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 .

We’re Crazy! But We’re Also Crazy About Our Rum

Santa Teresa

An afternoon with Santa Teresa awaited my guest author last week . . 

“After descending the stairs into the darkness of The Liar’s Club, your eyes focus on woven beach matting, colourful posters, bamboo support posts, huge wooden rum barrels, and old, worn brickwork. Reggae tunes are playing, and as we settle down on the comfy leather seats that line the walls, we are greeted with orange Daiquiri’s; an old Santa Teresa favourite. Pleasantly sharp, and pretty strongly boozy for half past three in the afternoon, we sip these while we wait for the rest of the tasting group to arrive, and begin to feel glad that we haven’t made any plans for the evening!

Our hosts for the afternoon are Becky from Mangrove, and Luis, who has worked for Santa Teresa for over eight years now. He’s back in the UK for the first time in three or so years, so straight away we know that this was going to be a pretty special tasting session. Luis introduces himself to everybody individually, chatting away and asking us if we’d ever tried Santa Teresa rum before. I was in the minority in that I haven’t; I’m a Pusser’s Navy Rum girl, myself, generous double with a good wedge of lime if you please; but I’m excited about getting to try this Venezuelan phenomenon.

While we’re enjoying our drinks, Luis gives us a brief history of the company. Santa Teresa is run by two brothers, Henrique and Alberto, and it is a company with a long pedigree. He tells us about the Venezuelan War of Independence in the early 1800s; a story of loss, pride, and the kindness of freed slaves. The central figure in his telling of this story, a little girl called Panchita, was rescued from enemy soldiers by her family’s former slaves, and grew up to fall in love with German man. This man had come to South America to make his fortune, and to find products for his father’s shipping company to export. His father, eager to meet his son’s new bride, sailed for Venezuela – but disaster struck, and his boat sank. The rose-like logo of his shipping company is now emblazoned on bottles of Santa Teresa rum. Luis tells us that Santa Teresa began in a moment of change, and is strongly tied to the ideals of independence, freedom, and family.

As we listen, our first sample of rum is brought round. Anejo is Santa Teresa’s flagship rum, and comes in their highly recognisable ‘squared chest’ bottle. Their use of the ‘squared chest’ is inspired by a popular local saying “to face it with your chest”, which translates roughly as somewhere between “to meet it head-on”, and “to take the bull by the horns”. A fitting inspiration for a brand which is as fiercely independent as Santa Teresa.

Anejo has a light, sweet nose full of the vanilla, toffee aromas which come from ageing in American white oak barrels. It’s not too sweet; there is a dryness present, supporting a peppery spice, and an almost citrus undertone. A blend of younger and slightly more mature rums, between two and five years, averaging out at about four years. Its slightly peppery nature is intended to stand up to being mixed, but this rum is almost smooth enough to sip straight up. Luis’ top tip: Anejo makes a great Mojito.

Despite only being launched for the international market in 2002, Santa Teresa is a surprisingly multi-cultural brand. “Rum is a product typical of the Caribbean,” Luis tells us, “Santa Teresa is made in Venezuela by a German-Venezuelan family, aged in American and French oak barrels – and we play an English sport, rugby.” He is keen to emphasise that rugby is not a widely played sport in Venezuela, and that its popularity at Hacienda Santa Teresa is unusual. Navigate to their website, and you will see photos of burly men in rugby kit heaving barrels around. “We are bordered by the Caribbean sea, there is a desert next to the beach, we have Andean mountains, jungles, table top mountains… This is the land where Santa Teresa comes from. We’re crazy! But we’re also crazy about our rum.”

The second rum we try is Claro. It’s known as the bartender’s favourite, and was developed for bars to use in cocktails. Claro means ‘clear’, which is fitting for this rum; it isn’t white, it isn’t golden, but almost like a white wine in colour. It is a blend of two and three-year old rums aged in American white oak; drier than Anejo, but soft, with hints of lime. There is, of course, an alcoholic tingle on the palate, but the softness carries through, with one of my fellow tasters describing it as ‘like cream soda’. Claro has a significant amount of Santa Teresa’s special Rosetta rum blended into it; a heavy rum with a distinctively smooth yet insistent flavour. Luis’ top tip: Claro is great for Daiquiri’s.

The oldest rum brand in Venezuela, Santa Teresa grow everything on their own lands. The sugar cane used to make their rum, the coffee for their coffee liqueur, and the oranges for their Rhum Orange. They use water from their own wells, and the factory which treats the sugar cane and produces the molasses which Santa Teresa use is only a few kilometres down the road; not just that, but it’s owned by another branch of their family.

