Dish of the Day: How to … choose rum

The Cocktail Lovers

4917905271 a268035758 b Dish of the Day: How to ... choose rumNext week is carnival time in Trinidad and Tobago and what better way to replicate the warmth of the Caribbean than with a tot of good quality rum? We asked Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador for his tips on what to look out for when buying the sunshine spirit.

How much should you expect to pay for a ‘goodentry-level rum?

“You should expect to pay £20-£30 for a good entry level rum. This should guarantee that the rum will have an amazing array of flavours and character. Many of the high street super markets have increased their rum offerings in recent years so there are many to choose from.

What are the key characteristics to look out for?

The first thing to remember is that age or colour does not equate to quality in ANY spirit. When looking at a rum label, look at its origins. Rums from English-speaking countries are generally heavier in body and texture. Rums from Spanish-speaking countries are medium-bodied. Rums from French-speaking countries are drier on the finish. But rums are so varied, it’s almost impossible to generalise.

How should you drink it?

The rule of thumb is that premium rums should be drunk straight or with ice but if you’re using it in a mixed drink then the better the rum the better the cocktail. If the rum is cask strength then a touch of water opens up the aromas of the rum. Lighter and younger rums are great in cocktails such as a Mojito, Daiquiri and Rum Mules (with ginger beer, bitters and lime).

Whats your favourite serve?

A Daiquiri or Rum Manhattan


50ml light rum

25ml fresh lime juice

12.5ml sugar syrup

Shake ingredients over ice and pour into a cocktail glass. No garnish.

Rum Manhattan

50ml premium aged rum

25ml sweet vermouth

Dash of Angostura aromatic bitters

Garnish with a maraschino cherry

Stir ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Ian Burrell is the Global Rum Ambassador and founder of RumFest and The Rum Experience

The Cocktail Lovers say…

There’s only one way to celebrate the Trinidad carnival and that’s with the country’s biggest rum brand, Angostura. Try the 1919, bursting with creamy-rich vanilla notes, in a Daiquiri (see Ian’s recipe above), it’s guaranteed to hit the spot.

This week we’re loving…

Trinidad isn’t the only country in carnival mode – the 4th and 5th of March sees the folk in Rio de Janeiro, Dominica, Haiti, Panama and New Orleans in fiesta mood too. But there’s also Mardi Gras action in London. Yes really. Get down to NOLA in Shoreditch where Dan Priseman and co will be serving up some good ol’ Southern hospitality along with live music, cracking cocktails and a few surprises along the way. Guaranteed to be the best party in town.

4th March, from 9pm-1am. Tickets £8 including complimentary cocktail on arrival.

NOLA Presents Mardi Gras New Orleans Style, The Loft – Bedroom Bar, 68 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY.

Follow The Cocktail Lovers on Twitter @cocktaillovers and visit

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  • greggf

    Rums from the French DomTom, Isle de la Réunion, are a novel treat. Dry and clean to the taste they have that fine flavour of French brandies and rival any Caribbean competitor. Often they are flavoured with vanilla and pineapples as a digestif.

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