Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Pages: 1 44 replies

Michigan is a horrible state for rum enthusiasts. We can’t seem to get Banks, Hamilton or La Favorite. Santa Teresa is a rarity. And out of state retailers can’t ship to Michigan. I always hunt for bottles when I travel, but I don’t travel enough to satisfy my urge. Surely, I’m not alone with this problem. Any tricks, secrets, workarounds or “freelance distributors” out there?

Aloha Banana Bill,
This is indeed a problem for many different bottles. Wine, Craft Beers, Spirits, all have a much heightened awareness with the internet / social media, etc. And, at least for me personally, there are TONS of bottles I would love to get my hands on, but, aren’t available easily. Here’s a few of my thoughts....I’m sure others have different ideas, tips, tricks, etc.

There are private courier services.....it gets expensive very quickly!!! I’ve done a bit of this.....it is almost the same price as a plane ticket for yourself to get bottles. :lol: which is not that crazy of an idea!! I know you say you don’t travel much...but, it you average it all out with a big haul it can be cheaper than the shipping........

If you can find a super cheap flight....load up on WineSkins (or cheaper Bubble Wrap Pouches).....bring an empty suitcase (and make sure to bring a travel scale to make it under the suitcase weight limit).....find a specialty bottle shop that has what your looking for, pack it up REALLY well....(i.e WineSkins, flat foam sheets are excellent!!...and making tape, to bind it all up together, and haul it back home. I try to take advantage of any trips I take....and usually plan out exactly which bottles, account for the size and weight, and pre-weigh, so that I know what I can get away with.

I know about this issue in the craft beer trading circles....it takes a while, but, If you get a network of people that are in different areas, and everyone is into the trading, then as people are traveling back and forth they can help transport bottles.

Any way you look at it, it is difficult. I think on the most part, the distribution is always a limitation. Not sure where you are in Michigan, but, it seems there is a big Ohana in Chicago.....possibly a weekend trip drive to Chicago and stop at some specialty bottle shops??

But with Max’s open in your state....it might help direct the distribution to come around? They are going to need a supply line? Not sure how close you are to Grand Rapids, but, they have the purchase power to start pulling in distribution, if they wanted to get certain bottles. If you are nearby, start making friends with the bartenders, and find out if they are interested in carrying those bottles in their bar.....if so, then the distribution follows, and there will (hopefully) be local bottle shops that start carrying :)

Personally, I CAN’T WAIT to go to Max’s.....the pictures and website look AMAZING !!!!!

Good Luck !!

Banana Bill - a couple thoughts based on my past experience.

  1. Winesearcher.com can be a great way to scour the country and find places that are willing to ship things to you. With services like this you can find, plan, and execute some easy by-mail ways to stock your bar. I once ordered a case of out-of-production rum from a store in Memphis, then called a trucking company and paid them $96 to deliver to me in Florida. A huge big-rig showed up at my work loading dock and the guy got out and wandered around the office asking for "the guy to whom he needs to deliver this case of booze." Fun, fun, fun!

  2. For really tough problems, sometimes you can order by mail from outside the US. I have used http://www.worldwidespirits.de in Germany for a number of European specialty items, glassware, crockery, and other things. Visit the site, click on "Sprache" and choose English, then start doing searches. (Allow me to suggest a bottle of the Grassl brand Gentian liquor which tastes grassy and earthy and is incredible?)

  3. Road trips. Don't underestimate the need to do this if you have a passion to acquire rums. I was once at Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and through Winesearcher found something an hour south in Miami. This led to a WONDERFUL fun evening at South Beach, we parked, then walked to the hard-to-find liquor store in the heart of everything cool. Then I found out a tourist from Germany cleaned the place out two hours before I got there -- he had been looking for the same rum I came for. Still totally worth it, and a great little road trip. A tiki dead end? Absolutely not, and very memorable!
    My point is this -- the laws vary in the states which surround you. Choose one, then plan a drive to a local dinner spot, and while you're out there, make a few incursions to their local liquor suppliers, and voila - you may find you're suddenly a very happy tiki person! Keep in mind you can CALL stores and do some research without visiting their premises. This is helpful if you're a "tiki shut-in," lol.

