UK Rumfest 2015!

Here comes the RUM

 

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This year was without doubt the best Rumfest ever! such great selection of rums and classes, tastings and good people. The venue, the ILEC Conference Centre is a good place for this and I don`t think it felt too crowded this year. With over 400 rums to try a rum enthusiast will be very busy these 2 days…

The varietes and types of rums was astonishing – everything from old favorites and big brands to new rums for this years UK Rumfest. Some of the old ones included St Nicholas Abbey, Foursquare, Real McCoy, Bristol Spirits, Don Q, Westernhall, St Aubin, Ron Diplomatico, Botran, Pusser`s, Angostura, Rum Fire and more….

And some of the new rums included Hamilton rums and Matugga and then there was a new rhum agricole tasting room manned by Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany with several tastings of different agricole cane spirits from Martinique with four tastings a day (!) which was a great new addition for this year – as well as the House of Velier tasting room.

The House of Velier tasting room and session by Gianluca Gargano….who brought not only his educational and entertaining classes to the UK Rumfest but also an array of absolutely incredible rums – among them were four of the eight new upcoming Habitaion Velier pure single pot still rums, one among them in collaboration with Foursquare. You can see them all here.

More rhum agricoles and the presence of Velier is what i have been missing the previous years….now i`m very happy 🙂 and I hope the presence of Hamilton rums is an indication of those rums being sold in Europe soon….that said, there were of course a LOT of other interesting and exciting rums too! too many to get to try them all believe it or not.

The day before the rumfest which was on the saturday and sunday, was the Boutique Rumfest, an event for the trade with a great selection of rums on display as well and a chance for people in the industry to get together. And before the Boutique Rumfest was the Rum University with masterclasses by Tito Cordero from Ron Diplomatico. Richard Seale from Foursquare and Aroma Therapy.

And of course there were cocktail competitions, rum auctions and Caribbean rum cooking……..paired with the traditional carnival dancers and drummers.

I started my UK Rumfest adventure with a trip on the thursday night to the Tiki on Thames Rumfest Party at Mahiki which was very nice with a whole bunch of good rum friends there. Mahiki has some beautiful tiki decor and the drinks were good and the ambiance wonderful!

Mahiki 1

Rum University

Doesn`t matter how much you know about rum, or think you know…there´s always much much more to learn, and the Rum University is a good thing to attend! the rum school never ends…

This year there were three seminars, the first was with Tito Cordero about Ron Diplomatico which contained some very interesting information about how their rums are distilled, in an intricate way with many different stills and ways, I had no idea…and then of course we got to taste one of their rums., the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.

Ron Diplomatico grow their own sugarcane in Venezuela and use water from their own wells behind the distillery, also they propagate their own yeast, it´s one of the world´s top range rums.

Ron Diplomatico masterclass

The next seminar, the Aroma Therapy was all about mastering the art of olfaction that forms our sense of smell and the ability identificate aromas and smells. We got taste strips which over a matter of minutes changed their fragrances, and we wrote down what flavor notes we got from them before the true flavor notes of the strips was revealed, a very interesting experiment.

When you describe a flavor note, go from A-Z, for example “banana” is not just “banana” it can be so many things – from unripe or green to caramelized with raw sugar and one key thing to id aromas and smells is aroma recognition. Go into the depth of what you taste and smell when trying to describe it.

Aroma Academy

The last seminar was with Richard Seale debunking rum myths and revealing some hard facts and truths….also talking about rum cathegories and distillation. Anyone interested in rum should go to one of Richard`s seminars. One thing to learn is that fermentation is the making of the “wine” and the creation of flavor while distillation is the extraction of flavor, while maturation is the evolution of flavor.

He also made an interesting experiment, we got three glasses with clear spirit, two were industrial rums and one contained a vodka and he asked us to pick out which one was the vodka, and that sounds like an easy task but it wasn`t, me for one, was very unsure about which one was what and that my friends showed me how some industrial rums are made to be just like vodka…an eye opener for sure.

I don`t know which brands of rums they were but I know for sure that that is NOT the kind of rums I want to drink, I want rum to taste like rum and don`t want it to be industrial. Also there were two glasses, one with a pot still rum and one from a column to show us how the pot more accurately captured the raw material, the wine of the molasses and smelled like true rum.

Further Richard stated that all rums that contains sugar are not bad but all bad rums contains sugar….

Rum Univ RS

After the Rum Univeristy the Boutique Rumfest was on…and when you come out to that rum filled room you feel like children coming to a big playground full of candy and toys… 😀

There was a good selection of rum producers displaying their rums, the good thing about Boutique Rumfest is that they have time to really chat with you since it`s not so crowded. It`s also a place to get to try more odd rums that you usually don`t stumble on and one such rum and that had a very different flavor was Matugga rum which is made in the UK using ingredients from East Africa.

