Rum has been my spirit of choice for quite a few years now. I’ve never quite got into spirits such as whisky or gin, and the likes of vodka, tequila and sambuca bring back too many memories of bad hangovers during my university days. But rum, you can never go wrong with rum in my opinion. All of my favourite cocktails start with rum; piña colada, daiquiri, mojito, rum and coke.
So, as you can imagine, I was extremely excited when I got invited to spend an evening with the St Kitts Tourism board and Ian Burrell, The Global Ambassador for Rum, for a rum cocktail class at 100 Hoxton.
Iain is an award-winning bartender who travels around the world conducting rum seminars, rum academies, tastings and masterclasses (how do I get this job!?). He is the Guinness World Record holder for the largest official rum tasting, the first person to set up a rum shack in Antarctica, and the organiser of the annual London Rum Fest.
Plus, on top of all of these impressive accolades, he’s also a lovely guy and an engaging and entertaining speaker (don’t you just hate it when people have it all!? Just kidding).
Iain spent the evening teaching us about rum, dismissing some common myths about the spirit, and teaching us how to make several tasty rum-based cocktails, including the popular daiquiri.
At the end of the session, we each got a chance to make our own daiquiri, using a rum and sweetener of our choice. Not to brag but guess who won the best-tasting cocktail with her golden rum and pineapple daiquiri? Okay, I am bragging a little… it was me!!
5 Common Misconceptions about Rum
1. Rum is sweet.
Yes, rum is made from sugarcane. No, that doesn’t mean it’s sweet. During the fermentation process yeast converts sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide, meaning that rum is naturally sugar-free. However, a small amount of sugar is occasionally added to the finished product to achieve the desired flavour profile of certain rums.
2. All rum is from the Carribean
Rum’s commercial birthplace may be the beautiful Carribean Islands, however, rum has been produced all over the world for hundreds of years. Rum producing regions include India, the Philippines, Brazil, Central America, the US, Australia, Spain and even Scotland.
3. Pirates always drank rum
“Yo Ho Ho And a Bottle of Rum”. Over the years, pirates have gained a reputation for consuming mainly rum. However, early pirates actually just drank whatever was available for them to loot. Originally this would have been wine and beer, as well as other spirits such as whisky and brandy. Rum did become a more popular choice during the rise of the West Indian rum trade in the late 17th century.
4. “Rhum” is the French spelling of rum
You will often see “rhum” on the labels of rums from French-speaking areas, however, this isn’t simply the French spelling of the word. Rather, it distinguishes rum made from fresh sugar cane juice instead of from molasses. This style of rum production just happens to be more common in the French Caribbean Islands and French-speaking areas.
5. Rum isn’t a pairing drink
Most people know that wine can be paired with foods to enhance the flavour experience. But rum and rum-based cocktails are often thought of as drinks enjoy on their own, whether you’re on the beach in St Kitts or a nightclub in London. However, did you know rum can also be paired with many different foods?
Chocolate is a common pairing for a great after dinner treat. The bitterness of a rich dark chocolate perfectly offsets a sweet rum. Rum also works well with jerk and bbq meats, as well as cheeses and snacks such as plantain chips and banana fritters.