UK Rumfest 2013!! Celebrating all things RUM in London!


After a rum and cocktail filled weekend at the ExCel and the bars in London part of me wish one could always live this way while the other part is a bit shall we say booze over-filled?

It´s like a Rum “Tales of the Cocktail” in a concentrated mini format…

For those who doesn´t know the UK Rumfest is the world`s biggest rum event and rum experience for rum drinkers, rum aficionados and rum lovers with over 400 rums to try out plus cocktails made by some of the best bartenders in the UK.

There is live cocktail demonstrations and competitions, island music entertainment including salsa, soca, reggae, zouk and samba. Rum Experience University Masterclasses conducted by industry experts and master blenders.

Food and rum pairings and cooking demonstrations, tropical food market ( i bought fantastic hot pepper sauces from Barbados)

New for this year was the Connoisseur’s Cove area where serious rum aficionados were invited to explore the drink’s more prestigious depths and sample some of the rarest rums available, while in the main arena newcomers could go on a real voyage of discovery with seminars, masterclasses and cocktail making.

Visitors enjoyed a variety of fine foods in The Tropical Food Market including Caribbean dining and African delicacies, and a series of live presentations offered some valuable tips for those looking to introduce rum into their cooking.

For distillers and producers it´s the perfect occasion to display new products and there´s something for everyone that´s for sure.

And there is the Golden Rum Barrel Awards where yours truly brought home the Rum Blogger of the Year award (see previous post)

And most of all – it´s fun! and it´s a great occasion to not only deal with all things rum but too meet all these fantastic people!

Running alongside the main event for a third year, the trade-only Boutique RumFest provided a valuable and unique platform for small, emerging brands to showcase their rums to industry figures including wholesalers, buyers, distributors and press.

I very much enjoyed the Boutique Rumfest because it´s calmer there since it´s only for the trade and you really get a chance to talk to the producers. But don´t get me wrong, i enjoyed everything else just as much.

The big room with all the cocktails, party, music, food, contests and fun and the Connasisseur´s Cove where one could find fine rums such as RL Seale, Diplomatico, St Nicholas Abbey, El Dorado, Centenario, Botran, Pusser´s, Don Q, Angostura, Zacapa and new rums like Chamarel and Cubay.

UK RumFest curator and Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell hosted an incredible variety of talks, demonstrations and activities over the weekend with leading figures within the industry.

Visitors were shown how to make the perfect Cuban Mojito thanks to Havana Club’s Mojito Embassy, Coco Re’al and Pusser’s Rum were also on hand with further cocktail demonstrations and celebrity Chef Hasan de Four brought some diversity to the rum tasting by hosting live cooking demos throughout the day.

Year on year UK RumFest returns to celebrate and educate rum’s huge popularity and diversity. Beginning just seven year’s ago at the Royal Horticultural Halls with just 500 people – RumFest now caters for 7,000 rum-lovers!!  So bring on the RumFest’s return in 2014 – i can´t wait…

And here is this years Rum Fest in pictures:

rumfest 2013 sign great minds drink alike

Yep! Let´s get this party started! with over 400 rums and a never ending range of rum punches and cocktails, food and snacks from the Caribbean, music, contests and more there´s nothing but a big party!

That said, with the Connaisseur´s Cove and the Boutique Rumfest for the trade there´s something for everyone at the UK Rumfest!


Rumfest 2013 PK

Painkillers….with Coco Real and Pusser´s rum. I love it all! the Painkiller is one of my favorite cocktails, Pusser´s a great rum and Coco Real, is such a fantastic and versatile cream of coconut, good for Pina Coladas too!

Not only that, it comes in a handy bottle and last long! Some prefer Coco Lopez but i´d say both – they are equally good but the Coco Real is to me a better value since you get so much in one handy squeeze bottle.

Can`t be without that real coconut flavor!

Rumfest 2013 pussers

Pusser´s rum – an important part of British Naval history and the only rum with official Admiralty authentication making it a true Navy rum.


Rumfest 2013 Westernhall rums

The Vintage and the Plantation expressions from the Westernhall Estate in Grenada. Do i need to say they taste good? The Vintage is made from rums that are aged a minimum of 10 years and is rich and smooth.

Westernhall Plantation is a smooth sipping rum with a buttery smooth and a little bit spicy taste. A true Caribbean rum that was located in the Boutique Rumfest section for the trade only and which naturally was the least crowded area – which gave you more time to taste and talk with the producers. On the other hand, the rum producers got more exposed in the Connaisseur´s Cove which was really crowded.

