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Book Reviews

Book Reviews (Rum, Bartending, Cigar, etc.)

If you are serious about rum, we recommend you add the following rum books to your library (click on the book covers to go to the ordering page). If you know of additional rum books we should have on this page, please let us know!

From Rum Runner Press, Inc.

The Rum Experience.  "Rum surely has no better ambassador than Luis Ayala. In his hands the rich and colorful history of rum comes alive, so vividly you can almost smell and taste the properties of this truly legendary libation. From New Zealand to Barbados, Venezuela to Puerto Rico, Ayala has sampled the rums of the world to compile a definitive history of rum as well as the most comprehensive tasting portfolio available to rum connoisseurs. Ayala speaks and writes passionately about a spirit that is as elegant and sophisticated as the world's finest cognac, brandy and bourbon. As the cocktail culture brings us closer to rum - the first and most versatile cocktail spirit - we begin to see rum's important place in mixology. The daiquiri and the mojito are perfect starting-off points to learn about rum's finer incarnations. From the shaker to the snifter sipper, Ayala covers all types of rum and rum experiences. This book is a must for anyone who wants to learn more about rum or is already engaged in an enthusiastic affair with the world's most lively and famous spirit." (Greg Morago, The Hartford Courant)
The Encyclopedia of Rum Drinks.  Includes over 1,300 rum-based recipes for cocktails, cordials and more.  This book features recipes from the late 1800's, through American Prohibition up to modern times.  Why settle for other books that feature only a handful of rum drink recipes when you can get the most complete collection of them printed to date?
Reviews coming soon!  Click HERE to order!

From Other Publishers

RUM – The Epic Story of the Drink that Conquered the World by Charles A. Coulombe.  Reviewed for "Got Rum?" Magazine by Luis Ayala.

In a world full of books which endlessly recount well-known stories and facts about rum, it is refreshing to come across this title. In “Rum,” Mr. Coulombe manages to share with his readers many little known facts about rum, such as the religious and historical impact rum has had on society. The book is well written, well researched and fills an important gap in today’s rum literature: the impact of rum in our culture.

This book is not about rum styles, production methods, ratings and distillery propaganda. In fact, only a dozen pages (out of nearly 300) are devoted to naming rum companies and their brands...

Full book review in June 2004 issue of "Got Rum?"


RUM, by Dave Broom. Reviewed for “Got Rum?” Magazine by Mr. Stanley G. Laite, International Rum Judge and Connoisseur

"Dave Broom, the author, has won many awards for his
writings on “spirits and wines” including: Glenfiddich Drink Book of the Year for 2002(co-authored with Susy Atkins) for “Drink! Never Mind the Peanuts” (I might add this is an absolutely wonderful book-one of my favourites).  His other titles include: Handbook of Whisky, Spirits&Cocktails, Connoisseur’s Guide to Whisky, Chardonnay, Cabernet- he certainly covers all aspects of the Drink World!  Jason Lowe, an award winner himself, did a magnificent
job with the pictures in this book- has really captured the feel of the Caribbean.  Most photos seem very natural but a few looked a little too “posed” (page 67, 83 and 94 are examples). The picture captions are very, very clever- but maybe just a little too overdone now and then- (on page 41 he shows a picture of the juice with the caption: “As the juice flows the soul of rum starts to appear”) I loved the bright, simple but most effective maps on pages 60-61! I wish there were more! He does an excellent job with the Rums of the Caribbean World but unfortunately some other areas are too briefly

Full book review in February 2004 issue of "Got Rum?".

Classic Rum.  From the gentle charcoal-filtered purity of a white to the oak-aged spice of a dark, rum is one of the world's finest and most popular spirits. Made from molasses or the juice of sugar cane, it was first distilled in the 17th century in the Caribbean. A fascinating tour of rum in all its styles--white, golden, and dark--Classic Rum looks at its rich history and culture as well as its manufacture. There is an A-Z of all the classic brands, their histories, and tasting notes (from the rare "single marks" to more familiar names--Bacardi, Wrays, Lamb's Navy, Captain Morgan, Mount Gay). In addition, there are classic recipes for rum-based drinks and tips on using rum for cooking in the kitchen. A complete and essential guide for connoisseurs and novices alike. Julie Arkell is a wine writer, lecturer, and broadcaster.
Rums of the Eastern Caribbean.  From the Publisher
Have you ever dreamed about sailing the Caribbean and sampling the finest rums the islands have to offer? Join the crew of the sloop Tafia and learn the secrets of the Caribbean spirit. The descriptive narrative takes you to the distilleries where you learn how rum is made and the differences between the 150 rums described. Historical sketches of the distilleries, recipes and anecdotes combined with more than 100 color labels make this the most complete guide to the best rums in the world.
Rum Yesterday and Today.  From Book News, Inc. , December 1, 1996.  Recounts the story of the libation that kept the British Navy afloat for 300 years, and its role in the wars, bloody battles, peace-keeping efforts, long voyages of discovery, and of course shore leave. Reprinted from the 1982 edition published by Kenneth Mason in Emsworth, England. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Spirit of Bermuda.  Cooking with Gosling's Black Seal Rum.  By Edward Bottone.  The Spirit of Bermuda is one of the most pleasant rum-based cookbooks we've reviewed in a long time. Not only does it present the reader with a rich and diverse selection of recipes, it also offers instruction as to the origin of traditional recipes and historical facts about Bermuda. Needless to say, all the recipes use Bermuda's one and only Gosling's Black Seal Rum.

