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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food cuban rum bought in mexico?
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cuban rum bought in mexico?
Chief Lapu Lapu
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Dec 16, 2004
Posts: 40
From: The Room of the Gods, Maine
Posted: 2005-10-27 08:03 am   Permalink

I have never got a clear explanation of the law as it applies to Cuban products that are purchased outside of Cuba as in your case, Mexico. The last time I was in Quebec I brought back a bottle of Havana Club. At the border I was honest but not too specific. When asked I said that I had a couple of bottles of liquor and some chocolate. The customs agent opened the back of the minivan, looked around and closed it. The bottle was in plain view and he didn't say anything. Next time I'm going for two. I think if you limit yourself to a couple of bottles they won't say anything and if they do take it, you're not out that much.

Two things I would not do:
1. Ship it to yourself
2. Try to hide it

Although, decanting it into a legal rum bottle would probably work fine... But then you don't have the Havana Club bottle sitting up there on your bar.


 
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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2005-10-27 09:44 am   Permalink

I haven't read any legal wording on this issue, but it is my understanding that "officially" Cuban products are banned from the U.S. (at least for direct sales and commercial importation). However, I have had a few friends who have actually traveled to Cuba (during the Clinton administration, when travel restrictions were looser). They were legally able to bring back a small amount of Cuban Rum and cigars (can't remember how much, but it was very limiting on the number of cigars). The thing to remember is this rule of thumb:
You are legitimately purhcasing a legal product in the country you are visiting (Canada, Mexico, etc.) AND that legal product should have to follow U.S. customs laws for the country of purchase (excluding illegal drugs and weapons of course). Therefore, if you are legally allowd to bring back 1 2 bottles of booze from Mexico, the Cuban rum should count. As I stated in a previous thread on this subject, my wife and I go to Mexico and frequently bring back 2 bottles of Havan Club 7 year old rum. Not a single problem. Besides, customs officials are way to busy looking for narcotics and the like.


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2005-10-27 11:08 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-10-26 23:46, tikipedia wrote:
BTW, I think customs changed the rules, and you can now bring 1.5 liter of alcohol per adult aged 21 or over. So if you go with a significant other and you are both over 21, you can bring back 3 liters without paying extra.



The law in California has not changed. It is (from the State of CA web site):
Quote:
California adult residents returning from Mexico by motor vehicle or on foot may only bring in one liter of alcoholic beverages (the duty-free amount) for personal or household use.



The law varies for non-California citizens returning through California, or citizens of California returning through other states. For example, Californians returning through texas can bring up to 4 liters.

But just so nobody misundertands, these limits apply to legal puchases only. No cuban rum can be brought back legally into the US unless you have a government issued permit to travel to Cuba, in which case you may bring back up to $100 worth (in US dollars?) of Cuban rum or cigars or both.

The law was not more lenient under Clinton. Since 1982 the law bans Americans from spending money in Cuba and has not changed, so bringing back rum from Cuba is proof that you spent money there. However, under Bush the issuance of permits to travel there legally were restricted, so that many non-profits that traveled to Cuba to do volunteer work or scientific study with legal permits during the Clinton administration are unable to get permits now. And some people have said that customs have been searching luggage more frequently since Bush was "elected", which is probably a result of increased security after 9/11 more than any other reason.

I don't want to get into another discussion on whether the US law against American travel to Cuba is right or wrong, as it has been discussed to death here before, but I'm going to Cuba next year, legal or not!
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tikipedia
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 25, 2004
Posts: 490
From: San Diego
Posted: 2005-10-27 12:44 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-10-27 11:08, thejab wrote:
The law varies for non-California citizens returning through California, or citizens of California returning through other states. For example, Californians returning through texas can bring up to 4 liters.



I found the scoop on the U.S. Customs website:
Importing Duty Free Items.
U.S. Customs imposes no limit on the amount of alcohol you can bring in for personal use, but if you bring in more than 1 liter per adult, you will have to pay a tax. Also, on top of that restriction, each state may impose restrictions somebody is allowed to bring in.



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The Tikipedia
www.tikipedia.com


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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2005-10-28 09:04 am   Permalink

Jab,
I didn't say the law on customs was any different under Clinton, I said the travel restriction to Cuba were more lenientin terms of actually being allowed into the country. And it was. I remember the flap from Cuban-Americans being upset that the US was "lightening up" on the Castro gov.

But here is my other question/issue. I don't buy that brining back Cuban rum from Mexico is proof that you traveled to Cuba while in Mexico. It is still a legal purchase IN Mexico of a product that is legal IN Mexico. If I go to Canada and purchase Chinese silk, that does not prove that I traveled to China while in Canada.

[ This Message was edited by: Digitiki 2005-10-28 09:06 ]


 
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Rum Numb Davey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 17, 2005
Posts: 204
From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted: 2005-10-28 11:47 am   Permalink

Take it from me guys, I am a contraband expert in regards to Mexico.
IF you purchase any REAL Havana Club Rum in Mexico, and US Customs eyes it in your gear they will seize it. Period.
Hear is the rub. If you passed all the amnesty boxes and did not drop...if they ask you to declare..and you did not..then you're screwed. Not only will they take your product they will detain you just to screw with your head. They can cite and fine you. The real pain is from that point on, every time you hit a customs check point anywhere, you are "flagged" and you will always be searched.
Most customs officials know that the "Cuban" cigars you paid $15.00 US a stick for are nothing more than fa-key Mexicano Te-Amos with clever wrappers. I did find a legit Havana Dealer in Mexicali, and one in Juarez...Most are pure BS. Chances are you will get away with it..good luck.
I worry more about smuggling vintage Classified Growth Clarets down there to my restaurant owner buyers. If the Mexican Customs officials catch me usurping their tremendous incise tax on wine, I am in real CRIMINAL trouble.
_________________
Just finished a bottle of Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos, which was excellantly suited for many rum cocktails!


