About Matt Pietrek aka The Rum Wonk

Matt Pietrek, aka Rum Wonk

Matt Pietrek is a rum educator, author, consultant, and historian who collaborates with many of the world’s best-known rum and spirit companies.

With his co-author, Carrie Smith, Matt wrote and published Modern Caribbean Rum: A Contemporary Reference to the Region’s Essential Spirit, an 850-page encyclopedia of Caribbean rum, covering rum production, the rum industry, and over 70 Caribbean rum producers.

Starting from an interest in tropical cocktails, Matt’s writing style has evolved into the intersection of spirits, science, and history. He excels at teasing apart complex and often overlooked subjects, making them accessible to both enthusiasts and industry professionals alike. His Cocktail Wonk website is among the most influential and respected references for rum enthusiasts over the last ten years. He is a four-time Spirited Award finalist in various writing categories. In 2018 he was part of Imbibe magazine’s annual list of 75 people, places, and ideas shaping the drinks world. 

Matt contributed entries to the Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails and has written for drinks industry publications such as PUNCH and Bourbon Plus. An avid researcher and collector of historic documents, Matt is also one of the world’s foremost experts on Royal Navy rum. Since 2019, he has been the Community Envoy for the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA), connecting rum enthusiasts and rum makers to help elevate the category.

In addition to Modern Caribbean Rum, Matt and his wife Carrie also wrote and published Minimalist Tiki: A Cocktail Wonk Look at Classic Libations and the Modern Tiki Vanguard, a finalist for Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book at the 2020 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.

In a previous life, Matt was a software architect for several high-profile companies, including Borland, NuMega and Microsoft, and he wrote three books on Windows systems engineering, and holds six software patents.

When he’s not touring a distillery or happily amid a pile of old documents in a dusty historic archive, he can be found on Substack, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @cocktailwonk and @rumwonk. He and Carrie live in New Orleans with their boxer dog, (Admiral) Nelson