Order a rum poolside this summer and you might just get a few raised eyebrows from those around you, but the spirit has had a new lease on life and is not to be under estimated.
My own recollections of rum was that it was only served to burly guys in dodgy bars who usually drank it with coke, and they drank it because they wanted an alcohol hit that’s off the charts.
Most rums do have a high alcohol content ranging in the 40 percentile, but in the trendy world of mixology, there’s a lot you can do with Jamaica’s finest brown gold.
Similar to gin, which was stereotyped as an “old ladies tipple” rum also has some cob webs to shake off in the minds of young drinkers.
Gin distillers shed the old skool reputation by almost piggy backing on the craft beer segment and creating some innovative gins.
In SA we now have Rooibos Gin as well as Fynbos infused gin which is our local take on the trend and the botanical flavours that gin makers were infusing into the spirit.
I doubt that rum will go the same route, but it does have a solid foundation in SA and just needs to be better marketed behind the bar.
Without a doubt rum is going to be a more accessible spirit this summer because already in the Southern Hemisphere it’s been gaining momentum.
The cuban effect is also quite evident and the people behind Havana Club have pointed this out.
Cuba is synonymous with its sought-after cigars, but premium rum is an equally exceptional export.
In Cuba, the craft of making delicious rum has been around for centuries. The region’s terroir and tropical climate creates the perfect conditions for Maestros del Ron Cubano (Cuban Rum Masters) to craft the finest rum.
In SA the Havana Club range includes Havana Club 3, a white rum; Havana Club Especial and Havana Club 7, both dark rums so there are more than enough flavours to experiment with at the cocktail bar.
Black Barrel is the latest addition to the Mount Gay family and definitely worth a try.
From Master Blender Allen Smith, Black Barrel is a small batch, handcrafted blend made of matured double pot distillates and aged column distillates.
When brought to the nose, Mount Gay rum releases complex notes of spice, toasted wood, followed by dried fruits. When brought to the lips, you get bold spice balanced with oaky vanilla and sweet caramel.
Sippin rum is also on the uptake, try your rum neat, no ice and enjoy the flavour profiles because they are distinct in premium rums and quite enjoyable.
Like anything else, drinks trends are unpredictable and seasonal, but rum deserves a fair chance at the bar, so make sure you order at least one rum drink this summer and try to hold off on the cola. Sip and enjoy.