Marigot Bay Bar & Café to Launch Rum Inventory on National Rum Day

Marigot Bay_Bottles_Low Res-13

New Caribbean inspired venue within King’s Court of Altrincham, South Manchester is celebrating the launch of its Rum Inventory to coincide with National Rum Day, this coming Thursday 16th August.

Owner of Marigot Bay Bar & Café, Dave Marsland, has put together an extensive list of 90 Rum, Rhum and Ron gathered from across the Caribbean islands, including some rare bottlings, with some now becoming discontinued.

To celebrate the launch of the Rum Inventory and National Rum Day, each tot of rum named within the inventory will be available with 10% off!

Highlights include the new range of Admiral Rodney of St Lucia, HMS Royal Oak, HMS Formidable and HMS Princessa, to go alongside the soon-to-arrive Bounty range and current favourite Chairman’s Reserve. To cap off the rums found in the original Marigot Bay of St Lucia, the rare 1931 bottlings can also be found on the list including the 4th, 5th and 6th editions.

Barbados gets in on the action with two releases from Foursquare distillery in Premise and Dominus, plus Santiago de Cuba’s Blanca and Añejo and the now discontinued Havana Club Añejo Reserva, all three hailing from Cuba.

Other discontinued highlights include the Dominican Republic’s Atlantico Private Cask and the original line-up from the Elements Eight range of St Lucia.

Rare bottlings include Appleton Estate’s Joy Anniversary Blend 25 Year, the rum that celebrates Master Blender Joy Spence and her achievements within the iconic Jamaican brand, plus local bottler Chorlton Whisky and his Travellers Rum bottling, one of only 36 available in the world.

An added addition to the list is an Irish Whiskey. The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Caribbean Cask Finish, a super-premium whiskey, is a rare vatting of Single Pot Still and Single Malt whiskeys finished for 6 months in Chairman’s Reserve rum casks. Sourced directly from the Walsh Whiskey distillery in Ireland, it’s not available in the UK, but can be enjoyed at Marigot Bay Bar & Café!

Opening Hours;
Wednesday-Friday from 5pm to late and from 12noon to late on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Marigot Bay Bar & Café, 6 King’s Court, Railway Street, Altrincham, WA14 2RD


New Caribbean Inspired Bar and Café to Open in South Manchester

Marigot Bay Bar & Cafe Logo#BeInspired

A new Caribbean inspired venue is to open within King’s Court of Altrincham, South Manchester on July 20th, 2018.

Dave Marsland of Drinks Enthusiast Ltd has chosen the attractive leisure and office complex of King’s Court and its secluded courtyard off one of the main streets of the Cheshire town as the home of his first bar and café. Marigot Bay Bar & Café, named after Marigot Bay of St Lucia in the Caribbean, is the creation of several years of inspiration and experiences, finally coming together to offer South Manchester a bar and café that takes you through the many tropical islands via chilled island beers, tropical cocktails and some of the finest Caribbean coffee and cocoa available.

With the walls adorned with memorabilia picked up from Dave’s travels to the Caribbean, including Marigot Bay itself, Marigot Bay Bar & Café re-creates the tranquil, relaxing experience of the bay, located on the western coast of Saint Lucia and surrounded on three sides by steep, forested hills with the inland portion of the bay forming a hurricane hole used to shelter boats from hurricanes. It’s here that it’s famous for its calming waters and palm tree lined beaches that offer a quiet escape from the hustle of city life. It’s this that Dave has re-created, meaning low ambient and traditional Caribbean radio, a focus on traditional drink serves and attentive table service.

Marigot Bay Bar & Café has a capacity of 30 seating, with a first-come-first-serve policy during its hours of operation. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, Marigot Bay Bar & Café focuses on Caribbean origins, including a selection of beers such as Banks of Barbados and Carib of Trinidad and Tobago, coffee sourced from the famous Blue Mountain region of Jamaica and a selection of rum and rhums from across the Caribbean islands, including Chairman’s Reserve of St Lucia, Foursquare of Barbados, Appleton Estate of Jamaica, Havana Club of Cuba and Rhum Clément of Martinique.

