For such a small island, there is quite the concentration of diehard rum junkies living here. Granted, I would expect there to be more here, per capita, than on some place that isn’t a subtropical island that sits on the edge of the Caribbean basin and yet still has pretty easy access to the rest of the world, but still it’s pretty exciting. There’s me (obviously), my friend Alan from The Rum Barrel, Mike Streeter from the Rum Connection, Carl Grooms from Coastlines and Tanlines, and the godfather to us all down here, Bahama Bob Leonard, who works at The Rum Bar, located in the Speakeasy Inn on Upper Duval street.
Bob has probably forgotten more about rum than most of us will ever know. He has 160 bottles of it on his boat, 100 of which can’t be found inside the United States. And as for at the bar itself, I overheard him telling a customer that they had-you ready for this Tommy Bahama Las Vegas?-232 different rums to try at the Rum bar. I asked him later if the number was 232, but he just laughed. “No,” he said, with a devilish glint in his eye. “I’m at least up to 233. Here, try this.” And he handed me a bottle I had heard about, but had never before seen.
Lemon Hart has been making rum since 1804. They do a classic dark Navy-style rum as well as having just introduced a spiced rum, but if you ask anyone who drinks and loves rum what comes to mind when you say Lemon Hart, they’ll have one word for you: overproof. Lemon Hart 151 is a traditional ingredient dating back to many of Donn Beach and Trader Vic’s tiki drinks. What separates it from other 151 proof rums out there is this mystery thing called….flavor! I was actually able to sip on a little taste of it and enjoy the complexity of the rum and not just feel the burn.
Make no mistake, this rum is basically twice as strong as pretty much whatever you’re drinking, so be careful! But as the summer heat builds up and your pouring Pina Coladas for your friends, float some of this on top and enjoy life like the one long weekend it is.