Interview with: Helena Tiare Olsen A Mountain of Crushed Ice


Helena Tiare Olsen

A Mountain of Crushed Ice

1) Bucket List items for this year.

My bucket list for this year, it´s not very long but to me very important:

1 – Keep spreading the rum gospel as much as I can spiced up with tasty tiki drinks….and adding more interesting rums to my collection.

2 – Go to the Tales of the Cocktail and New Orleans which is a special place to me, and hopefully in the fall one of the rumfests in Europe….not sure which one yet, I wish I could go to all but that´s impossible.

3 – I`d love to build a tiki home bar…I mean a real bar…like what I`ve seen in the US, but that may stay a dream still, since the materials are not available in the same way as in say California….it´d cost a fortune to have everything you need shipped to here.

4 – Keep educating myself about rums, tiki drinks and their history…

2) Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplished for the rum industry. 

Well, it`s not like a big achievent or something, it´s more like many small things bulding up together which is spreading more rum knowledge through my blog and in person teaching people about rum and inspiring them to try more – and most of all better rums!

To get people to see that there`s more to rum than they maybe thought and that a good rum can be as good as any good whisky(ey) or cognac. Also spreading inspiration and knowledge about tiki drinks with everything from rum combos to cool garnishes.

3) Favorite Drink + Recipe

Without doubt the Trader Vic`s Mai Tai…that`s my favorite drink number one because it`s so simple, yet perfectly balanced and complete – and so damn tasty! and then comes the classic Daiquiri which most of the tiki drinks are built on – rum, lime and sugar.

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz Rhum Clément VSOP Martinique rum
1 oz Appleton Estate Extra dark Jamaican rum
0.5 oz orange Curacao
0.25 oz orgeat
0.25 oz sugar syrup

Shake with 2 cups of crushed ice and pour unstrained into a double old-fashioned glass.  

Sink your spent lime shell in the drink, and garnish with a mint sprig.

That`s the classic recipe, but you can switch out the rums and experiment to get your own favorite Mai Tai and different rum combos in this drink it´s really a fun thing to do.

4) Where do you see the rum industry today?

I see the rum industry slowly moving forward, I see the rums getting more of the recognition that they deserve and people are getting more aware that rum can be a premium spirit but there´s much more that can be done especially when it comes to teaching/showing people what a good rum is and what a not so good is and we are not there yet, far from it.

There`s also a lot of rums coming out that are special or limited editions, single casks, or aged in different types of barrels or “finishes” or are different in their blendings or even different in the way they are made….and I think that`s really exciting, there´s such diversity with rum! There´s a lot going on now in the rum industry and i`m happy to be a part of this exciting world.

5) Where do you see the rum industry in 5 years?

Innovation! new things and practises as well as keeping the traditions too. Hopefully we will see more and better premium rum expressions in terms of natural rums that are not adultered with additives or loads of sugar which we don`t need, and that people shall know what they pay for.And hopefully new and exciting rums!

6) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you. 

The first mentor I had and who is responsible for a lot of my early rum knowledge is Ed Hamilton and his Ministry of Rum website. That`s where I landed when I had just started to be into rum and there I learnt a lot, not only from Ed of course but from the whole community of rum people who were and still are discussing all aspects of rum.

Then the next person is Ian Burrell who I often turn to with my rum related questions and who have helped me a lot along the way. And he`s one big reason that people are getting more aware of what rum can be – largely due to him travelling all around the world teaching people about rum.

Then we have others like for example Richard Seale who does some very educating seminars apart from making good rum, the Burr Family and the Miami Rum Renaissance, Peter and Pauline at the ”Floating Rumshack”.

Aslo I want to mention the rum reviews at the The Lone Caner website  ,I have spent a lot of time reading and learning on those pages, he is so much into the details! and he writes about those rums I`m the most interested in….also the Atomic Grog website is worth mentioning, that site is all about tiki and rums and tiki and rums naturally and historically goes together! there is a lot of rum and tiki knowledge on those pages – a lot, it´s a massive website.That`s my number one website I go to when I seek inspiration for tiki drinks or simply to learn more history.

The whole rum community is like one big mentor actually, everyone providing their part and learning I do every single day! There´s a lot of collective knowledge and inspiration! there´s pages on Facebook like the Ministry of Rum, The Global Rum Club, La Confrérie du Rhum….spend time in those places and you will learn a lot….and along the way you`ll make many good friends! what`s there not to love?

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Author: Fede

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