Corn’n Oil, a cocktail made with Velvet Falernum
liqueur and Tommy Bahama rum. © 2010 George Leposky
New books for fathers who cook
- Corn & Oil
Despite its name, Tommy Bahama has nothing to do with The Bahamas. It’s made in Barbados at the Foursquare Rum Distillery and Bottling Plant by Richard Seale, a fourth-generation member of the Barbados family that in 1926 founded R.L. Seale & Company, Limited.
The Seale family makes eight brands of rum sold in premium niche markets around the world. They include two Tommy Bahama-brand labels sold in the United States: White Sand and Golden Rum.
The Seale family purchases sugar cane from all over Barbados. “Our style is to make a rum that is very light and palatable,” says Seale, who is master distiller for Tommy Bahama Rum and managing director of R. L. Seale & Company.
My husband, George Leposky, Miami Travel Examiner, and I arrived early for a Tommy Bahama rum tasting at Nemo’s on Miami Beach. Nemo’s staff introduced us to the Tommy Bahama representatives. Seale was already there. We sat and chatted at length before everyone else arrived.
Seale explained to us that he does not add extra flavors or sugar to his rum. “We are in principle against that,” he said. Rum fermentation and distillation methods vary. Each location has its own traditions and will use either a column or pot still. Seale uses both.
Math and economics
Seale grew up in the family business and studied mathematics and economics in Imperial College at the University of London. “Mathematics and economics was an important foundation to do anything I wanted to do,” he says. Today he uses this knowledge, along with chemistry and chemical engineering, to make rum.
According to Seale, many of the popular rum brands sold in south Florida are everyday rums but not great rums. Many island-produced rums are too sweet due to too much added sugar, and some rums sold in the U.S. also contain vanilla so they will taste better with Coca-Cola. “With Tommy Bahama rum, the consumer will not smell sugar or molasses,” Searle says. “Balance is the key. Today’s tradition is just yesterday’s innovation.”
Tommy Bahama white rum is among the very few aged white rums offered in the U.S. market. It spends two years in American oak barrels.
A local liqueur
The Seale family also is famous for a local liqueur, John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum. Created in the early 1900s, it consists of clear rum distilled from fermented molasses, to which lime, almond, and clove flavorings are added.
We liked Corn’n Oil made with this liqueur:
3 ½ parts of Velvet Falernum
1 part Seale rum (Tommy Bahama White Sand or Golden Rum. Doorly rums, also made by Seale, may be used.)
Dash of bitters
Lots of crushed ice and shake well.
Several South Florida liquor stores now sell John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum:
Azul Spirits & Wine & Liquor, 1414 20th St., Miami Beach FL 33139-1412.
Sobe Liquors, 1609 Alton Rd., Miami Beach FL 33139, 305-674-1212.
Total Wine & More, 14750 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami FL 33181, 305-354-3270.
Sunset Corners Wines & Liquors, 8701 SW 72nd St., Miami FL 33173-3511, 305-271-8492.
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