Another interesting rum was Nine Leaves from Japan, a rum that tastes better than I knew coming from a country which is known more for their whiskies than rum.

Also happy to see the Hamilton rums there, for the first time in Europe and I sampled the three I reviewed earlier this summer (Guyana 43%, Jamaica Pot Still Black and Saint Lucia Pot Still 7 years)  plus the Jamaican Pot Still Gold and the Saint Lucia Pot Still 9 years, and it was all good…..I especially liked the Saint Lucia 9.

Heavy rums with a lot of rich and pungent flavors.

Rumfest Day One

Rumfest

And finally, the big day! the Rumfest with everything that it entails….LOTS of rums to discover and try as well as old favorites to drink again. Caribbean food and music and lots of seminars and tastings! and the “global rum mafia” was well represented! It`s the people that makes it all up! old friemds and new friends, you meet them all the Rumfest!

House of Velier

First tasting seminar for me was House of Velier, what else? it`s some of the best rums in the world and I been a fan of Velier rums for many years. I followed the notes that was taped to the walls….eager to get to the rum sanctuary called “House of Velier Tasting Room”….hmm….those are some magic words…

The rest of the people coming after me could surf on the waves of drooling on the carpet…..but joke aside, it was very special.

Velier tasting room signs

Just follow the signs….

Luca Gargano, always so passionate about his rums presented a great session with some really incredible rums to sample, some which probably i`ll never get to try again. Luca took us through his history with rum from when he as a young brand ambassador for St James rhum in the 70s first went to Martinique………at the time he fell in love with rhum/rum and never looked back.

When he was 27 he purchased the company Velier and started to import several brands of rums and the rest is (very interesting) history until this day with Luca for the first time at the UK Rumfest presenting a few of his wonderful and unique rums.

I saw and also wrote about his Clairin presentation earleir at this year`s Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and it was absolutely fabulous.

Velier tasting table

Among the rums he presented was the red magnum bottled “Caroni 2000 Millenium” (Extra Strong 120 proof) and which blew me away….and the fabulous “Basseterre -95” from Guadeloupe, four expressions of the House of Velier Single Pot Still rums, Uitvlught 1996, the new Caroni 17 year, the wonderful Clairins from Haiti, Rhum Rhum 2012 version integrale (higher proof) Caroni single cask 2000, Diamond 1999……..oh my the RUMS!

And very interesting was the new soon to be launched single pot still rums (looking forward to get me a bottle of that Foursquare – or if possible, all of them….)

HOV Foursquare Potstill

It was a tasting fest like no other! when you get to taste these kinds of rums, the word “rum” gets a whole new meaning.

Rhum Agricole from Martinique

After Velier I went to the Rhum Agricole tasting session, “Rhums of Martinique” by Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany where we could sample different rhums agricoles, among them rhums from St James, Trois Rivières, La Mauny, Neisson, Rhum JM, HSE, Rhum Clemènt…all great rhums.

I`m very happy to see so much more rhum agricoles at the UK Rumfest, it has been called for for a long time….we need more rhum agricole at the (non french) rum events.

st James XO

A Baby has grown up!

Yep! there´s a “rum baby” that has grown up this year….namely St Nicholas Abbey`s newest rum which a little bit pre-maturely was launched last year….the 5 year old expression.

This year the baby has grown up and the flavors matured. It has the typical st Nicholas Abbey flavor, an explosion of flavors in other words, I think it tastes stronger and more complex than it was last year.

This rum was made from their white rum that was laid to rest creating their first estate produced 5 year old rum.. It`s their first rum distilled and aged entirely on the estate (the previous rums were made exclusively for the plantation by master Distiller Richard Seale from R.L Seale and Foursquare) and was ready in 2014.

The St Nicholas Abbey Rum 5 Year Old is a beautiful Rum that commemorates a beautiful story – not least, the first generation of Warren’s, Arthur and Henry, born into St. Nicholas Abbey 21st May 2014.

St Nicholas Abbey

It`s only to congratulate! it`s a fine fine range of rum expressions, on the very top of good rums in this world and if you would do a blind tasting you would easily be able to pick up any of the St Nicholas Abbey rums because they really do have a very distinct flavor.

And not only do they sell their beautiful rums in hand engraved botttles at their estate and distillery on Barbados, there´s all kinds of absolutely gorgeous products, one is their sugarcane syrup which was on display at the Rumfest. And it`s not your usual sugar syrup, this is made with their sugar cane “honey” (not the same as honey from the bees:-) which is fermented sugar cane juice and it has a deep deep flavor….same as their rums and no wonder, that`s what their rums are made from…

Foursquare

Foursquare special casks

Of course Foursquare had their Doorly`s there and also the Port Cask Finish which I also tried last year, but this year there were also a few new expressions (at least to me) that I had not tasted before, all special casks – a 2004 vintage at 61%, a Sinfadel Cask Blend at 43% and a 2013 Cognac Cask at 65%, they were all very good!

