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Step Into The Black…..With Captain Morgan at Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club

Cocktail Recipes, South Tampa, Special Events

Captain Morgan Black is to your bar what a little black dress is to your closest…….sexy, stylish and perfect for every occasion.  Last week I had the opportunity to attend a cocktail tasting featuring Captain Morgan Black at Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club in South Tampa. It was a magical night filled with seductive libations and delicious food.

Ever since my first visit to Ciro’s last year, they have remained in my top ten places for cocktails in Tampa Bay. As a bartender that likes to create my own cocktail recipes, Ciro’s is a place that I respect and admire. Every visit has been incredible and I always leave  blown away and inspired. One of my favorite pieces that I have written was my article about Ciro’s called Spirited Spirits for VERTICAL Tampa Bay in the fall 2011 issue. My visit to Ciro’s was one of the most memorable evenings I have had in Tampa.

When I learned that this event was going to be held at Ciro’s, I was ecstatic.  I invited two close friends that had never been to Ciro’s and was ready to show them a place in Tampa that has truly helped me on my quest to fall in love with Florida.  As we walked up the steps to the entrance and approached the door, I got a kick out of watching my friend’s faces as they knocked and were greeted (in true speakeasy fashion) by a small panel sliding open and a voice asking for the password. Of course, all we had to do was say that we were their for the Captain Morgan Black event and the door was promptly opened. We walked into the dark setting buzzing with chatter and the sounds of ice cubes clanking. Although we arrived a bit late and had missed the first two featured cocktails, my dear friend and fellow blogger, Jennifer Buggica, had saved me samples of the drinks. Oh how I adore her! She knew I was on a tight schedule and really helped me out. 🙂 (For more on Jennifer, be sure and check out her fabulous blog: Mangiamo: Let’s Eat!)

The girls and I walked up to bar just in time to hear about the next featured drink by none other than famed mixologist and someone I truly admire, Toby Maloney. (For more on Toby, see below). As I watched Toby prepare the Captain Morgan Black & Honey,  I was captivated by his words and in particular when he spoke about using fresh lemon juice.  I have always been an advocate of fresh ingredients in cocktails and will never settle for anything less. The taste of freshly squeezed fruit juice in a cocktail is imperative and the taste just can’t compare to bottled juices. My favorite cocktail is a Lemon Drop Martini and there is nothing worse than the taste of one made with bottled lemon juice and sour mix.

As I took my first sip of the Captain Morgan Black & Honey, I was enamoured by the smooth taste of the rum paired with the sweet honey and fresh lemon.  This cocktail truly impressed me! It was the perfect balance of smokey spice and sweet citrus. Captain Morgan Black & Honey is the perfect cocktail for a warm summer night. I began to have visions of entertaining guests in the backyard with everyone sipping on a Black & Honey.

Captain Morgan Black & Honey

  • 1.25 oz. Captain Morgan Black Spiced (25 oz. per bottle)
  • 0.75oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5oz. honey
  • 1 twist lemon

Drink Recipe Preparation:

  • Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold.
  • Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon wedge.


While everyone was enjoying their cocktail, I walked over to chat with Jennifer and her friend Nichole. She filled me in on the two drinks that were featured before my arrival and I was able to taste them since she had saved me one of each.  The first was Captain Morgan Black on the rocks. As a bartender, I enjoy tasting liquors either on ice or neat so that I can let my palate explore the flavors while in my mind I picture what fresh ingredients will pair nicely with the taste. I often close my eyes and see different colors which help guide me on the tasting journey.  It may sound silly, but it has always worked for me. I believe taste is like art and certain visuals will lead me to create fabulous cocktails. With my first sip of Captain Morgan Black, I picked up tastes of clove and vanilla. The warmth of the vanilla balanced with the bold essence of clove was intoxicating. As I closed my eyes, I actually pictured myself sitting outside at the Inn at Spanish Bay located on Pebble Beach. I could hear the pounding waves of the Pacific as they hit the shore and then are followed by a calming sound as the waves are slowly drawn back. I could smell the fresh air combined with the scent of a roaring fire as the music of bagpipes plays in the background. I guess when I think of Captain Morgan I always think of the ocean and for me, growing up on the Pacific Coast, my mind naturally wonders to my favorite ocean side spots back home. I open my eyes and get back to the present.

