When someone invites you to their restaurant for a rum tasting the words, “does tomorrow work for you?” can’t fly out of ones mouth fast enough. A few weeks ago Justin Fleming, the General Manager of Hemingway’s Island Grill, invited me and my lovely assistant to stop by for dinner and a little rum tasting. The rum that was to be tasted is called Panama Red and is a brand that is exclusive to the Hemingway’s Island Grill restaurants. Don’t the fact that it’s a restaurant rum fool you, it was created by one of the most well known rum distillers in the world, Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandes.
Panama Red is an over-proof rum with tremendous flavor. When sipping you get a great burst of flavor and then a strong kick in the pants from the rum’s 108 proof. I got plenty of opportunity to savor the taste of Panama Red because my assistant Erin isn’t a straight rum drinker. I wasn’t about ready to let the 2 glasses that were brought to our table go to waste. Sometimes you just have to suck it up in the name of over-proof research.
Our meals of Tri-Colored Cheese Tortellini and the Long Boat Key Mahi-Mahi arrived as did more signature cocktails like the Papa Doble Daiquiri and a dynamite Bloody Mary. Justin would swing by our table to talk rum and about the Hemingway look alike contest they have coming up this October. They are in need of judges for the contest. Can you hear the rum lubricated gears turning in my head?
Hemingway’s Island Grill has two locations, Pensacola Beach and Coconut Point Mall in Estero Florida which is the one only 10 minutes from casa de RumShop. The interior is full of Hemingway photos and stylish rattan furniture. The vibe is relaxing and the staff is friendly. They have indoor and outdoor seating with live entertainment on some nights outside in the lake front courtyard.
If you’d like to get your hands on a bottle of Panama Red Rum you’ll need to visit one of their restaurants. I think Justin told me that might be able to sell and ship bottle through the mail. So if you’re really itching for a bottle try to contact them through their website. They are currently working on distribution so I’ll let you know when the Panama Red becomes more available.
I’d like thank Justin and the fantastic Hemingway’s staff for a wonderful meal and damn good drinks. Looking forward to another visit soon and the Hemingway look alike contest! I’ll bring the beard, you bring the rum!