A Taste of the Tropics: Brought to You By Eva’s Carribbean Kitchen and Vizcaya VXOP

If you’re like us, you’re always looking for exciting and unique venues in which to enjoy a glass or two of Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Rum. So we’d like to let you in on a little secret: Eva’s Carribbean Kitchen.

A hidden gem located just off the Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, California, Eva’s is an adventure in Carribbean cuisine and cocktails. The expansive rum tasting list is matched only by the house cocktails. Why not start your evening with a glass of Vizcaya VXOP rum punch? Or try one of the fruitier house specialties, such as a Pink Punani, a Mango Tango or a Rum Cosmo.

The taste of the islands isn’t just in your glass, however. You’ll experience it in the crunch of the Carribbean conch fritters—which are billed as “Carribean Viagra”!–or the heat of cajun prawns, served with grilled pineapple, roasted pepper and passionfruit relish. And these delectable small plates are just for starters. Jerk chicken with mango chutney, blackened catfish, and pineapple-glazed pork loin are some of the entrees that await you. Whatever you choose, make sure to leave room for dessert—West Indian key lime pie, say, or banana passion flambe—complemented by another Vizcaya VXOP, this time served straight up or on the rocks, perhaps with just a squeeze of lime to bring out its sultry, slightly spicy character.

Dining at Eva’s is like embarking on a minature vacation. The décor is as bright, fiery and spicy as the food, lively Carribbean music sets the scene, and the service is attentive, quirky, laid back. Don’t be surprised to see owner/chef Eva Madray herself mingling with the diners, exchanging warm greetings and hugs, and ensuring that everything is up to her high standards. Not only that, but Eva likes to spoil her diners by giving them complimentary tastes of everything from her Callaloo soup to her signature rum libations.

Whether you hail from the tropics and want a taste of home, or you’re simply a foodie and fine rum aficianado, Eva’s has something special in store for you. Drop in, enjoy a glass of Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Rum with some delectable seafood or a cooked-just-right jerk steak, and feel the ocean breeze. Eva’s Carribbean Kitchen, as its many loyal guests will attest, is an experience that will transport you to the islands.

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 12:33 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Introducing… the Vizcaya Rumkist

One of the finest pleasures of summer is that of relaxing outdoors–on your porch, deck, patio or even your boat–and sipping a well-crafted cocktail, like the Vizcaya Rumkist, made with Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Rum. Infused with bright, sunny flavor thanks to fresh ginger and lemon, this is the quintessential summer cocktail. Enjoy one while getting the grill ready, watching the sailboats, or just enjoying a sunset.

Vizcaya Rumkist

1 tsp fresh ginger

juice of one-half lemon

1 oz simple syrup

1 oz Vizcaya VXOP

Tonic water or seltzer

Muddle ginger and lemon in the bottom of a highball glass. Add ice cubes. Add simple syrup and Vizcaya. Fill to the top with tonic or seltzer. Stir and enjoy.

Published in: on June 27, 2010 at 3:44 PM  Leave a Comment  
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The Many Renaissances of Rum Culminate with Vizcaya VXOP

Rum is one of the oldest spirits in the world, with a fascinating and storied tradition. Even Marco Polo recorded an account of tasting “a very good wine of sugar” offered to him in what is now Iran, in the 14th Century. A slightly more modern origin of rum is described by spirits historian Anthony Dias Blue in his Complete Book of Spirits: A Guide to their History, Production and Enjoyment. Blue quotes a document from 1651 which describes the fermentation of rum in Barbados: “The chief fuddling they make in the island is Rumbullion, alias Kill-Divil, and this is made of sugar canes distilled, a hot, hellish and terrible liquor.”

Thankfully, the process of distilling rum has become much more refined, and today’s rums, like Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21, are a vast improvement over such “kill-divil,” or “demon water,” as rum was once called.

Rum has had a valuable place in American history—some estimates say that before the American Revolutionary War, every man, woman and child in the colonies drank an average of over 13 liters of rum per year—as well as in British. One of the most abiding associations with rum is as a ration issued to Naval seamen, after the British fleet captured the island of Jamaica. Mixed with lime juice, sugar and water into a concoction called grog, the daily rum ration was a staple of seafaring life until 1970. Today, the rum ration is still issued on special occasions such as marriages or births within the Royal Family.

