I'm usually pretty unapologetic on this blog and when asked if I wanted to meet Ron Jeremy at a media tasting for his new spiced rum, I hesitated a little, since Sex and the Beach is not pornographic -- hell, I don't even like porn and American Apparel ads piss me off -- but I do, however, write about spirits.
And from a marketing perspective, it's interesting to see one of the most famous adult film stars in the world diversify his career.
So there we were, a group of local writers plus Robert Burr, founder of the fantastic Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami, sampling rum last Friday at the Irish Times in South Miami -- a great little family-owned bar on Sunset Drive. Mr. Jeremy, whom, ironically, is not a big drinker, was with us, as well as the founders of One Eyed Spirits, owners of the brand.
The story behind this rum is interesting. The founders -- two guys from Finland who specialize in advertising -- were in Amsterdam one day when one of them drew the idea of "Ron de Somebody" on the back of a bar receipt. Ron is the Spanish word for rum and they needed a famous Ron. Ron Howard and Ron Reagan didn't make the cut, so guess who won out?
After investigating distillers in the rum community, they came upon the legendary Don Pancho, a septuagenerian Cuban expat living in Panama and one of the best rum makers and blenders in the world -- he hails from the old school Cuban beverage industry.
The straight Ron Jeremy rum is aged 7 years and the spiced is blended with a 3 year-old rum. The latter version comes from an old Caribbean recipe that Don Pancho and his business partner, fellow master blender Carlos Esquivel, purchased from a rum family in the islands.
So there you go. Two guys from Finland come up with this idea in Amsterdam, an American adult film star gets involved, and you're sipping rum made in Panama from an old Caribbean recipe, probably aged in sherry barrels from Spain.
See? There really is no sex involved. But sugar and spice, yes. Plenty of it.
The rum is extremely smooth, with very woodsy and smoky notes, brimming with vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. It definitely transported me to some pirate ship in the Caribbean with balmy breezes pushing us out to sea from Grenada or the Grenadines. When a rum can make you fantasize about pirates and islands, you know it's good.
Try it neat over the rocks, but think of this as the kind of rum you'd also mix into your holiday hot toddies and egg nog. It's definitely a good candidate if you want to spike up your Starbucks Pumpkin Latte on cold, blistery days.
Yes, I went there. He signed his name backward so I could see it in the mirror. But that's as far as we got, trust me!
All kidding aside, I've interviewed hundreds of people in my life and Ron Jeremy was one of the most interesting characters I've ever put in front of a camera. This Jew from Queens whipped out a harmonica and played Amazing Grace for me since I was raised Catholic.
I also asked some questions from twitter friends @miamisnap, @elliem72 and @beahbunnie. Why did you get the name The Hedgehog? What's the proper piña colada to rum ratio? What's your favorite drink to get you in the mood?
For the answers, check out the video below.
Ron de Jeremy is available online and locally at Crown Liquors in Broward as well as The Little Liquor Store in Pompano Beach. Remember to always imbibe responsibly.