These are rums for sipping and enjoying slowly….good rums shall never be gulped down! you waste the precius (and often expensive) “juice” and miss out on the whole array of taste notes that is hidden in the “treasure chest”….

I wouldn`t use these in cocktails either, some rums are best sipped neat.

I like to see Foursquare coming up with more cask strength rums because I think they carry so much more flavor and punch, they are so much more interesting….

Rumfest Day Two

Same same but different….with other rums to try that I missed yesterday and it´s always such a good feeling to return to that happy rum filled big room on the sunday…. 🙂 and I did go back to the Velier tasting room since there were some additional other rums to try on the sunday and I don`t need to be asked twice if I want to return to a Velier tasting room….I could go to a Velier tasting room every day the whole year long.

I also went back to the Rhum agricole tasting room too to try what I missed yesterday….because yesterday there was so much chatting that I missed out on some of the rums when time did run out….

Followed the agricole tasting room was the Mauritius Gold Cocktail Competition and then the traditional Caribbean drummers and dancers which always closes down the Rumfest.

Bacardi cocktails

Another nice thing was the Bacardi “hut” with cool cocktails, same way as last year but another rum (Bacardi 8) and other cocktails. This time we got a wooden tray with three mini cocktail “glasses” on, one was a Bacardi 8 neat, one was an Old Fashioned and one was the “Old Cuban” cocktail.

Very tasty (especially the Old Cuban) and very neat! I really like how they present their products.

Passing by the Angostura both beautifully arranged with all their iconic rums and bitters I saw one of the coolest rum barrel mugs ever, if I could just get me one of these….I wish….if I had one of these mugs i`d make tiki drinks with Angostura 5 and 7 year old rums….how cool wouldn`t that be? what I love the most about it is how beautiful the barrel is and then the butterfly!!

Angostura berrel

Angostura rums

Beautiful Angostura rums

Here´s pictures of the Rumfest, I hope to see you there the next year dear readers of my blog 🙂 it`s an amazing event with so much to see and do!

Blackwell rum

Jamaican flavors with Blackwell rum! and cocktails….

Blackwell rum cocktails

The Golden Eye and Black Storm…followed by…

Rum Punch with JWray

…..some JWray overproof Rum Punches!

Ian and reporter

The man responsible for it all….Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell. Holding the special Rumfest Blend!

Ekte Rum DA

Ekte Rum from Copenhagen Rum Club! Dark and Aged…

Ekte Rum PG

Pungent and Geeky!

Jack

What would a rumfest be without pirates? and this particular pirate, “Jack” was everywhere…. 😀

Carnival time

Carnival dancing…..

Jack Iron

I see this rum every year…it`s a good one and to me the rumfest would be “empty” without this bottle around….

Overproof rums

More good overproofs….RumFire and RumBar.

Mezan rums

Another brand I like, Mezan rums, especially the Monymusk one.

Orchids

At the Don Q stand, Alexx Mouzouris did a fantastic job with both the cocktails and the decorations…..just like he did the last year. He knows how to make it stand out and look inviting and special! and he sure knows how to make super tasty cocktails.

Rum Nation Jamaica

Rum Nation…

Mauritius Rums

Rums from Mautitius….

Bristol rums

Bristol Classic….another rum i`m used to see at the UK Rumfest, this is a classic good rum brand with many different expressions and types of rums represented.

Real mcCoy

And Real McCoy! this is a very very good rum! made by Foursquare for Real McCoy.

limes

This picture is just to make you thirsty… 🙂

Pussers Painkiller

And when you`re thirsty….a Painkiller is never wrong….

Painkiller mug

Cheers and Up Spirits!

Pussers Gunpowder rum

Pusser`s Gunpowder Proof.

La Mauny

Rhum agricole, so different from molasses rums and equally good, this is what I love about rum, there´s so many different ones!

Shockas coconuts

In between rums or WITH rums, Shocka´s coconuts is a must have at the UK Rumfest. I filled mine with Mezan Monymusk rum….

Sirop JM

A very good sugarcane syrup, made on Martinique.

Trois Rivieres rhums

Trois Rivières….nice rhums.

HSE

HSE – Habitation Saint Etienne, Sherry Finish, a very good rhum agricole.

Velier Caroni 17

Here`s the new 17 year old Caroni by Velier, it´s very good….

Velier Caroni rums

The 2000 Caroni Millenium magnum bottle, an incredible rum! with the 17 year, these are some seriously good rums and if I could afford that big red magnum Caroni….but maybe one day.