Cheers and happy travels!


Good girls are made of sugar & spice. REAL GIRLS are made of FINE RUM AND NO ICE!

AceExplorer,
Yes, I totally forgot about Winesearcher......great comment !!

By the way...I love your quote in your signature line :lol: awesome !!! :)

On 2020-02-08 13:28, PineappleWhip wrote:
AceExplorer,
Yes, I totally forgot about Winesearcher......great comment !!

By the way...I love your quote in your signature line :lol: awesome !!! :)

Glad you like the quote! By the way, your TC status shows "TC20A Master." Google indicates that could be a machine tool or drilling machine -- can you provide more details? This is truly a mystery, lol. Cheers to you!


Good girls are made of sugar & spice. REAL GIRLS are made of FINE RUM AND NO ICE!

T

You used to be able to buy full bottles of Havana Club rum just for the bottle and the rum was just a bonus on eBay.
I did it all the time a bottle of seven year was about $80.00 bucks.

Then some do gooder I would guess put that to an end.

I then had a neighbor that would fly all over the world for business on a private jet and he got me lots o Havana club for $30.00 bucks a bottle!
But then he died so that's done and I'm getting low so what can you do, buy it where and when you can find it.

My wife used to plan our tips around the liquor stores and tiki bars.
It's fun.

"can you provide more details? This is truly a mystery, lol. Cheers to you!"

Pineapple whip was the person who headed up most of the TC20 anniversary stuff Coasters, Umbrellas, pins, events, etc.
So that is why that is there.

Hammo posed the idea, and Pwhip took the ball and ran with help of others.
But really without Pineapplewhip I don't think anything would have happened.

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=53486&forum=1&318

Thanks so much for the tips, everybody. Checking out wine searcher now!

Thanks tikiskip!!
It is very nice of you to say. Just to remind everyone that there were many people involved in the Tiki Central 20 yr Anniversary beginnings..... below, I have copied the link from PinTiki ...would did all the animation for the Tiki Central 20yr multi-location simultaneous party and uploaded to youtube. Please see the link below....and watch all the way through. You will see the list of all the contributors to the TC20 so far......

On 2020-02-06 19:13, PinTiki wrote:
In case you never got to see the animation created for Tiki Central's 20th, you can check it out here... Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/ho0R-EQkamo

.......And there is the rest of the year to continue doing some fun things for this milestone year :)

I still think it would be great to get some more people submitting recipes for a 20th Anniversary drink. I have now made Hamo’s submission Vanuatu Sands a few times. I have (of course) made the 2020 Swizzle several times....BUT.....
.....let’s get some more drinks for the judges to taste and have fun !! :) Below is the link for that thread....

Possible Anniversary drink recipe

Let’s have some fun with this !!

:drink:

H
Hamo posted on Mon, Feb 10, 2020 10:20 PM

Yes, lots of people helped contribute to all the 20th Anniversary stuff so far, but Skip is right--I doubt anything would have happened if you hadn't headed it up.

And back on topic: Thanks for the lead on Wine Searcher.

Aloha Banana Bill,
I got a chance to look up a place I have used before. It is called .... The Whisky Exchange

They are based out of the UK......and they have an AMAZING collection of rums they deliver to the US....and in fact directly to your door in record time. I was reviewing the bottles that you were wondering about. The have Banks Rum, in fact they even have one sample size bottle...and even The Endeavor, which looks like it is pretty special considering the price.

They also have Santa Teresa, and about 5 of their offerings...reasonably priced.

They have a lot of other amazing bottles, which I don’t seem to find easily.

I can attest to their service.....and their speedy shipping, but, it is expensive having it shipped to the US. But, If you wanted to you can get these, sent directly to your door The few orders I have placed with them has been excellent....just pricey.

It’s definitely a website to check out and drool over their selection.

On 2020-02-13 10:03, PineappleWhip wrote:
Aloha Banana Bill,
I got a chance to look up a place I have used before. It is called .... The Whisky Exchange

They are based out of the UK......and they have an AMAZING collection of rums they deliver to the US....and in fact directly to your door in record time.