Chairman's Reserve

There’s also a focus on the traditional rum serves found on the islands themselves, including the Pusser’s Painkiller, known as the “Official Cocktail of the British Virgin Islands”, Havana Club’s original Cuban Mojito and Gosling’s Black Seal, the tempest in Bermuda’s favourite cocktail the Dark ‘n Stormy. The menu is coupled with a selection of non-rum favourites that can be found on the bars across the Caribbean too, as well as mixers such as fresh coconut water and Ting, the sparkling Jamaican grapefruit juice.

Marigot Bay itself is a historic landmark, having been the site of several battles between the French and British navies, meaning a great opportunity to focus on some of the islands favourite rums that honour the naval history of St Lucia. Expressions from the recent released Admiral Rodney range will be available to experience in special guided tutorials that focus on the aromas and flavour perception of each.

With tribute to Meimi Sanchez, Global Brand Ambassador for Havana Club and her sensory masterclass technique, Marigot Bay Bar & Café has ruled out the usual live music element seen in most venues, instead opting for low-level background music from traditional Caribbean radio stations, producing a calmer experience for all customers and releasing optimum emotions when enjoying a tipple of choice.

Dave himself has over a decade of experience within the drinks industry, creating brand agency Drinks Enthusiast in 2011, Manchester Rum Festival in 2017, Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress in 2017, co-owner of spirits retail business Riddles Emporium in Altrincham and a national social media and publication presence as a drinks journalist.

Opening Hours;
Wednesday-Friday from 5pm to late and from 12noon to late on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Marigot Bay Bar & Café, 6 King’s Court, Railway Street, Altrincham, WA14 2RD



Rum Bar Gold

To most, Jamaica is seen as one of more recognisable islands of the Caribbean. Whether it’s through your own visits or becoming inspired by the images and videos on social media, the country is rich in culture with the expected tipple of choice being a driving force for many to enjoy when visiting.

A distillery tour is a must when visiting any Caribbean island, especially if originating from Europe or America. The styles of the equipment used to the liquid it produces, it’s a stark contrast of finished product to the selection of home, and it adds to intrigue and buzz when a tour operator has a distillery option to their many packages available.

Saying that, you do only get to enjoy a handful.

A handful in that not all distilleries are open to the public, or indeed able to function with a tour opportunity. You will see and experience perhaps some of the biggest names on the island, Jamaica included with Appleton Estate and Hampden Estate, but you do miss out on many expressions that the islands can offer. It’s understandable that if you visit a distillery and walk away with new-found knowledge and a love for a new bottle, you’ll seek it out in your hotel, the areas local bar or indeed your favourite rum bar once back home. But with the UK especially, there’s so much rum to experience these days that you can easily overlook those ‘other’ distilleries when visiting its home country.

It’s with this that my focus here is on a fellow Jamaican distillery that can be easily overlooked due to its lack of a tour opportunity. Lets take a look at Rum-Bar from Worthy Park Estate.


Worthy Park Estate itself can be found within St. Catherine, itself a part of the Vale of Lluidas (or more commonly known as Lluidas Vale), 1,200 feet above sea level and with approximately 10,000 acres of vibrant foliage just 40 miles north-west of Kingston and 28 miles south from the tourist centre of Ocho Rios. The Estate has been a part of the landscape since 1670 when it was gifted to Lt. Francis Price for his services to Oliver Cromwell during the English capture of the island from the Spanish in 1655. Ever since it has slowly expanded to how you see it today.

The production of cane and sugar began in 1720, continuing to this day under the Clarke family, who themselves took over in 1918 from the previous family and becoming one of only 3 families to ever own the Estate. Despite having 10,000 acres of land, approximately 40% of it is currently used for sugar cultivation (where around 20 cane varieties are grown), with the rest for a handful of livestock and other crop production.

January to the end of June is the traditional sugar season, although due to the nature of the 24 hour operation, July to December is perfect to service the equipment within the sugar factory so consistency over the years can be maintained. The sugar cane itself is predominantly harvested by hand for efficiency and to maximise yield, although 20 years ago it was decided to also use cane harvesters to assist in the daily supply needed, resulting in Worthy Park Estate being rated number one on the island since 1968.