The next rum we try is Selecto. It’s darker than Anejo, being a blend of rums aged between three and ten years, averaging out at eight years. The classic oak barrel-aged aromas of vanilla, toffee, and caramel are hugely prominent here, and there is less citrus present than in the Claro. With a big mouthfeel, this rum is particularly smooth, and is intended both for sipping and for use in premium cocktails such as an Old Fashioned. Luis’ top tip: this rum is wonderful showcased in a simple rum and tonic.

Last, we come to the 1796, the jewel in Santa Teresa’s crown. This rum is blended and aged using the Antiguo de Solera method, where blended rums up to 35 years old are slowly and gently matured together through a series of barrels, which are never allowed to empty more than half way before being fed with more rum, balancing and rounding out into an exceptionally smooth and complex final product. The barrels used in this process are French, rather than American, which contributes to the aroma; almost reminiscent of Christmas, reminding me of booze soaked cherries, fat juicy raisins and candied fruit peel. On the palate there is subtle citrus throughout, sweet orange isolated on the tip of the tongue, a balance between sweet and dry, and a rich brown sugar backbone supporting the whole thing. This is a complex rum, with a finish that lingers on and on.

People have attempted to buy Santa Teresa out. Luis tells us what Alberto had to say about that: “We are not for sale. My family has survived civil war, lasted through the change from dictatorship to democracy… Our ancestors survived, and they left this company for us. We will leave this company for our children, and for our great-grandchildren.”

This emphasis on independence and freedom is what keeps Santa Teresa an utterly authentic brand. Not satisfied with keeping their own independence by producing things on their own land and staying committed to the quality of their rum, they also have a full-on social conscience, working to help gang members break away from a life of crime, and gain the freedom to live productive, honest lives. Yes, Santa Teresa rehabilitate criminal gangs. They give them jobs, access to psychological help, a high school education, they train them with useful skills which mean they can build careers, and they also teach them discipline and respect… Through rugby.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Remember when I said that rugby isn’t widely played in Venezuela, but at Hacienda Santa Teresa they’re mad on it? These gang members have to learn the rules of rugby from scratch, and this is a core part of Santa Teresa’s gang rehabilitation project. The name of this ambitious yet wildly successful project? Project Alcatraz! Locals worried about having so many gang members working near to them, but official crime statistics for the area have shown a 76% drop in crime in the last three years. How cool (and possibly insane) are these guys? Like Luis told us earlier, “We’re crazy! But we’re also crazy about our rum.”

I’ll drink to that.”

Article kindly written by guest author Rowan Molyneux-Roberts

Ron Santa Teresa Tasting Notes

Santa Teresa

When you look at a brand, do you look into the history of it? Does it sway you when your thinking of a purchase? Most probably not, and there’s nothing wrong with that to be fair. If you look into some brands, it will give you an idea of what you’re purchasing though. Usually if you see a brand that has been part of the same family for generations, you’ll be looking at a good quality spirit. Most whiskies and gin have stood the test of time by being handed down between generations of family, and the sales show.
But on the other end of the spectrum, some of the newer brands have been created due to passion and dedication from individuals, and can stand up against the older brands so to speak. When it comes down to this, it’s more trial and error, or going off recommendations. This is what i do. Give you an insight into the world of spirits and show you, not tell you, what to drink. One I’m going to showcase to you today is a rum that comes under the tag of being a part of generations – Ron Santa Teresa.

The origins of Ron Santa Teresa date back to the end of the 18th Century when a gentleman named Martin de Tovar received the title of Count of Tovar and the Royal Charter for the lands of Tovar from King Charles III of Spain – the birth place of Ron Santa Teresa. 1796 saw the Hacienda Santa Teresa founded by the Count of Tovar in the valleys of Aragua. At the beginning of the 19th Century, wheat, indigo, coffee and sugar were grown in the valley, resulting in a sugar mill being built in 1810 and a still to distill aguardiente.

The Venezuelan Independence War crashed a negative effect on the economy and ruined the lands of Hacienda Santa Teresa. 1821 saw General Jose Francisco Bermudez defeat the Royalist troops to end the war. 9 years later, German born Gustav Julius Vollmer married Panchita Rioas y Palacos who was the niece of General Jose Felix Ribas inherited parts of the Santa Teresa land and started revitalising the valley to its prosperous ways. Gustav Julius Vollmer Ribas bought Hacienda Santa Teresa in 1885 and by the middle of the 19th Century, aguardiente from sugar cane were being produced. In 1909, Santa Teresa was registered as the first Ron de Venezuela brand.