Next I sampled Henry Morgan’s Old Fashioned. I have always enjoyed and Old Fashioned and was anxious to taste this version. After tasting the Captain Morgan Black on the rocks, I knew it would be fabulous in an Old Fashioned. In my younger days, I used to love Captain Morgan and Diet Coke with an orange wedge so it was no surprise that I would like this cocktail.  The sweetness of the orange and Raw sugar paired with the aromatic bitters and the bold flavor of the Captain Morgan Black was a nice combination. Again, I could taste the essence of cloves, which really paired well with the orange.  This is the perfect pre-dinner cocktail.

Henry Morgan’s Old Fashioned

Drink Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1.25 oz. Captain Morgan Black Spiced (25 oz. per bottle)
  • 3 dash(es) bitters
  • 1 packet(s) Raw sugar
  • 1 twist orange

Drink Recipe Preparation:

  • Place the orange peel, sugar and a few drops of water in a sturdy rocks glass and muddle with the back of a spoon.
  • Stir the remaining ingredients in a cocktail glass with ice and strain into the rocks glass over fresh ice.


I headed back to the bar area where my friends, Lisa and Lori were chatting.  I brought them over a basket of Ciro’s famous Black Truffle Popcorn and we began chatting about how much we were enjoying the drinks.  On the bar was a large bowl filled with Captain Morgan Black Privateer Punch. We served ourselves a glass and were pleasantly surprised at how much we loved the punch.  This is the PERFECT concoction for a Gasparilla Party.  Every year I bartend a private party in a tent on Bayshore for the Gasparilla Day Parade and this year I will be making this and I know it will be a huge hit!

Captain Morgan Black Privateer Punch (For a krewe of 35)

Drink Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 750 mL bottle Captain Morgan Black
  • 3 750 mL bottles red wine
  • 1 750 mL bottle cherry juice
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 1/2 lb. cherries, pitted
  • 2 L cola

Drink Recipe Preparation:

  • Chill all ingredients.
  • In a large punch bowl, crush the fresh fruit to extract the juices.
  • Combine liquids and add a large block of ice.
  • Serve the punch in wine glasses with pieces of fruit.



As we were getting ready to watch Toby prepare the next cocktail, we had the chance to try some of the food prepared for the evening. We missed on a couple of things since we arrived late, but I think we arrived in time for the highlight of the evening: chicken and waffle sliders!  Ever since my first trip to Atlanta in the fall of 2003, I have been a fan of chicken and waffles. I order it everywhere and this was the first time I had it served as a slider.  Genius!

**Chicken & Waffle Slider with Captain Morgan Black & Honey

Tender fried chicken nestled between two buttermilk waffles and topped with a spicy maple gravy, this slider was like a piece of heaven.  I could have eaten several of them but I had to control myself.  This would be the perfect item to serve for any cocktail party or a Sunday brunch.

Next up on the menu was Perfectly Black. As Toby prepared this masterpiece, which is Captain Morgan’s spin on a Perfect Manhattan, I was drawn to his method of mixing and his way with words. Combining Captain Morgan Black with both sweet and dry vermouth and bitters, this is a bold and classy cocktail. I enjoy Manhattans during the holidays and I must admit, I like them better made with Captain Morgan Black. One key-note that Toby spoke about was that of the shelf life of sweet vermouth. It is just like a bottle of wine and should be consumed within a few days max. Once it is open, it should be stored in the refrigerator. I have always been a stickler for this and have been to many places and found that the sweet vermouth has gone bad.




Perfectly Black

Drink Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Captain Morgan Black Spiced (25 oz. per bottle)
  • 0.5oz. sweet vermouth
  • 0.25oz. dry vermouth
  • 3dash(es) bitters
  • 1 twist lemon

Drink Recipe Preparation:

  • Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to perfection.
  • Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.


The girls and I sipped on our Perfect Blacks and nibbled on Ciro’s mini crab cakes, which were outstanding. I loved the presentation! The key-lime mustard that was drizzeled on top gave them the perfect touch! I can’t wait to make these for my next dinner party.



Just as I thought the night could not get any better, we were presented with a treat to end our night on a sweet note.  Mini grilled pound cake topped with frush fruit macerated in Captain Morgan Black and then sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Mama mia were they good! I have been grilling pound cake with fruit for years and it is one of my favorite desserts to prepare. Simple yet exquisite, the grilled pound cake was perfect for the occasion.



