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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: rum

New Arrival of the Week: Plantation Fiji 2005

Today, we’re looking at a brand of rum, Plantation, that announced last week it is in the process of changing its name because of the word’s unsavoury connotations. We’re shining…

Today, we’re looking at a brand of rum, Plantation, that announced last week it is in the process of changing its name because of the word’s unsavoury connotations. We’re shining the spotlight on two particularly interesting bottlings, one from Fiji and the other from Jamaica. 

Before telling you about the rums that have just arrived at MoM HQ, we’re going to start with the news that Plantation is in the process of changing its name. “As the dialogue on racial equality continues globally, we understand the hurtful connotation the word plantation can evoke to some people, especially in its association with much graver images and dark realities of the past,” says the brand’s founder Alexandre Gabriel. “We look to grow in our understanding of these difficult issues and while we don’t currently have all the details of what our brand name evolution will involve, we want to let everyone know that we are working to make fitting changes.” We will let you know as soon as we learn more.

When you think of rum, your mind probably goes to Caribbean and Latin America, but sugar cane spirits are made all over the world. According to Alexandre Gabriel from Plantation rum (as the brand is still called for the time being), sugar cane which is native to Asia would have been planted in Fiji long before it was brought to the Caribbean. The country is made up of over 300 islands which together have a landmass about twice the size of Jamaica and produce about 160,000 tonnes of sugar annually. The variety planted, which Gabriel calls ‘noble cane’, was wiped out by disease in the Caribbean in the late 19th century but still thrives in Fiji.  

It’s hard to say how long rum has been made in Fiji though. Gabriel thinks it dates back a long time: “You cannot help human beings from making booze, it’s been happening throughout the world. It’s a rule that’s never been broken.” He has found evidence of distilling from the early 1800s but thinks it goes back further. 

The distillery that our New Arrival of the Week comes from, however, is more recent. It was built about 50 years ago by the Fijian government at Lautake on Viti Levu, the largest island (which is roughly the same size as Jamaica) to process molasses from the nearby plantations. In 1980, it was bought by a private consortium, the Rum Co. of Fiji

One of the pot stills at the Rum Co. of Fiji

As well as using exclusively Fijian sugar cane, Gabriel said: “The yeast you use, how you ferment, how you distill, how you handle it is as important as your raw material. The sense of terroir in a holistic way including the local know-how that perpetuates itself from that one generation to the other.” He then filled us in on production methods: “The Rum Co. of Fiji uses both wild yeast and cultured yeast, depending on what they’re trying to achieve.” Fermentation of the molasses takes around five days depending on the batch. The distillery has two pot stills, both adapted with double retorts to produce rum by John Dore & Sons, and an old column Canadian column still which produces spirit a little over 80% ABV. Gabriel describes the country’s style as combining some of the weight and intensity of Jamaica with the elegance and balance of Barbados. 

The team at the distillery are all Fijian except head distiller Liam Costello. An Australian, his background is in wine but he married a Fijian woman and moved to the island: “And fell in love not only with a wonderful Fijian woman, but also with the country and became the master distiller at the distillery,” said Gabriel. 

Today, the distillery produces two brands Ratu and Bounty (not to be confused with the brand of the same name from St. Lucia) as well as selling bulk rum. Which is where Gabriel stepped in. He explains: “I met Liam five or six years ago, I knew about his rums and I really liked them. I said one day: ‘I think we should do something together’ and he says ‘yes’. So we kept on communicating until one day he called me and he says: ‘You know I sold some of the bulk here and there and I was very often disappointed with what they did with my rum.’”

Gabriel & Costello, a great double act

So Gabriel and Costello hatched a plan to bottle some spirits that will show off the Fijian style to the full. There’s a popular blend but Plantation also bottles some special vintage offerings. The latest batch of which comes only from the column still. According to Gabriel, even with just the column, you still get that intensity but, as he puts it “in a very elegant way.”

The rum was aged for 14 years in Fiji in ex-bourbon barrels before being shipped in cask to France: “The interaction with the wood and the elements is incredible,” he said. This is how rum was shipped in the old days, and Gabriel thinks it really makes a difference and this is apparent not just in taste but through analysis with gas chromatography.  “I can show you a chromatography before and after you’ve shipped the rum,” he said, “the ester elements, the fruit elements are totally boosted, you have wood extractions that’s 10% more, just during that journey.”  Once in France, it is transferred to old Cognac casks and aged a further year. It’s bottled at 50.2% ABV with 4 grams per litre of sugar added. The result is something that is elegant and fruity with notes of toffee, mint, apples and crème brûlée with spicy ginger and cinnamon. A gorgeous luxurious rum that pays tribute to a rum tradition that deserves to be better known.

But today’s excitement doesn’t stop there: in addition to this exclusive Fijian rarity, we’ve got something very special from Jamaica. It’s a rum from Clarendon distillery distilled in 2003. It’s a high classic high ester style (422 g/hl)  known as a Monymusk Wedderburn (a designation created in the 19th century by rum blenders) produced from a two week ferment followed by distillation in a Vendome pot still. It’s aged for 16 years in Jamaica in American oak before spending a year in Cognac. It’s bottled unsweetened at 49.5% ABV. “I do a dosage depending on what I’m trying to showcase,” Gabriel said, “Here I wanted to really bring forward this rustic, in a good way, feel”. As you would hope, it’s packed full of high ester goodness like overripe banana and pineapple melded with chocolate and spice cask flavours. 

So there we have it: two utterly different, unique Plantation rums.

Plantation Fiji 2005 and Jamaica 2003 are now available from Master of Malt.

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Five minutes with… Mikkey Dee from Motörhead

The fastest, heaviest and loudest rock’n’roll band in history, Motörhead’s far-reaching influence on music can’t be overstated – and now, the band is making waves in the spirits world with its…

The fastest, heaviest and loudest rock’n’roll band in history, Motörhead’s far-reaching influence on music can’t be overstated – and now, the band is making waves in the spirits world with its own whisky, vodka, rum, and more. Here, we chat with legendary drummer Mikkey Dee on touring, his favourite drinks and Lemmy’s surprising love of Kinder eggs.

From their prolific back catalogue to their dedicated touring schedule, the trio behind Motörhead – late bassist and singer Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, drummer Mikkey Dee and guitarist Phil Campbell – never did anything by half measures. So when these pioneering rock icons started bottling their own booze, we had a feeling the liquid would be nothing short of incredible.

It took three years and an untold number of cask samples to finalise the recipe for Motörhead’s flagship single malt whisky, made in collaboration with Sweden’s Mackmyra Distillery, and this exacting attitude extends across the entire range: from Motörhead Vödka, made in the Swedish market town of Malmköping using locally-grown wheat, to a rum aged in ex-bourbon casks from the Dominican Republic.