Each year, approximately 210,000 tonnes of cane is milled, with 90,000 tonnes of that coming from the Worthy Park Estate itself. The rest is supplemented by purchases from local farmers. It makes sense then that Worthy Park Estate produces all the molasses needed for its rum production, with between 7,000 – 8,000 tonnes per year produced.

Worthy Park Estate’s rum history has been sporadic since the 1740’s, with production in halted by the Spirits Pool Association of Jamaica in 1962 due to an over-supply of Jamaican rum following World War 2. With no rum activity for decades, and with times and attitude to rum changing, 2004 saw the Clarke family deciding to relaunch and in 2005 their new distillery opened, with 2007 seeing the flagship brand Rum-Bar Rum launched.

There’s currently four Rum-Bar expressions available to the market; the traditional Jamaican styled Rum-Bar Rum, a white overproof rum that is a blend of three un-aged rums, all distilled within their copper pot still, Rum-Bar Silver which is a a white, un-aged 40% abv rum, and their Rum-Bar Gold which is barrel aged (Jack Daniel’s) for a minimum of 4 years. Rum-Bar Rum Cream came to be the 3rd expression released, combining Rum-Bar Rum with real cream.

So with this, below I give to you my tasting notes on my Worthy Park Estate journey so far –

Rum-Bar Gold – 40%

Ripe green apple notes come through on the nose, with honey, vanilla and fudge infused molasses ever-present. Plenty of banana flavours come through on the palate, with hints of cedar from the oak, toffee and lingering treacle finish.

A cracking Jamaican tipple here, one that can easily be sipped over ice. Saying that, it wouldn’t go a miss in one of these –

Cane Planter’s Punch

Ingredients – 

90ml Rum-Bar Gold
30ml Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
30ml Simple Syrup
3 dash Angostura Bitters
Fill with Coconut Water

Method – 

Combine all ingredients in a tall glass and fill with crushed ice. Swizzle and garnish.

A very tasty look at the ‘other’ Jamaican rums that you can come across both on the island itself, as well as within many venues across the UK. I’m looking forward to heading over myself this year, and although there’s no distillery tour, that doesn’t mean I’ll be ignoring it in the local bars! One for your drinks cabinet for sure.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



“Many are the ships wrecked due to Neptune’s wrath. Drink to his better nature and pray that his storms are stilled”.

I do love a good marketing slogan! They capture the brand in one or two sentences, and with the above coming from Neptune rum, you don’t half expect something to blow you away! With this, Neptune has arrived to the UK shores like a breath of fresh air, offering up a rum that is distilled and aged at the renowned Foursquare Rum Distillery within the former 17th century sugarcane plantation in Barbados.

Launched after the first bottle run in May 2017, Richard Davies has created a liquid that mixes both pot and column still variations before being aged within American bourbon oak barrels for a full 3 years. Neptune is then transported to the UK at 63% abv before soft water added to reduce its strength down to 40% abv and caramel to enhance the colour before bottling.

It’s already picking up some fanfare in the awards world, winning Silver in both the Spirits Masters in 2017 and New York World Wine and Spirits, plus picking up a Gold Medal at the China Wine and Spirits Awards earlier in the year.

Question is though, how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Neptune – 40%

A light, tangy note of fresh banana, vanilla and subtle citrus. A soft kick of caramel comes through to the palate, followed by  ripe green fruits, scented orange oils and a fresh lick of molasses. A long, thin finish that makes you grab the bottle for another.

A great Barbadian rum on its own, but how about a variation on the Manhattan for a twist on your rum experience?

cocktails-1Neptune’s Due

Glass –


Ingredients –

60 ml Neptune Rum
15 ml Sweet Vermouth
2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Maraschino Cherry

Method –

Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

One for the rum collection for sure, versatile and you’ll be in love with the story and label. ‘Drink it on a boat’ sort of rum!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Swedish Victory In The Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Challenge 2017


The last two weeks has seen me embrace my favourite rum brand more than ever with a trip to St Lucia for the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season. Hosted at Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, the 5* venue became the hub for a host of international and island based bartenders for several days, welcoming with a Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Ice Tea upon arrival and offering the relaxed and chilled vibes St Lucia is famous for.

