Hooray for the Mitten! - The Ravens Club
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Hooray for the Mitten!

Chalk up another win for our great State of Michigan, for Ann Arbor, for our local distillers, spirit aficionados and our local cocktail scene.  Our ‘Rum Dinner’ and ‘Taste Spirits Like The Pros’ with spirits guru F. Paul Pacult were a huge success!  We spent two days with one of the most prolific and influential spirits journalists/tasters in the world today. Truth be told, it didn’t take much to convince Paul to host our events as Michigan, already known for some of the best breweries in the nation, is on the move with wine and distilled spirits as well.

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The Ravens Club was a great backdrop for the Rum event, Chef Frank Fejeran’s food paired perfectly with our Rum selections; Ron Matusalem’s 15 yr Dominican rum and fried sweetbreads, Mount Gay Extra Old rum from Barbados and soy braised smoked pork belly with burnt pineapple, to name a few.  Over the course of three hours, we enjoyed 9 rums, as Paul went into the back stories of each plantation/distillery, the families that started them and their histories. What was most unique were the stories behind the relationships Paul has fostered with the various producers over the 30 years he’s been working with spirits.

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The spirits tasting class encompassed 10 different spirit categories ranging from gin to Bas-Armagnac to bourbon and how to taste each properly. We learned to pick up subtleties the distillers were expecting; citrus notes, caramel, dried fig, etc. Attendees ranged from industry professionals, distillers, distributors, barmen and women to aficionados, which made for a great mix of people. Everyone had a great time over the course of 2 ½ hours of tasting.

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All in all, the events were a hit, Ann Arbor showed well, the weather cooperated on the final day as we strolled around town to show off Main Street. Thank you to our friends at Logan Restaurant for hosting our final evening’s meal, superb as usual! Paul wants to bring his wife, Sue, back through Michigan in the spring to hit some local distilleries, tour MSU’s awesome distillery, hit Traverse City, the UP and, of course, do more events with all of us! The highlight of my time spent with Mr. Pacult was the first evening Zack and Jon brought him from the airport to TRC. Paul sat down next to me at the bar and ordered a whiskey sour from Robyn. The drink came out perfectly, Robyn passed his test… and I sat at our bar enjoying a cocktail with F. Paul Pacult.

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A huge thank you to Jennie Baker for taking our awesome event photos!