How do you eat a blue crab? Let's count the ways! Deep-fry or sauté for a soft-shell sandwich, broil or fry for a crab cake or steam with Old Bay seasoning. Crack open and pick for a Maryland feast.
From Native Americans to English settlers, the art of crabbing has been a staple along the Atlantic Coast. Chesapeake watermen have a long legacy of pioneering crabbing techniques that transcended into today's thriving seafood industry.
BEST REGION FOR THE SEASON
Although they're named Maryland blue crabs, many are caught in Virginia. They grow in the Chesapeake Bay's shallow marshlands during warm weather and hibernate in Virginia during winter. Best time for eating: late summer and early fall.
On average, blue crabs contain about 2 ounces of meat. It's an excellent source of protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B12, and it's low in fat.
FLORIDA STONE CRABS
Most crabs are served whole, but with stone crabs, it's all about the claw. The meat is sweet yet delicate, so you must master a technique with wooden mallets to crack them open. You can boil the claws, and many places serve them cold with a mustard dipping sauce.
Stone crabs are caught only for their claws, then returned to the water to regenerate new ones. Historically, they are cooked onboard or dockside for the freshest taste.
BEST REGION FOR THE SEASON
Florida's crabbing season runs from October to May. Stone crabs hide in dark places such as rock or shell crevices along the southern Atlantic Coast and Florida Keys.
In my quest for the best Caribbean Rum, I’ve sampled a few. From Appleton to Ron Zacapa rum, my tastebuds have celebrated the luscious flavors borne from fermenting sugarcane into smooth amber elixirs.
In the pursuit of rum perfection, I’ve noticed that a well-designed label can give clues about what awaits inside the bottle. Many simply present the distiller’s name and location where a rum derives its unique flavors. But it’s hard to resist the image of a crusty old captain, pirate ship or sassy sea wench when pouring a hefty splash into a tumbler.
Curious rum aficionados like myself are always eager to hear the back story behind the libation in our hand. Like a slice of pineapple or lime wedged upon the rim of a glass, the history of a rum’s journey from the Caribbean to our lips can make a cocktail taste even sweeter.
I recently stumbled upon the extraordinary tale that intertwines Jamaican rum, world- class musicians and James Bond. To fully appreciate this unique saga, follow my lead and shake up a GoldenEye Cocktail (see recipe below) to sip while the story unfolds.
THE SPY WHO LOVED JAMAICA
Our story begins in 1939, when a London journalist named Ian Fleming joined the British Navy Intelligence Service. His unit specialized in military espionage and covert plans to thwart German aggression in Europe and the Caribbean.
During World War II, Fleming was engaged in Operation GoldenEye, and in 1942 he was sent to investigate suspicions about Nazi submarines in the Caribbean. During this deployment, he became enamored with Jamaica and vowed to live there some day.
When the war was over, Fleming returned to Jamaica and bought 15 acres of plush land that was once used as a donkey racetrack. In 1945, he built a house not far from the banana port town of Oracabessa Bay, and the seaside property became Fleming’s tropical sanctuary where he could focus on writing and the discrete task of taking previously tight-held secrets into a public, fictional genre.
He named the estate GoldenEye as a tribute to his Navy service and began working on a book that evolved around the dashing spy and Special Agent 007, James Bond. This protagonist would emerge as the amalgamation of agents he’d met during his maritime service. As an avid birdwatcher, Fleming took the name for his lead character from American ornithologist James Bond, an expert on Caribbean birds, who wrote the definitive field guide, Birds of the West Indies.
Fleming’s first spy novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1952. This book and all 13 in the James Bond series were written in his bedroom at GoldenEye. Three of them — Dr. No, Live and Let Die, and The Man with the Golden Gun — take place in Jamaica.
STIR IT UP
Not only did the breezy island life at GoldenEye inspire Fleming’s novels, but so did his fetching neighbor, Blanche Blackwell. She was the muse who helped spark his creative drive. The Blackwell family had lived in Jamaica since 1625, exporting bananas and coconuts and crafting a distinctive brand of rum.
Blanche’s son Chris Blackwell grew up between England and Jamaica, and in his childhood spent a good amount of time with Fleming. In 1954, after Blackwell got booted from an elite British school for rebellious behavior, he came back to the island to get involved in the family rum business. Contrary to plan, he followed his instincts and made a career choice that would dramatically alter the global music scene.
For a while, he kicked around working as the aide-de-camp to the governor and as a waterskiing instructor. But after hearing the blind pianist Lance Heywood play at the Half Moon Resort, Blackwell recorded the musician, and in 1959 he launched a music studio called Island Records. In sync with his unconventional style, it became known for discovering and nurturing innovative performers who had been shrugged off or overlooked by bigger record labels.