Whiskey Exchange has amazing selection and fast delivery to the US, but they don't ship to every state (including mine), so you might want to verify they'll send bottles to you before delving deep into their inventory . I ordered something really special from them once, but cleverly had it delivered to someone I knew in a different state who was soon traveling to my city. The timing and everything worked out swimmingly. Maybe you can finagle something like that. Otherwise, you might want to check out Fine Drams. I think they're based in Denmark. I've ordered from them a few times and never had any issues with shipments coming to my door.

K

This brings up a subject I've debated posting about - what's the best/easiest way to get ahold of some legit Havana Club? (Private messages welcome) I've debated thru online sources but in the case of The Whisky Exchange, there's steep shipping. Unfortunately, even being in LA, I don't know anybody that frequents the boarder to piggy back off of. Would love some pointers!

T

I say we are in America and almost anything we want can be found at a price.
Sometimes that price is low or even free, other times the price is high.

But you can if you work at it find what you are after.

One time I traded some video I took of the Kahiki for two bottles of Havana club from Germany.
There used to be a site that sold Havana club AND I got a even more rare bottle of Lemon hart gold that was also in Germany that was Extreme trading I think it was.

One guy I sold lights to gave me a bottle of Havana club.

My neighbor and I were working on getting a bottle of the 15 year but he got cancer and died but not before getting me many bottles at a very low cost.

Soooo find a way, start a thread here for tiki nutz in other parts of the world that might want a Hukilau mug for a Bottle of Havana club, maybe trade a tiki or some other thing they might want like money.

If they mail it to you and it gets taken by the postal people well that's the price of doing business.

But heck if you want it get creative, I love it and over the years have gone through MANY bottles of it, getting it is half the fun.

If you do find some Havana club make a Cuban Ginger drink with it as it is a very good.

Good luck.

On 2020-02-13 16:46, kkocka wrote:
...what's the best/easiest way to get ahold of some legit Havana Club?

Cruise ship passengers are another source. Either you or your friends/family are one of the cheap and easy ways to get at least a couple bottles.

On 2020-02-13 16:46, kkocka wrote:
...what's the best/easiest way to get ahold of some legit Havana Club?

Cruise ship passengers are another source. Either you or your friends/family are one of the cheap and easy ways to get at least a couple bottles.

On 2020-02-13 16:46, kkocka wrote:
...what's the best/easiest way to get ahold of some legit Havana Club?

Cruise ship passengers are another source. Either you or your friends/family are one of the cheap and easy ways to get at least a couple bottles.

Ace,
I would think you would have a decent chance from where you live (based off of your profile location).

kkocka,
I haven't run the numbers....but, if there are enough people near you interested....it might be somewhat reasonable to make on order from a place like Whisky Exchange....in a quantity large enough that when split between the number of bottles the shipping isn't so bad??...of course that means a large volume which is pricey. It might be cheaper than trying to do another way.

A buddy of mine and I grouped some bottles together and had it shipped from San Diego, which is only about 2 hour drive from us, but, by splitting the shipping, it was cheaper than driving when we priced the gas, and accounted for the time.

On 2020-02-14 08:35, PineappleWhip wrote:
Ace,
I would think you would have a decent chance from where you live (based off of your profile location).

Yes, I drive 5 hours south, took a cruise to 3 major ports in Cuba, and brought back nine bottles (from two distilleries) in my luggage. The wife brought me two bottles of Havana Club 7 year from Grand Cayman once, I think they were “expensive” at $18 a bottle, lol!

Oh, and the Bahamas are a rich vein as well.... Lots of people cruise the Caribbean, so it’s important to keep this option in mind and ask for friends and family for “easy” favors.

Thanks for the continued input here. Loving Wine Searcher so far. Found a place in NJ that didn't reject my order. We'll see!