The girls and I had a wonderful time! It was nice to have a night out with the girls and spend a little time with The Captain. I am looking forward to my next visit to Ciro’s as well as experimenting with Captain Morgan Black.



Ciros Speakeasy and Supper Club on Urbanspoon

**About Toby Maloney:

Toby Maloney, Chief Creative Officer for Alchemy Consulting and self-proclaimed ‘Intoxicologist,’ harmonizes house-made bitters and syrups into perfectly crafted classic cocktails with a twist. After attending culinary school in San Francisco and traveling the world to seek the most visceral of epicurean experiences, Maloney has perfected his palette to produce unrivaled libation.

Maloney has crafted award-winning cocktails for several world-renowned venues, including his own bar, The Violet Hour, in Chicago, which was named to GQ Magazine’s “Top 25 Bars in America,” and was deemed the “Ground Zero for cocktail culture” by Details magazine. Maloney’s talent for harmonizing the ‘hard stuff’ into an intimate indulgence for the consumer has earned him the James Beard Outstanding Bar Program 2012 semi-finalist nomination


 Captain Morgan Black Offical Press Release:

Captain Morgan Rum Company Unveils Darker Side and Invites Fans to Step into the Black with Launch of Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum

ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands, April 16, 2012 – Inspired by the bolder, more mysterious side of notorious and legendary privateer Henry Morgan, the Captain Morgan Rum Company today introduced Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum, a premium and authentic addition to the brand’s category-leading spiced rum portfolio.

Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum is the ideal spirit for adult consumers who choose adventure over convenience. Created with the whiskey occasion in mind, this bold new liquid is best suited for a more interesting night, where the evening drifts into mysterious corners just to see what awaits. Because it’s the unexpected nights we remember most, Captain Morgan Rum Company invites consumers to Step into the Black.

Crafted from the finest Caribbean Blackstrap rum and select ingredients, including rich clove spice and premium cassia bark, the liquid is finished with double charred blackened oak for a premium, smooth taste. The bold liquid carries the exotic taste of cinnamon and clove, followed by hints of warm spice and vanilla for a smooth finish. Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum is best enjoyed on the rocks, but is also delicious as the key ingredient in edgy, new twists on classic cocktails, such as Henry Morgan’s Old Fashioned.

The look and feel of the bottle itself is vastly different from the brand’s best-selling Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum. Intricate details like a wrap-around label created from vintage parchment paper that is adorned with hand-drawn ingredients, as well as copper foil accents and a cork stopper give Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum an air of masculinity and sophistication. As the liquid leaves the bottle, images of Captain Henry Morgan’s casket and skeleton are revealed inside the bottle on the backside of the label.

The unique packaging offers a glimpse into the mysterious story behind Morgan’s death and burial in 1688 in Port Royal Harbour, Jamaica. Shortly after he was laid to rest, an earthquake rocked the shores of Jamaica, washing his casket out to sea, never to be seen again. Legend has it that his restless spirit lives on, sailing the Caribbean seas in search of his mortal remains—a legend that is embodied today in the new Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum.

“Captain Henry Morgan’s rich legacy and history are something we’ve always sought to bring to life through our offerings, but this is the first time we’re taking our inspiration from his mysterious side,” said Tom Herbst, Director of Marketing, Rums at Diageo. “Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum is a mature and carefully crafted spirit that is meant to be savored like a fine whiskey or enjoyed in a classic cocktail. We believe this bold, interesting and unexpected new offering has the potential to make Captain Morgan the preferred spirit among a segment of consumers we don’t currently reach with our existing portfolio.”

Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum is available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $21.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

Further bringing to life the intriguing and inspired world of Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum, the brand has partnered with FADER, the definitive voice of emerging music and the lifestyle that surrounds it, toencourage consumers to Step into the Black with exclusive parties across the country, featuring performances from notable up-and-coming music artists.

Additionally, a full marketing mix, including television, print and online advertising, as well as public relations, point of sale materials and a strong digital strategy will be implemented to launch Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum.

The new Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum commercials build upon the highly successful “To Life, Love and Loot” campaign, originally directed by Academy Award Winning Director Tom Hooper. The brand has partnered with critically-acclaimed writer and director Todd Field to produce three new spots to support the launch.

As consumers across the country discover this new and unforgettable liquid, Captain Morgan reminds you to raise your glass, always in moderation.

About Diageo

Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere, responsibly.


Sari Brecher Diageo 646.223.2019

Katie Zach Taylor 704.644.6914








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