The aim of the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season is to culminate in a combined final of winning efforts from across the world from the last year, paired with St Lucian counterparts to crown the ultimate Mai Tai team and recipe. Representatives include the United Kingdom, USA, Spain, France, Portugal and Sweden, who each won their respective national heats to earn their way to the final.

After being inspired by a tour of St Lucia Distillers within the Roseau Valley, spiced rum talks from local producers, and an insightful chat on all things tiki by the renowned bartender and owner of Spirit of Tiki, Georgi Radev, culminating in the paired teams having the opportunity to experience the Castries Market in the capital city and pick up some local and home-produced ingredients and vessels, ready for the evenings finale.

Mai Tai

With 5 judges, including myself and Alva Preville (Taste of the Caribbean winning bartender in 2010 amongst his host of accolades), each paired team had to create a twist on the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai, using their inspiration from their trip so far, whilst also showing off teamwork and producing to us all a display that would be worthy of the top prize!

With magic tricks and crowd chants for showmanship, it all accompanied serves such as the ‘Sop It To Me Baby’ by 3rd place winners Anthony Guaetta (Twin River Casino, USA) and Daniel Francois (Capella, St Lucia) that saw Chairman’s Reserve Spiced mixed with the 6th edition of 1931 rum, a homemade spiced liqueur and Key Lime juice. Second place had the ‘Chairman’s Spiced Intellect’ presented by Andrew Turner (Milk Bar, UK) and Ron Hillar (Capella, St Lucia). They shook up a blend of their homemade spiced syrup, Chairman’s Reserve Forgotten Cask, lime juice, pineapple juice, Angostura bitters and a dash of Chairman’s Reserve Spiced, complete with a pineapple, ginger and rosemary garnish.


The winning drink though? It was the ‘Helen of Tiki’ by Sharam Mohebbi of OGBG Bar & Restaurant in Sweden and his St Lucian counterpart Stephen Peter. Mixing Chairman’s Reserve Original and Chairman’s Reserve Spiced with Caribbean sherbet, ginger spice and passion fruit plus freshly squeezed lime, it won the judges plaudits! Earning them a cash prize, trophies and a trip for Sharam back to St Lucia, and Stephen to Sweden, plus local television coverage, it’s meant a truly well-deserved effort from both the winning team and all participants in placing them on the map when it comes to the Mai Tai cocktail!

Look out for the 2018 Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season as more countries become involved with the challenge, as well as plenty of opportunities to experience a variety of Mai Tai twists, or indeed you can create Sharam’s and Stephen’s today!

Winning Cocktail
‘Culture Paradise’

40ml Chairman’s Reserve Original

30ml Chairman’s Reserve Spiced
30ml Caribbean Sherbet
20ml Ginger spice & passionfruit
20ml Freshly squeezed lime

Shaken over ice and served within a bowl or goblet. 

For more information on St Lucia, visit here.
Learn more about Chairman’s Reserve by visiting here.
To experience Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, visit here.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Guest Look At . . . . Turtle Bay


A look at the new Turtle Bay opening in Manchester, by guest writer Carmen Chapell Elkin. 

On Thursday 29th of June, Turtle Bay Manchester opened its doors for a Caribbean night to remember. The restaurant chain, which has branches all across the country, specialises in providing an exotic setting with delicious, spicy Caribbean flavours. The party was certainly in full swing when we arrived: guests were dancing, lights were low and, most importantly, a fabulous live band was playing from the balcony. While blasting out some of the most loved Caribbean songs, the band was great at keeping the atmosphere incredibly upbeat and getting the crowd totally involved. Turtle Bay had invited approximately 1000 guests to preview the restaurant before it officially opened to the public the following evening. When the restaurant is running normally, it sits 150 guests at any one time.

