Yo Ho Ho & a Barrel of Bacardi

The rum will fill the barrel for Marc Anthony

Marc Anthony will never go thirsty now that Bacardi has honored him as the AmericanAirlines Arena #1 Concert Artist of all time, having sold out 10 shows, 125,000 tickets and more than $9.3 million in ticket sales. Grand prize? His own personal barrel of specially blended Bacardi rum. This exclusive barrel, which consists of a blend of Bacardi rums aged between 10 and 16 years, will be kept at the Bacardi distillery in Puerto Rico. It will be cared for and maintained by the Bacardi Maestro de Ron and hand-bottled and sent to Anthony at his request.

Meanwhile, Anthony and Jennifer Lopez took up residence at Viceroy while in town for a duet of performances (Anthony at AAA, Lopez at LIV). Lopez met with local designer Tui Pranich to talk about decorating the couple’s new Dolphins game-day crash pad at Icon Brickell and also managed to enjoy spa time. Also at Viceroy, Dancing with the Stars alum Lance Bass dancing to Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi and drinking Atlantico Rum daiquiris at the Club 50 rooftop lounge, while model/actress Molly Simms dined at the 15th floor restaurant Eos.

Seen at Cafe Martorano: On-again couple Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush on the eve of the New Orleans Saints/Miami Dolphins game. They ate. A lot: meatballs, calamari, grilled hot dogs, shrimp scampi and lobster.

Ocean Drive magazine’s Jason Binn will host a 60th birthday party for music mogul David Foster at Bancroft Supperclub on Saturday. Several of Foster’s closest friends — many of whom will join him on stage the next night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for his traveling David Foster & Friends concert — are expected, including Earth, Wind and Fire’s Philip Bailey, Chicago’s Peter Cetera and songstress Celine Dion.

South Florida student Beatriz Lopez will represent Miami International University of Art & Design as one of 16 chosen to compete in The Humane Society of the United States’ fifth annual Cool vs. Cruel fashion design competition. The contest challenges students enrolled in the art institutes’ fashion design programs throughout North America to improve a runway look by Burberry, Thakoon, Michael Kors or Alexander McQueen by finding creative ways to replace and reinterpret the use of animal fur.

Seen shopping solo in the kids’ department at Bloomingdale’s Aventura Friday afternoon: model and Jeff Soffer arm candy Elle McPherson.

Congrats to clubland’s Gerry Kelly, who has left Karu & Y and will take over Gulfstream Park’s second-floor venue, MI-VI. “While plans are still in the works, one of the things I’m looking forward to doing at Gulfstream is a concert series with major acts,” Kelly said. And while they expect celebs, Kelly is adamant in taking care of his regular guests. “Celebrities come and go, but the regulars are our steady clientele,” he said.

Renowned local interior designer Michael Wolk of Michael Wolk Design Associates — whose Neo-Modern-style furniture designs have been featured in movies such as Batman Returns, Inspector Gadget and John Travolta’s early ’90s Chains of Gold — will have his latest furniture pieces from the Addison Collection of Campbell Contract Furniture featured in the new CBS show The Good Wife, starring Julianna Margulies.

Full Fathom Seven from Cayman to London

UK to drink in Cayman culture

By Cliodhna Doherty, cliodhna@cfp.ky
Wednesday 21st October, 2009 Posted: 15:34 CIT (20:34 GMT)

> Comment on this story

This coming weekend will see a fresh taste of the Cayman Islands being promoted in Europe by way of The UK Rumfest in London.

“For the past two and a half years, we promoted the flora and fauna of the Cayman Islands and we have now moved into culture and cuisine,” explained Don McDougall, Regional Manager Europe with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. “At the London Rumfest, we will be putting together an exhibit for the show.”

The festival takes place this coming Saturday and Sunday 24 to 25 October at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Victoria, London and it prides itself as being the only international spirit festival dedicated to the wonders and experiences of rum and cane spirits from all over the world.

Mr. McDougall explained that the Cayman Islands’ exhibit would have representatives from Seven Fathoms Rum, Tortuga Rum Co. and Cayman’s award winning ’mixologist’.

“Not only have we Seven Fathoms, a rum that matures 42 feet under the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, but we have Tortuga Rum Cakes and award winning ‘mixologist’, Khi Leonard, from the Westin, who will be doing Cayman Islands’ cocktail mixes,” said Mr. McDougall.