Mikkey relaxing before a show with some on-brand booze

Behind the scenes the creative process has been an uncompromising and hands-on affair, with no detail left unchecked, as drummer Mikkey Dee attests. As Motörhead Premium Dark Rum bags yet another tasting award, its fourth in a little over a year, we caught up with Dee to talk Motörhead Spirits, memorable shows, and the contents of their rider:

Master of Malt: First things first, how did the Motörhead spirits range first come about, who came up with the idea?

Mikkey Dee: Lem always had a dream to make his own drinks brand. We were all on board. Drinking together was a big part of our life, so why not have drinks to call our own! Lemmy also wanted a legacy beyond the music, something else that could keep the spirit of Motörhead alive for years. That’s when the vodka was created, Lem had moved to drinking vodka and orange juice more than other spirits once he was diagnosed with diabetes.  

MoM: Tell us about the process of creating each one – how involved were you, Lemmy and Phil?

MD: It’s got our name on it, so we’re involved in everything. It always started with a product idea – what Lem or we enjoyed drinking, then also thinking of the fans and what they would like and want to see from us. We’re involved in it all, from choosing the liquid, to naming the products and bottle and label design. Lemmy really liked the creative part, he knew how he wanted the bottles to look. I remember we were in the studio recording mixes for Bad Magic when we were brought samples of the Single Malt Whisky – Lem chose it right there. It took three years of tasting to find the right one!

MoM: Motörhead Premium Dark Rum has just won its fourth spirit award. How does it feel for the liquid you created to be recognised in its own right?

MD: We work really hard on our drinks for the quality and we are ready to take on anyone – that’s always been the Motörhead way. The quality was always really important to Lem and will continue to be for anything else we do in the future.

Motörhead’s award-winning rum. Count those medals!

MoM: Could you share a story about a time the band shared a memorable drink together? Where were you, and what made it memorable?

MD: We were doing a show in Stockholm in 2015 at the Hovet Arena. We got together before the show and had some of our drinks there – our lager and the Single Malt Whisky, which was Lem’s favourite. The whisky is made in Sweden by Mackmyra so he called it his ‘Swhisky’ for Swedish Whisky. It was one of the last shows we did together before Lem passed, so I’ll always remember it.

MoM: This isn’t your only spirits project, you also opened Alabama in Paris last year. What made you want to open your own bar, and did you have a specific vision in mind?

MD: Yes I actually got asked by a friend of mine – Sofia – if I wanted to be a part of the bar opening. I had just shut down my other bar in Tenerife which was called Mikkey Dee Rock Lounge. I thought it was a great opportunity and decided to do it with Sofia. The bar is right at Plaza Republic, super central. We have all the Motörhead drinks there and also some merchandise. We really brought in the feeling of Motörhead; a little bit of memorabilia! That was the vision. I try to get there as often as I can but it hasn’t been too much recently.

MoM: What’s your go-to drink of choice when you’re playing a show? And how about when you’re relaxing at home?

MD: I’m not complicated, I like a simple lager. We have our Bastards Lager available around the world – hopefully soon in the UK too!  

Skål!

MoM: You were in Motörhead for 23 years. How did the band’s approach to touring change over time – were the later tours as rock’n’roll as the earlier ones?

MD: Absolutely. With Motörhead the problem we had was Lem couldn’t stay at home! That old bastard never wanted to stop. We had just got back from four or five months’ touring in Europe and the US, I flew home to Sweden and two weeks later Lem called and said, ‘Hey what’s going on, should we go out again?’. I’d say to him, ‘We need to have time off!’ and he’d say, “Fuck it, we should get going now!” The approach was never-ending, being on the road all the time, even in the later years.

MoM: What might we find on a typical Motörhead rider?

MD: We weren’t really that particular to tell you the truth. We were easy going. Lemmy liked bourbon, whisky, and vodka and orange. On my rider – beer, a bottle of whisky, water. Snacks: fruit. The only weird shit was Lemmy was obsessed with Cadbury Kinder Eggs. He didn’t eat the chocolate but loved the gift on the inside. Sometimes he opened the egg and there was a finished piece instead of one you put together and he’d say, ‘This is a shit batch!’ He liked to make the toy himself. My boys would sometimes be backstage with us and would go into Lemmy’s dressing room before the show to hang out – then they’d come into my room and said to me, ‘Hey dad, Lemmy doesn’t eat the chocolate!’ with shocked faces.

MoM: Motörhead will be remembered as one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Could you share one of your career highlights from your time in the band?

MD: Oh my god, so many. Basically every time you walk off stage – you felt that was it, no one can follow this. You felt you gave it all. I remember we didn’t care much for awards shows and all three of us had the same attitude – how do you compete in music, why should this song or album win an award over this or that. We always got awarded by our fans and that was enough for us. That’s where the real deal is. But, when we did win a Grammy, Lem was very proud. I could see and feel that. And of course me and Phil as well. Not so much because we won – more that someone finally gave us a little bit more space and attention in this world. I thought that was fair. I’m glad Lemmy got to experience that, he deserved it. The band deserved it too after so many years of total rock and travelling the world. I don’t think we had one bad record. It was nice to be awarded for that from the industry.

Cheers, Mikkey! To toast Motörhead’s excellent taste in spirits, Brands For Fans is offering you the opportunity to get your hands on a Motörhead merch package that includes the band’s Premium Dark Rum, Single Malt Whisky and Vodka. Competition opens this Thursday. Watch this space!

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Cocktail of the Week: The Piña Colada

Today we’re making one of the world’s most delicious cocktails, the way it should be made. With a good flavoured rum and fresh ingredients. I had a Piña Colada epiphany…

Today we’re making one of the world’s most delicious cocktails, the way it should be made. With a good flavoured rum and fresh ingredients.

I had a Piña Colada epiphany a few years ago. I’d always dismissed it as the sort of lurid concoction laden with sugar, cream and cocktail umbrellas that Del Boy might order in Only Fools and Horses. Or that my older brother would drink on family holidays on Lanzarote. But a French friend made one for me with fresh pineapple, coconut water and Martinque rum, and it was about the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. It was so delicious, that I didn’t notice how much rum was in it until I tried to stand up. 

So what is a Piña Colada? The name literally means ‘strained pineapple’ in Spanish and something like the modern version was invented in 1954 by a barman at the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico called Ramón “Monchito” Marrero, or so the story goes. There are other pretenders to the crown of the inventor of the world’s greatest pineapple-based cocktail. The story is further complicated by the existence of a Cuban cocktail called a Piña Colada mentioned in the 1920s which mixes pineapple with rum but doesn’t contain coconut. It was the Puerto Rican version, however, that went global in the 1960s and naturally it began to change a bit. The cream of coconut from the originally was substituted with the sort of cream that might once have had something to do with cows, pasteurised or tinned pineapple replaced the fresh stuff, and cheap rums sneaked in like cheap rums do along with glace cherries, umbrellas, fireworks etc. Just the sort of thing that Del Boy would have ordered in the Nags Head.

