A Manhattan cocktail Picture: Supplied

Rum is one of summer’s must have spirits but South Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to bringing out the best in rum.

South Africans love to add cola to their spirits because it’s the easiest option but it unfortunately kills the spirit because of its high sugar content.

Mike Tomasic is the Global Brand Ambassador for the House of Angostura and recently visited South Africa for the first time.

He has been in the industry for seventeen years, starting his hospitality career in 2000 as a bartender at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Double Bay, Sydney. 

During his six years at the Ritz-Carlton, Tomasic served the likes of presidents, royalty, rockers, celebrities and sports stars so he knows he’s cocktails.

Chatting about the slow uptake of rum cocktails in SA, Tomasic says: “Every region is different, London and New York are usually ahead of the curve.”

“Rum is a constant global trend and should always be behind every bar,” he adds.

Tomasic reminds cocktail lovers that rum is a not a neutral spirit (unlike gin and vodka) and that it pairs well with most citrus and fruity flavours.

“Local foraging is perfect for the rum movement. And in South Africa it would be great to see premium rums paired with local flora,” says Tomasic.