Rum in high spirits!
The explosion of cocktail culture and mixology are driving excitement within the gin category, with premium brands proudly leading the charge, writes Gillian Hamill
22 March 2022 | 0
The fourth most popular spirits call in the drinks trade (after vodka, Irish whiskey, and gin), rum sales look set to increase in both volume and value. Total volume in the category may have fallen by 3.5% in Ireland in 2020, but the IWSR expects to see 1.5% category annual growth rate between 2020 to 2025. Premium rum brands are likely to have a part to play in this growth.
While much of the spirit’s success can be attributed to its use as a mixing ingredient, IWSR stated that premium rum will re-position the spirit as a sipping drink, moving it away from its consumer perception as a party drink.
Rum is undoubtedly an excellent base for cocktails and in recent years, brands have expanded their portfolios to develop a more diverse range of flavoured rum, and thereby enabling consumers to find the perfect match for their favourite cocktail concoction.
In a Mintel blog, analyst Suzanne Montfoort recently reflected on the factors driving the rise of flavoured spirts or as she describes it, the “extraordinary infusion-fest” currently occurring. According to Montfoort: “Many players in the drinks industry appear to have decided to invest in product development as a way to broaden their consumer base. While young consumers in general remain an important target market, women in particular have caught marketers’ imagination, as they are underrepresented in categories such as whisky and beer. Attracting more women would allow brands to tap into a vast yet underexplored market.”
However, as Montfoort points out, “consumer research by Mintel shows honey-flavoured whiskey and spiced rum appeal to a larger percentage of men than women, highlighting that it takes more than sweetness to get the girls”.
Irish pivot to rum
Another interesting development within the rum category is the decision by some Irish distilleries is to pivot away from more traditionally ‘Irish’ spirits towards rum. In an article entitled ‘Can Irish Rum Turn the Tides of Tradition in Ireland?’, Emily Cappiello, writing for Vinepair.com, spoke to several people within Ireland’s drinks industry who are playing a key role in shaking up the nation’s perceptions of rum and educating consumers on the more diverse range available nowadays. One such individual was Kiran Shiva Akal, the founder of Akal Chai Rum, who noted: “Ireland would not be traditionally regarded as a rum-drinking nation, with whiskey and gin dominating tastes. However, during the last 15 years, [the country] has had something of a renaissance with food and drink. Mixology has exploded in the cities.” Shiva Akal is also the founder of Ohana Tiki Bar on Dublin’s Harcourt Street, a ‘rum lover’s dream’ which serves over 200 rums, complete with expert mixologists to create cocktails. In itself, the existence of such a bar clearly demonstrates the growing demand for rum and Irish consumers’ more adventurous tastes.
“We’re realizing that people are drinking less, but they want higher quality,” added Jason Kidd, founder of Outcast Brands, who observes: “Rum is now moving from tiki-style drinks to that of prestige.” What’s more, Drinks Ireland forecasts that rum will grow at a rate of 5.5% until 2027, making it the third key growth spirit behind whiskey and gin.
This chimes with an earlier report from IWSR published in 2017 which shows the category’s clear upward trajectory of recent years, noting: “‘Excitement’ is surely the word to describe the current mood surrounding premium-plus rums. While not quite showing the growth of premium gin, the category clearly has long potential, sharing many of the craft credentials of other brown spirits, but also appealing to the cocktail driven upscale on-trade. The report also found the premium-plus rum category “continues to fire on all cylinders,” with IWSR figures showing that at that time, premium, super-premium and ultra-premium rums were growing at a rate of 8.35% to reach over 3.42m cases in 2017.
Read on to learn more about the brands and new flavour developments creating a buzz in the rum category within the Irish market.
What exactly is rum?
Irish retailer O’Brien’s Wine describes rum as “a distilled spirit made from sugar cane or sugar cane by-products, such as molasses. It comes in many varieties and styles. White, gold and spiced rum are perfect for cocktails or long drinks while premium aged rums are designed for sipping.”
Molasses meanwhile, is described by www.thespruceeats.com, as “the dark, sweet, syrupy by-product made during the extraction of sugars from sugarcane and sugar beets. Molasses has a rich history in the Caribbean and Southern United States, where sugarcane and sugar beets are heavily cultivated. Perfect for old-fashioned recipes, molasses is used in gingerbread as well as baked beans, barbecue sauce, and other dishes that benefit from its dense sweetness.”
Sublime for cocktails
Bacardí has a rich and proud heritage dating back to 1862 when, after ten years of perfecting his rums, Don Facundo Bacardí Massó introduced the world to his Bacardí Carta Blanca rum. A sublime rum for cocktails, it doesn’t dominate other flavours nor does it disappear when mixed. Perfect for classic rum cocktails like the Mojito.