But made properly, a Piña Colada is a magnificent thing combining as it does the three most tropical ingredients imaginable: pineapple, rum and coconut. Imagine if you could get a mango in there somewhere, or would that be too tropical? Anyway, as long as you use decent ingredients you can’t go wrong. So fresh pineapple juice, coconut cream or water and, of course, a rum that tastes like rum. 

We’re using Aluna Coconut rum; it’s unusual among coconut rums in really tasting of both rum and coconut. In fact, it tastes like opening up a coconut to find that it’s full of rum rather than coconut water. Wouldn’t that be amazing? That’s because it’s not only macerated with coconut but also sweetened with coconut water so it’s about the nearest thing you’ll get to a rum-filled coconut. The base spirit is a blend of Guatemala and Caribbean rums. It’s bottled at 35% ABV, so significantly stronger than some other coconut rum drinks so be careful standing up after a couple. 

So whether you’re celebrating Piña Colada day on the 10 July or want to make the ultimate a tropical cocktail now, here’s how to do it properly:

50ml Aluna Coconut rum
50ml Coconut water
100ml Fresh pineapple juice
Juice of half a lime

Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard and strain into a tumbler or Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of lime or pineapple. And, what the hell, a glace cherry, umbrella and sparkler too. Lubbly jubbly!

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Garnish 101: what are they and how to use them

We chat to some industry greats about all things garnishes, from what actually counts as a garnish to their weirdest and wackiest creations, and even some handy home tips. Consider…

We chat to some industry greats about all things garnishes, from what actually counts as a garnish to their weirdest and wackiest creations, and even some handy home tips.

Consider the garnish. It can be anything from a single olive in a Martini to lavish leaves in Tiki cocktails. It can also make or break a drink – I’m sure we’ve all been to a bar with an unwelcome limp mint leaf or mangy strawberry in your drink.  

But lemon peels and olives aside, what exactly is as a garnish, what is its purpose, and how important are they? The aesthetics of a cocktail were important long before the ‘gram, to tell the story of the drink you’re about to savour. We managed to get some words from some industry experts who know exactly how it’s done.

What even is a garnish? 

The first and most important question for anyone looking to jazz up their serves. First up is Ryan Chetiyawardana, of Lyaness (formerly known as Dandelyan), Super Lyan and White Lyan fame, who manages to invent futuristic and simultaneously minimalist cocktails. “To me, it has to be functional, adding a different dimension to something you want in the drink” he tells us, though he doesn’t believe you have to be able to consume it. “A spray, a paint, physical garnish, vessel, theatre, are all things we’ve employed over the years.”

For Belgium’s Matthias Soberon of social media cocktail wizardry @ServedBySoberon, “a garnish is anything that’s added to the drink that elevates it in any sensory way, whether it be visual, auditive, tactile, gustatory or olfactory.” If you can sense it, it’s a garnish.

cocktail garnish

Coupette’s minimalist Shimmer cocktail from last summer’s menu, complete with geode coaster.

As we ask our final expert, it looks like everyone is in agreement. “A garnish can have multiple forms,” adds Andrei Marcu, of Bethnal Green’s wonderful Coupette. “It’s the final touch added to the drink, there to complement the drink and boost certain flavours or aromas.” 

So in a nutshell, what our talented trio are saying is that a garnish can be almost anything that enhances a serve in some way. The bad news is that’s pretty vague, but the good news is that it allows for a whole load of creativity.

Does every drink need one?

“I want an olive in my Martini!” says Chetiyawardana. “But only if it’s a decent one – I’ll go sans if it’s a sad, old olive.” We’d have to agree. Having said that, he also acknowledges that sometimes “the confidence to leave it bare is sometimes the best thing to do.” It looks like Chetiyawardana and Soberon are on the same page, who adds “don’t overcomplicate it just for the sake of it. Sometimes the liquid in the glass absolutely needs 100% of the focus.” Be bold, believe in your serve and go bare.

garnish cocktail

Chetiyawardana keeping it simple at Lyaness with the Rook Pool Sazerac

But as we turn to Marcu, he reminds us of the importance of certain garnishes. “A standard Martini would have a lemon twist or an olive as a garnish. But if you add a pickled onion instead, it will be a Gibson Martini which means it becomes a completely different drink.” Now, whether to put an orange or lime with your G&T may not be quite as important as this example, but what you choose to accompany your spirits with does make a big difference.

Some garnishes are integral to the formation of the drink, becoming more of a core ingredient as opposed to a garnish, because as Marcu notes, “an Old Fashioned without orange peel would be just whiskey and sugar.” Easy to make, but not what you’re looking for. While you don’t mess with some garnishes, others are totally divisive, such as “the ‘issue’ with the salt-rim on the Margarita,” Soberon points out. “Some people love the salt, others despise it, that’s why most bartenders will serve the drink with half a rim salted, to make sure that you have the option to either go for it or not.”

Aesthetics 

So far, everything we’ve talked about has altered the taste or smell of the drink in some way, But is there any point in a purely aesthetic garnish? Our industry minds were divided on this one. Marcu takes the view that “drinks are very sensorial, and everything influences the taste. I would only use an aesthetic garnish when we have a conceptual drink.” A bed of sand for a drink inspired by the sea, for example, to enhance the storytelling aspect of the serve, or a colourful geode coaster to imitate the look of the sea (as shown in Shimmer above) have both been used at Coupette.  

garnish cocktail

Soberon’s flamboyant Tiki cocktail!

For Soberon, it’s a yes. “For Tiki drinks, a single orchid doesn’t make any difference to the drink’s flavour profile, but it makes all the difference in how the drink is perceived.” Plus, he’s not going to ignore the fact that social media has a huge part to play in the formation of many drinks these days. “In this day and age where everyone is walking around with their smartphones (and all bars requiring to have social media presence), everything just needs to be prettier.”

Each to their own, and aesthetic garnishes aren’t for Chetiyawardana. “I see what they add, but it’s just not my style.”

Weird and wacky

Now, we couldn’t possibly chat to all these awesome bartenders without getting the garnish gossip. Classic cocktails and olives are one thing, but we want to know about the weird and wacky, the ones that make it onto the ‘gram and into our memories.

For Chetiyawardana, his wildest garnish is the truly awesome whisky Mousetrap contraption at what was formerly known as Dandelyan. Two years in the making, everyone’s favourite childhood game had a few boozy changes; the ball was swapped for ice, and you get whisky at the end! This is definitely taking the notion of a garnish to a whole new level, and you can see it in action here.

Marcu recalls the time he channelled his green finger into his mixology, creating a mini greenhouse with micro herbs planted inside. “Sitting in the middle of that green house was the drink. Every time you had a sip you could pick one of the herbs that were growing and surrounding the drinks and eat it.” It’s a bit like a choose-your-own-ending version of a cocktail. “Every single different micro herb was putting the drink in a different light and bringing out different aromas and flavours.” No surprise this one made it to Instagram fame right here.

garnish cocktail

Soberon’s zaniest creation, octopus arms and all…

Soberon can’t pick just one finest serve, with his cocktail portfolio showcasing squirt guns filled with booze, octopus arms, and veins of blood in the form of dehydrated beetroot powder on top of drinks for Halloween. Sometimes he even adds “small ornaments that people could take home afterwards, as little gifts.” A cocktail with a party bag? We’re in.

