Last month, a new rum hailing from Harbor Island known as AfroHead celebrated its launch into the South Florida market.
Whenever a new rum comes stateside, it's always interesting to hear the story behind its crafting. Luckily, AfroHead has a good one.
Previously available only in the Bahamas, AfroHead is a seven-year-aged dark rum and XO a 15-year premium rum in Florida launched by the Harbour Island Rum Co.
Produced from Dominican molasses and fermented with a special strain of Trinidadian yeast, the rums are distilled and aged in used bourbon barrels in Trinidad. From there, master blender Toby Tyler creates the final expressions, and the product is bottled in Barbados.
A native of Sydney, Australia, Tyler has an interesting path from surfer to rum savant. As a youth, he was known for playing guitar in surf club bands at 15. Determined to surf all day and play rock 'n' roll all night, he spent four years traveling the world and picking up odd jobs to get by.
In 1997, Tyler moved to the Bahamas and immersed himself in the island's rich West Indies culture, ultimately establishing himself as the island's resident rum expert. When friend and proprietor of Harbour Island's the Landing Guest House and Restaurant, Joe Farrell, asked him which rum was his favorite, Tyler replied: "It hasn't been made yet."
In 2008, after 18 months of blending, Tyler finally tasted his favorite rum -- his own. From there, Farrell began hand-bottling the yet-unnamed rum and serving it to guests at the Landing, which has become a well-known Bahamian bar and restaurant inside the boutique hotel.
First served as an in-house brand, the duo used a simple graphic that had been designed for the restaurant's house wine to differentiate it from the others. The stylized image paid tribute to the island's culture, Bahamian women, and the first Miss Bahamas from 1963.
Over the years, the rum with the "afrohead" on it gained so much notoriety, the name stuck and the brand was born. Today, the bottle's new logo pays homage to the rum's native West Indies culture with the images of a crown, junkanoo, mind's eye, rising sun, and a sea shell hidden within the icon.
3/4 ounce lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 pure cane brown sugar cubes
1.5 oz AfroHead rum
3 oz coconut water
Shake and strain all ingredients over ice
Garnish with toasted coconut
Cocktail recipe by rum ambassador Isaac Grillo
Find AfroHead at a number of South Florida bars, hotels, restaurants, and liquor stores. Visit afroheadrums.com.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.