Velier bottles on table

Velier rums…a whole table full of them for tasting….

Velier Caroni single cask 2000

Caroni, single Cask.

Velier Caroni single cask 2000 bottle

Aged in the tropics.

Velier Diamond 1999

More tropical aged demerara rums from Velier….

Velier HOV tasting table

This is rum prn for rum geeks…..

Velier Basseterre 95

Basseterre -95, a fantastic rum from Guadeloupe, I like this one very much.

Velier Liberation 2012 version integrale

Rhum Rhum 2012, the stronger version (version integrale) amazing rum!

Velier HOV Forsythe Pot still

Habitation Velier, Forsythe Pot Still 2005. On the back label it says “it`s the fruits of the first distillation in more than 50 years at Worthy Park in the double retort pot still built by Forsyth. Barrel proof without additives or colorings. It was the first rum to be produced at Worthy Park when the historic estate which had previously worked interruptedly since 1670, started distilling again.

Velier Uitvlugt 96 bottle

Uitvlugt 1996….another amazing rum.

Mahiki Aloha

Aloha time at Mahiki 🙂

Mahiki Pina Coladas

With tasty Pina Coladas.

The Ladies room at Mahiki

Giant clam shell to wash your hands in at the ladies room, Mahiki, beautiful!

So it started with a tiki bar and ended with another tiki bar….

After the Rumfest closed down there was the traditional after party at the Trailer Happiness!!! something I did NOT wanna miss! and there we got these huuuuuge Zombies in skull mugs…..and I don`t know what they did put in those but yes they totally zombied me out ….. 😀

Trailer After party

This was so not to be missed!  What a wonderful way to finish the Rumfest, with these huge superpotent Zombies! I hope I can be back again the next year!

Trailer Zombie

La Confrérie du Rhum Celebrates 2 Years!

 

la-Cuvée-anniversaire-TiArrangé-de-Céd-Ananas-Victoria-Sauternes-Finish-single-cask-en-édition-limitée-à-500-exemplaires

La Confrérie du Rhum Celebrates 2 Years on the 28th of march 2015, and for this celebration there´s a new rum made! This rum is La Cuvée Anniversaire Ananas Victoria Sauternes Finish (Single Cask, Label Rouge) in a limited edition of 500 bottles.

This infused rum has as a base white AOC rhum agricole from Martinique and has been aged for 8 months in sauternes casks before being infused with red labelled Victoria pineapples from Rèunion Island.

The red labelled Victoria pineapples are a high quality and rare product, cultivated and chosen under a very selective way. The standards of this variety of pineapples is very high in terms of cultivation and final results.

The 70cl bottle of this Cuvèe (32% abv) are labelled with a white and gold label with the logo of the group on it and this bottling  will be presented and sold exclusively at the shop Christian de Montaguère in Paris, starting at 2 (14h) o`clock sharp! What a rhum arrangè is you can read here and here you can read about Rhums de Cèd, amazing flavored/arranged rums made by Cèdric Brèment.

La Confrérie du Rhum is a Facebook group created in march 2013 and already counts more than 5000 members. Professionals and rumlovers talk and share their common passion about rum and distillates from sugarcane on it.

For the second birthday of this group, the administrators decided to bring out this “Cuvèe Anniversaire” and teamed up with Cédric Brèment, the famous French rhum arrangè producer of Les Ti`arrangès de Cèd.

I was lucky to get a little sample for pre-review and let me tell you this is some really nice stuff! the lush tropical and sunny fragrance of ripe pineapple is the first that hits me when i open the little bottle….

The taste is rich, floral and fruity, sweet and herbal, and the notes of the rhum agricole is in the front while the lush sumptuous and almost decadent pineapple is lingering in the back. It`s total sweet harmony…and it definetily makes me want to own a bottle….lucky are those who can go there and buy one!

Cèdric Brèment is a master of his art!

Cuvèe Anniversaire

The rum will be sold for 36 euros and you read about the event on the Facebook page

We have the honor to see you there to discuss and share our common passion and also you will have a little surprise, namely, a special anniversary cuvée in the presence of its producer, Cedric Brement in person!

No need to book, or pre-order, you’re all just welcome from 14h until closing of the shop.

Christian de Montaguère
20, rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris, France

Saturday march 28 at 2:00pm – 7:00pm

Cheers to the second Anniversary of La Confrérie du Rhum!

La Cofrerie du rhum cuvee anniversaire

St Aubin Reserve Rum from Mauritius

St Aubin Reserve rums

 

The name of St Aubin`s Reserve rums has been inspired by their oldest sugar cane field of the Saint Aubin plantation which produces a reddish sugarcane variety with distinctive flavours. The juice from the red cane is distilled in their copper column still and thus produces a lighter more delicate rum than the artisanal range of Saint Aubin 1819.