Let’s get garnishing!

After all this talk, I’m sure we’re all fancying a drink! But without our own professional contraptions, most of us are going to have to make do with what we have in our homes already. Our industry pals are back to guide us towards what to use, simply reaching for the cupboard rather than the stars. 

So citrus peels are probably the go to garnish for most people, someone always has a lemon or lime laying about. “Citrus peels are obvious, and often you don’t need as much citrus peel as you think,” Chetiyawardana tells us. “Sometimes a big swathe is wonderful, but the oils can also overpower and can become bitter. A small ‘coin’ expressed over a drink can give just the right brightness and lift you need.” Soberon adds, “make sure there’s as little pith as possible,” leading us onto some handy slicing tips from Marcu: “Peel the fruit on a diagonal line and cut the edges into a nice square shape,” to help you to twist it over the drink. Don’t forget to save a slice of your morning orange for that Old Fashioned.

garnish cocktail

Express yourself!

But what about when we leave the fruit bowl? “Everyone should definitely have a little look in their spice racks,” Soberon suggests. “A single star anise or cardamom pod is hugely aromatic. Or maybe dust (sparingly!) some ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, Chinese five spice powder, pepper.” If you’re looking to try out a handful of different spirits, then Soberon recommends keeping the strongest aromatic spices for darker spirits, such as rum and whisky, and the lighter ones for gin, vodka and Tequila. Though heed his warning: “Just make sure you don’t dust every drink!”

And Marcu’s home suggestions? Pair your Calvados with apple, your tropical drinks with pineapple (or lime, if it’s rum-based), and grate some chocolate for those cream liqueurs.

Happy mixing! Though seeing as bars are back open this weekend, perhaps you could get somebody else to do all the hard work for you…

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Dram Club – July 2020

Say hello to July, and to another month of Dram Club! Here’s what this month has got in store for members, where another load of lip-smacking Tasting Sets await… Though…

Say hello to July, and to another month of Dram Club! Here’s what this month has got in store for members, where another load of lip-smacking Tasting Sets await…

Though the weather may not have got the memo, today is the first day of July! That also means it’s time for another nail-biting Dram Club reveal. A handsome box packing five smart wax-sealed drams will be arriving on each member’s doorstep, giving them something delicious to sip on while trying not to talk about the weather.dram club july 2020

Dram Club Whisky for July:

dram club july 2020

Dram Club Premium Whisky for July:

dram club july 2020

Dram Club Old & Rare Whisky for July:

dram club july 2020

Dram Club Gin for July:

dram club july 2020

Dram Club Rum for July:

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Five expert rules for BBQ drinking

The mercury is rising across the northern hemisphere, which means one thing: donning a novelty apron and firing up the barbie. While beer is a valid and worthy barbecue hero,…

The mercury is rising across the northern hemisphere, which means one thing: donning a novelty apron and firing up the barbie. While beer is a valid and worthy barbecue hero, we reckon you can go one better this year – just follow our drinks pairing rules, as told by the experts…

Whether it’s the Australia ‘barbie’, or the South Africa ‘braai’, barbecue cooking is ubiquitous. However, the ways in which different cultures approach the grill – in terms of meat types, sauces, marinades, rubs, and other flavourings – varies wildly from one country to another. Variables like smoke, equipment, fuel, cooking temperature and cooking time (as anyone who has eaten an over-charred, bitter burger patty will know all too well) also have a massive influence on the final flavour of the food. 

“Humans have been cooking over live fire all around the world for hundreds of years, so you can imagine there are thousands of techniques alone, without even getting into sauces, marinades and so on,” explains Helen Graves, editor of Pit Magazine. “In recent years, we have become more aware of the ‘low and slow’ style of cooking associated with American barbecue, but barbecue cooking is so much more than that. It may take the form of skewers such as kushiyaki in Japan, it may be buried in a pit in the ground as with Mexican barbacoa or it might be cooked in a tandoor in India.”

Pit magazine, well worth a read

With so much flavour potential, deviating from the classic ‘beer and a burger’ combination might seem daunting. Fret not. Whether you’re an amateur ‘cue-er or a barbecue legend, we’ve cobbled together five drinks-pairing rules, as recommended by those in the know… 

  1. Choose light – but not delicate – cocktails

“Typically speaking, you want flavours that have a like-for-like quality with the barbeque food,” says Joe McCanta, global head of education & mixology at Bacardi. “I try to avoid anything too acidic and look to pair barbeque food with cocktails such as the Grey Goose Le Grand Fizz,” he says – 35ml Grey Goose vodka, 15ml fresh lime juice, 25ml St Germain, 60ml cold soda water built over ice in a wine glass and garnished with two lime wedges. 

Drinks with bitter, herbaceous notes also work well, says Graves. “This isn’t the time to bring out a drink on the more delicate end of the spectrum,” she explains. “You want something big, gutsy and honestly, quite alcoholic. The spirit needs to come forward to stand up to the ‘cue.” 

Try a  vermouth-spiked take on the G&T – the Rose Spritz combines 50ml Bombay Sapphire, 100ml elderflower tonic, 25ml Martini Rosato vermouth and two orange wedges in a balloon glass over ice. “If you can’t find elderflower tonic, you can opt for a regular tonic with a splash of honey,” says McCanta. “For a less zesty, sweeter serve, try raspberries in place of the orange wedges to garnish.”

It goes without saying that long, refreshing whisky-based serves are a barbecue dream. “Elderflower cordial is such as a simple ingredient that works well with whisky cocktails, such as a whisky highball with soda – so refreshing for summer,” says Stewart Buchanan, global brand ambassador for Glenglassaugh, BenRiach and The GlenDronach distilleries. 

Drop your preconceptions about what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing with a spirit. “We always encourage people to step outside of ‘the classics’” says Quinzil de Plessis, master of wood and liquid innovation at Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey. “BBQ should be an experience, not just a process, so look for a mix of versatile, new and different flavours to add to your experience.”

Le Grand Fizz from Grey Goose

  1. Alternatively, opt for bold – or spiced – serves

Bright and bold flavours stand up and complement the smoky char of a BBQ, says James Chase, director at Chase Distillery. This could be a flavoured gin, for example – Chase recommends his Pink Grapefruit and Pomelo Gin “mixed with Mediterranean tonic and a fleshy slice of grapefruit to garnish”.

Alternatively, you could try a spiced rum. As part of a partnership with London restaurant Berber and Q, Bacardi has explored different ways of using Bacardi Spiced as a key ingredient for cocktails and meat marinades. Something like a Bacardi Spiced & Ginger Ale – using a ratio of 50ml rum with 100ml ginger ale – is a match made in heaven.