The restaurant’s unusual and well thought out décor – across two floors – really does emulate a Caribbean laid-back vibe; plenty of dark wood surfaces, metal boxes incasing old glass bottles, a neon sign with ‘flying fish and sky juice’… their promise of ‘transporting you to the Caribbean without a plane ticket’ is not all that unfounded. The authenticity is further confirmed through their drinks list: Ting, Red Stripe, Wray & Nephews Overproof white rum and Mount Gay dark rum. Often as a guest it is important to feel you can devour not only the best jerk chicken in the city but also the best Caribbean liquor.

Onto the prime reason for visiting… the food. I should first mention that, as we were enjoying the VIP party, we ate many nibbles but didn’t sit down to a proper meal there. Therefore, I cannot comment on the presentation, the portion sizes or the assembly of the dishes. I can, however, discuss the tit bits that conveniently came our way every thirty seconds, just in time for our next mouthful. The Jerk Pit Ribs were incredibly succulent, meaty and spicy. The mini Pulled Jerk Pork buns were also bursting with different flavours: tender jerk pork, rocket, fresh butternut squash, mango and even coconut. Another definite favourite were heaped spoonfuls of browned slow braised chicken on the bone with rice and peas. We were less impressed with the Jerk Pit Prawns in herb, chilli and garlic butter, and the curried goat was also forgettable. Notice that, apart from sweet potato and plantain, we came across no vegetarian options. After scouring the website’s menu, this seems to be quite representative of the limited non-meat or -fish options. No desserts were offered apart from slices of refreshing watermelon.

In any chain restaurant, there is the risk of having impersonal staff. Not true of Turtle Bay. Young, enthusiastic staff dressed in an easily identifiable red uniform – not identical, just all in red – greet you with a grin and really seem happy to chat to you. The gorgeous hosts at the door received us with larger-than-life smiles and an informal handshake, directing us towards the bar and the food dotted around.

Despite weaving enormous trays through the throng of guests, all the staff appeared upbeat and fully embraced the party mood – most, in fact, were dancing the trays through the crowd. Another feature – if this was the initiative of the couple of people I spoke to great, or if it was a suggestion of the management, even better – all staff introduce themselves as soon as they approach. Such was the case with a friendly, knowledgeable Dan who immediately acquainted himself with us, and informed us in a very friendly way that Turtle Bay was “the same price as Nando’s” and of their great cocktail offers. It is undoubtedly a skill to balance selling your product and making your audience feel entirely at ease with you, something Dan did effortlessly. He made me feel like he was a friend recommending a new place, rather than the employee of said establishment. Throughout the evening, I felt without exception the staff – chefs, hosts, waiters, bar staff – had perfected their approach to the public.

It would be hard to pinpoint the best part of our evening at Turtle Bay. It is a close call between the staff’s expert manner, deliciously flavoursome food, original décor and sincere, upbeat party atmosphere. As mentioned already, vegetarians would struggle at this restaurant. It would definitely be worth returning on a normal night to experience a regular meal with the restaurant. I am intrigued to see how the ambience would change: what a full meal looks and tastes like, whether the live band would still perform and, of course… sample dessert.

RedLeg Tasting Notes


Everyone loves trying a new product, and I’m no exception. I’m not fussy or picky to what I try, and I’ll always keep an open mind to a brand that offers unusual ingredients, but one that has stood out recently is a new Caribbean spiced rum named RedLeg.

Launched in the summer of last year in Brighton, RedLeg has set its sight as being the number one premium spiced rum brand available. Becoming involved in events such as the Kemptown Carnival and Pride in Brighton, Playgroup Festival and Crystal Palace outdoor festival in London has meant that many of you may have already had a try of this award-winning brand.

Yes award-winning already! Less than a year old and RedLeg has already won Double Gold at the San Francisco spirit awards this year.

As you can imagine, this has caught the eye worldwide and RedLeg will be available as far away as Australia very soon. Of course the liquid would have swayed them to spread the word, but the bottle itself catches the eye. RedLeg incorporates the motif of the RedLeg Hermit Crab which is native to the Caribbean. Famed for its bright legs, it’s said to ‘capture the spirit of Island culture being laid back with an “Irie” attitude. The RedLeg Hermit Crab is always at home, no matter where he is!’. 