The festival is expected to attract about 6,000 people over two days.

The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is sponsoring a promotional prize on London’s Biggest Conversation (LBC) radio, in the form of a trip for two to the Cayman Islands. The prize puts a focus on rum, such as offering lunch at Rum Point and a rum distillery visit.

To tie in with the culinary and cultural promotions, in November 2009’s edition of the UK’s Food and Travel magazine there is a 10–page colour feature which was achieved through the visiting journalist programme.

“It really hits our Cayman culture and culinary strategy on the button,” said Mr. McDougall.

Everything from turtle and conch, rundown, land crabs to heavy cake, jellies, jams and the local fish market are explored in this article which comes out in time to coincide with The UK Rumfest.

It also gives a lead up to Cayman’s ‘Culinary month’ this coming January which will include The Cayman Cookout and the Taste of Cayman festivals.

Canada fights the Cold

Toronto To Celebrate Caribbean Spirit At 2nd Annual Rum & Rhythm Festival

TORONTO, Canada – The sweet flavour of rum and the pulsating beat of island music will be on full display in Toronto during Caribbean Week in Canada’s second annual Caribbean Rum & Rhythm Festival, Friday, October 30 from 6:00p.m.- 9:00pm at the Fermenting Cellar in Toronto’s trendy Distillery District. Tickets are now on sale for the highly anticipated event at www.caribbeanweek.ca, or by calling (416) 935-0767.

A variety of the Caribbean’s award-winning rums will be available for tasting in addition to rum cocktails served up by the region’s top mixologists. The Festival will also feature mouth-watering cuisine by some of the Caribbean’s most celebrated chefs, musical performances and a silent auction including “one of a kind” vacations to the Caribbean.

The silent auction will benefit the CTO Foundation, a charitable entity established by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to provide opportunities for Caribbean nationals to pursue studies in the areas of tourism, hospitality and language training. The Foundation selects individuals who demonstrate high levels of achievement and leadership both within and outside the classroom and who express a strong interest in making a positive contribution to Caribbean tourism.

“The Caribbean Rum & Rhythm Festival is arguably the most anticipated event during Caribbean Week,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general of the CTO. “It’s an authentic opportunity to experience the Caribbean while here in Canada. Guests can taste rums imported directly from the region and sample fare from our celebrity chefs while dancing to the beats of Caribbean music.”

Tickets are available for CAD $55 per person and can be purchased online at Ticketweb.com and www.caribbeanweek.ca or by calling (888) 222-6608. Admission includes six rum samples and one rum cocktail along with Caribbean food tastings. Guests must be at least 21 years of age for entrance to the Caribbean Rum & Rhythm Festival.

Caribbean Week in Canada 2009, held October 23 – November 1, 2009 is organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and brings together influential policy makers, financial leaders, marketing professionals, and tourism industry officials to interact and discuss both tourism and investment opportunities in the region. It also serves to provide a taste of the Caribbean to showcase its diversity and inspire travel.

Cuban Rum ready to Roll and Rock US market

Associated Press
Cuba could send 1M cases of rum to post-embargo US
By WILL WEISSERT , 10.21.09, 03:19 PM EDT
Cuban Rum ready to Roll and Rock US market
HAVANA — Cuba is ready to ship 1 million cases of rum to America if Washington eases its 47-year-old embargo, but would hold off exporting its flagship Havana Club brand because of U.S. trademark battles, one of the island’s top rum executives said Wednesday.

U.S. trade sanctions have cost Cuba’s rum industry $95 million annually in lost sales and additional spending to import production materials including glass bottles and machinery from Europe instead of from its neighbor to the north, said Juan Gonzalez, vice president of Cuba Ron SA, the communist state’s rum production monopoly.

Cuban rums can’t be sold in the United States, but they are available in more than 120 countries, Gonzalez said, noting that the company sold 4 million cases in 2008. Of that, Havana Club counts for all but about half a million cases.

The global financial crisis should cut into sales this year, but Cuba still hopes sell 5 million cases a year by 2013, Gonzalez said. The government does not release figures on revenue.

Cuba’s domestic rum market is its top customer, followed by Spain, France, Greece, Chile and Russia. Gonzalez said the United States accounts for 40 percent of the global rum market.

President Barack Obama has eased restrictions on Cuban-Americans who want to travel or send money to Cuba and both countries have taken tentative steps toward improving long-frigid relations – though the White House had said it has no plans to push Congress to lift the embargo.

