Rum Connoisseur interview of the week:
Drinks-historian, Co-Author, Luminary/Bon Vivant in the Beverage Alcohol world, Educator, Event Planner, and dedicated lover of rum!
1) Who is Anastatia Miller?
Drinks historian and publisher Anistatia Miller is co-author along with her husband Jared Brown of a few dozen books on spirits and drinks, including the world’s best-selling book on the king of cocktails, Shaken Not Stirred®: A Celebration of the Martini. Recipients of the 2016 IMBIBE Magazine Personality of the Year Award for Industry Legends as well as the 2011 IWSC Communicators of the Year Award, the couple wrote the award-winning two-volume tome, Spirituous Journey: A History of Drink, tracing alcoholic beverages from 7000BC to the 20th century. Other titles include The Mixellany Guide to Vermouth and Other Apéritifs, Champagne Cocktails, and Cuban Cocktails.Miller was a co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans and is former co-director of Exposition Universelle des Vins et Spiritueux in southern France. She serves as curator of the EUVS Digital Collection (www.euvslibrary.com), a free online library of vintage cocktail and drinks books dating back to the 1750s. Miller organizes and hosts the International Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix in Havana, Cuba.She lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and their cat Kitten where she maintains a 1200+ volume collection of books on drink plus a research garden of drink and cocktail botanicals.
2) What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?
I fell in love with rum in 1968 when I spent six months sailing the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean with eleven other people.We were mostly diving for sea shells—sand dollars, Conch, stuff like that. Made some extra money on the Key West docks heading shrimp for two dollars a bucket. We always stocked up on essentials when we headed out to sea: rice, black beans, onions, cornmeal, oil, and RUM. Lots of rum.
We used to camp on the Marquesa Keys and the Dry Tortugas. Spear a few lobsters, catch a barracuda or red snapper, any good excuse for a feast deserved a shot or two of rum at the very least.
First, it was Cruzan rum. Then some Cuban fishermen we ran into on a deserted mangrove island shared some their rum with us in exchange for a barbecued shark steak dinner from our catch. Bajan rum, Jamaican rum, I began to realize the depth of the rum portfolio and fell in love.
3) The biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplished for the rum industry.
Have I accomplished anything big? Am I still trying to ferret out the truth about Cuban rum’s history and the real origins of the drinks made with it? Yes. Am I done? Only with the latest book—Spirit of the Cane—that I am publishing in two weeks. Have I achieved anything? I’m not done researching and writing about rum, so I have not finished accomplishing what I need to accomplish so it can be called an achievement.
4) What is that thing that makes you want to continue in the rum industry?
There is so much more to the rum category’s history to explore. Cuban is my particular discipline.
5) Favorite Drink + Recipe
Añejo Ron Collins
60 ml Havana Club 7-Años
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon Cuban sugar
Shake rum, juice, and sugar over ice. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with sparkling water. Stir and serve.
6) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?
To a better place, a place in which aged rums of all styles are given the same respect as blended scotches and single malts. I think sipping rums are just coming into their own.
7) What 3-5 things do you have on your bucket list for the next 12 month?
Publishing Spirit of the Cane.
Finishing my dissertation proposal for my MA in History.
Beginning my MSc in English Local History at Oxford University.
Harvesting the first crops out of our new veg garden and orchard.
Spending a lot more time with my husband Jared Brown.
8) Any final thoughts?
Never give up. Never surrender.
9) How can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media Page?