The book's list of chapters will quickly give you an idea as to the depth of the research that author and friend Edward Bottone went through in order to create this piece: "Introduction," "The Bermuda Bar," "Soups & Starters," "Main Courses," "Sides, Salads & Sandwiches," "Cooking Outdoors," "Holiday Traditions" and "Desserts."  One of the favorite spring time fruits at the Ayala household (in central Texas) is loquat. Much to our surprise, browsing through the Spirit of Bermuda we learned that loquats are as abundant in Bermuda as palm trees are in the tropics. These recipes are:

Loquat Liqueur, Duck with Loquat Sauce, Loquat Chutney, Loquat Cheesecake, Loquat Upside-Down Cake and Loquat Jam.

The book is beautifully bound and illustrated. It comes in a colorful hardcover presentation (approximately 7.25" wide by 8.25" tall). It has 132 pages and can be obtained directly from Gosling's website at: www.blackseal.com.  At $19.95 (plus S&H), this is one of the best-valued additions to every rum lover’s library.  (As reviewed in the January 2003 issue of "Got Rum?" Magazine.
Caribe Rum - The Original Guide to Caribbean Rum And Drinks.  A fantastic rum book by world-renowned beverage consultant and friend, Robert Plotkin!  This book takes you by the hand on a virtual tour of the most famous rum-producing Caribbean islands.  Explore the history, culture and tantalize your senses with the descriptions of delicious cocktails.  This is Robert Plotkin's 10th book: you don't get to this point unless you are doing things consistently right.  Keep this in mind as you flip the pages.  Every word and every rum mentioned in the book deserve to be there.  Whether you are a rum expert or a neophyte, you'll find this book educational and entertaining.

Order directly from www.barmedia.com 

The Spirit of Puerto Rican Rum.  Along with Cuba and Jamaica, Puerto Rico is one of the most famous rum destinations in the world.  Traditional Puerto Rican rums have delighted the palates of millions throughout the years.  This book illustrates what happens when society and culture are exposed to a constant stimuli over a long period of time: rum is now as big in the Puerto Rican kitchen as it is in the cocktail bars.  Author Blanche Gelabert takes the reader by the hand as the explores the local cuisine.  By the end of the journey, you are left both thirsty and hungry.  This is a softcover book, full with gorgeous photographs.  A favorite recipe from this book is "Coco Escondido." 
Nelson's Blood.  Do you like history?  Do you like rum?  If you answered ''yes' to both questions, then this book is a must for you!  Written by Captain James Pack Obe, this book is the most comprehensive work ever published on rum and the British Royal Navy.  The insights into life at sea are exciting and historically correct.  From the origin of the rum ration to the Black Tot Day, this book has it all.
Cooking with Caribbean Rum.  A delightful collection of recipes and photographs for tantalizing dishes, all sharing rum as the common denominator.  Author Laurel-Ann Morley was born in Venezuela but has been residing in Barbados since age 10, so all recipes have a predominant "Bajan" touch.  Do you want to make some "Rum Mustard Glazed Ham"?  Or how about some "West Indian Beef Stew"?  The recipes are authentic and time-tested.
Hawai'i Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine.  From the inside cover: "Inventor of more than ninety exotic rum concoctions - including the world-famous Mai Tai- Donn Beach, a.k.a. Don the Beachcomber, made an indelible mark in the world of entertaining.   From Hawai'i to Hollywood to Hong Kong Harbor, Don the Beachcomber's Polynesian-themed restaurants, bars, and lu'au were all the rage during the 1930s, 40s and 50s -attracting Hollywood stars such as Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. While dining on tropical Asian cuisine and sipping on exotic rum punches in the branches of a banyan tree, surrounded by tiki torches, rattan furniture, flower leis and bright-colored fabrics, his guests truly knew the meaning of Aloha.  The secret cocktail mixtures of the master, Don the Beachcomber, are revealed for the first time, including the original Mai Tai, the Zombie, the Beachcomber's Gold, and the Vicious Virgin, along with a delectable array of his tropical cuisine recipes and an original Don the Beachcomber Party Guide. So kick off your shoes and strip down to your lava-lavas, it's lu'au time!"