Mezcal, too, shines in a barbecue setting. “We have a preference for long, refreshing drinks with a bit of a punch,” says David Shepherd, founder of Corte Vetusto, “so we’d be sipping on a great Mezcal Margarita, a Mezcal Paloma or a Mezcal Collins, using citrus and bubbly effervescence to complement the smoky agave notes of mezcal.”

Whatever you do, just don’t confuse ‘bold’ with ‘rich’ when it comes to drink pairings.Something like a Bloody Mary may be a little too heavy,” says Chase. “A BBQ is all about the food, and the drink needs to complement and not be another meal in itself.” 

  1. Stock up on ice

Temperature is everything in the grill – and the same goes for your glass. “Avoiding anything that is served straight up, as it will become warm in the hot sun,” says Metinee Kongsrivilai, brand ambassador for Bacardi UK. You can never have enough ice, so make sure you’ve got plenty in the freezer. Which leads me nicely to our next tip…

Try making your Margaritas in advance so you can concentrate on the grill

  1. Get your prep work in

A little bit of preparation can go a long way, says Shepherd. “Pre-batching your mezcal Margarita and keeping it chilled in the fridge means you can effortlessly get your guests into the vibe on arrival,” he says. “Marinade your meat overnight to let all of those flavours really sink in.”

Always use the best quality ingredients available to you, suggests Liz Baker, marketing manager at Wilkin & Sons Ltd (creator of the Tiptree spirits range) – and don’t forget the smaller details. “Why not invest in some lovely glasses and take time to think about garnishes,” she says, “this could be a slice of lemon or lime, a sprig of mint or a fresh strawberry or plump raspberry.”

Make sure your guests have a drink in hand on arrival because you might be busy on the grill, and have no time for small talk, adds Chase. “Prop up a table and lay a selection of spirits out, with some random bottles that have been in your drinks cupboard for too long, with pre-cut garnished and cups – preferably red cups!”

Helen Graves’s awe-inspiring goat shawarma

  1. Keep the ‘cue simple

This is meant to be fun. You’re not going to enjoy yourself if you’re trying to cook eight different things at once to perfection, says Paul Human, founder and head chef at We Serve Humans and The Collab in Walthamstow. “You’ll also fail, especially once you’ve had a few beers in the sun,” he says. “Do one thing and do it really well. Try and keep to a theme – do a shoulder of lamb and some flatbreads, tzatziki, a little Greek salad. Summery, simple, all stuff you can prep a day ahead. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on it, pass around a glass of retsina or iced rosé and bathe in the glory.” 

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Tarquin’s: Cornwall’s gin pioneer

Tucked away in converted cow sheds by the rugged coast of Cornwall lies Southwestern Distillery, an independent spirits company established by classically-trained chef and self-taught distiller Tarquin Leadbetter back in…

Tucked away in converted cow sheds by the rugged coast of Cornwall lies Southwestern Distillery, an independent spirits company established by classically-trained chef and self-taught distiller Tarquin Leadbetter back in 2013. We shine a light on the distillery as his latest creation, a Caribbean spiced rum called Twin Fin, hits the shelves…

By the age of 25, Le Cordon Bleu alumni Tarquin Leadbetter had founded Cornwall’s first distillery in more than a century, developed his flagship Tarquin’s Cornish Gin, and created the UK’s first commercially-distilled pastis (named Cornish Pastis, of course). All in all, a pretty impressive spirits CV. What started out as a relatively modest aspiration – “go surfing in the morning and make gin in the afternoon,” Leadbetter says – has evolved incrementally into a vibrant small-batch distilling operation with four stills, three flagship spirits, and a 40-strong team. 

The growth has been both organic and sustainable. On a liquid level, the bottles are individually filled, corked, sealed, labelled, numbered and waxed by hand – thankfully not just by Leadbetter these days, who reckons he personally labelled around 50,000 bottles in those formative years – and the distillery has never had any investment other than the money he used to start the business, which was inherited from his grandparents. With no outlandish budgets to hire a consultant or “buy shiny German copper stills”, Leadbetter set up the distillery on a shoestring. He bought a 0.7 litre still off the internet, heating it on a cooker at home.

Tarquin Leadbetter with one of his little stills

“I went to the cash and carry to buy magnums of cheap vodka – which was my neutral grain spirit – and macerated lots of jars of single botanicals overnight,” he reflects. “Then I’d do these turbo batches, distilling 100 single botanicals on my cooker, which would take about half an hour to an hour each, labelling them up and blending them together. I’d add two botanicals, then three, then four, five, six, and went on this extraordinary journey of exploration.” 

The more distillates he experimented with, the clearer his vision became for his eponymous gin. “I realised that one person isn’t necessarily better at smelling or tasting than another,” Leadbetter continues. ”It’s just their vocabulary; being able to articulate the flavours that they come across. By distilling everything on its own, I was able to remember those flavours, which made it a lot easier to decide where to head in terms of final flavour. It also made me a lot better at tasting other gins and working out what I liked and disliked.”

While blending skills are certainly crucial, mastering the technical aspect of distilling is of equal importance, if not greater. After all, it’s little use describing how you’d like your gin to taste if you can’t actually create those flavours. Back then, “free knowledge was generally thin on the ground”, Leadbetter explains. “Primarily, it’s been three multinationals creating this stuff for the past 20, 30, 40 years – the market’s consolidated and all of their research is proprietary”. 

“The best resources for recipe ideas, cut points, temperatures; they were very much found on home-brewing sites or forums for craft distillers,” he continues. “There was this crazy journey of reading everything I could on the internet to cobble together enough knowledge, and then applying it through practice and then through trial and error to come up with the recipe.”

Arrrrrrr! Seadog Navy Gin

“On my journey distilling from botanicals, when it got to things like aniseed, liquorice or star anise, and they louched [went cloudy] when I diluted them down, it instantly clicked, I was like ‘oh my god, this is so familiar to pastis in France or the ouzos from Greece from holidays’ that it opened my eyes into making something else alongside gin, another botanical-flavoured spirit.” This was the genesis of Cornish Pastis.

With his gin recipe perfected and a pastis in the pastis in the works, Leadbetter acquired a 500sqft unit in north Cornwall and bought a 250-litre still to start distilling on a commercial scale. He approached gastro pubs, wine specialists, hotels and farm shops across the county, and sold the first batch on 30 July 2013 from the boot of his car. 

At the end of the first month, Southwestern secured its first export order, and by the end of the first year, Tarquin’s had won a gold medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC). Even so, his mum was still signing each bottle. “We have these hand-written batch character tasting notes, so my mum was writing those on the bottle, my sister was helping me stick the labels on, and for the first two years I was still hand-labelling and doing lots of the bottling myself,” Leadbetter says. “It took us about 18 months to make our very first employee.”

Today, Southwestern has four stills which are spread across five units at the same converted cow sheds. “Three are exactly the same type as I first started on, where we can do small batches and be really creative, and the other is a bigger custom-built Italian still made by a company called Green Engineering, which made the stills for Bombay Sapphire’s Laverstoke Mill,” Leadbetter says. 