Gonzalez said Cuba has the capacity to produce 6 million cases of rum a year and could export 1 million to the U.S. “in no time” in a post-embargo world.

“We know what sells there and we know what we can produce,” he said at a news conference at Havana’s Museum of Rum.

Gonzalez said Cuba’s rum monopoly has not made contact with U.S. liquor distributors to prepare for a possible opening of the American market, but initially would lean on its contacts in Europe that already export to the United States.

He said that the first wave of Cuban rum to hit the U.S. likely wouldn’t include Havana Club due to an fight in U.S. courts with Bermuda-based rum giant Bacardi Ltd., which produces its own Havana Club, made in Puerto Rico and sold in Florida since 2006.

“We understand there could still be some legal problems with Havana Club,” Gonzalez said. “What we hope to sell is Cuban rum, and Cuban rum is Cuban rum. We have a lot of brands that aren’t Havana Club.”

Perhaps, but none of the island’s eight other export-quality brands, including Santiago de Cuba, Canay and Varadero, is as prestigious as Havana Club. Most are sold in Cuban hotels, restaurants and bars and are unknown overseas.

The Cuban government has produced rum under the Havana Club label since 1960 – the year after Fidel Castro came to power. The brand has been sold internationally since 1993, when the government partnered with French beverage company Pernod Ricard SA ( PDRDY.PK – news – people ).

The Cuban government has sued Bacardi for using the name, which Bacardi claims it owns because the original Havana Club was expropriated without compensation by Castro from its Cuban producers, the Arechabala family, who went into exile. Bacardi bought the name and recipe from the Arechabalas in 1997.

Cuba counters that it registered the Havana Club trademark in the U.S. in 1976, after the Arechabalas let their claim on it expire.

So far, U.S. courts have sided with Bacardi, but Cuba has appealed its most recent case to the U.S. District Court of Appeals. Still, Gonzalez said that fight was enough to delay the brand’s would-be U.S. exportation.

“The Havana Club brand has not been lost,” he said, “but we have to wait for the process to run its course.”

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

Rumpundit Speaks, at sundry rumfests.

Thursday 8th October, 7:45 I’ll be speaking at the New York Rum Fest at Astor Place, details below.

8th ANNUAL NY RUMFEST
http://www.polishedpalate.com/events/rf/2009/NY/

THURSDAY EVENING OCTOBER 8
6:30-9:30PM

ASTOR CENTER is located in the impeccably restored landmark DeVinne Press Building located at 399 Lafayette Street (corner of E. 4 th) in the NoHo section of NYC. Directly above Astor Wines & Spirits is a facility unlike anything else in the City—or in the world, for that matter. Winemakers & wine drinkers, Michelin-starred chefs and masters of the Manhattan apartment kitchen; omnivores and herbivores; legendary authors and razor-sharp restaurant bloggers; politicians and pig farmers all assemble at Astor Center. It is more than just a place to take a wine, rum, tequila…class or watch a celebrity chef wield a blow-torch. It’s a forum for education, for exchanging ideas and, of course, for enjoying fine spirits.

I will also be speaking at Ian Burrell’s London Rumfest 24th and 25th October, www.rumfest.co.uk/  an event so important that last year I abandoned mother and new born son within two days to abandon it.

Coming soon, I will be making short Q&A videos on line for Kurt Krause at www.acorkabove.com.

I have more events coming up, and as I mentioned before, I now hold the world monopoly of the hardbacks of Rum: A Social & Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776, copies available, signed and custom dedicated for $25 P&P inc.  Some smart rum companies have been bulk buying them for enlightening their clientele. Feel free to call for terms!

And any requests to speak considered with sympathetic, indeed spirited, interest.

Ian Williams

+1 917 362 1477
http://www.Rumpundit.com

Hymn of Praise to Old Monk

One for the Monk

Avantika Bhuyan

http://cdn1.openthemagazine.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/435by290/article_images/3398.om2.jpg

That squat dark oddly-shaped bottle. That funny fat bald old man in a robe beaming at you. What is the magic of Old Monk that never dies? What is the basis of the unquestioning faith that the Old Monk drinker reposes in the brand? What is the source of the extreme brand loyalty it generates? After all, there are millions of men who start their hard liquor life with Old Monk and never drink anything else till the day they die.

