Santa Teresa 1796 was created to commemorate the bicentennial of the Hacienda Santa Teresa after the fourth generation of the Vollmer family (Alberto J. Vollmer) challenged the Master Distillers to elaborate the best crafted rum in the world. You can read more about this expression and some background information about the company in my review here.
Now, I’ve been given the chance to interview Marlo Gamora, the Brand Ambassador for the Santa Teresa 1796, an opportunity I didn’t want to miss, so here we go:
1. Introduction about Marlo Gamora; how long have you been working for Santa Teresa and what is the motivation behind it?
I have proudly been representing Santa Teresa 1796 rum as the New York Brand Ambassador for 2 years now. Previously, I was the NYC Brand Specialist for St-Germain, after spending 15 years in the hospitality industry working as a bartender, beverage director, and manager. I am honored to have worked at some of the top cocktail bars and restaurants in NYC including Dante, Jeepney, Middle Branch and Mother of Pearl.
My passion for rum has been an on-going discovery for many years. Absorbing every bit of knowledge, I could – the spirit terroir, history, the production of rum. How fortunate I have been able to further this passion by working with a family owned, historic rum producer that makes a delicious rum. In addition, Santa Teresa’s Alcatraz Project has been an inspiration – seeing how important the spirits industry is to its local producers and how it can change lives.
2. I know the flagship of the range, Santa Teresa 1796 uses ex-Bourbon casks in a Solera Ageing Method; could you explain to us what exactly it consists of and how it contributes to the 1796 flavour profile?
‘Suelo,’ the spanish word for floor, is where the name solera for the process comes from. The solera itself consists of several stacked rows of barrels, each tier holding rums of scaling maturity. The row on the floor contains the oldest rum. The use of the Solera Method for Santa Teresa 1796 rum is an artisanal process of aging, traditionally used for premium brandy and sherry.
When a portion of the rum is drawn from a cask on the floor, it is topped off with rum from the barrel directly above it. Aging rum thus cascades down a column of casks, and down to full maturity in the barrels on the floor.
The Solera Method gives the liquid an unexpectedly dry finish and a layered richness that will be surprising and appealing to scotch and whisk(e)y aficionados.
3. Are you planning to use any other types of barrels, maybe as a limited release, or even a new permanent addition to the range? Same question, but regarding a cask strength/higher ABV version?
At the moment, we’re focused on promoting Santa Teresa 1796 in the US and continuing to support the community, in ever more creative ways! Just last year, we had an initiative surrounding our iconic bottle, designed to support and unite the bartending community during this challenging time period. Our Crafted Together Limited Edition launched in August 2020, which provided direct assistance to bartenders around the globe and brought them together to support one another, through the creation of a new label for Santa Teresa 1796. All contributors were compensated for their time and creative input with an additional donation by the brand of $10,000 to the USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.
4. Where do you see the rum category heading and how is Santa Teresa planning for the future?
We expect to see the rum premiumization trend continuing – we’re in the middle of a rum renaissance with new bars that feature extensive rum menus opening around the country. There’s also a lot of excitement about the category in general from bartenders – there is a renewed interest in premium rum as a conduit for creative cocktailing. One of rum’s greatest strengths is its versatility – no matter which spirit one generally prefers, they can find a counterpart in rum.
We’ve all seen the incredible turnaround success story of tequila and the development of the super-premium segment within that category – we see a very similar opportunity and path for rum over the next decade.
5. I know Venezuela has a D.O.C. (Controlled Origin Denomination) regarding rum production in order to ensure quality; could you tell us what are the regulations put in place in order to be able to feature “Ron De Venezuela D.O.C.” on the label?
There are just two DOC rums in the world, Martinique DOC and Venezuela DOC. To qualify as a Venezuelan DOC rum, brands must meet certain quality and origin requirements. The liquid must be matured for a minimum of two years, whereas the typical standard is six months. They must also prove the authenticity of their origin and the traceability of their ingredients as well as have an alcohol content of at least 40%.
6. How do you enjoy Santa Teresa 1796 and what serve would you recommend for anyone that tries the 1796 for the first time?
Well, if it is your first time, I would always encourage you to try it neat or on the rock so you can taste the full flavor notes of the rum. But you can also get creative with it – Santa Teresa 1796 offers an ideal base to create a variety of cocktails from spirit-forward Old Fashioneds to tropical Daiquiris.
7. Any last words for anyone reading this interview?
If you are looking to get more experiences out of your drinks- whether that be in taste, historical context, or simply getting out of your mundane cocktail order, I invite you to try Santa Teresa 1796 and explore more premium dark, aged rums. Be creative in your ideas and strive to learn a little something from the brands you drink from, you never know what you might learn.
Recently we launched a new label program where consumers can add their personalized touch upon purchasing their bottle of Santa Teresa 1796, get a bottle with a custom label HERE.
Hope you enjoyed the read! As a bonus I’ve also been given a list of cocktail recipes and they don’t sound bad at all – the specifications are in ounces, but if you want to use milliliters just use the same numbers/ratio:
Sail Me Back Home
1.5 oz. Santa Teresa 1796
.5 oz. Simple syrup
1 oz. Lime Juice
1.5 oz. Ginger beer
2 chunks of pineapple
Pinch of granulated cinnamon
Method – Muddle pineapple in a shaker, add the rest of ingredients, shake with ice, double strain over ice in a Collins glass, top with ginger beer and garnish with mint sprig and half pineapple sliced.
1.5oz Santa Teresa 1796
.75oz lime juice
1oz demerara syrup
1 dropper of vanilla extract (about 20 drops)
3 dashes angostura bitters
1.5oz sparkling wine
Method – Shake all ingredients with ice but sparkling wine, double strain into a coupe glass or cocktail glass, top with sparkling wine, garnish with orange peel.
1.5 oz Santa Teresa 1796
.75 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Monin Guava Syrup
.75 oz Coco Lopez Coconut Cream
Method – Combine all in tin. Add ice. Shake. Strain.
Glassware – Collins or Hurricane glass
Ice – Crushed
Garnish – Burnt Cinnamon Stick & Lime Wheel
Spicy Mango Daiquiri
1.5 oz Santa Teresa 1796
1 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Monin Mango Syrup
1-2 dash Scrappy’s Hellfire Bitters
Method – Combine all in tin. Add ice. Shake. Fine strain in chilled glass.
Glassware – Coupe
Ice – None
Garnish – Tajin Rim & Lime Wheel