I find the difference between the Reserve rums and the artisanal rums to be huge. The Reserve rums are much more light and delicate with just a hint of that aromatic herbal grassiness you find typical in rhum agricole, while the artisanal 1819 range of rums are much more strong in flavor.

St Aubin Reserve White Rum

The nose is as expected very light, almost extremely light, there´s a very slight hint of sugarcane juice. The taste is very mild, aromatic and has a sparkling brilliance to it. It`s pleasant and easy to sip! I would describe the flavor as “light sugarcane juice”

St Aubin Reserve Rum Spiced

This is different…in the nose you get whiffs of orange peel and what i think it´s a hint of gingerbread cake. In the mouth the orange peel is there very strong with cinnamon and that hint of gingerbread as was in the nose. It`s a different spiced rum since it´s made with an agricole rum. I cannot detect much of the agricole grassy notes though.

Would be good in holiday drinks! but it can also be sipped with ice. I used a little bit of it in my Spiced Pago Pago and a small amount of this mixed with their white rum added a bit of spice to the drink.

St Aubin Reserve Rum Vanilla

I had to just compare this vanilla rum with the 1819 Artisanal vanilla rum. Starting with the nose, it`s very very light….just a whiff of vanilla and light caramel, fruity rather than spicy. In the mouth it becomes stronger but this one is much more light and delicate than it´s 1819 cousin and the grassy agricole flavors are toned down.

While the other one has an decidedly earthy character with strong notes of both vanilla, wood and grassiness this one is more fruity with caramel notes and just a slight hint of vanilla. It`s balanced and pleasant and can be used in a variety of cocktails or be enjoyed neat. Remember this rum is made with vanilla beans from their own plantation!

SPICED PAGO PAGO

Spiced Pago Pago 2

6-7 chunks of fresh pineapple, muddled

0.5 oz (15 ml) fresh lime juice

0.5 oz (15 ml) green Chartreuse

0.25 oz (7.5 ml) Creme de Cacao

1 oz (30 ml) St  Aubin Reserve White Rum

0.5 oz (15 ml)  St Aubin Reserve Rum Vanilla

0.5 oz (15 ml)  St Aubin Reserve Rum Spiced

Muddle the pineapple chunks in a shaker and add the rest of ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a tiki glass (or other fancy glass) filled with very cold cracked ice.

Garnish with pineapple slice, speared maraschino cherry and pineapple or other tropical leaf.

It´s a light and refreshing drink with herbal aromatics added from the Green Chartreuse.

If you would like this drink may also benefit from a float of overproof rum! (such as Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum which would go great with the St Aubin rums in this particular drink)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Overall i think St Aubin makes pleasant and flavorful rums, also they are very versatile, they greet you with some bright Mauritian sunshine! they make good quality rums. I also like the little square shaped bottles!

Here is their website.

If you live in Europe you can find St Aubin rums at La Gourmandine Rhumière´s online store. and at Christian de Montaguère in Paris.

See other St. Aubin Reserve Spiced rum reviews on RumRatings

See other St. Aubin Reserve White rum reviews on RumRatings

See other St. Aubin Reserve Vanilla rum reviews on RumRatings

Making Rhum Arrangè

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE4 BOTTLE SIDE PINEAPPLE

First time i saw rhum arrangè being made by suspending the fruits above the rhum in large jars was when i saw a video from La Rèunion and i got quite curious. There were all kinds of fruits hanging there with all kinds of things (spices) sticking out of the fruits. I had known about rhum arrangè before but not being made that way. So i decided to try some day and now it´s the time.

The style is called in french –  “ananas qui pleure”  (the crying pineapple) since the pineapple is suspended in the jar above the rhum agricole as to not touch the rhum and thus avoiding any flavors from the skin to get into the rhum. This is typically done with citrus fruits which carries bitter flavors in their skin.

But also this kind of maceration above the rhum can be done with any fruits and in the French islands only the imagination is the limit, you see ALL kinds of things in intriguing jars…some you have NO idea what they are…

And there´s for example rhum arrangè with shrimp and snake…i`m actually wondering how it would taste with a crawfish rhum?

The one i`m experimenting with here has New Orleans community coffee pecan-praline coffee beans stuck into one side of the fruit and Tahitian vanilla beans in the other and the beans are cut in the ends so the juice from the pineapple can pass through like a “funnel” through the vanilla bean bringing some of the tiny vanilla seeds along down into the rhum.

And all the pineapple, vanilla-coffee goodness will slowly drop down to flavor the rhum…thus the name “ananas qui pleure…The whole thing will sit like that in the closed jar until the fall, at least 4 months.