“We’ve very much got that blend of old and new,” he continues. “We’ve still got these incredibly rustic stills sealed with bread dough*, and then on the other side of the distillery we’ve got this modern, high-tech still with its fancy flow metres that can spit out all these digital readings. All it’s really designed to do is give us information to help us mirror and copy what’s going on with the smaller stills, but on a larger scale. It’s been an interesting evolution.”

Twin Fin, a spiced blend of Jamaican and Dominican rum

A variety of limited edition gins have been added to the range over the years – including blackberry and Cornish honey, rhubarb and raspberry, strawberry and lime – and now, after two years of development, a spiced rum that goes by the name of Twin Fin is the latest spirit to expand the line-up. To make Twin Fin, a secret spice recipe is distilled in Southwestern’s copper pot stills and combined with two Caribbean rums. Then, the liquid is married with charred oak chips before bottling.

“It’s a blend of Jamaican pot still rum, which is lovely and banana-y, and Dominican Republic column still rum, which almost tastes a bit like coconut,” Leadbetter explains. “We wanted to spread our wings a little bit and use our knowledge and experience of distilling botanicals and create a rum, and the best way for us to start is by putting our own twist on a spiced creation. It’s got lots of citrus, lots of vanilla. We soak our oak chips in Pedro Ximénez sherry to add this almost Christmas cake fruit sweetness to the spirit.”

There’s no question that rum seems to finally be having its moment in the spotlight, and it appears to be led by the botanical success seen in gin. Could we see another spiced rum from Southwestern going forward? “In terms of further experimenting we might go down more of a fresh fruit approach as our gins have done, natural fruit flavours potentially, there’s space for some really fun tropical ingredients – or we might do some completely off-the-wall, wacky limited edition one-offs,” says Leadbetter.

“Traditionally rum has been quite an on-trade heavy spirit,” he continues. “Lots of people drink it in bars, but it’s never quite been the hero of the home cocktail bar, and there’s definitely more scope for that. Gin is the most popular spirit that people are buying to drink at home during lockdown, and I think rum could follow in its footsteps over the next few years – with the right products and some British experimentation also helping to drive the category.”

*A tried and tested technique whereby bread dough is used to seal the top of the still in place of a gasket. “It’s been around for probably 1,000 years, since they were using a very similar style of alembic still in north Africa,” Leadbetter says. “It’s super effective.”

Tarquin’s Gin is available from Master of Malt. Find the full range here

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Don’t miss these Deals of the Day!

We’re doing more great deals on all kinds of delicious drinks, which is just what you want to hear if you’re shopping for a (very) late Father’s Day gift. Do…

We’re doing more great deals on all kinds of delicious drinks, which is just what you want to hear if you’re shopping for a (very) late Father’s Day gift.

Do you know what you can find if you click here? That’s right. Deals. Savings and bargains and discounts and delights abound. In the market to try something new and interesting? In need of an old favourite? Simply a lover of a big price with a slash through it and a lower price positioned cheerily next to it? Then you’re in the right place.

If you’re really stuck and don’t know what to get someone, gift vouchers are an easy alternative. “But wait, don’t gift vouchers suck?” I hear you ask. Well, no, not if you buy excellent gift vouchers like MoM gift vouchers. What makes our ones better? Well, a) they never expire, and b) they pay our own particular brand of interest at 5% (compounded) per year. Yep. You read that right. Told you they were better.

Anyway, here are some of the best deals you’ll find this weekend.

Don’t miss these Deals of the Day!

Highland Park 16 Year Old Twisted Tattoo

This is one of those whiskies that was just made to be a gift. Look how cool that bottle is! The inspiration for this one came from the Viking legend of the Midgard Serpent, which got itself twisted around the world to bite its own tail. That serpent is on the bottle’s label, designed by tattoo artist Colin Dale. Huh, that must be where they got the name from. Clever. So was combining whisky aged in Spanish Rioja wine-seasoned casks with whisky aged in first-fill bourbon casks, which is what Highland Park did here. Very clever.

What’s the deal?

It was £67.60, now it’s £49.60.

Don’t miss these Deals of the Day!

Hepple Gin

The award-winning Hepple Gin is very delicious. So delicious in fact, that while you’re enjoying its particular brand of deliciousness you’ll find yourself staring at the bottle and wondering how on earth Hepple achieved such deliciousness. Well, it’s thanks to a rather intricate production method. First, the base spirit is distilled in a pot still using a selection of botanicals including Italian juniper. Then botanicals including locally-picked juniper, Amalfi lemon and lovage are vacuum-distilled. A supercritical CO2 extraction process is then employed to make a spirit flavoured with Macedonian juniper. Finally, all these spirits are expertly blended together. Wonderful stuff.

What’s the deal?

It was £35.95, now it’s £28.95. 

Don’t miss these Deals of the Day!

Deanston 18 Year Old

In my opinion, Deanston simply does not get enough credit or attention as a distillery, despite the fact it makes some absolutely tremendous whiskies. Help correct this wrong by indulging in arguably the standout of the Deanston range, the delightful 18-year-old. This beauty was finished in first-fill Kentucky bourbon casks before it was bottled without chill-filtration at 46.3% ABV. Expect oodles of rich honey, luxurious vanilla, sugary shortbread and a touch of fresh ginger. 

What’s the deal?

It was £74.41, now it’s £59.91.

Don’t miss these Deals of the Day!

Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum 

We were never going to do a round-up of brilliant booze and not include some rum. This week Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum is on sale and that’s very good news because it’s really tasty. You can drink it neat. You can drink it with a mixer. You can make cool cocktails with it. This is one versatile treat. It was made using a tasty blend of Guyanese and Trinidadian rum, along with a selection of spices like cassia, anise, and clove and the result is something that’s enjoyably hot, like jalapeños or Hugh Jackman, that’s filled with notes of baking spice, caramelised fruit and brown sugar.

What’s the deal?

It was £25.96, now it’s £20.96.

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Grander: Panamanian rum born from Kentucky roots

Grander Rum founder Dan DeHart may have been born in the bourbon capital, but that didn’t stop him creating an authentic new Panama rum with the help of a legendary…

Grander Rum founder Dan DeHart may have been born in the bourbon capital, but that didn’t stop him creating an authentic new Panama rum with the help of a legendary blender…

Dan DeHart is a native Kentuckian. Growing up he knew people in the bourbon industry and was always infatuated with distillation and the spirits world. “It was a big part of my life,” he said, “but I was really an outsider looking in who always wanted to become part of the spirits industry. I instead joined the corporate world, but often I would look back on the spirits side and wonder how I can really jump into this”.

While DeHart is an avid bourbon drinker, he developed a fondness for rum and grew frustrated with the perception that it was simply a cheap party mixer and that it couldn’t rival whisky in terms of pedigree and profile. “I was amazed to find that there is rum out there that I could enjoy like my bourbon, neat, over ice or in a great cocktail. The versatility of it drew me in and opened a Pandora’s box for me to jump into the rum world,” DeHart says. “I’d really wanted to get into the spirits business but I hadn’t found my calling. This was it. I realised that, particularly in the US, there was a great opportunity to create a high-quality rum and begin to educate people that there is a whole other world of rum out there”.