Little off topic, but a trip to Havana is surprisingly inexpensive. I brought home, I think, 18 bottles of rum in my suitcases and got to explore a fantastic city with my wife for a week all for under $2000 with food, lodging, flights, etc. That's less than we spent going to Tiki Oasis! Granted, I'm not sure what trump has done to stifle the regulations that Obama put into place to make travel and commerce for personal use legal. So maybe that's no longer an option. A friend of mine had a cruise he had booked to Havana canceled a few months back. Maybe we can't (legally) go anymore?

Also off topic, I don't know if the formula of Havana Club 3 has changed since we went, or if the export bottles have different juice, or if bottles I've gotten from England and Mexico somehow turned in transit, but the stuff I got in Havana was magic. The best "white" rum I'd had until Probitas recently came out. I had three bottles of HC3 from Havana that made many a fantastic daiquiri. Once I was down to my last bottle, I started slowing down to preserve it, but then a friend who goes to England every few months started bringing me Liters of HC3 back with him. So I plowed through that last bottle purchased in Cuba knowing I had a supply line but very sadly when I cracked open one from England, it was horribly disappointing. None of the light, floral, delightful notes. Just ethanol flavor. I opened three bottles from different trips he took. All were bad. I had to tell him to stop bringing them back. Then he went to Mexico and surprised me with a bottle from there. Also bad! So I don't know if HC3 is just bad now, or if the export stuff is a subpar product (I know it's the well rum for bars in most other countries and not highly regarded by many), or somehow the stuff my buddy was bringing back had some sort of reaction to travel. Has anyone tried a bottle recently?

H
Hamo posted on Sat, Feb 15, 2020 1:27 PM

Mike, have you ordered from Fine Drams before, and if so, what's your experience with them? I don't see anything on their site about shipping restrictions to specific states. The discussion about Havana Club has piqued my interest, and they appear to have more reasonable shipping prices than The Whisky Exchange (which doesn't ship to Colorado.)

EDIT: Whoops--I should have reread this before posting.

On 2020-02-13 12:16, mikehooker wrote:
Otherwise, you might want to check out Fine Drams. I think they're based in Denmark. I've ordered from them a few times and never had any issues with shipments coming to my door.

[ Edited by: Hamo 2020-02-15 16:53 ]

K

On 2020-02-15 13:27, Hamo wrote:
Fine Drams

This is great! I want to pull the trigger, but I also have the same curiosity (though since I'm in CA probably no restriction there). I guess i'll be contacting them.

H
Hamo posted on Sat, Feb 15, 2020 4:57 PM

Good luck, Keith. Let us know what you find out.

I've had great experiences with Fine Drams. On the customs they claim "Vintage glassware," or some such, to avoid any possible state regulations. My deliveries have been prompt without any mishaps and I'm in one of the states that others won't ship to. They package very well. My last box had a giant gouge in it and I was certain there was a casualty but everything held up wonderfully.

K

Well, that'll do it for me - i'm ordering now but bookmarking both sites! I can't wait for their response, assuming I get it, but I'll share when it comes around.

EDIT: Go figure, just an hour later here's their reply "Hi Keith, We can easily ship Havana Club to you in the US." This was in regards to my Cuban concerns. Have at it, boys!


Follow me on Instagram
http://www.instagram.com/keithkocka

[ Edited by: kkocka 2020-02-16 14:27 ]

Awesome! Let me know how that HC tastes. I had a friend over today who has an old bottle of HC3 that he loves and I had him sample the bottle I have from Mexico. He agreed it has a very ethanol nose and flavor and not the sweet floral delight of the good stuff. I'm still unsure if the bottles I've gotten recently have just turned somehow in transit or if the most current bottlings just taste bad now.

Also, I've done the math and it seems your best bet for shipping from Fine Drams is to buy 4-6 bottles. I think it gets the cost per bottle down to like $10 shipping each rather than $16-18 or something like that.

EDIT: Double post...

[ Edited by: mikehooker 2020-02-16 15:00 ]

Quick reminder - Cuban locals told me that they don't drink Havana Club. They recommend Santiago de Cuba rum. SDC is produced and bottled in the old Bacardi plant.