I wrote a post about rhum arrangè before and i that post i included that video from the island of la Rèunion where there is a restaurant called Le Saint-Bernard that contains ONLY rhum arrangès (about 400 rhums) of all kinds of flavors made with fruits, roots, spices and God knows what…and many are suspended this way.

Unfortunately (very) the video i first saw is not there anymore but the article (in french) is. The place looks like a veritable laboratory of rhum arrangè, absolutely amazing and a place i`d love to visit.

In my earlier post i wrote about this method of hanging the fruit above the alcohol explaining it:

There´s two different ways of macerating, one is the traditional common way of submerging the fruits and spices into the rum. Then there´s another where you hang the fruits (usually citrus fruits) as they are or with things inserted into the fruits – like coffee beans and hung above the liquid.

The idea is that the aromatics and oils are derived from the citrus and spices without any bitterness from the pith and that´s the reason this method is usually used for citrus fruits.

Here`s a link to a case study with limoncello.

This method is called D.S.M – or Delicious Scientific Magic!!

DSM – or diffusion – The alcohol, exerting a vapor pressure, will diffuse into the lemons saturating the lemon, thus the loss of alcohol in a closed system.

In turn, the lemon oil will also exert a vapor pressure; the lemon smell you get when you cut the skin. It will diffuse out of the lemon and saturate the alcohol.

In the Limoncello post they are talking about high proof or overproof spirits but the traditional rhum arrangè isn`t necessarily done with especially high proof  rhums, i think the common proof is between 45-55%

Here´s one of the videos about the rhums arrangès at Le Saint-Bernard:

Here`s also a link to some pictures of the rhums.

As you can see there´s absolutely no limit of what you can do with rhum arrangè…but what you need is a lot of patience because this ain`t no quick fix!

So here`s what i did to make this variation with pineapple, vanilla and coffee:

1 – Prepare everything you need, jar, rhum or rum, fruit (not too ripe), spices, a string to tie the fruit with. Cut the vanilla beans in half pieces and cut off the top ends. Make sure the jar and the string is clean and the fruit washed.

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE 1

2 – Cut up the fruit to a size that fits the jar and discard the leaves, then cut small holes in the fruit and stick the coffee beans in one side and the vanilla beans in the other (the skin side) I had to cut up this pineapple because it was too big for the jar but one can also use whole fruits with this method.

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE CUT UP FRUIT COLLAGE

3 – Add the rhum to the jar, then the sugarcane syrup (i took one bottle (75 cl rhum) and add 2-3 tsp of sugarcane syrup. (or 15 cl/o.5 oz)

4 – Suspend the fruit to the cover of the jar with strings so that the fruit do not touch the rum and close the jar good and SEAL it hermetically with tape and leave to macerate for a minimum of 4 months ( it can go 6 months without problem or longer, there are rhum arrangès that have been sitting 3-4 years…)

But i think 4-6 month is good for this one. I`m planning to open the jar in the fall and see what i got – exciting…

RHUM ARRANGE ANANAS QUI PLEURE 3 PICS COLLAGE

And that is all!

Cocktails with Rhums Arrangèes – Zwazo

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé 2

More rhum arrangè cocktails!

So now i have got to try out two very nice rhum arrangèes made by Cèdric Brement and Benoit Bail, and since i wrote my reviews of Benoit´s exotic Zwazo ananas-vanille rhum arrangè and Cèd`s award winning Banane-Cacao, i feel i want to make more drinks with them and see what`s good – starting with the tropical Zwazo.

Even though the traditional way is mostly to drink these rhums neat since they contain so much flavor of their own, they are also used to make tropical punch style cocktails.

I don`t think they have been used very much in tiki style drinks….or have they? in any case it doesn`t hurt if i try right? i`m curious to see how they mix with other rums.

Don the Beachcomber was a master of creating balance with many exotic ingredients – and he was especially skillful when it came to the art of blending rums and so was the original Mai-Kai mixologist Mariano Licudine. One person today that i come to think about getting close in that direction is Martin Cate. (Smuggler´s Cove)

Starting with Zwazo ananas-vanille i needed to find drinks that had ingredients that would harmonize with the pineapple and agricole flavors of the rhum and then switch out the rums used in those drinks for the Zwazo and some other rums that i figured would go well with it.

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Book Potions

So i dived into the Bum`s new book the Potions…of the Caribbean for inspiration…and i sure found a lot.The book is filled with the one mouth watering drink after another (apart from all the interesting things there is to read in it) and the first drink that i decided to experiment with was the Siboney, which is a drink by Trader Vic circa 1950`s.

It`s basically a twist on the daiquiri with pineapple juice added and lemon instead of lime plus passionfruit syrup, mixed with Jamaican dark rum (but only 1 oz) I decided to simply just add 1 oz of Zwazo to give the drink more tropical depth.

And top it off with a generous float of something overproof…and my stomach feeling told me to grab my bottle of the Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired rum.