Island Records introduced the world outside of the Caribbean to Bob Marley and the Wailers and Jamaican reggae music, showcasing island culture and universal struggles of indigenous people. It launched British bands such as Traffic, Bad Company, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Roxy Music, King Crimson and Fairport Convention. It also cultivated artists such as Cat Stevens, Brian Eno, Grace Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits and the Irish band, U2.
Throughout his success in the music industry, Blackwell remained in contact with Fleming and his projects. When the first Bond movie, Dr. No, was filmed in Jamaica in 1962, Blackwell was hired as a location scout and consulted on the soundtrack. Sir Sean Connery, whom Blackwell had met during the filming of Dr. No, remained a friend until his passing in 2020. Using a family recipe, Blackwell launched his boutique rum in 2008 that is distributed around the globe.
Live and Let Die was filmed in 1973 on the Blackwell Estate, which now includes The Fleming Villa. Scenes from the movie were shot near GoldenEye, Blackwell’s luxury hotel in Jamaica. The latest Bond flick, No Time to Die, returns to the exquisite Jamaican backdrop of GoldenEye, and the production team was treated to a supply of Blackwell Rum for inspiration while filming.
TO CELEBRATE 60 YEARS OF JAMES BOND, a special bottle of Blackwell Rum has been released, along with a new memoir by Chris Blackwell, The Islander: My Life in Music and Beyond. If you’re cruising around Jamaica this winter, cue up some Bob Marley tunes, open a bottle of Blackwell’s 007 Rum, and shake it (don’t stir) with pineapple juice and ice to create the GoldenEye Cocktail. And if you’re nestled in at home in a colder climate and dreaming about the Caribbean, we suggest watching a Bond flick and warming up with the Toasted Toddy.
-1 part Blackwell Rum
-1 part pineapple juice
-Lime or pineapple wedge
Shake together and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime or pineapple wedge
-3 parts Blackwell Rum
-2 teaspoons brown sugar
-1 1⁄2 parts fresh lemon juice
-6 parts boiling water
Add all ingredients to a mug, except for the water. Pour in the boiling water, Stir well to blend
If you can’t decide which cocktails to make for your holiday party, or simply need a little cheer to get you through the mayhem of family, friends and festivities, Marinalife has got you covered!
Check out our favorite seasonal cocktail recipes to help you reduce the stress and enjoy this holiday season all day long.
Christmas Morning Punch
A sweet treat to get your day started
Ingredients: 4 oz. raspberry vodka 2 cups orange juice 2 cups cranberry juice 1 cup pineapple juice 1 cup ginger ale
Instructions: Combine ingredients in a pitcher, stir and serve cold.
A zesty fun drink for any festive occasion
Ingredients: 2 oz. gold tequila ½ oz. orange liqueur 3 oz. cranberry juice 1 oz. pomegranate juice ½ oz. Key Lime juice 2 tsp. simple syrup
Instructions: For a salted rim, fill a small plate with simple syrup and swirl your glass rim in it, then dip into a plate of margarita salt and fill your glass with ice. In a separate cocktail shaker, fill with light ice and the ingredients. Shake and strain into your glass and garnish with a lime or orange.
A creamy delight to enjoy in your PJs when the kids go to bed
Ingredients: ½ cup light rum ½ cup Blue Curaçao liqueur ½ cup cream of coconut 1 cup pineapple juice
Instructions: For a coconut rim, fill a small plate with light corn syrup or simple syrup and swirl your glass rim in it, then dip into a plate of coconut flakes. Use a blender or fill a shaker with ice and ingredients and shake well for foamy results. Strain into glass and enjoy!
As the leaves fall and turn to brown, our palette changes from strawberry and watermelon summer flavors to more autumnal pumpkin and apple-flavored treats. Spiced rum is a perfect spirit to enjoy this season, so we chose Captain Morgan as the main ingredient for two cocktail variations. Whether you wrap up in a cozy blanket or entertain friends on your boat, you can drink like a ship captain with the following fall recipes.
The Captain Cider
1.5 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum 1.5 oz Cranberry juice 1.5 oz Hard apple cider
Fill a rocks glass with ice and combine all ingredients. Gently stir and garnish with a cranberry and apple slice.
Hot Captain Cider
2 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum 6 oz Fresh apple cider
Combine the rum and apple cider in a small pot and microwave or heat over a stove. Carefully pour drink into a mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.