With rum now accounting for 8% of total spirits* in Ireland, Bacardi has a perfect portfolio from classic to premium, which includes the following:
Bacardí Superior Rum: This is a light and aromatically balanced rum. Subtle notes of almonds and lime are complemented by hints of vanilla. The finish is dry, crisp, and clean. It inspired the cocktail revolution as the first mixable rum. This distinctive spirit is aged in American white oak barrels and shaped through a secret blend of charcoal for a distinctive smoothness, making it perfect for classic rum cocktails.
Bacardí Coconut Flavored Rum: Made with all-natural flavours, Bacardí Coconut Flavoured Rum provides an intense flavour of creamy coconut with refreshing aromas of coconut water. A special Bacardí rum blend was created by the Maestros de Ron that provides a light base for the Bacardi Coconut flavored rum. The rum and fruit flavours are left to marry. Purified water is added to bring the product to bottling strength. Before bottling, the product is filtered to create a well-rounded and balanced flavour.
Bacardí Raspberry Rum: Made with all-natural flavours, Bacardí Raspberry Flavoured Rum infuses citrus and raspberry flavour to a white rum base creating a mouth-watering mixture of sweet and tart.
Bacardí Spiced: This is blended with natural flavours and spices for a bold, yet smooth taste. A caramel-like vanilla flavour with subtle notes of almond and dried, dark fruits rounded out by cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of honey creates a balanced rum with a hint of smokiness.
Bacardí Spiced Rum: A rum rested for a minimum of one year in specially selected charred American Oak barrels to impart a hint of smokiness, then shaped through a secret blend of spices.
Bacardí Raspberry & Lemonade
- 2 parts Bacardi Raspberry
- 4 parts lemonade
- Build all ingredients in a highball glass over cubed ice. Stir to combine. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Bridge between heritage and new ways
Plantation Rum and its iconic raffia-wrapped bottles are found at the world’s most prestigious tables and bars. Each expression showcases the flavours of a specific heritage and terroir whose double-ageing technique has become a trademark. As per centuries old tradition, Plantation Rum is first aged in the tropics, then further aged in French Oak casks in Cognac, France.
A bridge between rum’s heritage and new ways, Plantation Rum’s home at the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados is the epitome of resurrecting ancestral techniques to preserve rum excellence.
Thanks to its originality and quality, the Plantation range has won the hearts of rum lovers around the world. Expressions like Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple (named three times the best spirit in the world) and Barbados XO 20th Anniversary have become classics.
Alexandre Gabriel, Plantation’s founder and master blender is a committed perfectionist, and his near-constant research unearths historical production techniques that he shares with his equally committed team. Today, Gabriel is recognized as a standard bearer among the great distillers and cellar masters.
Plantation Rum is imported in Ireland by Intrepid Spirits and distributed by Classic Drinks and Celtic Whiskey Shop. It can be found at Celtic Whiskey Shop, Irish Drinks Shop and Molloy’s Liquor Stores.
Apple pie in a glass
Award-winning Symphonia Apple Rum takes white rum from the sun-kissed islands of the Caribbean and infuses it with local Ionagold apples grown in the orchard of Ireland. To this heavenly mixture, Symphonia adds the essence of a local botanical that imparts the spicy flavours of nutmeg and cloves to the apple, making this golden spirit taste like apple pie in a glass.
By doing this, Symphonia believes it perfectly captures its vision: to remain true to the purity of science and nature by capturing flavours and fragrances of botanicals to make the best-tasting spirits in the most eco-efficient way.
For more information, visit www.symphoniaspirits.com.
Distilling the heart of the Caribbean
The Wild Geese premium spirits collection features multi-award-winning rums including; Untamed Non Chill Filtered Cask Strength, Golden Caribbean Spiced, The Wild Geese Golden Rum and the Wild Geese Premium Rum, voted World’s Best Golden Rum at The World Rum Awards and double gold at the Madrid International Rum Conference.
Made with Jamaican pot-still and rums from Barbados, Trinidad St. Lucia and Guyana, The Wild Geese rum collection distils the heart of the Caribbean into every bottle. Subtle spice comes from Barbados, with Jamaica adding a robust note and rich, sweet depth coming from Guyana. Rums from Trinidad and St. Lucia perfect the blend, adding hearty, spicy soul and floral flavours to this uniquely versatile range of rums which are aged between five to eight years in ex-bourbon barrels.
This versality means The Wild Geese Rum collection is perfect for both drinking neat or in a host of bespoke cocktails, many of which have been curated by Simone Caporale of London’s world-famous Artesian Bar; several times voted World’s Best Bar. Caporale’s recipes and many more can be found on The Wild Geese – Irish Premium Spirits Collection YouTube channel.