In the mid-20th Century, rum enjoyed a renaissance thanks to the burgeoning Tiki culture, and was featured in such drinks as the mai tai and the Zombie. Americans fell in love with fruity, tropical drinks that complemented Asian-inspired food and could be sipped pool- or beachside—or even just in a suburban backyard lit by tiki torches. Those who were slightly too young to enjoy tiki drinks may have discovered rum through another pop-cultural phenomenon: the pina colada, which soared in popularity after the Rupert Holmes song “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” hit the charts.

Today, rum has become more sophisticated than ever before. Take Vizcaya VXOP, the ultimate sipping rum. This is no ordinary rum, to be mixed and drunk and forgotten about. Vizcaya is a rum that commands your full attention and all your senses. Enjoy it neat or on the rocks, with or without a good cigar, or take the time to craft a cocktail with premium ingredients that will showcase the spicy, intricate notes inherent in Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 rum.

Whether you enjoy your drinks with a paper umbrella or a wedge of lime, while gazing out over still waters or rough, treat yourself to the very finest in spirits—Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 rum. Here’s to the history of that noble spirit, rum!

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 1:00 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Vizcaya and La Descarga: Two Tastes of Old Havana

If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing the sensuous heat, lush scents and vibrant nightlife of Havana, the men behind Los Angeles’s newest classic cocktail venue have created a dream come true.

La Descarga is the newest venture of twins Mark and Jonnie Houston, and this East Hollywood nightspot transports guests to another time and place. Step inside, and you’ll find a venue that seems lifted right from 1950s Cuba, down to the foyer turntable playing salsa, cumbia and mambo music. Authentic touches are everywhere, from the ceiling fans and wrought iron decorations, to the cigar smoke that swirls on the smokers’ patio, to the colorful atmosphere and even more colorful dancers.

What really sets La Descarga apart, however, are its cocktails. Premium rums like Vizcaya VXOP can be sipped neat or on the rocks, but if you really want the full Old Havana treatment, have the mixologists make you a classic: a Hemingway daiquiri (double the rum, natch!), say, a rum punch, or a minty and refreshing mojito. In the mood for something new? Try a Bad Spaniard, a Tropical Holiday, a Honey Swizzle or another offering from the cocktail list.

La Descarga’s owners have hinted that rum flights and punch bowls may soon be available, which gives rum aficionados something to look forward to. For now, sip a Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 rum or rum-based drink and enjoy the Latin beat of the shows at La Descarga, which feature congas, fire sticks, bar-top dances and some of the curviest performers in L.A.

The vibe at La Descarga is a perfect match for the flavor of Cuban-style Vizcaya VXOP. Close your eyes as you sip; listen to the beat of the drum as you taste the warm caramel and spice that the rum offers up. The combination of Vizcaya’s sensual tastes, soul-stirring music and the murmur of beautiful women will make you feel you’re in Old Havana–you may just forget all about the here and now.

The Details:

La Descarga
1159 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles

8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Reservations are encouraged: (323) 466-1324

reservations@ladescarga.com

Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 1:43 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Vizcaya VXOP Named A “Publisher’s Pick”

Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Rum has been named a “Publisher’s Pick” by one of the premier publications of the wine and spirits industry, The Tasting Panel.

Each month, The Tasting Panel‘s Publisher and Executive Editor, Meridith May, chooses several exceptional wines and spirits to highlight in the magazine, which offers both a print and an online edition. Vizcaya VXOP, the ultimate sipping rum, is one of the spirits to receive this distinction in June. It also garnered a rating of 95.

Says May:

“The burnished copper hue is dazzling. Several layers of aromas waft up from the glass, from salty sherry, oak and cocoa to maple syrup–drenched walnuts. On the palate, sumptuous notes of vanilla extract and nougat take this Thoroughbred to the finish line with satin smooth chocolate and maple bliss generously coating the palate.”

Naturally, those who have had the pleasure of relaxing with a glass of Vizcaya VXOP won’t be surprised to read Ms. May’s glowing review. They already know that the character of this elegant rum is rich and complex, from the initial impression of its bouquet to the lingering pleasure of its finish.

The subtle sweetness of Vizcaya VXOP is an excellent counterpoint to its smoky and spicy notes, and makes for an engaging rum to enjoy either neat, with a favorite cigar, or as the delicious basis for a very special cocktail.

Won’t you join us in toasting The Tasting Panel with a glass of “Publisher’s Pick” Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 rum? Cheers!

Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 10:30 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Celebrate Summer With Vizcaya and Fresh Fruit

Summer is upon us, and with it comes a colorful, fragrant bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Around this time of year, the farmer’s markets and roadside farm stands have a rainbow of flavors on offer. Although the very best way to enjoy fresh fruit may be eating it out of hand, standing in the back yard and letting the juice drip where it may, why not use seasonal fruit to create a very special refreshment for your summer guests? Combine some of those delicious berries, peaches or melons with Vizcaya VXOP to make a decadent, delicious treat that will make your parties the talk of the town.

The easiest way to do this? With a classic daiquiri. The daiquiri has gotten a bad rap in the past few decades, perhaps because of the preponderance of syrupy sweet premixed versions. As with many cocktails, the simpler the better. Make your daiquiris from scratch using premium ingredients, like Vizcaya VXOP, and you’ll understand why this tiki-bar classic was once a favorite libation.

Vizcaya’s warm, fruity, spicy character lends itself well to tropical flavors, so you might want to begin your daiquiri adventure on established ground. Try coconut, mango, banana, papaya and pineapple to flavor your first batch of daiquiris.

After that, it’s time to experiment with peaches, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon and kiwi. Citrus fruits pair well with fresh mint or basil. Cherries would make a mouthwatering partner for Vizcaya VXOP. And don’t forget the lime—a classic component of daiquiris and one which will heighten the flavor of whatever seasonal or tropical fruit you choose.

Classic Frozen Fruit Daiquiris

* 3 oz. Vizcaya VXOP
* 1 oz. lime or other juice
* About 1 ½ cups crushed ice
* Fresh fruit of choice
* Additional sweetener to taste, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. We suggest a simple syrup (made by combining one part sugar and one part water in saucepan and cooking over low heat until sugar is melted), agave nectar or honey.

Here are some combinations to get you started, but don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, if your daiquiri has Vizcaya VXOP in it, it’s hard to go wrong.

* 1 cup diced strawberries and ½ cup diced kiwi fruit
* 1 cup diced mango and ¼ cup coconut milk
* 1 cup diced peaches, ½ cup raspberries, ¼ cup fresh mint
* 1 ½ cup blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries
* 1 cup diced watermelon, juice of 1 lime, ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Published in: on June 10, 2010 at 12:12 PM  Leave a Comment  
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A Primer on Rum: What Is “Rhum Agricole”?

Most commercial rums—the ones that conjure up images of peg-legged pirates with snarky parrots on their shoulders—are made from molasses. The ultimate sipping rum, Vizcaya VXOP, however, is crafted from pure sugar cane, and therefore is classified as a rhum agricole.

The literal translation of rhum agricole is “agricultural rum”—which provides a hint to the spirit’s genesis. Rather than using the molasses which is created as a byproduct of the sugar refining industry, rhum agricole begins with the sugar cane itself, which is harvested at the peak of its maturity, during the short dry season of the tropics.

Botanically speaking, sugar cane is a perennial grass of the genus Saccharum, and is characterized by jointed, fibrous stalks that grow to between six and 19 feet tall. Since it requires a tropical or temperate climate, it is primarily grown in Asia, the Carribean and the Mediterranean.

Sugar cane can be harvested mechanically or by hand. Did you know that a skilled harvester, using a cane knife or machete, can cut 1,100 pounds of sugar cane per hour?

After the harvest, the sugar cane stalks are crushed to release their aromatic juice, which is then fermented. Next comes distillation. Most rhum agricole is distilled to about 70 percent alcohol, which helps ensure that the rum retains all of the full-bodied character of the sugar cane and its fresh, vibrant flavor.

Another crucial part of the production process is aging in oaken barrels. Vizcaya VXOP is aged in casks that once held fine armagnac; it is this maturing period that gives the rum its warm, earthy, golden character and notes of spice and vanilla. As with many spirits, aging the rum also allows it to develop a more complex taste, making it ideal for sipping. Purists feel that rhum agricole should be taken neat, or perhaps with a little ice or water. Others like to gild the lily and use a rhum agricole like Vizcaya VXOP to make their favorite cocktail that much more delectable. Nevertheless, everyone can agree that this is a rum to be savored, not swilled.

So leave the cheap stuff to those who fancy themselves pirates. Spirits aficianados know that the real treasure is in a glass of luxurious rhum agricole—like Vizcaya VXOP.

Published in: on June 8, 2010 at 11:32 AM  Leave a Comment  
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