Cocktail Wonk – Matt Pietrek


After leaving my thirty-year software career in 2018, I’ve devoted my time to the spirited world, i.e., distilled spirits and cocktails, primarily focused on rum and tiki/exotic libations.

My days are divided up between writing, historic research, educating, and consulting. My first book, co-written with my wife Carrie, is Minimalist Tiki: A Cocktail Wonk Look at Classic Libations and the Modern Tiki Vanguard. Most of my writing appears on my Cocktail Wonk site:, although I also do commissioned writing that fits my particular interests.

I’m particularly excited to bring more of rum’s long history to life, as well as my work in elevating rum’s perception, part of my role as the Community Envoy for the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA).

Cocktail Wonk Social Media:


Long Pond ITP-15

A historic first release of Long Pond rum under the distillery’s masthead, rather than from an independent bottler. While “ITP” is one of the distillery’s lighter marques, after 15 years in a barrel, this is a beautifully funky, yet balanced rum without overbearing petrol notes. I can’t wait to see what’s next from this new “original producer” brand.



Black Tot 50th Anniversary

I’ve devoted untold hours to research the history of Royal Navy rum; what it was and wasn’t. Thus, I make a particularly rigorous assessment of any release staking a claim to navy rum’s heritage. The 50th Anniversary release from Elixir Distillers is flavorful and complex. A bit more Jamaican funk than you’ll find in Black Tot Last Consignment, i.e., actual navy rum, but it works in this blend. Kudos as well for the high degree of label information regarding the source and relative percentages of each component rum.


El Dorado Single Still Port Mourant

Although technically released in late 2019, I’m counting this as a 2020 release. DDL’s Port Mourant still holds a special place in my rum-loving heart for several reasons, so, I was particularly excited that a 12-year Port Mourant was among El Dorado’s three Single Still releases. It drinks well within the signature Port Mourant profile I know and love. My only wish is a bump up in strength, but don’t we all wish for that for any rum not at already at cask strength?


While many long-time enthusiasts long for the “golden era” of rum in the late 19th and early 20th century, right now is truly the golden era for enthusiasts. Think back to the rums we had available just five years, and it clear that our choices are nearly an order of magnitude greater. It’s also heartening to see distilleries and brands taking big bets on rum’s future with new distilleries and substantial upgrades to existing iconic distilleries. As a writer and educator about rum-related topics, these are very exciting times, and I’m proud to be in the thick of it.

Leave a comment

get our latest news

Subscribe to Our