The facts, for the record. Old Monk is a dark rum blended and aged for seven years (though there is also a more expensive 12-year-old version, the Old Monk Gold Reserve). It has an alcohol content of 42.8 per cent and is produced by Mohan Meakin, based in Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. It is the third largest-selling rum in the world, and has been the biggest Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) brand for decades. Old Monk is the only spirits brand to figure in advertising guru Ian Batley’s list of potential Great Indian Brands, which could tap the world market. Suzuki Motor Corporation Chairman Osamu Suzuki is a connoisseur of wines. In his personal dining room and bar where he entertains his guests, there is a bottle of what he believes is the best liquor brand from each of the 192 countries the company operates in. India is represented by Old Monk.

But Old Monk enthusiasts couldn’t be less bothered with the numbers. For them this rum is more than just a drink. It is a close friend, a confidant, a keeper of memories. With every sip that you take, incidents come flooding back. The first time one got sloshed and got caught by the hostel warden. The first time one confessed one’s love but to the wrong girl in a moment of drunken recklessness. And finally the heartbreak when nothing but Old Monk could soothe the pain. Nostalgia is definitely something that Old Monk brings. Even if you are rich now, and only drink Scotch or wine, you retain a special affection for the brand.

The sense of kinship that comes with being an Old Monk drinker is legendary. There are tales galore about how strangers became fast friends over a glass of Old Monk. Mention Old Monk or “budha sadhu” (as he lovingly calls it), and Aditya Dhar, manager-training with American Express, and memories of the good times he spent with his friends crowd his head. “I can never forget this one cold January evening that we spent at a friend Neil’s place. We kept on drinking and Neil continued to strum the guitar till his fingers bled. But did he stop? No, not at all. Old Monk was the only remedy required and he played every single song in the book,” reminisces Aditya.

Glenn Satur, one of Internet’s unknown poets, puts it thus: “You’ve brought feeling to our lives, at moments of desperation. For most of us, you have been our mentor and our inspiration. We don’t give up on things, even if we think our lives have sunk. There’s always a solution to a problem when we have you dear Old Monk Rum!”

Arijit Ganguly, team leader with Royal Bank of Scotland, shares his story about a friend who just couldn’t take the freezing cold of Himachal Pradesh. “We were in Chail and we had to change buses. It was freaking cold and we found to our consternation that the bus would arrive only after an hour,” he recalls. One of his friends was so cold that even three trousers and countless number of sweaters couldn’t keep him warm. “Suddenly he took out a bottle of Old Monk and gulped down 100 ml of it in one shot. Within 15 minutes, his eyes and ears had turned red and soon he was found singing ‘My balls are on fire’ in a mere sweatshirt and jeans.”

Perhaps another thing that works for the Monk is also the sense of reassurance that one gets on seeing the signature design that hasn’t changed a bit in years. It is a soothing thought that in this ever changing world, one has something constant to hold on to. Of course, the fact that quality has never faltered helps. Then there’s the distinctive taste, different from every other rum in the world. Anyone who has ever had Old Monk will recognise the taste in any blind test.

When drinking with Old Monk enthusiasts, one has to adhere to the proper etiquette. One cannot say, “I am having a glass of rum,” when you are having Old Monk. Old Monk is not a rum. Old Monk is Old Monk. It is utter sacrilege to drag this priceless drink into the category of regular unexciting rums. You need to feel the pride, the proper respect, the honour when you hold a glass of Old Monk.

There is something about Old Monk that makes you feel all-powerful, that you have the strength to take on the whole world. A friend, Arindita Gogoi, could muster up the guts to tell her mother that she drinks only after she had had a few sips of Old Monk: “I was in Delhi, having Old Monk with a friend on a chilly December evening when my mom called from Assam. When she asked me what I was doing I told her very emotionally that, ‘Maa, it is very chilly here and nothing but a dark rum could save us.’” Her mother hung up. But to this day, Arindita continues with her unfettered fealty to this amazing drink, in spite of her mother’s displeasure. “You don’t feel stylish with Old Monk. It just makes you feel more rustic and grounded,” says Arindita.

However, Old Monk hasn’t been without its own share of heated debates. The one that has been plaguing its fans since eternity, or well since cola companies took over the world, is what is the best way to have this drink. With cola or hot water? On the Old Monk Appreciation Society page on Facebook, enthusiasts discuss such topics with a vengeance.

While some suggest having it with three-fourths Coke, topping it off with two cubes of ice, others consider the use of cola sheer blasphemy. It’s hot water or nothing at all.

