The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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Page 6 of 152

UP Up Front with Blue Chair Bay Rum by Tom Caestecker Jr. When the award winning singer-songwriter Kenny Chesney unveiled Blue Chair Bay Rum earlier this year, some might have wondered which took priority—the stage, or the stuff inside the bottle. It obviously was the latter. That's how The Cocktail Guru—famous mixologist Jonathan Pogash—sees it. He should know: Once an aspiring actor in the thespian shark tank of New York City, Pogash knows the difference between spirits of substance, and something that's just an act. Blue Chair Bay Rum has proven to be more than just a hit from a proven hitmaker. For pros like Pogash, who leads the brand's cocktail development program, the Barbados-distilled spirit has allowed him to put on quite the show. It's a tour-de-force brand that rode the wave of a concert tour from spring and summer straight into autumn. Although the cold-weather season may seem antithetical to the rum vibe, Pogash sees it as quite the opposite—and a welcome challenge. to mention that it's associated with palm-dotted locales that never experience any chill except from man-made ice cubes. But Pogash has brought each of the Blue Chair Bay expressions—White Rum, Coconut Rum and Coconut Spiced Rum—all-season relevance. He also suggests cocktails that play on regional sensibilities. "Each Blue Chair Bay Rum bottling has intriguing, natural flavors," says Pogash. "The White Rum has great balance: PHOTO: DONNA FEDENKO Whenever a new product launch is associated with a celebrity, the skeptics come out in force. All-Year Relevance "Yes, Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum is great in summertime, but when you include ingredients that are associated with fall and winter, such as muddled cranberries, or apple and pear, you have a spirit that segues into cold weather very seamlessly," says Pogash. "And we experimented with something very simple: We put a shot of Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum with a glass of hard cider, and it was a beautiful pairing. You can go either way, as [the spirit] can be reminiscent of the past summer, or its baking spice notes make it work during the colder months." Not long ago, considering rum as a year-round spirit in northern climes would have been puzzling, even to industry veterans like Pogash. He once thought of white rum as really nothing more than a mixing ingredient—very basic—not sugarcane on the nose, the herbal, grassy notes on the palate and the spice on the back. The Coconut Rum is really like fresh coconut has been sliced open in front of you, and the Coconut Spiced Rum has those notes of cinnamon, clove and vanilla. My favorite rum cocktail is a Classic Daiquiri. During fall and winter, the riffs I would do on a Daiquiri would involve my own five-spice syrup—nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, clove and ginger. If we were in New England, I'd add muddled cranberries; in Michigan, I'd make spiced apple syrup. And when I think of San Francisco, I'd do a riff on a Pisco Punch." 6  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_001-33.indd 6 10/24/13 8:46 AM

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