Thursday 22 May 2014

DIY Spiced Rum - An Experiment (batch one)

I'm definitely not a spiced rum fan, Sailor Jerry et al bore me, hitting you over the head with a nasty synthetic vanilla sweetness. So I figured how hard can it be? 

In the interests of science I decided to have a crack at making my own, I like sweetness but want some other flavours in there as well so I'll add in some other elements to (hopefully) balance it out.
So here's the ingredients :

  • zest of 1 lime
  • half a cinnamon stick 
  • half a vanilla pod & seeds
  • seeds from 2 passion fruits 
  • 1 lemon grass stick

 I've no idea how this will work out but I think the lemongrass, lime and cinnamon will balance the sweetness of the vanilla and passion fruit but we shall see, I'm wary of the proportions but I'll leave it for 48 hours then taste and see what needs tweaking.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Alnwick Rum - Northumbria's Finest

Rum is an exotic spirit, it conjures images of far-away lands, sunshine, Caribbean bacchanals, palm trees and the obligatory pirates, Hemingway getting blitzed on Daiquiris.  Safe to say that Northumberland doesn't immediately spring to mind, but yet 4,000+ miles from Havana there is a growing rum business.

Alnwick rum has been around since before World War One, with the business changing ownership and stopping production a number of times over the years until in 2001, after a 20 year gap, the original recipes were rediscovered and production restarted.

So, after a relaunch here we are, the rum is a blend of Jamaican and Guyanese rums, blended on contract in Holland then bottled here in the UK. The website says they're aged up to three years in ex Bourbon & Whisky barrels.

Pouring a glass you can see a very dark spirit with a reddish tinge, from the look you expect a heavy, thick, aggressive trawler style rum, you take a sniff and it's lots of treacle, molasses & orange, heavy, full and punchy.

Now taking a neat sip you're thrown a bit, there is an initial warmth but nothing too amazing but then the flavour really develops into something a lot more subtle than you'd expect, a little bitter coffee and citrus behind the treacle & molasses hit. Bottling at 43% makes it a bit punchier than you'd expect, only 3% but it does make a significant difference.  The finish is remarkably dry and lingering.

This being said this isn't a sipper, it's a mixer.  Alnwick Rum works nicely with coke but I was most impressed with it in a Dark n' Stormy especially with Old Jamaica Ginger Beer the power of the ginger and the dryness of the rum work together beautifully for a drink that slips down very easily. Moving on to fancier cocktails a daiquiri is another winner, I found both of the following proportions to work very nicely:

  1. 50ml Rum
  2. 25ml lime juice (fresh)
  3. 15ml sugar syrup
  4. Shake over ice, strain and serve
or, if you've a sweeter tooth try only 5ml of syrup and 5ml each of Cointreau & orange juice which takes the bite off the lime juice.

Overall for a rum aged under 3 years this is pretty tasty and something a bit different to add to the drinks cabinet

Colour - Mahogany
ABV- 43%
Bottle - 70cl
Price - £25
Nose - Molasses, treacle, coffee
Palate - Coffee, molasses, treacle, subtle but with bite
Finish - Dry and long