reserved – Copyright © 2016.

MOJITO’S AND CUBANOS, OH MY!

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Along with drinking Miami dry, I was also on a mission to consume all of the Cubano Sandwiches I could find! So the first free day we had in Miami, Al and I headed straight to Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine (a new chain of Cuban restaurants) and grabbed a seat outside. This place is full of character: beautiful music playing in the background, vintage Cuban photographs dotted around the place and above all, super-friendly staff.

Drink

I ordered the Ultimate Mojito. You are able to select which rum you would like in your mojito, so I chose Don Q Anejo rum. From here it is mixed with sugar cane and Yerba Buena. This cocktail was amazing! Don Q Anejo is really light with nice almond, honey and caramel tones; which I loved. I also tried the Zacapa 23 option but I found that Don Q Anejo went down a lot smoother 😉

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Variety of rums

There is an abundance of rum options here! Rum lovers will have a ball with all the varieties they have on offer! I would post them all here but it will literally take up all of the page… so here is a terrible, unedited video:

Food

I ordered the Cubano for $14.50 US. Ham, cheese, roasted pork, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread, comfort food at it’s best. I was a little taken back by how much this sarnie cost (around $20 AUS) but when I saw this bad boy, I could see why it cost so much… it was HUGE!!! Honestly, I could only eat about half of it because it was so gigantic! It was tasty though, I just hated leaving so much waste at the end.

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Price

Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine is a little on the expensive size, which was the only downside. I think I would have preferred if they served smaller portions and charged less to be honest. Saying that, if you are planning on visiting, you will find Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine on 405 Espanola Way, Miami Beach, Florida. If not, do not fear as I will be posting a video of my experience here soon 🙂

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Photography © by Kara’s Rum Quest – Copyright: All rights reserved.

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This article is posted on karasrumquest.com – All rights reserved – Copyright © 2016.