RedLeg itself is infused with Jamaican vanilla, ginger and spices and then left to rest in old oak barrels. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

RedLeg – 37.5%

Soft ginger on the nose with hints of spice and toffee. Developing sweetness mixes with dry spice, cinnamon seemingly ever present. A light finish with lingering spices that freshens.

A great tot to enjoy neat or over ice, or maybe with one of these –

Apple Shack

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

25 ml RedLeg rum
25 ml Apple Juice
Dash Cinnamon sugar syrup
Splash of Ginger Beer
Lime wedge

Method – 

Build into an ice filled glass, finishing with the splash of ginger beer.

Simple and refreshing! Even though it’s a baby in the spiced rum category, it’s widely available in and around Brighton, London, the Midlands and Scotland. Of course you may want to grab yourself a bottle quickly, your drinks cabinet is looking a bit empty.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mount Gay

Mount Gay

Every great story begins with a time and a place. One such story involves a brand that is familiar to most, Mount Gay.

Created on the Caribbean island of Barbados, the land that back in 1703 called rum ‘kill-devil’, a gentleman named Sir John Gay, a respected leader and businessman who worked tirelessly in service on the island, was requested by friend John Sober to help manage an unknown distillery he had inherited. Sir John Gay took quickly to the business of making rum. He refined the distillation process and began producing what we know today as Mount Gay Rum. With this, Mount Gay Rum is the oldest existing brand of rum in the world.

So how did Sir John Gay create Mount Gay?

Using hand cut Barbadian sugar cane, the cane is mixed with coral filtered water and a proprietary strain of yeast to ferment in the open air of Barbados. Once fermented, the mix is then distilled within traditional double copper pot stills which is then matured in charred white oak barrels which have previously held American whiskey. After ageing, it is then blended by Master Blender Allen Smith to create the Mount Gay range.

So how does the range fare? Well I’ve been lucky enough to try some of their portfolio so below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Mount Gay Eclipse – 40%

Named for the ‘double phenomenon’ of a total solar eclipse and the passage of Halley’s comet in 1910. Light, butter scent on the nose with a floral edge of vanilla striking through. A little sharp on the palate with heavy fruit flavours and banana dominating. Kicks of wood and vanilla cause it to linger for a while.

Mount Gay Black Barrel – 43%

Released in the UK in May 2014, but the US in April 2013. The only Mount Gay rum finished in charred bourbon oak barrels after blending. Black Barrel is made from sugar cane molasses, within column and pot still rums, and has a higher proportion of pot still than any of the other Mount Gay expressions.
Sublte, smooth notes of vanila on the nose,with a slightly charred aroma of treacle and toffee. Soft, buttery and slight kicks of pepper on the palate. Light cinnamon seems to dominate the finish, with thin textures of vanilla and toffee creating a long experience.

Two fantastic rums, with the Eclipse pairing well with one of these –

Rum Runner 

Glass –


Ingredients – 

30 ml Mount Gay Eclipse
10 ml Blackberry Liqueur
10 ml Creme de Banana Liqueur
60 ml Orange Juice
15 ml Grenadine
Crushed ice

Method – 

Pour ingredients and crushed ice in a blender. Blend until slushy and pour into hurricane glass.

A great rum, with expressions including Silver, Extra Old and 1703 also available, it’s a collection worth having. One to look out for in many tiki and rum shack’s in your local city too. Or make it a handy bottle to have within your drinks cabinet. The Black Barrel is an expression worth trying, and reminds me a little of another category taking advantage of the ‘black barrel’.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cockspur Rum Tasting Notes


If you look into a brand you expect to see the usual kind of story. A process of distillation is involved which to put simply means separates the good stuff from the bad stuff. Does it ever cross your mind though to think who started all this? Especially when it comes to the distillation of rum and more importantly, the mass production of rum? Cockspur is your answer.

A brand that most have probably heard of and indeed come across in your local bar and it does frequent for a reason. Before we come onto that though, lets see how it all came about.

