Rum-Bar

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

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.

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Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum Unveils To UK Drinkers Reserve Blend, Featuring Rare Reserve Stocks

Appleton Estate Reserve Blend

Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum have announced the UK launch of Appleton Estate Reserve Blend, which is part of its range of award-winning premium aged rums, all of which are produced from ‘cane to cocktail’ on the Appleton Estate in the lush Nassau Valley in Jamaica. Appleton Estate is Jamaica’s oldest distillery and has been crafting rum for over 265 years.

Rich with oak, nutmeg and smoky spices, Appleton Estate Reserve Blend is a premium blend of 20 select aged rums, featuring two very rare reserve stocks. These rare and special rums give Appleton Estate Reserve Blend its delicious complexity and add to the full-bodied, smooth and delicately-balanced spice and nutty notes, which are followed by oaky honey, subtle vanilla, a hint of hazelnut and a bouquet that is reminiscent of a spicy fruit cake. This exceptional rum provides a balanced yet lingering finish with echoes of wood.

Perfect for sipping or transforming ordinary drinks into extraordinary cocktails, Appleton Estate Reserve Blend joins the core range of aromatic, approachable and complex Appleton Estate rums available in the UK, which also comprises Appleton Estate Signature Blend and Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old.

The richness and complexity of all three rums stem from the fact that they are all blends of several different types of pot and column still rums of various ages. They are all blended by world’s first female Master Blender, Joy Spence.

All reflect the one-of-a-kind taste created by the ingredients, environment and practices unique to the Appleton Estate and its terroir. With a long and revered legacy of rum-making since 1749, Appleton Estate rums are made from sugarcane grown in the valley, using water tapped from the limestone-surrounded spring and distilled at the estate.

The introduction of Appleton Estate Reserve Blend follows a refreshed packaging design which whilst retaining the iconic bottle, now includes the signature of Master Blender Joy Spence on the cap to reinforce Appleton Estate’s crafted approach to producing rum.

Nick Williamson, Marketing Director, Campari UK: “Appleton Estate is the most comprehensive premium golden rum portfolio on the market. From our Signature Blend to our Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum, our range spans the spectrum from sumptuous cocktail to luxurious sipping rums, and is one of a few rums to remain true to its roots and authentic, Jamaican full-bodied flavor.

“The new packaging and use of the word ‘blend’ in our range names allows us to celebrate blending as a key factor in premium rum’s rich and complex flavours and at the same time provides consumers with an easy way to navigate the range.”

Appleton Estate Reserve Blend has a similar taste profile to Appleton Estate 8 Year Old, which it replaces in the range. It is a combination of several rums of different styles and ages and does not have an age statement.

Although the packaging changes for Appleton Estate Signature Blend and Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old, the award-winning liquid inside the bottle remains the same. There is no change to the names, packaging or liquid for luxury brands, Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum or Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum.

The Koko Kanu Miami Vice Champions Are Crowned

Koko Kanu

Premium Jamaican Coconut Rum Koko Kanu has announced Keivan Nemati and Maxwell Whitney from Zetter Townhouse Bar in London as the winners of its first ever ‘Kan-u-Kolada Your Miami Vice?’ cocktail competition.

The final, which took place on the 11th May at Loves Company in Shoreditch, witnessed twelve pairs of bartenders battling it out to create a Koko Kolada and a Miami Vice twist whilst fully embracing the spirit of the 1980s cult TV series Miami Vice.
Dressed in the style of the show’s crime-fighting lead characters Crockett & Tubbs, competitors were challenged to create a twist on the classic Piña Colada, using at least 50ml of Koko Kanu. They also had to serve up a Miami Vice, the summer season’s popular cocktail created by mixing the ‘Koko Kolada’ and the Strawberry Daiquiri.

The winning Piña Colada serve was created using 50ml Koko Kanu and 100ml pineapple custard.
The winning Miami Vice serve was created using 50ml Appleton Rum, 50ml Strawberry Puree, 20ml Lime Juice and 20ml Almond Butter Syrup.

The winners scooped the extravagant ‘Miami Vice experience’ top prize which includes a Ferrari drive, dinner and drinks hosted by J. Wray & Nephew UK (a Gruppo Campari Company) and a casino night out.
Keivan’s and Maxwell’s cocktail was selected by the panel of esteemed judges for its creativity, balance, flavour and the finalists’ showmanship. Judges included Andy Ives from Barlife UK, JJ Goodman from The London Cocktail Club and Lyndon Higginson from The Liar’s Club.

