Rum – it’s the new gin!
Yes, it's hard to believe but we've benched the G&Ts for a super-cool exciting new tipple. Wanna know what it is? 'Course you do.
It’s so easy to reach for your trusty tipple every time, isn’t it? For me that’s the same old same old wines (Merlot in the winter, Chablis in the summer, zzzz), a G&T (obvs), Champagne if it’s payday or Prosecco if it’s not. All very nice but just a teensy bit boring, no? I’m making it my mission to get out of my booze rut (metaphorically speaking, I’m not literally lying in a ditch full of alcohol. Or am I….?!)
So I collared the ever-informative Hugh Taylor, connoisseur ne plus ultra and MD of Slurp, the brilliant wine and spirits merchant (you can buy at their Banbury store or online), to get the lowdown on 2018’s most chic drink. Which is… drumroll, please…. RUM!
Weren’t expecting that, were you? If the last time you indulged in said spirit was a vat of Bacardi’n’coke down Cinderella’s ‘nite’ club in 1987, then it’s time for a rethink. Need reminding of those heady days, when you were rocking a leotard and Pan’s People moves? Check out this Bacardi ad from the ’80s.
Anyway, I digress. Back to present day and a lesson in modern rum drinking please, Hugh…
What’s happening with rum then?
Obviously it’s been around for many years but it’s recently been ‘premium’-ised – so people are using much more grown-up language, talking about things like vintages, and of course the packaging is becoming more stylish. So many people are driven by packaging now – lots of customers come into my shop and will buy because they like the look of the bottle, rather than what’s in it. Everything’s an Instagram opportunity!
Have you seen a surge in popularity?
Yes, definitely. We have about 15 in the shop now and did our first rum-tasting (12 different types!) last week. We have people coming in looking for a bottle for the weekend for when their adult children are coming to stay with their partners. It’s a trend driven by what millennials are drinking in London bars.
How have things changed since our teenage Bacardi misadventures?
In those days it was a low-end drink to mix with something sweet to disguise the taste. Now it’s all about the versatility – that’s the beauty of rum. There are white, amber and black rums and they can all be drunk in different ways. White rum is obviously clear, hasn’t been aged in an oak barrel, tends to have a lower ABV and is easy to mix. If you’re usually a vodka drinker, white rum is a good substitute. Amber rums tend to have spent a bit of time in a barrel so they have a golden tinge. They’re more premium and for those times when you want to actually taste the rum. While the dark ones are the most exciting ones and are having a big resurgence, with cool brands like The Kraken who have a huge following on Instagram.
How do we drink it?
I would suggest rum cocktails to kick off an evening. You could do a rum version of the gin cocktail Tom Collins, using white rum. Or a classic white rum cocktail like a strawberry daiquiri, or make it more modern by using pomegranate or fig. Then finish the night by sipping a dark rum on the rocks, like a whiskey.
What’s your favourite rum tipple?
I like white rum, lime juice, sugar syrup and angostura bitters shaken through ice. The beauty of it is that you can taste the rum. It’s not quite like a G&T but it’s a good classic way revisit white rum.
Any other reasons why we should be drinking rum?
You could make a case for it being a health drink – kind of! Rums are gluten-free as they’re made from sugar-cane, they have no carbs and are generally vegan.
OK, you’ve convinced us. Which one should we buy?
Go for the Nicaraguan Flor De Cana 12 Y/O Centenario Rum, from a family who’ve been making rum for 125 years. It’s like a good whiskey so don’t waste it in a cocktail.
No cheeky coke mixer then?
Absolutely no coke!
Slurp, 2 Riverside, Tramway Road, Banbury OX16 5TU; 01295 672296. You can also order online at slurp.co.uk