Grander Rum

DeHart launched Grander Rum back in 2015

The first big step for DeHart was to decide if he would found a distillery or focus on making a brand and partnering with a distillery. “That was really a fork in the road for me. I went back to Kentucky to do a distilling course to educate myself, gain an appreciation for the craft and understand what level of commitment it would take to go down the distillery route,” DeHart said. 

Ultimately he decided on the brand building route and founded Grander Rum, the first expressions of which were launched in 2015. As fishing enthusiasts will know, a grander is a marlin that weighs more than a thousand pounds and is considered quite the catch. DeHart chose this name as he felt it best reflected his brand. “They’re one of the most beautiful fish out there and my aim is to produce a beautiful rum and a 1000lb marlin is quite uncommon and I like to believe that I am taking an uncommon approach with my rums,” DeHart said. “Also, these fish are typically found in tropical/subtropical climates which of course is where sugarcane is grown and they are independent. The fish do not roam in schools and are more likely to be found on their own and I wanted my company to be perceived as independent and not beholden to a big house, which gives us leeway to chart our own course”.

Grander Rum

The road to Las Cabras Distillery is lined with sugarcane

What followed was a period of trial and error, sampling a multitude of rum styles to find his desired profile. DeHart settled on the lighter, sweet-tasting Spanish style-rum, which is usually produced in column stills. “I felt that allowed me the most versatility for what I wanted to do. That style provides a really good basis that was accessible and would give me a lot of options to innovate”. 

Now all DeHart needed was the perfect partner, which he found in the Las Cabras Distillery, a Panamanian rum distillery located in Herrera, about a four and a half four drive from Panama City and home to an abundance of sugar cane fields. DeHart was impressed with the quality of the sugar cane, which grows in volcanic soil fed by rivers stemming from mineral-rich mountain springs and that the Las Cabras Distillery was able to harvest it locally and converted it into molasses on site. The distillery also ferments its molasses using an in-house strain of yeast cultivated from pineapples, giving it a unique profile, before the spirit is distilled in column stills to 94-96% ABV and then cut to 75% ABV when it enters the barrel. “When I visited the distillery and I tried the distillate they’re making, I found that they were creating some really great stuff. The rum itself was exactly what I was looking for,” says DeHart. “I call it a single origin rum, which means that it’s 100% Panamanian. Everything is done on the site, from harvesting the sugar cane, to distillation, maturation and bottling”.

Grander Rum

The fermentation tanks at Las Cabras Distillery

The distillery is housed in a former sugar mill that dates back to 1919. Its ownership changed hands a number of times and by the mid-nineties, it was a neglected warehouse overgrown with grass, which covered, among other things, a copper column still with a small medallion inscribed with ‘Cincinnati 1922’, made by the American Copper & Brass Works in 1922. A fortuitous chain of events meant that when Carlos Esquivel, eventual CEO of Don Pancho Origenes Rum and whose family owned the building, began working with master blender Francisco ‘Don Pancho’ Fernandez to found a rum brand, Don Pancho told Esquivel that he could create rum at this site. Today the distillery has four different sized independent column stills that produce light to heavy distillate and the facility produces its own brands, including Caña Brava Rum.

Don Pancho is famous figure for rum enthusiasts. Born in Cuba in 1938, his first forays into the rum business were labouring in the sugar cane fields and learning from his father, Don Antonio Fernandez Castro, who worked in wine and spirits. Don Pancho’s career in Cuba lasted 35 years and saw him earn a degree in microbiology and become an expert in creating Cuban-style rum for brands like Matusalem and Havana Club. When Pernod Ricard acquired the rights to distribute Havana Club in 1993, Don Pancho moved to Panama, initially to work for Ron Abuelo. Now at Las Cabras distillery, he creates products for a number of brands. “He has a tremendous amount of experience, he’s a very gentle, sweet individual and to see him at work is always so interesting,” says DeHart. “Whenever I go to Panama to approve a new batch of Grander Rum, if I feel I need to make changes we’ll go sit in his office and discuss it and he can rectify things so quickly thanks to his experience. It’s amazing to see that process”.

Grander Rum

Carlos Esquivel, Grander Rum founder Dan DeHart and Don Pancho

While DeHart looked to Panama to create his rum brand, he didn’t forget his Kentucky roots.  The core range of Grander Rum is an 8 Year Old and a 12 Year Old expression. The former is matured in first-fill American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and the latter is aged in refill American white oak ex-bourbon barrels with some sherry seasoning, which is why the 12 Year Old is actually lighter in colour and has more distillate profile, which is unusual for the older spirit (“I love the fact that the 12 Year Old is lighter than an 8 Year Old and that this confuses people,” DeHart admits). The majority of the barrels DeHart sourced were from Heaven Hill, but he’s also worked with Woodford Reserve and a barrel manufacturer in Kentucky. “It is such a great industry because the folks and families in Kentucky are so nice and some of the most down-to-earth people you’ll meet. They’ll bend over backwards for you. I’m a small player, who asks for maybe 20 barrels from someone like Heaven Hill compared to the truckloads they usually do, so they’re very generous with their casks,” says DeHart. 

Ageing your rum in Panama means you contend with the tropical climate, which sees the angels help themselves to 10-12% of the spirit in the first year and eventually to 3-4% annually. But DeHart welcomes the challenge of tropical maturation. “Grander is 100% Panamanian rum and this is part of it. The evaporation can be brutal, we had a cask finish that was just eight months long and we lost about 10%, so you have to be very mindful,” says DeHart. “An issue you can have with aged rum is that they can be too woody and I’ve sampled a number of rums where the wood is overbearing, so there is a fine balance. Not living in Panama means that keeping tabs on maturation is important. I’ve got some peated casks and it’s crazy how quickly the peat seeps into the rum. The key is understanding how you can play with these flavours without destroying your base rum”.

Grander Rum

Grander Rum maturing in a Heaven Hill cask

DeHart’s approach to Grander is about experimenting with different styles of cask, such as the Rye Finish expression launched last year, or the peated barrels from Scotland he’s working with at the moment, and testing to see if there’s a marriage happening between his rum and the cask. “Logistically it’s not easy, because I’m buying a small number of casks, sending them down to Panama, which is costly, to do my evaluation of testing and innovation. But I’m very fortunate to have a distillery that’s so collaborative and accommodating,” he explains. “I get very excited because I have this unaltered distillate from Panama over which I can establish my own style so I can innovate and bring out interesting expressions. I make rum that’s really interesting to me, I’m not trying to chase someone else’s idea of what they think a great rum is. That’s what Grander is all about”.