I brought back 3 or 4 bottles of SDC, it really is good rum, and as expected, the older-aged versions are tastier than the younger ones.

Mike -- you wrote that you brought back 19 bottles? I thought I was doing well with 9 bottles!!!!!! Very cool...!!!

Forgot to add the pic of SDC:

H
Hamo posted on Sun, Feb 16, 2020 5:06 PM

Thanks, Ace. I see that Fine Drams also has SDC in stock, so they're even closer to getting some of my money....

K

I had the HC15 back in 2013, with the old bottle and label design, and was a novice at that point (it was a gift). I mixed it with Coke and thought it tasted dirty or cheap. After reading, I learned what I had, and it was still to this date the best sipping rum I've had. I hope it isn't drastically different like the HC3 year that Mike mentioned. But, I'm always happy to try the other stuff too! Great thread!

I didn't get many long aged rums from Cuba. Got several younger "whites" that could be used in daiquiris, such as Ron Caney and Santiago de Cuba. I didn't get their 12 year expression, unfortunately. Ron Cubay has an Anejo and Carta Dora that I found pleasant, especially for the price point (I think under $10 ea in Havana). I'm actually not a fan of the Havana Club 7, which seems to be the product they most push to tourists and that you can find at Duty Frees and tourist spots. Their Maestros is delightful for around, I believe, $40. And they make one called Ritual, which I believe falls somewhere between the 7 and 15.

Just to tie up the original question that kicked off this thread, my Banks 5 Island and an equally hard-to-find Kronan Swedish Punsch just arrived via FedEx from New Jersey. Didn't think it was possible! Thank you, Wine Searcher and those of you who suggested it. I'll be doing that again as soon as my booze budget refills.

Any cocktail suggestions for these bottles?

Banana Bill,
As a side note....I had never heard of Banks 5....and so, as is always the case with Tiki Central.....I learned something new :)
So, I happened to be looking thru the Disneyland Napa Rose Lounge Menu, and they have it in one of their cocktails. A very simple swizzle. This is copied from the website...so, it doesn't have measures, but, I think it would be easy to figure them out.....AND...I'll bet you could make it for less than they are charging :lol:

Barbados Swizzle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $14

Bank’s 5 Island Rum, Fresh Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, and Angostura Bitters

So, thanks to this thread, and mikehooker's tip about Fine Drams dot com......I ordered some miniature bottles of Banks 5, to add to my collection of minis, with one to taste. Thanks everyone !!

Glad you found a shop that would ship to you. BTW....if you don't mind, sharing the shop name. I like to have info about bottle shops that ship :) Best wishes for finding good recipes.....and enoying

Cheers!! :drink:

Hey Pineapple Whip. Where do you order your minis? There are a few things I would like to have a mini of.

Hey MDM,
I suppose this thread is appropriate....as finding minis is also a difficult...."how does one get what one cannot have" kinda exercise....:lol:

So, I am lucky to have a great store in my town...and the rest is looking thru a few sites, because they are constantly changing their stock

Hi-Time Wine Cellar - Costa Mesa (ships to most states)
Mission Wine and Spirits - Pasadena (only ships in CA)
Holiday Wine Cellars - Escondido (ships to several states)
The Whisky Exchange - UK (ships to some US states) (has some AMAZING rums that are hard to find here - but shipping is pricey!!)
Fine Drams - Denmark (ships to some US states) (THANKS to mikehooker !!!) (I think I cleaned them out of the mini Clement - super cute mini bottle)
Ace Spirits - Minnesota (ships to several states)

There are a few places that have a good selection of minis....but, they don't ship to the US (sigh)….but, if you have friends that are travelling from overseas, and you can convince them to bring you an early Christmas gift.

So...MDM....FYI....I gotta apologize to you....I might have purchased most of the interesting minis from the sites...but, yo never know when they might pop up again.
I got some miniature deadhead rum bottles from the Mission Wine guys.....super fun to wear them around your neck :)

K

On 2020-02-21 07:36, Banana Bill wrote:
Any cocktail suggestions for these bottles?

http://5minutesofrum.com/episodes/2015/1/4/episode-35-banks-5
I thought Kevin had more out there w/this rum, but here's a simple one to start!

