Flor De Caña ‘Rum Frontiers’ Showcases In Glasgow

Ryan-in-Dusk-with-his-prize-1-e1501603860159
Flor de Caña discovered the new UK ‘Rum Frontier’ Champion on Monday night, as guests basked in the electric vibes of Nicaragua enjoying street food, Flor de Caña cocktails, live street art and a world renowned DJ in one of Glasgow’s best loved venues, Drygate.

Featuring an incredible line-up of first class mixologists from all across the country, each finalist pushed the creative boundaries of cocktail making to the edge in a live heat where they were challenged to design innovative cocktails inspired by the exotic home of Flor de Caña rum. The cocktails were fashioned around many areas of Nicaraguan culture, from its world famous coffee beans to the unique and vibrant art that fills the streets, the volcano which Flor de Caña’s own distillery sits at and the fact that the country is run on 58% clean, renewable energy.

Ten finalists battled it out to be crowned the #RumFrontiers UK winner and get their hands on the coveted prize: a trip of a lifetime to Nicaragua where the winner will represent the UK in the worldwide final as well as enjoying incredible tours of Nicaragua’s top attractions.

The winning cocktail blew away the judging panel, boasting an incredibly diverse and creative skillset from bartender Ryan Rhodes of Dusk in Aberdeen. Named Lava Flava, Ryan’s drink was inspired by the artist Scott Lambeck and his colourful interpretation of Nicaragua which adorned the sides of the glass. Ryan described his cocktail as a drink which he felt reflected Nicaragua; vibrant, fun and playful.

As well as the excitement of live heats, earlier in the day attendees enjoyed a masterclass run by two of the esteemed judges: Daryl Haldane (Head of Brand Experience, Whyte & Mackay) and Tristan Stephenson (The Curious Bartender). Also tasked with judging the cocktail creations were the highly-regarded Andy Gemmell (The Drinks Cabinet) and Marc Catalan (Flor de Caña).

Jonathan Gillbanks (UK Sales Director – On Trade & Specialists, Whyte and Mackay) said: “RumFrontiers was a fantastic event; we witnessed some of the most exciting bartenders from the UK come together to learn and create with Flor de Caña premium rum. The creations from the competitors were truly outstanding.”

Ryan will experience six days of adventure in Nicaragua this September, including sand-boarding on the active Cerro Negro Volcano before spending the night in the historic city of Leon. He will then return to Managua for an exclusive tour of the Flor de Caña distillery ahead of the world wide #RumFrontiers final. The remainder of the trip will be packed full of excursions including a visit to the Masaya Volcano, Masaya Artisan Market and Apoyo Lake. There will also be a City Tour of Granada along with a trip to a private island before returning home.

Flor de Caña

Flor de Cana

Recently, I had the chance to sit down and experience a range of expressions of a rum I’ve seen becoming more and more embraced by the bartenders here in the UK. Flor de Caña, from Nicaragua, is perhaps a rum you’ve never had yourself, but I’m sure the packaging of the bottles are recognisable. Either way, lets dive in and check it all out.

Flor de Caña started life at the San Antonio Sugar Mill in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua back in 1890. The site of the first distillery, the company was founded by Francisco Alfredo Pellas, a name that is still attached to the company today by the fifth generation of the Pellas family. It wasn’t until 1937 though that Flor de Caña was formed, a separate entity within the distillery Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua, and had the ethos of producing and marketing rum. Once 1950 hit, Casa Pellas, which was founded by Don Carlos Francisco Pellas Vivas, began the commercial distribution of the Slow-Aged™ Rum in Nicaragua, showing off Flor de Caña to the masses of South America by 1959 and rallied by the release of Flor de Caña Añejo Clásico 5.

After some modernization of the distillery in 1963, the brand became internationally recognised for its consistency and profile, earning Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua to be the first rum producer in the world to obtain ISO 9000 certification of quality. The company has since earned environmentally friendly ISO 14000, HCAAP and Kosher certifications too. At the turn of the century, Rum Marketing International (RUMMI) Ltd. was founded in Miami, Florida to oversee the international expansion of Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua’s products, essentially taking Flor de Caña worldwide (it’s now available in over 50 countries). In celebration of the new Millennium too, Flor de Caña Centenario 21 Commemorative Edition was introduced.

I mentioned above about the Slow-Aged™ Rum method. Essentially this is a term that Flor de Caña is proud of as it sums up the natural elements to its ageing process for all of its expressions. Natural temperature and ventilation across all of its warehouses, whether new or old buildings, are consistently the same and never modernized (no air-conditioning for example). With the tropical climate, there is a higher risk of rum evaporation within the ex bourbon barrels, effectively known as The Angel’s Share. Flor de Caña see this as how nature intended, so they leave it be, despite losing a little more than in the maturation process than most rum producers would like.

So how does this natural effect fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on the core range –

Flor de Cana 25yr
Flor de Cana 25yr

Flor de Caña 4yr Extra Dry – 40%

Soft upon the nose, with light leather, coconut and vanilla notes coming through. Very light on the palate, soft with a thick texture of natural coconut flesh and vanilla, offering a short finish.

Flor de Caña 7yr – 40%

Honey notes on the nose, with caramel and light aromas of nut present. Very thin upon the palate, rather mellow, with a dry spice and a warm finish.

Flor de Caña 12yr – 40%

Honey, toffee and fudge notes combine on the nose, with clotted cream and soft stoned fruits present too. Thick cream texture on the palate, with butter and almond flavours offering a dry, lingering finish.

Flor de Caña 18yr – 40%

Rich, sweet fudge notes on the nose, with dark cocoa and fresh spice following. The palate enjoys a soft texture of coffee, caramel, treacle and tobacco, leaving a lively yet dry finish.

Flor de Caña 25yr – 40%

Soft spice, fudge and toffee flavours on the nose, with slight oak and almond aromas following. Coffee, raisin and prune flavours blend well on the palate, with slight maraschino cherry and dark chocolate kicks on the long finish.

Some fantastic expressions here, with the 12yr and 25yr the standouts for myself. But how about combining with other ingredients? Try one of these –

Flor-like Buddha
Flor-like Buddha

Flor-like Buddha

Glass –

Wine

Ingredients – 

60 ml Flor de Caña Gran Reserva 7yr
25 ml Dubonnet Rouge
10 ml Benedictine
10 ml Cointreau

Method –

Stir all the ingredients within a mixing glass full of ice. Once chilled, pour into a wine glass and serve with a twist off orange peel.

An alternative serve to your usual rum cocktails, and one to try at home with the winter nights rolling in. Pick up a bottle for your cabinet, and look out for the expressions in your local bar as bartenders start to embrace the South American styles of rum!

© 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.