The son of Gustav and Panchita, Gustavo Julio Vollmer brought the first tractor to Venezuela in 1913 to transport the sugar cane to the mill from the fields. Four years later, rum barrels were being transported by truck from the Hacienda to the El Consejo train station. Electric motors were installed in the mill in 1936 and followed by a large-scale rum production in 1936. 1955 saw Alberto Vollmer Herrera bring the Vollmer family into the modern age by incorporating Santa Teresa into a public company. 1978 saw Santa Teresa have the most up-to-date molasses distillery in Latin America.

How does Santa Teresa come about?

After harvesting the sugar cane, it is crushed before fermented by adding yeast in a continuous or pot still small batch method. Santa Teresa combine both when creating their range. After distillation in column stills, water is added from Santa Teresa springs and then stored in oak barrels for at least 2 years according to Venezuelan law.

So how is the Santa Teresa portfolio? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Santa Teresa Añejo Gran Reserva – 40%

Aged in oak for up to 5 years. Sweet notes of fruit on the nose that carries onto the palate. Slightly sharp as it develops with hints of dry wood coming through. Creates a long finish.

Santa Teresa Ron Selecto – 40%

Blend of rums aged for between 3 and 9 years. Heavy vanilla on the nose with hints of damp wood slicing through near the end. Slightly sweet on the palate but becomes silky with the vanilla mellowing on a long, mouth-watering finish.

Santa Teresa 1796 Ron Antiguo de Solera – 40%

Blend of rums, vatted using the solera system, aged between 8 and 12 years of age. After blending it is aged for a further year in bourbon barrels. A good mixture of dry and fresh fruits on the nose, with a slight honey note coming through near the end. Incredibly smooth on the palate, almost silky, with hints of dry wood and leather. The honey is more noticeable creating a warm finish.

Santa Teresa Rhum Orange Liqueur – 40%

Made with 2-year-old Santa Teresa. Light and fruity with fresh oranges present on the nose. Sweet notes of rich orange with hints of chocolate come though on the palate. A little dry on the long finish, but kicks of freshness linger.

Santa Teresa Arakú Coffee Liqueur – 28%

Made with coffee and rum which is aged for 2 years in white American oak barrels. Creamy coffee on the nose with a slight sweetness following. Lots of sweet notes but lightens out as it develops on the palate. Well-balanced with roasted coffee mixing with vanilla to create a moorish finish.

A fantastic range, with both the Rhum Orange, Arakú coffee, 1796 and Ron Selecto standing out for me. The Añejo Gran Reserva would be perfect in one of these though –

Angels Share
Angels Share

Angel’s Share

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients –

40 ml Añejo Gran Reserva
3/4 Chopped lime
1/4 Chopped orange
1 Tablespoon of sugar

Method –

Add the fruit and sugar to the rocks glass and muddle. Add rum, crushed ice and churn. Cap with crushed ice and garnish with orange wedge.

Refreshing! A great range of rums to indulge yourself upon, and there frequenting more and more bars as well as your local retailer. The 1796 is up there as one of the best sipping rums in my opinion, I’d recommend not to pass up if you ever come across.

© 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.

Pampero Tasting Notes

Pampero

This gem is not as well-known in the UK, but highly rated elsewhere. Pampero is categorised as a premium rum from Venezuela dating back to 1938.

Founded by Alejandro Hernandez, Hernandez original recipe introduced a distillation process unique to Venezuela. Hernandez harvested the finest sugar cane only in the incredibly humid dry season, to produce a smoother cut of alcohol. This alcohol blended with the local Carbonero spring water creates set the standard for rum production in Venezuela, and is proudly the first rum to be accredited ‘Anejo’ by the Venezuelan government.

Its name comes from a vicious squall that strikes throughout the Pampas of South America. Its forceful winds bring extreme humidity, severe rains and powerful thunderstorms in its path. How does this all add up to the rum itself? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on the core range –

Pampero Blanco – 40%

Light vanilla notes on the nose, with a relatively smooth offering on the palate with a harsh spice developing near the end that lingers. Slight vanilla flavour comes through slowly.

Pampero Especial – 40%

Vanilla and toffee notes on the nose with a light sweetness following. Light flavours of vanilla on the palate with a slight burn sugar coming through soon after. Toffee lingers near the long finish.

From what I could find, Pampero is to be enjoyed ‘El Ritual’: rum with lime, sugar and coffee. There is also an Aniversario edition available, with Pampero popping up in many bars in the UK, although more commonly found on your travels in Italy and Spain.

© 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.

Diplomático

Diplomatico Tasting

There’s brands within a certain category that create a consistent buzz. Brewdog does to ale what Hendrick’s does to gin and Grey Goose to vodka. But to have a portfolio that not only creates a buzz from birth, but also wins time after time is something of an achievement, something that Diplomático have down to a tee. I say this with enthusiasm and excitement as the hype of this brand was rewarded with what can be described as a sell-out tasting at The Liquorist’s HQ #22Redbank a few months back. Literally packed to the rafter with bartenders coming from all over the North West to try not only the Diplomático portfolio, but to shake hands and listen to the words of the Rum Master Tito Cordero.