Another aspect of Grander that rum fans will warm to is DeHart’s insistence on transparency. The 8 Year Old and 12 Year Old, which were bottled at 45% ABV, were filtered through cellulose plates, but there’s no chill-filtration or added colouring, flavouring or sweeteners. “I have no problem with rums adding colouring, but it’s important the consumer is informed about what you’re selling them. I wanted to inform people of how Grander was made, I’ve got nothing to hide and I don’t want to hide anything. Transparency is really important if rum wants to compete in the super-premium category, which in the US is defined by price point. If somebody is spending that kind of money they deserve to know what they’re getting,” DeHart says, who also made sure his core range of rums has age statements, “I was attracted to the idea of putting an age on it, again because taking an authentic approach is important to me”.

Grander Rum

Grander Rum is bottled without chill-filtration or added colouring, flavouring or sweeteners

While making rum that had enough quality to be enjoyed neat was always an ambition of DeHart’s, this didn’t stop him from embracing cocktail culture. DeHart recommended a few serves for those who want to get mixing, all of which you kind find here. His favourites are a classic Daiquiri and an Old Fashioned, which makes sense for somebody who loves rum and bourbon. I’ve made both at home myself and can confirm they’re delicious.

We end by discussing what the future holds for Grander, which is mostly going to be DeHart continuing to build his brand. “The goal is to expose more people to Grander and hope they fall in love with it. It’s incredibly fulfilling to know you’ve created a product that somebody enjoys”. DeHart is also focused on continuing to innovate within the Panamanian rum category, particularly with casks. However, when we discuss the possibility of any other spirits becoming part of the Grander roster, DeHart is typically honest. “That door is open. Never say never,” he says. “I do look at spirits and other styles of rums, but right now my focus is working with Panamanian rum. There’s a lot of work to be done with the distillery in Panama and lots of things I can still do with casks. I’m really excited about the products I have finishing in Panama right now. Down the road, who knows, there may be some other spirits I do as well…”

You can purchase Grander Rum right here.

Grander Rum

Grander 8 Year Old Tasting Notes:

Nose: Baking spice, red chilli and black pepper create a spicy base from which classic bourbon sweetness emerges, mostly vanilla sponge, butterscotch and a touch of orange peel. The cask notes make way for more distillery character with time in the form of dried fruit, cane sugar, roasted pineapple and a slightly grassy element.

Palate: Darker and fruitier on the palate: more cooked pineapple, dates, baked apple and orange oil. Earthy vanilla pod, salted caramel and dark chocolate are present throughout, while grated nutmeg adds a lovely touch of aromatic spice.

Finish: Golden syrup, tropical fruit and toasty oak spices linger.

Grander Rum

Grander 12 Year Old Tasting Notes:

Nose: Through creamy vanilla and waxy orange peels there’s heaps of tropical fruit, notably mango, fried banana and pineapple juice. Bourbon oak, sweet spices and gingerbread are all present underneath along with hints of parsley, dried earth, old-fashioned cola, cassia and chocolate mousse.

Palate: It’s a sweet and mouth-coating palate filled with rummy goodness. Treacle, crème brûlée and candied ginger come first, then coconut cream and sweet vanilla. Rich, thick slabs of toffee appear in the mid-palate with another tropical medley, this time guava, pineapple and passion fruit. The back-end of the palate is very juicy.

Finish: Buttery biscuits and manuka honey keep things sweet as a prickle of fiery spice appears on the finish.

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What we’re buying for Father’s Day

Today we ask a few people from around the office which bottle they are buying this Father’s Day for their dads. Some of the answers might surprise you… For many…

Today we ask a few people from around the office which bottle they are buying this Father’s Day for their dads. Some of the answers might surprise you…

For many of us this will be the first Father’s Day in years that we won’t be able to raise a glass to our fathers in person because of lockdown restrictions. It’s a particularly difficult time with grandparents unable to see their children and grandchildren, and the pubs are closed! But we don’t want the old man to feel unloved so we will be sending a card and something from Master of Malt such as a nice bottle of wine or two, a single malt whisky, or some unusual gin. What better way to say ‘Happy Father’s Day!’ than with booze. Here’s a selection of what a few people from Master of Malt and the wider Atom family will be buying their fathers.

Stevie Heyes – head of engineering

Fiona Macleod 33 Year Old – The Character of Islay Whisky Company

I’m treating my dad as he is hitting a milestone age later in the year (no more details for fear of meeting an untimely demise when I see him next). He loves Islay whisky, but he’s a frugal chap and wouldn’t dream of buying the Fiona Macleod 33 for himself, so I will. Well you’re only 70 once oops.

Jess Williamson content assistant

Jaffa Cake Gin

Since I introduced my dad to Negronis there’s literally nothing else he’d rather drink (so long as someone else is making them), and I’m yet to find a better gin for the cocktail than Jaffa Cake Gin! It’s super zesty, plus he loves finding new spirits to show his friends, and this is definitely a unique one. Negronis all around this Father’s Day!

Cal MeGuinness – trade service advisor

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

It’s safe to say that my dad is not the easiest man to buy for… A copy of ‘A Beginners Guide to Birdwatching has gone unread, and last years ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ mug has turned into a rather nifty pen pot. So this year I’ve decided to go for something a little different and picking up a bottle of Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva rum from Venezuela. It’s full of flavour on it’s own but also makes a rather delicious Rum and Ginger! Surely I can’t go wrong with rum?! 

Charlotte Gorzelak – social media and email assistant 

Caorunn Small Batch Gin

My dad has had a thing for gin ever since my sister introduced it to him seven years ago. Now we have a regularly updated bar shelf which has at least five types of gin. To add to his collection this Father’s Day, I am giving him a delightful Scottish gin made with dandelions, Caorunn Small Batch Gin. We’re going to drink it with a slice of red apple and plenty of ice.

Henry Jeffreys features editor

Father’s Day Whisky Tasting Set

My father likes his single malts but he’s more of a wine drinker. So what better way to broaden his whisky horizons than with the aptly-named Father’s Day Tasting Set. There’s a classic ten year old Islay, a 12 year old Loch Lomond, a small batch bourbon and just to confuse him, a blend of whiskies from around the British isles. 

Adam O’Connell  writer.

Tobermory Gin

My dad remembers drinking the occasional gin and tonic in his youth in Ireland, but for much of his life he’s had two go-to drinks: lager and Guinness. But recently he’s embraced all things botanical again and likes to pair his gin with ginger ale instead of tonic. A savoury gin with plenty of warming citrus and delicate sweetness, like Tobermory’s flagship gin, makes a great base for this cocktail. 

Peter Holland – rum consultant 

Foursquare 12 Year Old 2007 – Exceptional Cask Selection

My father is hardly a drinker, so I am thinking about something you really could spend your time with, a single pour that evolves and takes you on a journey. Foursquare 2007 is one of those spirits that covers a lot of bases. Perfect for those looking to explore cask strength rum; It offers so much without being overtly challenging but will not disappoint the experienced sipper either.

There’s more gift ideas and special offers to be found on our Father’s Day page. 

 

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