On 2020-02-21 07:36, Banana Bill wrote:

Any cocktail suggestions for these bottles?

Banks 5 makes a delicious daiquiri. I've gone through several bottles and don't think I've ever mixed it in anything else. Which I just realized is wrong. While it technically looks like a "white rum," the contents in the bottle are between 3-12 years old and the color is filtered out. I imagine it'll work as a solid mixer in complex cocktails, or just let it shine with a couple other ingredients.

I bought Swedish Punsch forever ago at a friends recommendation and was excited to experiment with it, but was less than impressed with the flavor of the stuff. It's been a while since I touched it, so I should probably revisit it, but best I can remember it just tasted like a very sweetened rum, or maybe a boozy sugar syrup. I'm not sure what the predominant flavor is supposed to be but I just remember sweetness. Probably the most classic cocktail that calls for it is the Doctor Cocktail, which I find to be mediocre.

On 2020-02-21 08:40, PineappleWhip wrote:

Barbados Swizzle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $14

Bank’s 5 Island Rum, Fresh Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, and Angostura Bitters

Weird they would call this drink a Barbados Swizzle, when the premise of the Banks "5 island" rum is that it's a blend of rums from, get this... FIVE islands! The make up of the rum comes from Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and oddly, Java. I'm sure it's a good drink, but they should have called it something else unless using Mt Gay, Doorly's, McCoy, etc.

On 2020-02-21 09:28, PineappleWhip wrote:
So...MDM....FYI....I gotta apologize to you....I might have purchased most of the interesting minis from the sites...but, yo never know when they might pop up again.

:up: :lol: I will check those out, thanks. Mostly looking for some decent Pernod or Absinthe, those things that you just use a few drops at a time

Actually, I like that....call it a "5 Island Swizzle" i think that sounds pretty cool. maybe?? anyway.....I am excited to try a taste of it...with my mini bottles on the way. Of course....I'm excited to try any new taste of rum...i just wish my bank account to keep up with my taste buds.

Pineapple Whip - The store's name is Benash Liquors. I was a bit afraid to share the name at first and blow their cover as under-the-radar shippers, but my box arrived with a big ole "This box contains alcohol" sticker, so I guess it's on the up-and-up somehow. Anyway, looking forward to your thoughts on the Banks 5 when your little bottles arrive!

Mike Hooker - You are so right about Banks 5 in a daiquiri! Superb! That's probably how most of mine will get guzzled. It's too interesting for a more complex drink. Who cares if it's right or wrong, it tastes great! As for the Swedish Punsch, I don't even remember why that was on my shopping list, but I'd been hunting for years. I thought it was because of a Beachbum Remixed recipe, but a search of the index suggests not. I'd never had it before, and I can't resist something weird I've never tried before, so there ya go. I have to agree with you, though, it's not THAT special. It's basically Arrak with citrus, spices and sugar. I like that there's sort of a Jamaican-like funk to it. And there's a surprisingly strong leather note, which I also quite like. It will be a fun bottle to play with for that reason.

K

Reporting in, fellas - my HC15 from Fine Drams arrived yesterday, shipped ultra secure! They opened up the bottle's case, wrapped a thin layer of bubble wrap and filled whatever leftover space with peanuts, then used the ultra firm bubble wrap type stuff to surround the case. There was definitely no breaking that bottle! 10/10 recommend, I am blown away.

Likewise.....my minis arrived individually bubble wrapped, then surrounded with layers of extra durable bubble sheets, inside a box that had extra durable bubble sheets lining the walls of the box. This was seriously well packed. I am now considering buying something more hearty from them, if there is something unusual that I can’t get here. I will second the motion on a fine job by Fine Drams!! Thanks mikehooker!!

Thanks so much for the reports on Fine Drams, lads. Definitely going to pull the trigger on those 5 or 6 bottles of Cuban rum now. Comes out to about $30 a bottle which seems quite fair, all things considered.

Pages: 1 44 replies