(Not So) Shameless Self Promotion: Bass Kultcha (Ep. 8)

First things first: I’ve been slipping. Really, really, slipping. I haven’t been around these parts much lately (life, I tell you, life), other than when I’m here sharing these Bass Kultcha videos–but even that is slipping as my “late-to-the-party-just-getting-around-to-posting-this-ness” can attest. Anyway, I’ll be back soon with my Holiday Gift Giving Guide (hint, there will be rum) and with a few cocktail suggestions too. Not to mention episode 9 of Bass Kultcha is coming up. Well, welcome back to me.

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All This Sugar Can’t Be Good For Me: 50 Years Of Trinidad & Tobago’s Independence

Maybe it’s the Jamaican in me but I’m not the biggest calypso or soca fan; I’d be hard pressed to tell you the last time I made a point of listening to soca on my iPod for example. But there are certain calypsos or soca tunes that I just find irresistable–Lord Kitchener’s Sugar Bum comes to mind–and I take great joy in attending Caribbean weddings; once the DJ begins spinning the sweet, sweet soca it takes some doing to drag me from the dance floor.

So to celebrate Trinidad’s 50 years of independence I thought I ‘d bring out my dancing shoes and share not one, but two of my favorite soca tunes courtesy of David Rudder, one of the twin islands’ favourite sons. The tunes in question? Gotta be ‘High Mas‘ and ‘Trini To The Bone‘. Listen, if ‘High Mas‘ doesn’t make you raise your hand, and if ‘Trini To The Bone‘ doesn’t make you long for the comforts and joys of home, wherever that “home” may be, then I’m pretty sure you’re soulless.

Anyway, Happy Independence Day Trinidad & Tobago! I’m raising a glass of Angostura 1919 in your honour. Cheers.

Sunday Vibes: You Got What I Need

Ask the average person if they know Freddie Scott’s music and your likely to be met with shrugs and blank stares. But trust me, everybody knows Freddie Scott. If you’ve ever drunkenly sung along with Biz Markie’s ‘Just A Friend‘ or if you’re a hip-hop head who swears that Ghostace Killah is the man, then you’ve probably nodded your head to ‘Save Me Dear‘; both of which sample ‘You Got What I Need’, as classic a slice of soul music as I’ve ever heard.

Anyway, it’s Sunday, it’s as hot as Hades and I recommend whipping up a refreshing cocktail to help make it through the day. A little Freddie Scott couldn’t hurt either.

Trelawny Gold Label Rum: Just Like A Jamaican Sprinter

What to say about Trelawny Gold Label Rum? Hmmm, let me see. Well, with everyone going through Olympic withdrawal, allow me to use track and field as a rum analog. Let’s say, in terms of quality, taste and profile (not to mention nationality) that Usain Bolt is analogous to Appleton Estate Extra 12. In that case Yohan Blake would be Appleton Estate V/X. Trelawny Gold Label? We’re talking Nesta Carter or Michael Frater.

Let me be clear here; this is no slight against the rum nor against the aforementioned sprinters–seasoned track and field watchers will recognize Frater and Carter as quality, serviceable sprinters, forming the backbone of say a world record-breaking relay team. Yet they are not the stars, they do not garner the laurels or the plaudits. Or the headlines.

Similarly, I don’t expect TGL to win any awards. I don’t expect it to highlight of anyone’s rum tasting. But, much like Appleton Special, it is a versatile rum that is perfect for punches or any rum based cocktail.

Speaking of which, I tend to consume cocktails far more frequently in the summer than I would come autumn or winter. And after bringing a bottle of TGL back with me from Jamaica I almost immediately set about whipping up libations. My current favourite? Well, I’ve been using rum in a twist on an Aperol Spritz. Here’s how it’s done:

Ingredients

1.5 oz rum (in this case Trelawny Gold Label)

1.5 oz Aperol

3 0z Prosecco

Orange Bitters (Angostura or Fee Brothers)

Fill a highball with ice, add rum, Aperol, Prosecco, and bitters. Stir. Feel free to garnish with a citrus wedge (I prefer orange, but have also used lemon). Et voila, a wonderfully refreshing and tasty cocktail. Feel free to whip one up and toast the Nesta Carter’s and Michael Frater’s of the world.