“Spirits up!” says the Bosun.
“Stand fast the holy ghost!” replies the crew.
And with that, it’s down the hatch with a ‘tot’ of rum and back to work we go.
Rum has been gracing people’s lips for hundreds of years dating all the way back to the 17th century. Fermented and distilled from sugar cane, this beautiful elixir has had a massive impact on the drinks world that we know today. Rum also comes in many different styles, so with that being said let’s have a look at its interesting and definitely spicier cousin – Spiced Rum.
Spiced rum is exactly what it says on the tin. It is rum infused with natural spices and it dates right back to sailors and their rum rations or “tot”. Unfortunately, back then rum wasn’t as delicious as your favourite tipple you would find behind a bar today. So, to take the harsh bite away they would either store the rum in oak barrels to try and change the flavour or, more commonly, they would add spices to enhance the flavour and make it more palatable. This method of spicing rum has been around for a while but wasn’t really mass-produced until the 1980s when along came, the already gigantic brand, Captain Morgan with their Original Spiced Rum. This style of rum is much easier on the palate for novice drinkers and led to a boom in the rum industry with more and more people coming back to this historic liquid.
The 3 major brands of spiced rum you’ll find in bars these days would be the aforementioned Captain Morgan Original Spiced, Sailor Jerry and Kraken. All three have earned their rightful place within the market but I would recommend branching out if you truly want to experience the pinnacle that this style of rum has to offer. I will show you my top 3 to get the ball rolling.
Let’s first start off with a personal favourite of mine, Ableforth’s Rumbullion. A beautiful blend of specially selected Caribbean rum, Madagascan vanilla, cloves, cardamom, cassia and a good helping of zesty orange peels. I love this rum because of its immense flavour, the highlights being a big marmalade covering of the tongue to start followed by a smooth creamy vanilla finish. This award-winning rum goes perfect on the rocks with a slice of orange or smash it in a Cable Car. Rumbullion is the perfect choice for this drink as it accentuates the citrus and orange already apparent. This 1996 San-Franciscan twist on the classic sidecar replaces the brandy for spiced rum.
30ml Lemon Juice
10ml Simple Syrup
Serve straight up and Garnish with a sugar rim or orange peel and enjoy!
Next on the list let’s talk about Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum. The undisputed leader of the pack to many, this exciting spiced rum comes straight out of St Lucia and it is sticking to its roots. All the added spices and fruits in this rum are locally sourced, including vanilla, coconut, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, lemon and lime. The final and most important ingredient is Richeria Grandis, known locally as Bois Bande. This bark is famous amongst locals as a potent natural aphrodisiac and it really gives that extra edge to the flavour profile. The rum is finally aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels which gives the finished product an extra level of complexity. This rum starts very smooth with rich nutmeg and raisin notes followed by a refined finish of crisp citrus and coconut. There’s only one cocktail that truly brings this spirit alive for me and that is the classic and faithful Old Fashioned.
Spiced Rum Old Fashioned
60ml Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
1 Brown Sugar Cube
Dash Angostura Bitters
Dash Orange Bitters
Stir over ice and garnish with a lime peel. Some would say orange peel but trust me the lime will change your life!
Let’s finish off with Foursquare Spiced Rum. A distinctive Bajan rum that is still blended and bottled by the family that founded the distillery back in 1920. Named after the oldest sugar plantation in Barbados, Foursquare is a staple on the island and uses rare local spices to create its unique taste. A rum that aims to complement rather than overpower its base spirit. On your first sip, you will notice that this is not your classic spiced rum. There is very little vanilla here. Instead, hints of gingerbread and cinnamon dominate the palate. It has a crisp and clean finish with a taste best described as classically rummy. This rum truly bridges the gap between spiced and dark and that is why I had to include it. My perfect cocktail choice for this particular rum has to be a spiced daiquiri. One of my favourite rum classics but taken up a notch.
60ml Foursquare Spiced Rum
30ml Lime Juice
15ml Simple Syrup
2 Dash Angostura Bitters
Shake all ingredients and strain into a cocktail glass
No need to garnish, just serve straight up and get it down your neck!
Now rum along and have fun!