Hard-cover, 112 colorful pages of recipes, history and creativity. Written by Arnold Bitner & Phoebe Beach.  



Bartending Books

Bartending For Dummies®. You have to do more than stock your fridge with cold beer and soda pop to qualify as a good host. But if you're able to mix anything from a Malibu Suntan to a Manhattan, a Limp Moose to a Lizard Slime, you're sure to win a place in every guest's heart. Now, with Bartending For Dummies, no drink is out of the question. Author and Bartender magazine publisher Ray Foley answers all your bartending questions, including How can I make sure that I have the right ingredients on hand without going broke? Which glass do I use for which drink? Can James Bond really tell the difference when a Vodka martini is shaken, not stirred? What's the secret to making satisfying nonalcoholic drinks? Best of all, Bartending For Dummies contains over 1,000 cocktail recipes. (Bet you didn't know there were so many.) Cheers! (And remember: Dummies don't drink themselves stupid.)


The BarKeeper Pocket Peeker. The BarKeeper Pocket Peeker is a compact drink recipe guide that fits easily into a shirt pocket or backpants pocket for quick and easy access. Its easy to read and the recipes are in alphabetical order. The drink name, the type of glass to use, the ingredients, the mixing method and the garnish are all included. All this information in a neat little flip-chart style booklet that practically fits in the palm of your hand. The pages are even laminated to easily keep them clean and dry so your BarKeeper Pocket Peeker will last you a long, long time. You won't find any of those obscure or fly by night drink recipes thrown in to fill up space. These cocktails are being mixed by the millions today in nightclubs, bars, restaurants and casinos from coast to coast.


The Bartender's Bible : 1001 Mixed.  Mix Drinks Like A Pro! Now you can with this indispensable handbook, the most thorough'and thoroughly accessible'bartending guide ever created for both professional and home use. Encyclopedic in scope and filled with clear, simple instructions, The Bartender's Bible includes information on: Stocking and equipping a bar'from liquors and mixers to condiments, garnishes, and equipment, Shot-by-shot recipes for over 1,000 cocktails and mixed drinks from bourbon to rum to whiskey, Wine drinks, Beer drinks, Nonalcoholic drinks, Special category drinks'tropical, classics, aperitifs, cordials, hot drinks, and party punches, Anecdotes and histories of favorite potables and more!.



Cigar Books

The Amazing Cigar.  Prepare yourself for a literary joyride as you look at all the tricks you never dreamed of doing or thought possible with cigars, cigar bands, lighters, matches, matchboxes, cigar boxes, cigar ash and smoke! This book is a collection of the best-of-the-best stunts--from the simplest to the most challenging. This book is for everyone.


The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cigars.  From the Back Cover:
Choosing and smoking a cigar doesn't have to get you all fired up! You're no idiot, of course. You throw sophisticated parties, mix your favorite drinks, prepare delicious meals. But when it comes to smoking a cigar, you don't know which end to light. Don't burn out yet! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cigars takes the fear out of choosing and smoking fine stogies. Feel confident about browsing in a smokeshop, setting up a humidor, and smoking a cigar with style. In this Complete Idiot's Guide you get: Valuable tips about the best cigar size and shape for you. Solid information about the preparation and distribution of cigars around the world. Expert advice on choosing quality cigars for a good price. Practical suggestions on judging the cigars you smoke. A comprehensive rating guide to the best cigars around.



Wine and Spirits Books

100 Classic Cocktails (Tiny Folio).  A delicious, portable illustrated guide to potables that unlocks the mystery of mixed drinks. With this colorful, portable guide, aspiring mixmasters and veteran barkeeps alike have a handy source that satisfies all bartending needs. From all-time favorites like the Martini and Manhattan to modern classics like the Cosmopolitan, this Tiny Folio presents one hundred easy-to-follow recipes for the most essential mixed drinks. Cheers!

Other Details: 130 illustrations, 116 in full color 288 pages 4 x 4" Published 1998


After-Dinner Drinks: Choosing, Serving...  For everyone who's wondered about the difference between cognac and Armagnac, or whether brandy really has to be served in a snifter, here is an entertaining and informative guide to the most popular after-dinner drinks. Author Jon Beckmann presents lively profiles of all the classics, including port, sherry, Madeira, dessert wine, grappa, Scotch whisky, American bourbon, tequila, and a select group of liqueurs. The first guide dedicated solely to postprandial spirits, After-Dinner Drinks offers budding connoisseurs a pleasurable way to expand their knowledge and palate.


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