By Allyson Goldstein
I’d like to think I’ve become more skilled at classic, home-made cocktails like Moscow Mules and Mojitos (thanks to quarantine, my house is organized and my bar is stocked). But then, I get the chance to speak with Melissa Denner, National Spirits Specialist with E & J Gallo Winery and Spirits, and she challenges me to try “The Junglebird”.
A blend of RumHaven coconut rum, an aperitif, pineapple juice, lime juice and a dash of simple syrup, she says it’s the perfect balance of sweet and bitter to open the palate before a meal. It's also one of the signature cocktails you can discover when you complete the RumHaven summer escape quiz.
“Did you know I also perfected the recipe for a ‘Skinny Colada?” Melissa asks. I’m intrigued, since I happen to love the thick, creamy version made by beach bars everywhere. She confides it is actually High Noon Sun Sips Pineapple with a shot of RumHaven coconut rum as a floater – lighter in calories and way more refreshing when lounging in the sun.
Melissa, a former Brand Ambassador for RumHaven, was recently promoted to her current role within E&J Gallo to represent all of their brands including High Noon Sun Sips, New Amsterdam Vodka, Camarena and much more. She provides professional training to distribution reps and focuses a lot of her attention to partnerships with local bars and restaurants.
“I seek every opportunity to support our bars and restaurants in South Carolina and participate in fundraising events,” Melissa explains. This ground-roots mentality stems from E&J Gallo’s increased efforts during COVID-19 to help venues recover, which prompted a program called R.O.A.R. (Rescue Our Amazing Restaurants) to allocate more of the company’s budget towards local venues.
Though it may seem as if every major brand of liquor now boasts natural flavors and zero preservatives, I learn just what it means for RumHaven to align with the modern wellness movement. Each bottle is made with actual coconut water, pure cane sugar and the finest Caribbean rum straight from Barbados. As a result, the sugar content isn’t processed or artificial and leaves a more refreshing taste as opposed to filmy or worse, syrup-y. Consumers can also rest assured in the quality of production with every E&J Gallo brand – the company itself is entirely “green” and incorporates biodegradable cups and straws into every tasting or sponsored event.
Just as we’re about to part ways, Melissa reminds me that August 16th was National Rum Day. Within minutes, I’ve added an appointment to my Google calendar with a note:
"Get ingredients for Junglebird."
RumHaven Caribbean Rum is made with coconut liqueur and natural flavors for a refreshing taste you can feel good about. Get your sip on and explore tropical cocktails at www.rumhaven.com.
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