While legions of fans argue on Facebook, Vikram Gour and Chaitanya Chadha sit back and watch as their creation achieve all that they had envisaged for it. When they created this society on Facebook, they wanted to find like-minded people who shared their love. And they weren’t disappointed. People from all across the world answered their call. Today, the society boasts of 1,100 members.

Some of the overseas fans have even been able to sniff out Old Monk vendors in the backlanes of their cities. “A fellow group member, Jeet Singh, based in New York, joined this group because he had had Old Monk many years ago. The thought of enjoying this drink again led him on a hunt through New York where he actually managed to find a bottle! Imagine that!” says Vikram.

If you go looking, you will be able to unearth countless anecdotes related to the Monk, most of them bordering on the insane and bizarre. Our favourite is the one about the drunken cockroach posted by director Shekhar Kapur on his blog. Remember the scene from Mr India in which Sridevi jumps on to the bed in alarm when she spies a cockroach? Did anyone notice how the cockroach was so well behaved throughout the scene? ‘Well, I needed the cockroach to be very still for the camera as he/she eyed Sridevi threateningly. Focusing takes a long time and the cockroach needed to be patient. So we got the cockroach drunk!! No kidding, we surrounded the cockroach in a pool of my favourite Old Monk Rum and it was soon lolling around like a drunken sailor, giving in to director of photography Baba Azmi’s every demand. Unbelievable, but hey, talk to anyone on the sets. It was true!’ We believe you, Shekhar.

So what is it about the budha sadhu? We believe that the subconscious reason for the way the fan thinks of the brand is that Old Monk never tries. It is a rum with no frills, no add-ons, no come-hither branding and advertising. It’s just a damn good rum and it wants to be treated with the respect that a good friend deserves. That is its only demand from you. It is totally no-nonsense. Thus, there is something pure and trustworthy about it. It has always wanted to be just a tasty rum, and by focusing on that, has transcended liquor and become something else. Completely.

That squat dark oddly-shaped bottle. That funny fat bald old man in a robe beaming at you. What is the magic of Old Monk that never dies? What is the basis of the unquestioning faith that the Old Monk drinker reposes in the brand? What is the source of the extreme brand loyalty it generates? After all, there are millions of men who start their hard liquor life with Old Monk and never drink anything else till the day they die.

The facts, for the record. Old Monk is a dark rum blended and aged for seven years (though there is also a more expensive 12-year-old version, the Old Monk Gold Reserve). It has an alcohol content of 42.8 per cent and is produced by Mohan Meakin, based in Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. It is the third largest-selling rum in the world, and has been the biggest Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) brand for decades. Old Monk is the only spirits brand to figure in advertising guru Ian Batley’s list of potential Great Indian Brands, which could tap the world market. Suzuki Motor Corporation Chairman Osamu Suzuki is a connoisseur of wines. In his personal dining room and bar where he entertains his guests, there is a bottle of what he believes is the best liquor brand from each of the 192 countries the company operates in. India is represented by Old Monk.

But Old Monk enthusiasts couldn’t be less bothered with the numbers. For them this rum is more than just a drink. It is a close friend, a confidant, a keeper of memories. With every sip that you take, incidents come flooding back. The first time one got sloshed and got caught by the hostel warden. The first time one confessed one’s love but to the wrong girl in a moment of drunken recklessness. And finally the heartbreak when nothing but Old Monk could soothe the pain. Nostalgia is definitely something that Old Monk brings. Even if you are rich now, and only drink Scotch or wine, you retain a special affection for the brand.

The sense of kinship that comes with being an Old Monk drinker is legendary. There are tales galore about how strangers became fast friends over a glass of Old Monk. Mention Old Monk or “budha sadhu” (as he lovingly calls it), and Aditya Dhar, manager-training with American Express, and memories of the good times he spent with his friends crowd his head. “I can never forget this one cold January evening that we spent at a friend Neil’s place. We kept on drinking and Neil continued to strum the guitar till his fingers bled. But did he stop? No, not at all. Old Monk was the only remedy required and he played every single song in the book,” reminisces Aditya.

Glenn Satur, one of Internet’s unknown poets, puts it thus: “You’ve brought feeling to our lives, at moments of desperation. For most of us, you have been our mentor and our inspiration. We don’t give up on things, even if we think our lives have sunk. There’s always a solution to a problem when we have you dear Old Monk Rum!”

