Adventures in Boozy Bears


After the weirdness of my last batch of Rummy Bears, I decided some more experimentation was needed. The purposes of this experiment were to compare a new (to me) bear brand, against my usual, and also to see what they would taste like using SelvaRey Cacao Rum from Panama (my review of the rum will be added once I figure out what format I want to use for my tasting notes).


I started by buying two bags of bears: the usual Haribo Gold Bears; and the local store brand, Harris Teeter Sweet Monsters.  Here are the pre-booze differences: the Harris Teeter Sweet Monsters look more like teddy bears, and start out softer and smaller than Haribo. They also have blue bears in the mix. I like blue. The Haribo Gold Bears look more like bears in the wilderness who haven’t had enough to eat. They’re also quite a bit chewier.

After 24 hours in the rum, the bears were plumping nicely and needed to be topped off, so I poured in the last of my SelvaRey.  Though there was some coupling happening in the bowls, my occasional stirring prevented the major bear orgy of my last batch.  On the second night, the bears had absorbed most of the rum, but I was out of SelvaRey and I didn’t want to add another flavor, so I just let them frolick in what was left and gave them a bit of a stir every six hours or so to prevent anymore unauthorized mergers.

On the first day of Christmas my gummies gave to me
a whole bunch of yu-u-ummy!

It actually was Christmas Day when the bears emerged from their bath and they looked like a bunch of lovely jewels once I drained the little bit of remaining liquid!


As with the last batch, I did a side-by-side comparison of pre-booze and post-booze bears.  The Sweet Monsters (the store brand) have something about them that allows for good expansion without losing their definition, while the Haribo bears lost definition and got quite a bit slipperier than their more cuddly cousins.  I found it interesting that the store brand started as the softer of the two, but Haribo finished softer.  The Haribo bears clearly absorbed more booze.  I noticed that in the amount of topping off necessary, as well as in the flavor.  While the store brand bears tasted quite boozy, they didn’t have any of the alcohol “bite” that the Haribo bears had.  I should also note that the SelvaRey Cacao Rum was a genius choice!  The chocolate flavor really stands up to the fruity flavors of the bears.


So overall, I have to say I’ve been converted from Haribo to Harris Teeter Sweet Monsters … for now.

I’m back on my diet, after a December hiatus, so Rummy Bear experiments have been halted for the season, but will continue somewhere down the road.  Perhaps I’ll prepare a batch for The Hukilau!



The Breadfruit & Rum Bar – Phoenix, AZ

I recently spent a few days in Phoenix on business and had a free evening on a Monday night.  So I asked a couple friends to join me for dinner at a Jamaican restaurant and rum bar that had recently been recommended to me.  The place is hard to find, but once you’re there, it’s worth the effort.

Of course we started with cocktails (which ranged in price from $9-10) and between the three of us, tasted six or seven of them.  I could give you the names, but the menu changes seasonally and most of the drinks we had two weeks ago have since been replaced.  Much to my glee, the cocktails are all rum-based, and the ones we had were all very delicious.  They ranged from light and slightly sweet, complex and smoky, to tart and spicy.  One whose name I can’t recall was a bit too bitter for my taste, but I know lots of people who would find it right up their alley.  I was a bit confused about why the Tradewind Swizzle was called a swizzle when it came in a DOF with one big cube, rather than in a chimney with crushed ice and a frosty exterior, but it was still delicious.  The others I would all order again and again.

The food was also quite good!  We started with an appetizer of Roasted Plantain and & Mango Chutney Dip ($8) which had the soft, sweet plantain I remember my Panamanian mother making when I was a child.  I did wish we’d ordered another plate of them.  Then a small palate cleanser of a spoonful of what I think was a Jicama Slaw came for each of us.  It was refreshing and served its purpose.  I had the Jerk Pork & West Indies Polenta ($15) and was very pleased with the spice of the tender pork and the rich flavors of the polenta.  My friends both had the Pimento Wood Jerk Chicken ($20) and were very happy with their meals as well.

We were presented with a dessert menu.  We were all full enough at that point to choose to skip dessert, and to be honest, I can’t remember what was on it, perhaps because I’m dieting and blocked it out of my mind in a desperate attempt to not gain too many pounds on that business trip (an endeavor at which I failed to the tune of four pounds in four days).

Instead of dessert, we retired to the small patio out back where we enjoyed a flight of three rums (English Harbor 10-year old, Appleton 21-year old, and Zacapa XO – $30 for the flight), and cigars.  (Don’t judge. One cigar every year or two isn’t going to kill me.)  I finished the evening with a neat glass of El Dorado 15, while my companions switched to Red Stripe and red wine (wimps). 

On our way out the door, I took a few minutes to appreciate the impressive selection of rums behind the bar.  There are about a 100+ bottles and not a single one at which I’d turn up my nose (read: no Bacardi).  In fact, several of my favorites were there.  I met the owner and talked about their selections, their philosophy, and my rum experience.  I could see myself spending many hours sitting at that bar sipping through the collection (although I think asking $2,500 for a single pour of Appleton 50 is a bit excessive).   If I ever move to Phoenix, The Breadfruit and Rum Bar will be my go-to watering hole.  (Note: that’s not as big an “if” as you might expect.)

All in all, it was a great night of food, drinks, and friends that I will happily repeat whenever the opportunity arises. Next time, I’ll spend more time at the bar learning what’s in the cocktails and discussing important matters of spirit.

The Breadfruit & Rum Bar
108 E Pierce St, Downtown Phoenix