Cockspur rum can trace itself back to 1884 when the Danish seaman Valdemar Hanschell settled in Barbados. He created his own rum and used Barbados’ shipping port to help the Cockspur become one of the best-selling rums from Barbados. Valdemar Hanschell can only be credited for masterminding it all though – the crafting of the rum came from the Stade Brothers. The brothers shared the same vision as Valdemar Hanschell which culminated in a rum that was free from impurites. A revolutionary end-product to the other brands around at the time.

During this time, the Stade Brothers established the West Indies Rum Distillery which houses the production of Cockspur rum (now also Malibu, Gilbeys and Popov) which is located on Brighton Beach, north of Bridgetown, next to a pure coral filtered water aquifer. The addition of the first ever continuous column still alongside their copper pot-stills in Barbados rum production meant that they could produce a consistent profile. This consistency also includes using the coral-filtered water as well as being aged in used American white oak barrels under the Caribbean sun and the ocean breezes.

So the rum itself, how does it fare? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

Cockspur Fine Rum – 37.5%

Quite light on the nose with a slight sherry that sweetens. A smooth start on the palate that develops into a spicy pepper offering. Causes a fresh feeling that lingers but dries out.

Cockspur Spiced – 22%

Very light with a slight spice lingering around a sweet butter and toffee aroma. Incredibly smooth on the palate, with an almost velvet layer of butter masking a slowly developed spice.

Not a bad pairing showcased by Cockspur with the fine rum going down well on the rocks. Although some of these cocktails look rather tempting –

Cockspur - CreamsicleCockspur Creamsicle

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

50ml Cockspur Fine Rum
50ml Coconut cream
100ml Pineapple juice
50ml Grenadine

Method –

Shake all the ingredients and serve over ice. Garnish with a pineapple slice and cherry.

Cockspur Applejack

Glass –


Ingredients –

50ml Cockspur Fine Rum
Apple juice

Method – 

Shake the ingredients together and pour into a glass-filled tumbler. Garnish wish a slice of apple and grated cinnamon.

Simple recipes are sometimes the best! Especially when you can assure yourself that Cockspur is also an award-winning brand including a Double Gold medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Easily available, easily enjoyable. Give it a go.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Virgin Gorda Tasting Notes

virgin gorda

What do you think of if I said the word blended? Whisky maybe? How about rum? You might ponder at this one, rum production isn’t as widely known compared to whisky so you could easily say yes to this without realising. Virgin Gorda is one of the first mainstream rums to be blended from three different islands – Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica, and is said to explore the most sensual side of the Caribbean.

Virgin Gorda is categorised as a golden rum, produced by distilling fermented sugar cane in the traditional pot still method, then spending an average age of seven years in old, American oak Bourbon barrels. Within these barrels includes 20% of 8yr rum. A factor taken with pride that sets Virgin Gorda from others is the 100% natural state – no colour, flavour or aroma additives are used and instead seek out the essences of Trinidad freshness and vanilla, Jamaican body of molasses and a woody aged characteristic from Barbados.

Virgin Gorda is a tribute to the explorers of all time, in particular Christopher Columbus. During his second voyage to Americas in 1493, he became amazed with the beauty of the third largest island in The Virgin Islands, promptly naming it ‘Virgen Gorda’. Todays spelling comes after The Virgin Islands came under British rule.

So with a slightly patriotic edge to this rum, how does it fare?

Virgin Gorda – 40%

Intense vanilla and toffee dominate the nose with a freshness flowing through. A long offering of toffee warms the palate up with vanilla following to a sweet end.

With three Caribbean islands represented, it’s only apt that you should try the following –

Virgin Caribbean Heat

Glass –


Ingredients –

60ml Virgin Gorda
30ml Amaretto
Cranberry Juice
Maraschino Cherries
Orange Slice

Method –

Shake the Virgin Gorda and Amaretto in a ice-filled cocktail shaker, pour into a rocks glass with ice and fill with cranberry juice. Garnish with Maraschino cherries and a slice of orange.

Could it become any more refreshing? Virgin Gorda will be a highlight in any night, and is becoming increasingly popular for both bartenders and consumers. Don’t be surprised if you happen to see this blended rum on many a bar – it’s some damn fine Caribbean stuff.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.