Arijit Ganguly, team leader with Royal Bank of Scotland, shares his story about a friend who just couldn’t take the freezing cold of Himachal Pradesh. “We were in Chail and we had to change buses. It was freaking cold and we found to our consternation that the bus would arrive only after an hour,” he recalls. One of his friends was so cold that even three trousers and countless number of sweaters couldn’t keep him warm. “Suddenly he took out a bottle of Old Monk and gulped down 100 ml of it in one shot. Within 15 minutes, his eyes and ears had turned red and soon he was found singing ‘My balls are on fire’ in a mere sweatshirt and jeans.”

Perhaps another thing that works for the Monk is also the sense of reassurance that one gets on seeing the signature design that hasn’t changed a bit in years. It is a soothing thought that in this ever changing world, one has something constant to hold on to. Of course, the fact that quality has never faltered helps. Then there’s the distinctive taste, different from every other rum in the world. Anyone who has ever had Old Monk will recognise the taste in any blind test.

When drinking with Old Monk enthusiasts, one has to adhere to the proper etiquette. One cannot say, “I am having a glass of rum,” when you are having Old Monk. Old Monk is not a rum. Old Monk is Old Monk. It is utter sacrilege to drag this priceless drink into the category of regular unexciting rums. You need to feel the pride, the proper respect, the honour when you hold a glass of Old Monk.

There is something about Old Monk that makes you feel all-powerful, that you have the strength to take on the whole world. A friend, Arindita Gogoi, could muster up the guts to tell her mother that she drinks only after she had had a few sips of Old Monk: “I was in Delhi, having Old Monk with a friend on a chilly December evening when my mom called from Assam. When she asked me what I was doing I told her very emotionally that, ‘Maa, it is very chilly here and nothing but a dark rum could save us.’” Her mother hung up. But to this day, Arindita continues with her unfettered fealty to this amazing drink, in spite of her mother’s displeasure. “You don’t feel stylish with Old Monk. It just makes you feel more rustic and grounded,” says Arindita.

However, Old Monk hasn’t been without its own share of heated debates. The one that has been plaguing its fans since eternity, or well since cola companies took over the world, is what is the best way to have this drink. With cola or hot water? On the Old Monk Appreciation Society page on Facebook, enthusiasts discuss such topics with a vengeance.

While some suggest having it with three-fourths Coke, topping it off with two cubes of ice, others consider the use of cola sheer blasphemy. It’s hot water or nothing at all.

While legions of fans argue on Facebook, Vikram Gour and Chaitanya Chadha sit back and watch as their creation achieve all that they had envisaged for it. When they created this society on Facebook, they wanted to find like-minded people who shared their love. And they weren’t disappointed. People from all across the world answered their call. Today, the society boasts of 1,100 members.

Some of the overseas fans have even been able to sniff out Old Monk vendors in the backlanes of their cities. “A fellow group member, Jeet Singh, based in New York, joined this group because he had had Old Monk many years ago. The thought of enjoying this drink again led him on a hunt through New York where he actually managed to find a bottle! Imagine that!” says Vikram.

If you go looking, you will be able to unearth countless anecdotes related to the Monk, most of them bordering on the insane and bizarre. Our favourite is the one about the drunken cockroach posted by director Shekhar Kapur on his blog. Remember the scene from Mr India in which Sridevi jumps on to the bed in alarm when she spies a cockroach? Did anyone notice how the cockroach was so well behaved throughout the scene? ‘Well, I needed the cockroach to be very still for the camera as he/she eyed Sridevi threateningly. Focusing takes a long time and the cockroach needed to be patient. So we got the cockroach drunk!! No kidding, we surrounded the cockroach in a pool of my favourite Old Monk Rum and it was soon lolling around like a drunken sailor, giving in to director of photography Baba Azmi’s every demand. Unbelievable, but hey, talk to anyone on the sets. It was true!’ We believe you, Shekhar.

So what is it about the budha sadhu? We believe that the subconscious reason for the way the fan thinks of the brand is that Old Monk never tries. It is a rum with no frills, no add-ons, no come-hither branding and advertising. It’s just a damn good rum and it wants to be treated with the respect that a good friend deserves. That is its only demand from you. It is totally no-nonsense. Thus, there is something pure and trustworthy about it. It has always wanted to be just a tasty rum, and by focusing on that, has transcended liquor and become something else. Completely.