Rumfest 2013 jack iron

Westernhall also produces the Jack Iron which is an overproof rum with great flavor that has been aged in wooden charred oak cask and bottled at 70% ABV, use as floats in cocktails and tiki drinks! It´s still not harsh on the palate even though of course strong.


Recently launched in the UK a rum from Cuba. They have the Carta Blanca, a 4 yo Carta Dorada, a 5 yo called Anejo Suave and  the anejo which is aged for 7 years and finally the anejo reserva which is 10 years with flavors of spices, vanilla and honey.

In the UK it´s the 3, 7 and 10 year old rums that are being launched.

Rumfest 2013 CUBAY 5

They were pretty swamped when i got there (the whole Conneisseur´s Cove was much more crowded than i expected) and so i only got to have a brief taste of it.

I found the 3 year old white to have a sort of fresh sugarcane hints in it, the anejo was lighter than i expected and have a sweetness to it with vanilla notes, and the Reserva Especial added some more wood oakiness. I would like to be able to re-visit these rums though because i feel i`m not done with tasting them.

The Cubay rums are produced by the distilleries of Cuba Ron S.A which also produce Havana Club. The Ron Cubay brand was at first only intended for domestic consumption, so that´s why it´s new now in the UK. but it was actually founded in Cuba back in 1964.

Rumfest 2013 CUBAY 4

Samples of Ron Cubay, the latest Cuban rum on the market in Europe.

I start to wonder if the Rumfest doesn´t need one more day…it´s kinda hard to be able to go through everything you want in just five hours per day in 2 days…


Rumfest 2013 Wray and Ting and ice

NO RUMFEST WITHOUT JWRAY AND TING! – yeah that´s right….

A true highlight for me was the JWray and Ting booth with JWray and Ting and Reggae Punch drinks! – i just kept returning….like a moth to the light…

I left and walked away but after a while i heard the Ting and Jwray and Reggae Rum punch call me back…

Rumfest 2013 Reggae Rum Punch

The Reggae Rum Punch was so yummy! i could of been drinking bucket loads of it! and those who know me know i also loves me some JWray and Ting…Here´s a pic of  the recipe cards so you can make these delicious drinks at home:

Rumfest 2013 JWray  recipes


What is a Rumfest without Caribbean Rum Punches? and i saw rum punches almost everywhere i went…red punches, yellow, orange, green…and they were all so tasty! and some of these rum punches were bottled and for sale as well in the Tropical Food Market with all kinds of good things from rum punches to rum cakes and hot sauces.

If you like Caribbean and other tropical food, drinks and snacks there was a lot to taste including fresh coconuts with rum in them.

Rumfest 2013 Rum Punches red

These red tropical rum punches makes me drool…i know how good they are…

rumfest 2013 Rum punches 3 jewel isle

Lime – lemon, Tropical and Pineapple-Ginger Rum Punches from Jewel Isle. I especially liked the Tropical and the Pineapple-Ginger ones.

And here´s the Tropical….

Rumfest 2013 rum punch jewel isle tropical


And rum cakes of all kinds, i have two with me back, one from St Nicholas Abbey and one Key Lime Rum Cake from Tortuga.

Rum cakes are a very old Caribbean tradition.

rumfest 2013 ganja rum cake

No real ganja in this one…but there´s rum!

rumfest 2013 st nicholas rum cake

And here´s the exquisite rum cake from st Nicholas Abbey. And you need to eat food too and what is bettter than Tropical and Caribbean food? Ian Burrell´s restaurant Cotton`s is always worth having a taste from, their food is a true Caribbean experience! and there were others like Island Griddle, Zoe´s Ghana Kitchen, Big Mama Food with African flavors and Taste of Barbados…

The Tropical Food Market had all kinds of things including Black River Chocolate from Jamaica.

Rumfest 2013 caribbean food

Not much left….of spicy Jamaican patties and grilled shrimps – and then a bottle of St Nicholas Abbey 15 yo rum….more about that rum in the next post.


Of course there was Tiki bars and rum bars and some of the best bartenders in the UK to shake up tasty drinks for all. I enjoyed rum punches and great company at the El Dorado Tiki bar manned by the bartenders from Liar´s Club Tiki Bar in Manchester and the Plantation Tiki bar with among others my good old rum friend Paul McFadyen.