So why is Diplomático regarded so highly to have bartenders willingly travel far to hear this story?

Don Juancho Nieto Meléndez had a passion to explore and source flavours for the traditional beverages that were known back in the 18th Century, particularly interested in the artisanal production methods that could produce a huge variety of interesting and unique flavours. He also took notice of a commonly forgotten variable in climate. Understanding variables such as weather, humidity and altitude that can drastically effect the rum-making process, as well as sampling many a flavour liqueur and rum to truly experience what the land offered, he used his knowledge to refine his own product.

In the 18th Century, Jamaica was at the forefront of manufacture, which Don Juancho Nieto Meléndez studied alongside the distillation secrets from the islands of Antilles. With this he came across the sugar mill – a traditional method of crushing sugar cane. This tool became a staple to Nieto Meléndez as he was able to create variations of combinations in the different cane juices available.

With this knowledge and understanding, he was able to create a rum that he thought was the perfect craft. Ron Diplomático was born.

Production of Diplomático started in 1959 and produced in La Miel, Venezuela. Chosen due to its unique climate conditions of being 173 metres above sea level, its fresh nights and high humidity which influences both the sugar cane growth and the rum aging process.

Fermented for 24 hours, and using a total of seven stills (three pot stills and four column stills) with a minimum aging process of 2 years in ex Bourbon American white oak barrels, for 45 years the rum has been perfected for consumption, and the Diplomático range is testament to this.

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

Diplomático Blanco – 40%

Six year old white rum. Slightly heavy on the nose with aromas of soft fruit and coconut cream. Soft chocolate notes on the palate, slightly sharpened mid-way but mellows quickly into a long offering. Leaves a slight burn but again mellows.

Diplomático Añejo – 40%

A mix of continuous still and pot still rums aged for an average of four years. A fruity nose with a sweet aroma dominating, but a slight light wood scent. Very soft on the palate with flavours of tropical fruits creating a warmth during its long experience.

Diplomático Reserva – 40%

A higher proportion of pot still rums aged for an average of eight years. Sweet and rather thick on the nose with notes of vanilla, wood and dry fruit balancing well. Again very soft on the palate with a mouth-watering sweetness of chocolate and spice structuring well.

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva – 40%

Blend of copper pot still rums aged for twelve years. An orange zest on the nose with bold, dark sugar aromas dominating soon after. A long offering of toffee and tropical fruits blend to create a silky texture that’s soft and easy-going. Sweet.

Diplomático Single Vintage 2000
Diplomático Single Vintage 2000

Diplomático Single Vintage 2000 – 43%

After a fantastic sugarcane harvest in the year 2000 in Venezuela, this particular batch was aged in the best single malt and bourbon casks the distillers could find for 12 years and finished in Spanish Sherry casks.
Thick vanilla notes on the nose, with sherry and sugar balancing nicely. Soft and sweet upon the palate, with the sherry oak coming through to create a slightly dry, yet long finish.

Diplomático Ambassador Selection – 47%

Finished in Pedro Ximénez barrels. Bold, deep dry fruit aromas on the nose with notes of vanilla and slightly smoked wood. Dark chocolate flavours on the palate creates an incredibly smooth texture that includes coffee and traces of port. Very long.

A fantastic range and experience, one that can be shared on its own or in a sophisticated mix –

Savoy Daisy
Savoy Daisy

Savoy Daisy

Glass –

Gimlet / Coupette

Ingredients –

15 ml Ruby Port
10 ml Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
2 bar spoons Diplomático Reserva
3 bar spoons Muscovado sugar
1/4 Fresh lemon juice
3 dashes Grenadine

Method –

Shake well and strain through a sieve into a chilled cocktail coupette. Decorate with an orange twist.

Elegant and luxurious – both the drink and the rum. Diplomático have also won recognition – 56 overall and counting. These include such titles as Ministry of Rum’s ‘Best Premium Gold Rum 2011’ and Spirits Business Rum Masters Competition ‘Master Medal 2009’ for the Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, Silver at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007 and Gold at the 2007 International Rum Festival again in 2007 for Diplomático Reserva, San Francisco World Spirits Double Gold Medal in 2007 and 2011 for the Diplomático Añejo and Gold Medal at the 2009 Ministry of Rum and 2009 Monde Selection Bruxelles for ‘Grand Gold Quality Award’ for the latest addition of Diplomático Blanco.

Not bad for a family of rum. A family of rum that you really need to experience.

© 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.