Samantha Burke, On Trade & Trade Marketing Manager for Campari comments: “I am extremely impressed with the enthusiasm of the competition’s finalists. They all really embraced the Miami Vice theme and had a lot of fun whilst creating their serves. It was a tough competition, however the winners’ creativity, passion and mixology skills really impressed all three judges.
“The competition has been a huge success and definitely has the potential to become an annual fixture.”

The final twelve bartenders were all from renowned venues including The Big Easy, Bar 366, The Milk Thistle, The Hawksmoor, The Folly, Matsuri St James’s, Hotel Du Vin, Lab Bar, Meat Mission and Loves Company.

Lamb’s

Lamb's Navy

18 rums together. A hard task for many a rum lover, but spare a thought for Alfred Lamb, wine connoisseur and entrepreneur, who blended 18 back in 1849 to create the staple that we know call Lamb’s. It might sound like a simple story, but some of the best and well-known names are simple, and don’t need such historic backgrounds to be seen as an enjoyable brand.

Anyway, it’s the liquid that does the talking, surely?

Rums from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana are chosen to create the Navy Rum we come to know today. Around 1871, Alfred Lamb was storing his rum within the West India Dock warehouse along the River Thames. Once stored, Alfred instructed four years to pass before the matured rum could be enjoyed. The Navy aspect of the brand comes from the British Navy, and indeed the rations of rum (an eye-watering 80% abv) being half a pint a day and introduced back in 1731. This practice came to an end July 31st 1970, mainly due to the advance in Naval equipment (no one wants a nuclear war to start due to the drunken sailors on board her Majesties vessel). Not do deter Lamb’s, they started a promotion campaign with the slogan ‘Join the Lamb’s Navy’.

So, how does Lamb’s fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Lamb’s Navy – 40%

Plenty of vanilla and dark caramel on the nose, with hints of burnt toffee coming through. Sweet caramel on the palate creates a short and sometimes dry finish.

Lamb’s Navy Spiced – 30%

Very light on the nose with aromas of sweet vanilla. Slight flavours of lime on the palate, with very sweet vanilla dominating the slightly dry finish.

The Lamb’s Navy is a great shout, and versatile enough to be enjoyed within cocktails too –

Rum Runner
Rum Runner

Rum Runner

Glass – 

Hurricane

Ingredients – 

37.5 ml Lamb’s Navy Rum
12.5 ml Creme de Mure
20 ml vanilla liqueur
50 ml pineapple juice
25 ml fresh lime juice
12.5 ml grenadine syrup

Method – 

Shake and strain over ice. Garnish with a pineapple slice and cherry.

The Lamb’s range is a great go to brand, and can be found in most venues around the UK, and indeed the world. Whilst the spiced isn’t one of my favourites, the original Navy is up their with some of the best. For a traditional recipe, seek no further.

© 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.

Wray and Nephew

Wray and Nephew

If you’re like me, back when you were a teenager you’d be having ‘shots’ of overproof rum on a night out for cheap thrills and many a spill. But growing up, have you ever had it since, or indeed, actually enjoyed it? I have, to the point of I actually enjoy having a tot when I come across a overproof brand. One of the most recognisable of the category is Wray and Nephew, so it makes sense to take a look at the product that counts for 90% of all rum consumed in Jamaica.

The history of J. Wray and Nephew began in 1825 when company founder John Wray opened ‘The Shakespeare Tavern’ in Kingston, Jamaica. Kingston grew steadily and eventually became Jamaica’s capital in 1877, with The Shakespeare Tavern became highly successful. In 1860, Wray brought in Charles James Ward, the son of his brother, to run the business side of the company. Bringing with him qualities that made him a dynamic and gifted entrepreneur, and under the leadership of John Wray, J. Wray and Nephew began a period of growth and prosperity. Wray retired in 1862 and died in 1870 leaving Ward as the sole proprietor of the business.
Ward developed his heritage – a tavern and liquor-dealing concern, into one of Jamaica’s largest commercial enterprises and a company that enjoyed international success. At the International Exhibition held in London in 1862, J. Wray and Nephew won three gold medals for its 10, 15 and 25yr rums. The Company’s rums also won several awards and prizes at international exhibitions in Paris in 1878, Amsterdam in 1883, New Orleans in 1885 and Jamaica in 1891.