The result was absolutely delicious! since the recipe called for dark Jamaican rum i took my Denizen Merchant`s Reserve which is a blend of plummer style pot still Jamaican rum and Rhum Grande Arome de la Martinique.

Now Rhum Grande Arome de la Martinique is not rhum agricole even if the name sounds like it – instead it´s molasses based rum.

The reason why it´s in the blend of the Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is that when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time. 

Note, that it says “likely” so there´s no proof whether Vic used molasses based Martinique rum or rhum agricole in his blend with Jamaican rum in his Mai Tai`s when the 17 year Wray and Nephew rum was finished.

So here we got a rum that contains pot still Jamaican rum and a molasses based Martinique rhum, and then Zwazo – a rhum arrangè with pineapple and vanilla macerated in a rum base of 3 different rums from Martinique Trinidad and Guyana. 

And don`t forget the overproof Polynesian Inspired float…

It`s a lot of rums going on here…but to my joy the drink tasted fantastic, cool and refreshing yet with a strong rum bite. Deep flavor of mature tropical fruits, and then something “earthy”, maybe from the float of the Polynesian Inspired rum…I like the different layers in a tropical cocktail.

 Siboney – Swazo Style

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Siboney 5

1 oz dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz Zwazo
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
Float of Jamaican style overproof dark rum

Shake well with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with sugar. (if you like)

Now unfortunately, for the time being, Zwazo is only sold in Europe, locally in Luxembourg and then in Paris at Christian de Montaguère and it´s a small batch seasonal product – so if you cannot find it, my best advice would be to either try to find a pineapple-vanilla rhum arrangè from one of the French islands, such as Martinique (or a pineapple rhum arrangè paired with vanilla syrup) or make your own. (google how to make rhum arrangè, and there´s a great french site with a forum containing tons of recipes here)

Likewise when it comes to the Lost Spirits rums, they are only sold in the US but not Europe or elsewhere…so i would sub them with Smith and Cross mixed with Lemon Hart 151, to get that strong punchy flavor – even though the flavor will not be the same, but since Smith and Cross mixed with LH 151 is a great combo i believe it will still taste fantastic!

Next cocktail to play with was the Island of Martinique Cocktail, which is a Don Beach drink circa 1948. This drink is actually a tikified ti-punch…

It was described in Beachcomber´s 1948 menu as a drink with “Lusty Martinique rums aged in casks for 120 moons. Subtly combined with falernum, wild honey, Angostura bitters and Maui mountain limes”

How does that sound?? mouthwatering to me…

The original recipe which is found in the book Potions of the Caribbean was handed to the Bum by ex-Beachcomber bartender Tony Ramos.

Island of Martinique Cocktail – with a Pineapple Twist

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Island of Martinique Cocktail

1 oz rhum agricole vieux
1 oz Zwazo
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz falernum
0.25 oz honey-mix (equal parts honey and water, gently heat it up so the honey dissolves in the water, then cool to room temp)
Dash Angostura bitters
A handful (3 oz) crushed ice
Float Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum on top (or Lemon Hart 151)

Blend at high speed in a blender for 5 seconds, then strain into
a hollowed out pineapple and float the Navy style rum on top.

The drink tasted fruity and spicy, the flavor of fully matured tropical fruit from Zwazo came through and this drink was not as fruity and earthy as the first one but more mellow and spicy, with a kick from the float.

Now let`s dive deeper into this amazing book…

On page 164 i found the Voodoo Grog, a concoction created by Trader Vic, circa mid 1950`s. A drink containing equal parts lime, grapefruit and pimento.

First time i made it i was a bit overwhelmed by the pimento/allspice flavor so i took the Pimento dram down from 0.75 oz to 0.5 and it was better for my palate, but if you like a strong allspice flavor the 0.75 will be good.

Also it matters what brand of pimento dram/allspice dram you are using, the best i think are either homemade or St Elisabeth`s or Bitter Truth. For the moment i have St Elisabeth.

Voodoo Grog

Cocktails with Rhum Arrangé Voodoo Grog filt

1 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve Rum
1 oz Swazo
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz grapefruit juice (white)
0.75 oz honey
0.5 oz passion fruit syrup
1 egg white
Grated nutmeg
1 cup (8 oz) Crushed ice

Dissolve honey in lime juice and place this mixture plus the rest of ingredients except for nutmeg in a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Pour unstrained into a large snifter or tiki mug.

Dust with freshly ground nutmeg and garnish with mint and pineapple. (I also wrapped a pandan leaf around the glass)

Last cocktail is the quintessential rhum agricole drink…a ti-punch but with aged rhum agricole and therefore it´s called a punch vieux.

