Cocktail Mixing and Rum Tasting at Rum & Sugar, Docklands:
Sometimes the best laid plans of food and drink writers go astray. I’d carefully planned a day last week when my friend who normally writes about wines, beer and spirits could join me for a latish lunch and then for an invitation to a Rum Tasting and cocktail mixing event at Rum & Sugar. Right up his street I thought. Sadly, he ended up in hospital at short notice (nothing serious!). So, I found a new lunch date and went along to the Rum Tasting alone (though I did know that other friends would be there).
It was quite a warm night and most of the customers were sitting outside rather than in the large, airy warehouse. A good place to remember though if you want to meet up with a group of people, really high ceilings and ultra simple decor means it is unlikely to feel crowded even when it is full of people. And with over one hundred rums to chose from, a wide range of cocktails and other spirits, wine and beer, together with an excellent sounding food menu, everyone should be happy.
We learnt how to make three cocktails – a classic mojito, a rum cosmopolitan and a layered cocktail with blue curaco, rum and tequila that was as wicked as it sounds!
My favourite, the classic mojito, is a beautifully simple drink of rum, lime juice, ice, soda and mint.
A tip, to slap the mint rather than muddle it, so that the flavour and scent is just gently released, seemed to work brilliantly, and the mixture of ingredients you see above were shaken to produce a very professional looking and really rather good mojito.
Now, while I won’t be applying for a job as a mixologist, I’d happily make these for a barbecue at home.
I was far too busy concentrating (probably on drinking the mojito) to remember to take pictures of the cosmopolitan being made. But, by the time we got to the layered cocktail, I’d obviously finished my mojito, because I have about 20 layered cocktail photos, with various degrees of focus. (it was quite dark in the bar…). And I am unduly proud of the pretty drink I produced, even though I didn’t actually like the combination of flavours (I really don’t like curaco)!
Anyway, having thoroughly enjoyed doing a bit of cocktail mixing, we had a few canapes – probably a VERY good idea for me at this stage. All rum infused, I particularly liked the pork belly and the little panna cotta custard with mango. I’ve been told that the food at Rum & Sugar is very good and certainly the canapes reinforced that.
We went on to taste a selection of Flor de Cana rums. And to learn a little!
I found out that white rum is made by filtering dark rum through a carbon filter (we tried the 4 yr old Gold and Extra Dry in a side by side comparison). The extra dry was definitely a cocktail rum, with very clean, fresh notes just a little citrussy and coconut flavoured). We went on to taste various aged rums until we reached the 12 and 18 year old flor de cana Centenario. And to be honest, I would happily have sipped either without a mixer. The aging process which is carried out in small American oak barrels does produce a fine premium rum, well worth drinking neat or on the rocks just as you might enjoy a fine whisky.
With many thanks to Dominic Guppy from Amathus for his informed introduction to aged rums and to Paul Williams, the bar manager at Rum & Sugar for putting up with my attempts to make cocktails before I had too much rum to drink!
Rum & Sugar run regular rum tasting and rum and food matching events and can also produce bespoke events for hen and stag parties, corporate hospitality or just for a group of friends who want a different evening out.
Rum & Sugar
Number 1 Warehouse
West India Quay