In 1916, the Lindo Brothers & Co purchased J. Wray & Nephew and almost immediately thereafter, the new company, J. Wray & Nephew Ltd., purchased the Appleton Estate – the oldest and most famous of all Jamaica’s sugarcane estates. In 1997, Joy Spence was made the master blender at J. Wray and Nephew – the first ever woman to occupy this position in the industry.

So how does this overproof fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Wray & Nephew Rum Cream
Wray & Nephew Rum Cream

Wray and Nephew Overproof – 63%

Sweet fruity aromas on the nose with a kick of corn coming through. Sharp on the palate, but develops a warm bouquet of fruit aromas that lingers for a long finish.

I picked up a bottle of this over in St Lucia too;

Wray and Nephew Rum Cream – 15%

Born from the inspiration of the mix of Supligen and White Overproof Rum. Rich cream notes on the nose, with the strike of overproof rum coming through slightly. A developing flavour of the rum as it sits on the base of the palate. The cream blends well and gives a good balance for a long, fresh cane finish.

Rum legend Ian Burrell created something a bit more palatable if having it straight is not your cup-of-tea *-

Reggae Rum Punch
Reggae Rum Punch

Reggae Rum Punch

Glass – 

Hurricane

Ingredients –

50 ml Wray & Nephew Overproof
50 ml Fresh Pineapple Juice
50 ml Fresh Orange Juice
25 ml Fresh Lime Juice
12.5 ml Monin Grenadine

Method – 

Shake with plenty of ice and serve in a Hurricane glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice.

A great cocktail idea, and one that could ease you into overproof rums. Worth a feature within your drinks cabinet, with the rum cream a great addition, especially if you have a party going on.

* Cocktail created by Ian Burrell.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.

Appleton Estate

Appleton Joy

Appleton Estate is one of the world’s most well-known rum brands, hailing from Jamaica and offering up expressions used by all, from cocktails to served over ice. I finally get myself out to Jamaica soon to check out their home, but it’s got me taking a sneak peak before i jet over!

The first known documentation of rum production at the Appleton Estate dates back to 1749, however the origins of the Estate date back as far as 1655 when the British captured Jamaica from the Spanish. Frances Dickinson took part in that British conquest and it‘s believed that the Appleton Estate in the Nassau Valley, St. Elizabeth was part of the land grant that Dickinson received as a reward for his services. His grandsons were the earliest known owners of the Appleton Estate. In 1845 the Appleton Estate changed hands from the Dickinson family when it was acquired by William Hill and later changed hands again when it was purchased by one of Jamaica`s most successful merchants, A. McDowell Nathan. He unfortunately died in an earthquake in 1907 and his vast estate, including Appleton, was eventually acquired by J. Wray and Nephew Ltd. who still own it to this day.

Appleton Estate also comes with a rather unique approach to their production.

The Estate grow their own sugar cane and ferment using soft water from a spring that originates through the limestone hills within the estate. A natural culture of yeast in the fermenting process is also used that has been handed down through generations. Small batch copper pot distillation is the preferred method, blending the rum between both copper pot and column stills. Maturation takes place within 40-gallon Number One Select American Oak barrels and when selected by the Master Blender, Joy Spence, incidentally the first woman to be appointed Master Blender in the world, they are then blended to create the Appleton Estate range. After blending, the rums are set to rest, which allows the marrying of the various components and brings the blend together.

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

Appleton Estate V/X – 40%

*NOW DISCONTINUED* A blend of rum of at least 5yrs. Light on the nose with an oak aroma coming through near the end. A slight pepper is also present. Dry spice is immediately apparent on the palate, with a vanilla flavour mixed with the oak creating a long, dry, lingering finish.

Appleton Estate Special Gold – 40%

A blend of rums distilled in pot and column stills. These are matured separately before being hand-blended, then aged in refill Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey barrels.
Plenty of caramel on the nose, although becoming lighter with hints of sweetness following. Very light on the palate, rather thin, with a slight sweetness, blended with butter flavours.

