Evans Mission Bay Magazine Issue 3 Summer 2022 | Page 36

Above : Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa partnered with local distillery Malahat Spirits Co . to create proprietary rum for the hotel , which is used in some of the cocktails served on-site . Above Right : Cannibal Colada is a signature drink at Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa .
Regardless of how rum is served , Americans love it . Last year , more than 23.9 million 9-liter cases of rum were sold in the U . S ., generating over $ 2.3 billion in revenue , according to the Distilled Spirits Council . In the past , rum has often been viewed as a value-priced spirit rather than a premium product , but that trend is shifting . Last year , sales of super-premium rums increased 28.5 percent — far more than any other premium spirit .
TROPICAL MOVEMENT As consumers reach for more and better quality rums , they ’ ve also sought out places where they can enjoy rum cocktails at venues that embrace the same tropical vibe . This interest has spawned a resurgence of tiki bars across the country .
“ Tiki bars are defined by their Polynesian-inspired decor , tropical theme and , of course , rum . Don the Beachcomber is often credited as being the first tiki bar , which debuted in Hollywood in the 1930s and quickly expanded to more than a dozen bars . The
tiki craze flourished for the next three decades before interest started to dwindle , as people began to turn to spirits like vodka and gin ,” says Tony Coxum , bar manager at The Grass Skirt in San Diego .
Since the 2000s , there ’ s been renewed interest in tiki bars , and even more so in recent years , Coxum notes . The Grass Skirt is proof consumers are flocking to the so-called “ escapist nature ” of tiki culture . Once inside the Hawaiian paradise-themed bar , “ you ’ re in a whole new world ,” he says , “ where rum pours like water down an island waterfall .”
The Grass Skirt takes the rum experience to a new level , holding regular tastings and one-hour “ cocktail knowledge seminars ” to teach enthusiasts how to discern the mouthfeel and flavor profile of various rums , as well as how distillers create those subtle nuances .
“ There are some people who are highly enthusiastic about rum ,” Coxum says . “ They really enjoy everything it has to offer . They want to know everything they can about it .”
CATCHING A WAVE When Tapp joined Catamaran , he could sense the hotel was missing an opportunity . It wasn ’ t that it didn ’ t serve rum drinks — there were plenty of cocktails and varieties to choose from on-site — but a venue as distinct as Catamaran needed something unique to set themselves apart from others trying to ride the rum trend wave . In order to do that , Tapp felt that Catamaran needed its own kind of rum . But how was he to find a premium , hyper-local rum distiller to produce a proprietary product for the hotel ?
Tapp was knee-deep in his garden tending to the fragrant rosemary and plump succulents when the idea struck him like a trowel to weeds : “ We have this stellar rum distributor up the street called Malahat ,” he recalls . That ’ s when he decided to call Ken Lee , one of Malahat Spirits Co . co-founders , and discuss the possibility of the boutique San Diegobased distillery producing a rum that could be branded by the hotel and used to make exclusive drinks for guests .