Petit Punch Vieux

Punch Vieux

1 oz Zwazo
1 oz rhum agricole vieux
0.5 oz sirop de canne
One half of a fresh lime

Cut the lime half in two and squeeze both edges into an old fashioned glass. Drop in the first spent wedge in the glass, then rub the rim of the glass with the other and then discard the second wedge. Add sirop, rums and ice and stir to chill. I also did rim the glass with brown sugar and added a sugarcane stick and roughly cut lime peel as garnish.

Rimming the glass with sugar and adding a lime peel is not traditional punch vieux but this is all about experiments!

Sirop de Canne is a thick, dark syrup made from a slow reduction of fresh sugar cane juice. Exported by brands such as Clèment, Dubois, Depaz, Dillon and La Mauny.

You can make a similar syrup by making a rich syrup (2:1 ratio sugar to water) with dark raw sugar.

Punch Vieux is always a nice treat as is the regular Ti-Punch…

Zwazo definitely mixes well in this style of tropical drinks, it gives a deep pineapple/tropical fruit flavor into the drinks which for tiki drinks fits so well into the flavor profile of a lot of them.

The aim with this particular post is to show that you can do a lot with rhum arrangè that goes beyond the traditional use…

Go and check out the Zwazo page on Facebook!

Zwazo Rhum Arrangè – Ananas/Vanille

zwazo label for blog

Rhum arangé is a speciality of the French islands, so most of them are made with rhum agricole but there´s also some people doing it with molasses rums. Benoît Bail – the maker of Zwazo uses a blend of both styles to get this particular taste and the blend is of 3 different rums from Martinique Trinidad and Guyana.

So what  i have here is a rhum arrangè that is a special mix between agricole and molasses rums, pineapple and vanilla. The difference between a spiced rum ( “rhum épicé “) and rhum arrangè (arranged rum:-) is that rhum arrangé also contains fruits or just fruits. And rhum arrangé is a sexier name than rhum épicé, don`t you think?

It`s quite low in ABV, 25% – because it`s made  especially for the persons who don’t like rums or don’t know them or even don’t drink strong alcohol for example people who like sweet fruity tastes without a strong alcohol taste.

And that`s also a great way to introduce rum to non rum lovers isn`t it?! and i can vouch for that this rum here tastes fantastic!

Benoît uses only organic seasonal fruits so the flavors available will vary throughout the year and since this is a highly artisanal product there´s limited quantity.

The two first Zwazo rums made by Benoit was this pineapple/vanilla and a banana/vanilla which i hope to try sometimes. New flavors are coming up in february!

ZWAZO  bottle for blog

At the beginning Benoît was just doing some rhums arrangés at home for himself, friends and family but with the time they began calling him to ask if he wouldn’t sell some because they would need some for friends or at barbecues.

So Benoît got the idea to make business with it and build his own brand and people much appreciated the idea and the taste of his flavoured rums – so he began making a business plan and looking for funds and now one and a half year later Zwazo is here!

And now i`m tasting this delicious Pineapple and vanilla rhum arrangè and all can say is that i`m really impressed because this rum is lovely!

I prefer to drink it neat with ice but it can be used mixed as well and one way to mix it is making a Ti Punch, either with just Zwazo or mixed with another white rhum agricole to boost up the alcohol punch.

ZWAZO ti punch for blog filt

It would be a waste to use it in drinks like the Zombie that contains a lot of other rums and mixers because it´s flavor is quite delicate and it would be a shame to mask it with other things. But i could do well in tiki drinks with just a few ingredients in them, and i can see it shine in a daiquiri for example or mixed with champagne.

The bottle is pretty, it looks very exotic with the pineapple chunks and vanilla beans inside and the tropical looking label and exotic name –  Zwazo means bird in french creole. The bird Benoit first had in mind was the Toucan but then the rhum Toucan came out from french Guyana and so they switched to another Caribbean bird – the Hummingbird…

On the nose it smells of ripe tropical fruits, vanilla and pineapple and you are transported to a tropical island…

The taste is sweet with mature tropical fruit, a bit like burnt sugar and pineapple or roast pineapple maybe,  with hints of apricot. Slight notes of agricole rum that gives a freshness to the blend paired with a hint of sexy vanilla…

And once the bottle is empty you can also take out the fruits inside and eat them or make jam with it, or put them in cakes.

It`s such a perfect rum when you want to be on the light side, make a wonderful summer drink – or on the contrary – something to escape the winter with.

I love it!

I made a simple Ti Punch with 2 oz Zwazo, the juice of 1/3 piece of the lime and 0.5 oz sugarcane syrup, stirred together with some ice.

ZWAZO Ti Punch glass for blog

As for now you can get Zwazo rums from one of the best rum shops in Europe – Christian de Montaguèrein Paris. If you can`t go there he might send it, mail and ask. They sell for for 25€.