National Rum Day – Celebrate in style with DIPLOMATICO

Diplo Blanco Coco No Loco (bottle1)
As Lord Byron said, “There’ s nought no doubt so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.” Take his advice and mix up a cocktail or two this August 16th, in honour of National Rum Day. Try something a little different, like a saintly Coco Loco or a twist on the Old Fashioned, or stick to the classics with a zesty Daiquiri or a Dark and Stormy.

With a range of rums to suit every taste and purpose, multi-award winning Diplomatico hails from the foothills of the Venezuelan Andes. Their portfolio of rums is famed for its delectable flavour profile and extensive versatility; it is easy to find the perfect component to stand up in a wide range of cocktails.

Diplomatico Blanco is a hugely flavoursome velvety white rum, extremely complex with beautifully creamy, chocolate profiles. Charcoal-filtered (hence its colour) this is a sensationally smooth and versatile rum that works incredibly well in cocktails as it does sipped on the rocks. Diplomatico Reserva is blended from rums aged up to eight years in ex-bourbon casks, for an eight year old rum this has a great deal of complexity, making it ideal to use both in cocktails and as a sipping rum. With more than 20 awards to its name, Reserva Exclusiva is a seductive dark sipping rum that has rich flavours of fruit cake, rum ‘ n’ raisin ice cream, cinnamon and cocoa on the nose, developing into a fudgy, syrupy gingerbread and orange taste. Described by global rum ambassador, Ian Burrell, as‘ Tiramisu in a glass!’ , it is the jewel in the crown of the Diplomatico collection.

Use these delicious cocktail recipes for inspiration at home:

Diplo Blanco Vanilla Daiquiri (bottle)
Vanilla Daiquiri

Vanilla Daiquiri

Given the nature of the drink, the charcoal filtered Diplomatico Blanco is a natural choice for this twist on a classic Daiquiri.

50ml Diplomatico Blanco
15ml Lime Juice
7.5ml Vanilla Syrup
Add all ingredients into a shaker add ice and shake until the tin is frosted. Double strain into chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Coco no Loco
Simple, refreshing and low-sugar, this is perfect for a summer’s day. This super-easy serve brings out the best in its ingredients.

50ml Diplomatico Blanco
150-200ml Coconut Water

Simply add all ingredients into the glass filled with
ice and serve.

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Old Fashioned
Add a ray of Venezuelan sunshine to your old fashioned for National Rum day. Diplomatico’s Reserva Exclusiva brings complex aromas and delicious notes of vanilla, spice and orange zest to the classic.

50ml Diplomatico Reserva Exlclusiva
10ml Pedro Ximenez sweet sherry
3 dashes chocolate bitters

Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, stir for 30 seconds and pour into a chilled glass over ice
Diplo Reserva Pineapple Fizz
Pineapple Fizz

Pineapple Fizz

An unsung classic from the 1930s this cocktail underlines the fresh sweetness of pineapple, perfectly complementing the spicier notes of the Diplomatico Reserva.
50ml Diplomatico Reserva
40ml Pineapple Juice
7.5ml Orgeat Syrup (Almond)
7.5ml Sugar
15ml Orange curaçao

Add all ingredients into a shaker add ice and shake until the tin is frosted. Pour over crushed ice filled rocks glass .

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.

The Mixxa’s Drambuie 15 Old Fashioned

Last December, Paul ‘The Mixxa’ Martin released a new video showcasing a twist on the classic cocktail Old Fashioned using the relatively new Drambuie 15 (check out my article on Drambuie 15 here). Take a look below to find out what he did differently to create a fantastic, yet simple drink.

You can follow The Mixxa on Twitter and take a look at his website. Make sure you check back on The Mixxa’s dedicated page for upcoming videos as they’re released!

Kraken Spiced Rum Tasting Notes

I’ve been looking forward to trying this again! I think i first sampled Kraken at The Boutique Bar Show 2011 in Manchester, but i had a taste at Imbibe 2011 a few weeks ago. I will always remember the way they sold it to me – a man dressed in a old-fashioned diving suit handing out leaflets, and a ‘sailor’ explaining the myth behind the Kraken Rum in a tale you expect to see in Pirates of the Caribbean!

However you look at it, it works and it’s stuck in my mind ever since. I have to admit, i wasn’t expecting to purchase a bottle so quickly, but on the shopping trip last week (where i also bought a bottle of Chase Vodka), the eye-catching bottle was begging to be bought. And at £21.99 its not a bad price, especially to the likes of Sailor Jerry and Morgans Spiced.

Kraken Spiced Rum

Upon tasting this spiced rum from the USA, the expectation of wild spices doesn’t hit you. Instead, it gently arrives with its vanilla and toffee trails and its lack of a fire edge like Sailor Jerry gives you makes this even more enjoyable. It gives your mouth a slight tingle sensation and gives a rather vivid after-taste that still lingers long after you finish. It’s almost as if this should be categorised under ‘dark’, but personally, it should be at the top of the spiced column.

This is better than Morgans Spiced and better than Sailor Jerry. To me, you must have Morgans with a mixer, it’s just too raw sometimes, and Sailor Jerry is still considered better with a companion in its glass. Kraken? Kraken you can sip on its own, you could have it as the top layer of a Mai Tai, possibly mixed with a Mojito or a Kraken Old Fashioned, which just sounds like heaven in a glass. You need to try this!

The Circle 360 Review

Theres a new champagne and cocktail bar located in the Italian area of the Trafford Centre’s Orient food hall. I’ve watched this bar grow from day one as it’s location is opposite to where i work and i’ve been itching to try it out ever since its grand opening less than a week ago.