Appleton Estate Reserve Blend – 43%

Launched in 2000 to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Appleton Estate and uses minimum 8yr old Appletons. Lots of orange on the nose, with hints of hazelnut and soft fudge. Smooth on the palate, developing warmth. Honey, toasted fudge and hits of citrus on the lingering finish.

Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12yr – 43%

A blend of rums between 12 and 18yrs. High notes of vanilla and banana on the nose, which follows onto the palate with a punch, although it mellows with a creamy texture. Creates a long, rich ending.

Appleton Estate 21yr – 43%

Following maturation, this was blended and married in casks for two years and uses minimum of 21yr aged rums. Bouquet of floral aromas and nuts. Cocoa and vanilla swirling around slowly. Plenty of nuts, thick, stewed fruits and hints of rich molasses. Long, fresh with hints of dryness.

Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend 25yr – 45%

This special blend commemorates Joy Spence’s 20th anniversary as master blender. A combination of rums aged for between 25 and 35 years.
Fresh demerara sugar upon the nose, with hints of fresh ripe banana, clove and oak coming through. Ripe notes of red apple, dried cinnamon sticks and coffee, moving to a bold kick of cocoa and toffee. A long, fresh finish, becoming quite moorish.

 

A cracking range of rum from Jamaica, with versatility to offer cocktails such as;

Applton - Joys Cocktail

Joy’s Cocktail; crafted by the Master herself.

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients – 

25 ml Appleton Estate Reserve Blend
75 ml Ginger ale
Slice of orange
5 drops Angostura bitters
Orange peel (garnish)

Method – 

Squeeze the orange slice into a rocks glass and then drop it in the glass and muddle it. Add ice and build in remaining ingredients and stir.

Worth seeking out a couple of the Appleton Estate range for your cocktail evenings, and at least one to sip when the occasion calls for! I’ll be sure to update as and when i experience straight from Jamaica itself!

© 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.

Koko Kanu

 

Koko KanuKoko Kanu offers something a little different, especially to what you expect it to be. From Jamaica, white rum is blended with natural coconut to create the only full strength coconut flavoured rum in the UK. Named in honour of Jamaica’s original inhabitants, the Arawak Indians, and a label that shows the Jamaican national bird – the Doctor Bird, Koko Kanu is marketed toward the premium end of the market.
You may have seen Koko Kanu a little more recently as 2014 has seen a major campaign in the UK, securing listings within the likes of Selfridges as well as venues such as Brown’s and All Bar One. A Christmas campaign is on its way too, aimed to encourage and introduce new drinkers to the brand and coconut rum category. 

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

Koko Kanu – 37.5%

Soft coconut aromas on the nose with a slight sweetness wrapped around. Silky on the palate with a kick of coconut that creates a long lingering finish. Slight spice develops too.

J Wray and Nephew, the UK distributors, recommend Koko Kanu as part of the classic Piña Colada, but maybe try this instead –

June Bug
June Bug

June Bug 

Glass – 

Hurricane

Ingredients – 

25 ml Midori
25 ml Koko Kanu
25 ml Bols – Creme de Bananes
100 ml Pineapple Juice
25 ml Lime Juice
12.5 ml Sugar Syrup

Method – 

Shake the ingredients vigorously and strain into a hurricane glass. Garnish with pineapple wedge.

A rather good tot, personally more for a mixer, but it really does surprise how well it goes neat. Try some, be adventurous  you never know what could be your new favourite spirit.

© 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.

Tia Maria Tasting Notes

Tia Maria

After focusing on Kahlúa, we can bring out the coffee liqueur which usually comes to mind when talking about the subject, or indeed after finishing a hearty meal. But what makes Tia Maria stand out above the rest so-to-speak?

It’s origins are disputed, but going off Tia Maria’s official website –

‘The legend of Tia Maria dates back to the mid-17th century, when a beautiful young Spanish aristocrat fled the turmoil colonial war brought to the island of Jamaica. Her maid saved one family treasure, a small jewellery box with black pearl earrings and an ancient manuscript with the recipe for a mysterious liqueur. The recipe was named after the courageous woman: Tia Maria. It was then rediscovered in the 1950s by Dr. Kenneth Leigh Evans, who began to produce and market it. Still made to the original Caribbean recipe by ILLVA Saronno and distributed in over 60 countries . . .’

