Friday, June 30, 2017

Black Coral Rum, Riviera Beach, Fla.

Riviera Beach, Fla.--Black Coral Rum is made the old fashioned way. There are no artificial ingredients or added sugar in this rum according to owner Ben Etheridge. "This is what the essence of rum was like before artificial essences," said Etheridge, during an interview, at the Ninth Annual Miami Rum & Trade Show in April this year. 

Mixologist John Moore and Owner Ben Etheridge, Black Coral Rum,
Riviera Beach Florida based, 9th Annual Miami Rum & Trade Show,
Miami, Fla. Copyright 2017 by Helen A Lockey
Florida born Etheridge started making rum in his backyard at age 16 and now at age 34 he and his dad Clint have a 500-gallon still distillery. They are very transparent about their process. "It is our duty to be honest with you. Not many do it but we do," Ben said.

Ben is passionate about his rum and wants everyone to be able to experience it so he keeps his prices affordable. He also wants you to buy his rum to help the families of fallen service men and women. For each bottle of rum sold, one dollar goes to Operation 300, a non-profit organization, based in Hobe Sound, Florida.

Other ways they help the local community is by buying Florida grown sugar-cane molasses from Clewiston and getting their bottles made in Miami-Dade County.

As for the rum, both the white and spiced rum starts with a nine-day fermentation period followed by a 12- hour distillation period. Then both are put into white American Oak barrels and aged for six months. The white is then passed through coconut husk carbon filtration before bottling and the spiced has natural ingredients added to it. As Ben says, “If it doesn’t grow in the ground it is not in our rum.”

The white rum has delicious overtones of butterscotch, almond, chocolate and molasses. 
The spiced rum has a juicy, vanilla banana bread taste. 

Black Coral Rum opened just over two years ago and already it can be found in most restaurants, bars, Publix Stores, ABC Liquor Stores and Total Wine & More from Melbourne to Key Largo on the East coast of Florida and from Port Charlotte to Naples on the West coast of Florida.

To find more locations go to Black Coral Rum's website , and enter your zip code to find a location near you. Due to Florida law restrictions the distillery is not allowed to offer online rum sales. But if you go in person you can buy up to six bottles of each type of rum (this time last year you could only purchase two bottles). 

However if you go to Publix, ABC or Total Wines & More you can buy as many bottles as you like.

This fall (around September), Black Coral Rum will be moving from Riviera Beach to a new location in downtown West Palm Beach where they will be opening a tasting room for their 2000-2500 gallon still. "We'll be building the biggest distillery in West Palm Beach. It will be the biggest craft distillery in the state," said Ben, adding, "We will be making spirits that haven't been made in over a hundred years."

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Treasure Rum, Chocolate Cherry Flavored Rum

Miami, Fla.—Good tasting cherry flavored alcohol is hard to find. But Treasure Rum's Chocolate Cherry Flavored Rum has mastered it. “It took a long time to get the flavoring right but we got it just right,” said co-owner Mike Spies, and former Florida Keys resident, of Treasure Rum LLC. I met him and his business partner Jannette Galis-Menedez at the Ninth Annual Miami Rum Festival & Trade Show this year at the Miami Airport Convention Center.

Mike Spies and Jannette Galis-Menedez owners of Treasure Rum, at 9th
Annual Miami Rum Festival & Trade Show, Miami, Fla.

Treasure Rum, started just seven months ago, has already gotten onto the shelves of all the Total Wine &More stores from Homestead to Plantation.

It was the long time passion turned hobby for Spies who wanted to develop his own personal flavored rum. With the help of Citrus Distillery in Riviera Beach, Fla., they developed their double distilled hand-crafted rum.

“It has been very interesting, but a lot of work,” said Cuban born Galis-Menedez. They wanted to use the word Pirate for their brand but it was already trademarked. So to represent their dual heritage, a map of Cuba and a tiny pirate image is located on the label.

I found it to be yummy dark, golden-colored rum with a pleasant aroma and taste rich dark cherries followed by milk chocolate.

“It has an aftertaste like chocolate covered cherries, that’s what we were looking for,” said Spies. He added they had to go out of country to get the flavoring for the rum because they did not want it to taste like chocolate covered cough syrup.

Spies said their rum has been very well received at every Total Wines & More tastings he has done in south Florida stores. He also found a good response at the Miami Rum show.

You can find out more details about them and Treasure Rum at

Also Island Dogs Bar, in Key West now serves Treasure Rum.

You can also email Jannette Galis-Menedez at or call 305-799-1941

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Florida Edible Mahoe Tree

If you live in Florida you often get to see variegated Mahoe trees. You might know them as an ornamental tree used to bring color to a yard. But I bet you didn’t know these colorful Mahoe trees have edible parts. Well according to Green Deane of Eat The Weeds they are.

Multicolored Mahoe tree, Florida
Copyright 2017 by Helen A Lockey
He is a Florida forager who takes people on walks through Florida wilderness to teach them about which wild plants and fruit are edible. 

Mahoe flower, edible hibiscus, Florida
Copyright 2017 by Helen A Lockey
Mahoe trees are in the edible hibiscus tree family. The yellow flowers can be eaten raw but the leaves have to be cooked according to Deane.

The flowers are slightly slimy in texture and have lettuce like flavor mixed with just a touch of sweetness.

According to Deane the flowers only last one day and are yellow in the morning and red in the evening before they die.