 
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glamourkitten
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 23, 2005
Posts: 27
From: Tikiland, CA
Posted: 2005-10-29 5:24 pm   Permalink

Every time I go to Montreal I buy a few pounds of Cuban coffee. Even though there are no laws about bringing Cuban items into the states from Mexico or Canada, I always put it in another coffee bag so there are no questions asked.
I found some great 'Cuban style' rum in Miami supposedly made by Cubans living in Florida. Pretty damn good!


 
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KaptainKuku
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 07, 2005
Posts: 19
From: Hollyweird
Posted: 2005-10-31 11:17 am   Permalink

Okay, I'm talking about people from California driving and/or walking into Tijuana and back here.

If you gotta have the cuban rum, after purchasing it in TJ, just decant the rum into a Bacardi bottle. Bring empty Bacardi bottles with you for this purpose. They don't search you when going from U.S. into Mexico. (Make sure the white cuban rum goes into the white Bacardi rum bottle, and vice versa.) No problem. The US Customs agents are NOT going to be able to tell the difference, and they're NOT going to bother "testing" your rum if you're bringing a few bottles in for personal use. They're looking for narcotics.

True, you won't be able to impress your friends with the cuban rum bottle sitting behind your home bar. But you can always tell your friends it's Cuban rum. As a matter fact, don't even bother going to Mexico, just serve your friends Bacardi and tell them that's illegal Cuban rum you poured into a Bacardi bottle in order to sneak it over the border. They'll think you're the next best thing to James Frickin' Bond.


 
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DrMiguelito
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 05, 2005
Posts: 57
From: San Diego
Posted: 2005-11-06 11:23 am   Permalink

I recently took a chance and purchased some bottles of Havana Club 7 Anos on eBay. I couldn't believe it was actually available there--part of me worried that it was some sort of elaborate sting operation, though the seller had pages full of positive feedback and appeared legit. After shipping it came out to around $35 per bottle--a little high, maybe, but I've paid as much for top-tier rums at BevMo so I figured the price was reasonable. The bottles arrived safe and sound a week later, sealed, with an official Cuban government sticker on each one. I broke one out for the Rocket from the Crypt show on Halloween night and, yes, it was the same nectar of the Gods that I'd enjoyed numerous times in Mexico. Mission accomplished.

I'm tempted to try it in a Mai Tai, but I don't know--the stuff is so good straight that putting it in a mixed drink seems to defeat the purpose. What do you all think?


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2005-11-06 1:12 pm   Permalink

Wow, I never thought of looking for Cuban rum on Ebay. Great find! I think it is worth the price even if the same bottle sells for half that in Mexico.

My opinion is that no rum is too good for a Mai Tai! It's fine to use good rum because a proper Mai Tai is all about letting the rum flavor come through by not overdoing the other ingredients. And you should make it with fresh lime and the best orange curacao and orgeat you can find.
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Kon-Hemsby
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 17, 2003
Posts: 1274
From: Andover, England
Posted: 2005-11-07 04:12 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-11-06 11:23, DrMiguelito wrote:
I recently took a chance and purchased some bottles of Havana Club 7 Anos on eBay. I'm tempted to try it in a Mai Tai, but I don't know--the stuff is so good straight that putting it in a mixed drink seems to defeat the purpose. What do you all think?




Havana Club 7 Anos and El Dorado 15 year together make fantastic Mai Tai's. Believe me, I've had a few.
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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3516
From: HELL
Posted: 2005-11-07 06:26 am   Permalink

save yourself the trouble...if you're local, stop by delilah's bar here in the city..they have plenty of cuban rums including some contraband items...it's very good and some it is quite a few years old....

 
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Digitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2005-11-09 12:53 pm   Permalink

Wow! I've driven down to Mexico several times and purchased Havana Club 7 Anos (very good!!!). I've always come across with it- no prob. The boarder agents ask if we are bringing anything back and I always say "yes a couplbe of bottles of liquor". To this day, they have never asked to see it. Half the time, they don't even ask if we are bringing anything back or not. Even walking across the boarder in San Diego/Tijuana region, never been stopped for having Cuban rum - ever! And I make no attempt to hide it either.

 
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Chief Lapu Lapu
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Dec 16, 2004
Posts: 40
From: The Room of the Gods, Maine
Posted: 2005-11-10 08:55 am   Permalink

I use the same technique as Digitiki but from Canada. Which I'm going to try again next month. Going to go for a couple of bottles this time. I'll let you know how I make out.

 
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hala bullhiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 26, 2002
Posts: 570
From: champaign,illinois
Posted: 2005-11-11 7:00 pm   Permalink

well, our trip got rescheduled for december, so looks like ill get to try some then, and yeah dave, i know mike at delilah's has the goods, but i was hoping to have some for the home bar....

 
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