To dispute, Dr. Evans discovered the drink after World War II, and he began reproducing it. Since the company called Tia Maria International Limited was incorporated in 1929, this seems unlikely.

Either way, Tia Maria is in our stores, bars and restaurants, partly due to the fact that its first television ad campaign in the 1980’s, featuring Iman, the famous supermodel and wife of British rock star David Bowie, brought the attention of Tia Maria to global attention.

With an infusion of natural vanilla, fresh roasted Jamaican coffee beans, a secret blend of 27 herbs and spices sourced from across the globe, and a touch of Jamaican rum, Tia Maria is simple, and effective. But how does it fare just on its own, no after-dinner or cocktail in sight? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Tia Maria – 20%

Fresh coffee on the nose with a slight raw roast following. Very soft on the palate however, with a slight sweetness following a whisp of coffee and rum blending together.

Not too bad, but one thing that this liqueur is also good for is its adaptability within cocktails –

Tia Espresso Martini
Tia Espresso Martini

Tia Espresso Martini

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients –

25 ml Tia Maria
25 ml Espresso
25 ml Vodka
12.5 ml Sugar syrup

Method – 

Combine all ingredients together with crushed ice in a boston shaker and shake. Fine strain into a martini glass and garnish with coffee beans.

or

Maria L’Orange

Glass – 

Maria L'Orange
Maria L’Orange

Coupet

Ingredients

20 ml Tia Maria
20 ml Triple Sec
40 ml Orange juice

Method – 

Combine all ingredients together with crushed ice in a boston glass. Shake and fine strain into a coupet glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Tia Maria is an all-rounder. Great on its own, even better within a cocktail. With its closest rival of Kahlúa, coffee liqueurs set the trend for your after-dinner drink and something a little bit more extravagant than your normal choice of coffee. And don’t forget, just because you don’t see them on a menu too often, a bar will more than likely stock it. Don’t be afraid to ask, after all, it’s your night.

Check out more photos 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 –

Rocks

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.

Rum Fire Tasting Notes

Theres a new overproof rum to excite and tantalize the drinking world, Rum Fire! Created and produced by the guys at Hampden Estate, a company that dates back to 1753, it’s back heeling the likes of Wray and Nephew to become a dominant force in the overproof category.

But what makes Rum Fire unique from its competitors?

Hampden Estate is famous for its high ester rums which provide bold flavours that Jamaica is famous for. They also specialise in using pot distillation over the more commonly used continuous distillation (their use of pot distillation produces many more flavours than a column still can).

Rum Fire itself was the brain child of the new owners of Hampden Estate who wanted to carry on the tradition of making heavy pot still rums, but wanted to hit the markets straight away. The answer was to go for something that doesn’t need to be aged – white overproof rum.  First bottled back in March 2011, Rum Fire has been making waves in its short life, being nominated at the Berlin Rum Festival in the category of ‘Best Overproof Rum’ and also receiving a nomination at the UK RumFest for the Golden Barrel Award for ‘Best New White Rum’. This year, Rum Fire won a Silver Medal in San Francisco for the Ministry of Rum competition.

So how does this already award-winning rum fare? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

Rum Fire – 63%

Lots of nut and vanilla aromas on the nose with a strong citrus blast near the end. As expected, a strong hit of pepper and spice greets the palate first, but mellows quickly into a smooth, sweet yet short finish.

Rum Fire don’t recommend to drink its spirit neat, but instead to mix with ingredients to really enjoy its full flavour. Heres the best out of the bunch –

Rum Fire – Reggae Rum Puch

Reggae Rum Punch (1)

Glass –

Hurricane

Ingredients –

50 ml Rum Fire
50 ml Fresh Pineapple juice
50 ml Fresh orange juice
25 ml Fresh lime juice
12.5 ml Grenadine

Method –

Shake with plenty of ice and serve in a Hurricane glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice.

Although not everyones first choice of tipple when it comes to selecting a spirit to drink, overproof rum is a surprisingly good contribution to cocktails, and gives it that kick that you sometimes need to spice up your drink. Give it a go!

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

(1) Cocktail creation credited to Ian Burrell. I myself have changed the brand base ingredient.

© 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.