The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2013

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Page 56 of 148

COVER STORY tine, and the ground is so clean. There's no junk, gasoline or bad fertilizers. And the rain that comes through sits on such clean grounds that it's able to hold down pollens. The cane really absorbs the essence of the Hawaiian fruits. Mark does have some secrets behind the way he makes it, but it really boils down to the area in which it grows. If he moved to Jamaica or Puerto Rico and made rum using the exact same process, it wouldn't taste the same. Sammy's Beach Bar Rum in the "Rumerator" dispenser at Sammy's Rockin' Island Bar & Grill in Roseville, CA. Sammy, you went from making a great tequila to creating an amazing rum. How did you do it? You know, I think I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I can't take too much credit. Sammy's Beach Bar Rum just kind of happened. I had tasted this vodka sometime back, called Pau Vodka. A guy named Mark Nigbur makes it in Hawaii from pineapples, and it's really good! So when a friend of mine suggested I go see him during a visit to Hawaii, I thought, hey, I want to see this. How does he make a spirit from pineapples that doesn't taste like pineapples? I walked into this little distillery that sits in the middle of a huge sugar plantation in Maui and there was Mark looking like a perfect chemist and making vodka. Is this where the idea behind Sammy's Beach Bar Rum was born? Absolutely, there we were in the middle of a giant sugar plantation. So I asked Mark, "With all due respect, why in hell aren't you making rum when you've got all this sugarcane in your backyard?" And out of nowhere, Mark said, "Do you want me to make you some rum?" He said it would be the best rum I've ever put in my mouth. About three weeks later, he came over to my house with a sample, and he was true to his word. It blew 56 / the tasting panel / may 2013 me out of the water! It reminded me of the irst time I tasted ine tequila, made from 100% agave. Did you see a market for white rum? In that moment, I began to see one. I told Mark, "I've never tasted white rum like this!" I asked Mark if he could make more of it. He pointed to the red rockers in his place, and told me, "Hey, I'm a huge fan. (He even looks like me!) I'll make you as much as you want." One thing led to another, and soon, bottles were made. I'm not bragging, but I have to tell you, it's the best white rum I've ever had in my life. I'm there with you. I think it's really delicious. It doesn't just taste like distilled sugar cane. It has wonderful character to it, and beautiful texture. Again, I can't take too much credit for that. The cane in Hawaii is so pris- So the location is ultimately what gives Beach Bar Rum its special character. Yeah, it's made in such a way that it's smooth enough to drink straight. But I personally like it chilled. Throw a slice of fresh pineapple into your rum, stick the glass in the fridge for about an hour, take it out, and give it a swirl—you'll have the best infused rum on the planet. That's why I don't want to make strawberry, cherry or pineapple rum. The lavor is subtle, but it's distinguished enough so that when you mix it into a cocktail, you can really taste the difference. So you followed Cabo Wabo Tequila with another really exceptional product. Thank you. I remember thinking Beach Bar Rum is going to be small. I wasn't going to promote it as hard as I did Cabo Wabo but that's all changed. The rum turned out so good and my fans have raved about it so now I'm working harder than I did on Cabo to give my fans and rum lovers a chance to enjoy this ine rum. For a new brand, without any big supplier partner, we've seen good results in a really short amount of time. Call it luck, call it the spirit of aloha—we are now distributed in every state and initiating programming for distribution to key on- and off-premise accounts. Like I've said, I'm a very lucky guy. Beyond luck, Sammy developed Sammy's Beach Bar Rum with great passion and precision. I asked Sammy what will happen when he runs out of the pristine Hawaiian cane that's so integral to the lavor in Sammy's Beach Bar Rum. In time, people will try to tear down cane ields to build condos and strip malls. Sammy laughed and told me his game plan. "When that happens, we're going to knock down the condos and strip malls and plant the cane back!" With the locals on his side, Sammy is conident that Sammy's Beach Bar Rum has a long life ahead in the spirits industry.

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