Tips on how to enjoy a sipping rum. Pexels

Rum has come a long way over the last 500 years. 

For centuries, rum has had a bad rep and has long been branded the juvenile delinquent of spirits. Now, growing in popularity it is fast showing its appeal to sippers world-wide. 

Craft beer and artisan gin is still trendy but are there's a strong push towards the sweet nectar born from Cuba — its being rehabilitated, respected and seeing a revolution. Or as connoisseurs like to call it; a rum renaissance. 

Maelia Gellusseau, rum ambassador for Havana Club explains what to look for, how to drink it and what to pair it with. 

“Like wine grapes, the sugar cane growing climate has a knack for coaxing out rich flavours and fragrances and like wine, Cognac and Whisk(e)y, fine rum is aged in barrels,” she says. 

“Aged rum can be especially complex and can either be sipped (slowly) or used in cocktails where the aging process won’t be lost on the taste buds (A Cancha cocktail for example).” 

A rum cocktail the Canchanchara is a great drinks suggestion. Picture by Trevor Hart.

“To start off you need a great tasting premium rum,” she says. “Setting itself apart, Havana Club 7 Años is the original Cuban sipping rum and uses a unique aging process, this means part of each of the final batches of Havana 7 is put back in the barrel to age and to be used in a future production which creates a great complexity that makes this premium Cuban sipping rum a true exploration of flavours.” 

“Unlike whisk(e)y or Cognac, each rum producing region has different laws when it comes to aging, however, Cuban rum law states that the age of the bottle needs to reflect the youngest drop used in that blend,” she adds. “What this means is that the year displayed on the label is actually the minimum age of rum used for blending.” 

She explains that, “It takes more than 14 years to craft a bottle of Havana Club 7 Años and where some rums are made to be mixed this particular rum is made to be savoured and is best served neat, on ice or with a twist.”

“Choosing the right glassware is important – a snifter or tumbler works best,” she says. “You can apply most of the same tasting rules to rum as you would to Whisk(e)y or Cognac but here are some basic steps to get you started:” 

Look at its colour

  • Richer colour means a richer more intense flavor, so they are better suited to drink simply over ice.  

Savour the aroma

  • Take your time and enjoy the outstanding breadth of aromas with intense and complex notes of cocoa, vanilla, cedar, sweet tobacco and lush tropical fruits you will pick up.

Sip it slowly

  • If you choose Havana Club 7 Años, remember that it’s an exceptionally smooth rum, with a balanced yet complex palate so sipping it slowly will bring out the intense yet round and smooth finish.