Rumfest 2013 plantation tiki bar

Yeah…Rum Tiki Punch! with Plantation Rum!

rumfest 2013 plantation tiki bar tiki

On stage there were cocktail competitions, among them speed comps which can be quite hilarious when the bar gets wetter and wetter…

And some great prizes to win for the competing bartenders! and the contest cocktails were given out to the audience, i for one got a mojito from the mojito speed comp.

speed comp

Michele Tuveri shaking it up!


Dark rum cocktails demonstration by The Kuyper “A” Team.


Try this….

rumfest 2013 sign flip flops

That is all in pictures for now folks but look out for a second post in similar style describing more rums, seminar with Martin Cate and some pictures from London of the city, some bars and drinks.

So for the rum connaisseurs and enthusiasts the Rumfest is “rum-edutainment” but what does the producers say? Let´s have a look:

What some of the producers said about this years Rumfest:

“Great first time experience at Rumfest for us with Virgin Gorda British Caribbean Rum. Fantastic to make so many “Rum connections” from all over the world. And very chuffed with the “Best Boutique of the Year” prize!”
Ellie – Virgin Gorda

“We used RumFest to launch our new product in the UK, being in the Connoisseur Cove allowed us to give a detailed history of Ron Cubay and its Cuban quality. The positive feedback we had from Trade and Consumers was fantastic and we intend to be back next year as an established Cuban Rum in the UK.” Jonathan – JBE Imports

Really happy once again to be exhibiting here. This year was our product launch for Rum Chamarel and I couldn’t have been happier from the response we got from the folks of UK RumFest 2013. Great event bringing everyone from the industry and all the ‘rummys’ together under one roof trying new products and existing products too. Bring on Next year I say !”
Rowan Sham – Rhumerie Chamarel

“The UK Rum Fest was a pleasure to attend. We think this event is critical to our expansion into the UK. The access we received to retailers and distributors was excellent. We look forward to presenting The Real McCoy rum to the UK market and partnering with the UK RumFest for many years to come.” Bailey Prior – Real McCoy Rum

“Our first Boutique Rum Fest has been a success and we received lots of enthusiasm for Santiago de Cuba Rum that is known already by lots of people here in London who can no wait to see the brand on the market. We will surely be back in 2014 for more Cuban delights.” Damien – Santiago de Cuba

“The Connoisseur’s Cove was a great addition to RumFest this year, it gave us the time and space to really connect with the visitors to our stand.” Chris Seale – Diplomatico

“RumFest 2013 was a great success for the Re’al Rum Shack this year. We exhibited Pusser’s rum and Coco Re’al and featured in the Connoisseurs Cove area. This was a great addition to RumFest and enabled us to talk and spend time with all who visited us at our stand. This area was much more relaxed and was perfect for introducing and educating people on our brands.

It is because of this area that we exhibited again this year, and will be doing so again next year. The standard of people that came to see us in the Connoisseurs Cove was fantastic. We met some great people and recorded some great leads.” Peter Thornton – Pussers

“Another amazing, fun time meeting old friends, tasting fantastic rums and making new contacts. At Green Engineering were proud to again sponsor the Master Blenders award. We believe it takes a combination of our beautifully hand crafted distilleries and the skills of the master blender to consistently produce a really great rum.” John Whetstone – Green Engineering

RumFest is a blast, no other drinks festival puts on a party like they do. The love for rum in the UK is immense and the quality of drinks on offer is getting better every year, we’re proud to be part of the movement.” Nick Rogers – Instill Drinks

“Great RumFest this weekend. We were really pleased with the changes you made and noticed a big difference in the quality of people coming to taste the rums. Thank you very much!”
Olivia Plunkett – Eaux de Vie

“Another amazing, fun time meeting old friends, tasting fantastic rums and making new contacts. At Green Engineering were proud to again sponsor the Master Blenders award. We believe it takes a combination of our beautifully hand crafted distilleries and the skills of the master blender to consistently produce a really great rum.” John Whetstone – Green Engineering

“The crowd at RumFest were fantastic. It was great to see so many rum lovers in London. We had a lot of fun and made a lot of new friends. Teaming up with Lambs Navy Rum was a natural match due to our location in West India Quay where our histories cross paths.

The new Lambs Spiced proved incredibly popular with the public. We are really looking forward to seeing all our new friends in Rum & Sugar at West India Quay to work their way through our extensive rum collection and sample some of our many rum inspired dishes.” Chris Gutierrez – Rum and Sugar



Cheers to the UK Rumfest!! and one more thing…if you´re only interested in getting drunk the Rumfest isn´t for you!