Pirate’s tipple of choice set to become the next big craft spirit

PUBLISHED: 14:07 19 December 2018

A selection of the rums available at Arcade Tavern PICTURE: Archant

A selection of the rums available at Arcade Tavern PICTURE: Archant


Following in the footsteps of gin, which was massively popular in 2017, rum is set to take centre stage next year. Experts at Arcade Tavern share their knowledge of the spirit...

Rum is popular for many cocktails, including tiki-style varieties PICTURE: Getty Images/iStockphotoRum is popular for many cocktails, including tiki-style varieties PICTURE: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A decade or so ago, your local pub or bar would likely only stock a limited choice of rum; a light Cuban-style rum like Barcardi, a navy-style rum such as Lamb’s, and possibly a dark and rich full-bodied blend such as the original Captain Morgan Black. Today however, there are well over 300 varieties of rum available in the UK with a growing number of these being premium craft spirits – but what has led to this extraordinary explosion and how is this rum renaissance likely to continue in the coming year?

To a large extent, the sugar cane-based spirit has benefitted from the overall expansion of the craft spirits industry - which was driven initially by the huge growth of botanical gins - with today’s drinkers trading up to enjoy better quality spirits with high quality and flavour credentials. With drinkers opting more often for artisanal, handcrafted rums, premium bottles are driving much of the spirit’s growth; in addition to the history of the liquid, which is appealing to a UK audience because of its strong tie to British heritage. Despite this however, it is the diversity of the liquid, and the cocktails that can be made from it, which make rum so popular.

Due to its flexible and versatile nature, as well as the fact rum has more personality and character than other spirits, bars have been able to use the spirit to capitalise on another growing trend, cocktails. From flavoured rums to golden, dark rums to light, bars can do so much with the alcohol to create a huge variety of flavours. Rum cocktails are some of the most popular ones too... Mojitos, Daiquiris, Long Island Iced Teas. Tiki-culture-style cocktails such as Mai Tais and Pina Coladas are also enjoyed by many.

Rum growth is also not only from cocktails though as it is increasingly being appreciated as a spirit that can be sipped and enjoyed neat - and this is something the experts at Arcade Tavern in Ipswich are on board with. Arcade Tavern’s managing director Ross Keough and assistant manager Monica Jayne Campbell-Scott believe that rum is best enjoyed as it comes, making a simple spirit and mixer – or even just a shot – an ideal choice when you visit the bar.

Monica Jayne Campbell-Scott behind the bar in Arcade Tavern PICTURE: ArchantMonica Jayne Campbell-Scott behind the bar in Arcade Tavern PICTURE: Archant

Being innovative in its approach to bringing a vast array of rums to the town, a lot of research has taken place behind the scenes at the unique craft beer and gin bar on Arcade Street, to ensure it offers its drinkers names that are not completely unknown but aren’t the average bottles you’ll find everywhere else.

“People always want to find something new and now is the time of rum,” says Monica. “With an opposite flavour profile of gin, the spirit is appealing to all ages; for younger drinkers it’s something new and exciting, whereas for those who are older, it’s nostalgic.”

While many people associate rum with pirates and the Caribbean, Monica explains that “rum comes from far wider than just the Caribbean, with many great rums being Mauritian, Venezuelan and Filipino.” It is also a great spirit for drinking all year round she adds. “In the summer, lighter rums are ideal and can be paired with mixers such as pineapple or cranberry, while in the winter darker spirits can be more warming.”

It is clear Monica knows what she is talking about as she explains more about the variety of bottles that are behind the bar.

Rum is set to be the next big craft spirit PICTURE: Getty Images/iStockphotoRum is set to be the next big craft spirit PICTURE: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Spiced rum is generally the most popular; Pink Pigeon has a vanilla taste, and when paired with lemonade tastes like cream soda, while Ableforth’s Rumbullion! has a rich taste and is great paired with coke. We stock premium mixers from Fevertree here, including Madagascan cola and spiced orange ginger ale, which are perfect for rums.”

If your tastes sway more towards golden rum, Monica recommends Neptune. “It’s the most awarded rum of 2018,” she says, “and it works very well with mixers. For purists who enjoy a heavier rum, Goslings Black Seal Rum makes a perfect dark and stormy. We fill a glass with ginger ale or beer, pour the rum on top and watch it as it trickles down.”

As well as advising whenever you visit the bar, Arcade Tavern has a different ‘rum of the week’ each week which it recommends to its customers, and plans to hold a small handful of rum tasting evenings in the New Year. During these, drinkers can find out more about the history behind many rums, sample taste a selection and learn what mixers are best paired with each.

For more information on rum events at Arcade Tavern, or about the many different names on offer, pop in to the bar which is situated at 1 Arcade St, Ipswich IP1 1EX.

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