I took along a friend and arrived at about 3pm. As you can see the back bar automatically grabs your attention, the large circle with a magnum of champagne in the middle! A good layout of spirits surrounded underneath it including Jack Daniel Single Barrel, Belvedere, Patron and Martin Millers as well as display ice buckets with several bottles of Moet & Chandon poking out the top. Cake stands were also visible for there Afternoon Tea promotion (more about that later).

Speciality 360

Sitting ourselves on white leather bar stools which despite looking like salon chairs, went surprisingly well with the white decor, we were greeted by the bartender on duty with a smile and a drinks menu. I had already previously asked The Circle Club (the company behind the bar) on there Twitter feed which cocktails they recommend with the replies of ‘Pornstar Martini and the speciality 360’, so with curiosity getting the better of me i plumped for the 360 while a French Martini was ordered as well. Now i don’t know if this is me but if you make a cocktail, you make it in front of the customer, not halfway down the bar. It would have been nice to see what ingredients he was putting in to this speciality cocktail (i glimpsed Hendricks gin being used) but i gave the man his dues once he presented me with the finished item.A dark blackcurrant colour with a fresh blackcurrant and cucumber fold as a garnish made a good first impression. It had a smooth velvety taste to it with the constant aroma of cucumber coming from both the garnish as well as the Hendricks gin. Slightly overpowering it sometimes but the blackberry taste counteracted it nicely and made it a very nice mouth-watering signature cocktail.We were a bit confused with what our other drink was as we originally ordered a French Martini however a champagne flute was handed to us which eventually turned out to be a French 75. Obviously thinking the French Martini would be served in the Martini glass and the signature cocktail served in a champagne flute, it turned out we were drinking the drink the other one had ordered. A mistake on the bartenders part but non-the-less the French 75 was a beautiful lemon zest cocktail with the Moet & Chandon champagne top not overpowering the overall complexity at all. After a few sips i also noticed it started to go down very smoothly, as if the drink had settled and it allowed you to enjoy it that little bit more. The glass itself helped, an elegant yet simple thinly stemmed champagne flute that curved at the top to reduce the amount of gasses being released.

A Parisian Re-fashioned followed next for me with an absinthe take on the Old Fashioned classic.

Parisian Re-fashioned

Made with coating the inside of a tumbler glass with Le Fee Parisian Absinthe and igniting for a few seconds, blowing out and starting the 7 minute process of an Old Fashioned. The use of Woodford Reserve bourbon was a particularly good choice and vanilla sugar made my day as the sweet tooth guy I am. To be fair it wasn’t 7 minutes in the making but the drink itself was a well-balanced affair. The vanilla sugar took the edge off a drink which can sometimes come on a bit strong if not enough Demerara is used and it worked well. The burnt orange zest gave some interesting aromas as it mixed with the coating of absinthe and the Woodford Reserve but it didn’t over come you which made it a very drinkable drink.

My friend is a lover of Tanqueray 10 and asked the barman for a recommendation that involved fruit juices. The result was Tanq 10 with both fresh and puree strawberries with a top of champagne served in a Martini Glass. This had a zest tingly sensation to it, possibly due to the champagne top but also to the fresh strawberries used. The gin was hard to tell it was there sometimes but you got the odd taste of the Tanq once you made your way through the layer of fruit.

The Circle 360 bar menu is a simple yet well set out design with a ‘champagne story’ on the inside cover to highlight the bars purpose.

Now i will say this, the prices that the drinks are being sold for are worth it.

Champagne cocktails (Bellini’s, French 75’s) for £6.95

Signature cocktails (Pornstar Martini, Jack Daniels Single Barrel over ice) for £5.95

Classic cocktails (Mojito, Margarita, Long Island) £4.95

Contemporary cocktails (8yr Itch, Grey Goose Le Fizz) £5.45

Martinis (Cosmopolitan, French Martini) £5.45

French 75

Compared to the rest of the Trafford Centre’s bar/cocktails offerings as well as the reputation of The Circle Club i did expect to be paying a lot more for these drinks, especially when they use premium spirits and champagne! This could be a winning formula for them and i hope they stick at these prices for a while to come.

Now as you’d expect there are offerings for wine with what looks like a very good and varied selection in each category (a bottle of Sangiovese, Ceravalo Estate caught my eye for £29.50). The usual suspects of champagne are there with glasses of Castell Lord Cava at £3.50 to £7.95 for a Moet & Chandon Imperial Rose and topping to a bottle of Krug Clos D’Ambonnay Vintage 1996 at £3295. Theres Bollinger, Dom Perignon, Laurent Perrier, Veuve Clicquot and Louis Roederer thrown in there for good measure too.

Soft drinks are available too with the offering of juices, milkshakes, smoothies and tea and coffee as well as fresh cake slices including victoria sponge, cupcakes, scones and lollicakes (cakes on a stick, – popular with celebrities apparently!). They also do a Afternoon Tea priced at £15.50 where you receive a pot of Darjeeling tea, choice of 2 sandwiches, scone, elderflower cake, chocolate choux pastry and fresh fruit tart!

Nearing the end of our visit we were both genuinly impressed with the offerings that The Circle 360 give you in the case of drinks as well as surroundings. The stunning bar set-up is a thing to see and you don’t always feel like your in the middle of a food court when your sat there, something which i thought would put me off.

You’ll be seeing me here again that’s for sure, theres plenty more drinks for me to try!