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Jan 10, 201808:00 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Ziggin’ and Zaggin’

Sailor Jerry Rum, history and a recipe

Sailor Jerry Rum, 2017

It’s not unusual for a life to head in one direction and then something else in a completely different direction is the end-result. The journey is hardly ever a straight line. Life is like that, ya’know.

Let’s just say a young man takes a great interest in tattoos. So much so that, at an early age, he knows he wants to lay ink just under the human skin in an artistic way Many items come into play here. Understanding how colors and depth work in a physical sense; being able to create designs in all sorts of period styles; and positioning the tattoo in just the spot desired by the wearer. Then there is the proper operation of the equipment, possessing a steady hand and placing ink correctly, all in a safe and sanitary manner.

(FYI, I speak here from anecdote, never having had the desire nor the bravery to actually go through the process.)

Norman Keith Collins was born on Jan. 14, 1911. People are drawn to different passions and Collins always loved tattoos. While traveling the country, he met “Big Mike” as they hopped from freight train to freight train with no particular time-frame or destination. Mike shared his extensive knowledge of tattoos.

Collins finally joined the Navy, took great interest in Southeast Asia and then ended up in Honolulu after his stint. He became captain of a large three-masted schooner, played the saxophone in his own band, and did a radio show gig. But tattoos were never far from Collins’ thoughts and he set up a shop in Honolulu, specializing in old-school Americana illustrations.  

He did not think Norman Keith was a proper name for a guy of his robust character. He preferred to be known as Sailor Jerry. In 1973, he suffered a heart attack while riding his Harley. He got up from the fall, rode the bike home and three days later, died.

Some folks thought an oversized presence like Collins deserved to be remembered in a way befitting the person. Sailor Jerry Rum was created to honor the man who was larger than life.

The rum is bold, smooth, versatile, good for mixing or sipping. The Spiced Rum, following the tradition of rum distillers to add spices from the Far East to the liquor in order to achieve approachability and less sweetness, features a hula dancer on the label and the back label, seen through the bottle, also depicts an array of tattoo illustrations done by Sailor Jerry himself.

In a bit of irony the rum is distilled in the Caribbean, the U.S. Virgin Islands, not in Hawaii, which would have been in keeping with the Collins’ story but would not have provided the style of product the developers wanted. 

Collins was married several time and Louise, Sailor Jerry’s widow, children and grandchildren, still reside mostly in Hawaii.

Sailor Jerry’s birthday January 14 is upon us. We should raise a glass of his rum in his honor. There are all too few grand and colorful characters left in America and taking a moment to honor an example of one seems like a good thing to do.


Ginger Spiced Negroni

  • 1 part Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 1 part Campari
  • ½ part ginger liqueur
  • ½ part sweet vermouth

In empty mixing glass, measure Sailor Jerry. Add Campari, ginger liqueur & sweet vermouth. Add a few chunks of ice and stir to blend flavors and dilute. Add more ice and repeat. Strain into empty chilled old fashioned glass. Add fresh ice block and garnish with candied ginger.


It's been very cold around here since the first of the year and maybe this recipe will take the edge off. Darn sure won’t hurt.


Sailor Jerry Hot Chocolate

  • 1.5 part Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 1.5 part Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 3 parts hot chocolate
  • Whipped cream (as desired)
  • Chocolate shavings, candy cane, or cinnamon stick garnish
  • Dash of orange bitters

In a warm beverage mug, add equal parts Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum to Butterscotch Schnapps, then add hot chocolate, top with whipped cream, shaved chocolate, and garnish with a cinnamon stick or candy cane, or more chocolate, then complete with a dash orange bitters.


Recipes courtesy of Sailor Jerry Rum.




Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine.


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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.


Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.


Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.


Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.


They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.


Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.


Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.


Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.


It’s a good gig. 




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