A varied and valuable spirit

Rum’s diverse array of flavours can be put to good use in bars

tiki cocktail

AT a time when more and more consumers are looking for a quality cocktail from the pubs and bars they visit, it’s perhaps of little surprise that rum has been a spirit long tipped to grow in popularity.

Whether it’s light, dark or spiced, the category offers much in the way of styles and flavours that can lend themselves well to a myriad of popular serves.

And that divergence in style is the reason why the spirit is expected to expand in bars.
“Out of all the main spirits categories, rum has the biggest diversity and range of styles and flavour profiles, with something there for everyone,” said Jim Ewen, co-founder of Aberdeenshire-based spiced rum maker Dark Matter Distillers.

“As consumers become more educated in understanding and experimenting with rum then we should see its popularity grow.”

That view was echoed by Ellie Jones, marketing manager at Love Drinks, distributor of rum brands El Dorado and Goslings.

“The rum category is so broad and that is why the opportunities for growth are so strong,” she said.

“White rums are incredible in a wide range of famous cocktails and golden and aged rums are being used to great effect in long drinks, twists on classic drinks like a Rum Old Fashioned, plus for sipping, which is definitely growing in popularity.”

While all of the category’s main styles are must-stocks for most bars, Ewen of Dark Matter Distillers reckons that two styles in particular are set for greater prevalence.

He said: “Spiced and flavoured rum are looking like the segments set for the highest growth in interest in the coming years. We feel that a quality spiced rum is one way the spirit can really mix things up, drinks-wise.”

Conversely, with so much to offer in terms of flavour and place of origin, the category has more to offer Scottish bars, according to Jones at Love Drinks.

She said: “It’s not going to be just one style as rum is just so versatile and can fit into so many drinks and parts of the drink offering.

“I think it will be key that venues can showcase a range of styles, origins, production methods and serves.”

Essential for many a classic bar call, such as the Mojito, Daiquiri and a host of tiki-style drinks, rum “truly is a bartender’s best friend”, according to Dark Matter Distillers’ Ewen.

He added: “Whether creating drinks with full-strength rum, or, say, rum liqueurs, it allows mixologists the freedom to play with classic cocktails while exploring combinations that accentuate complex flavour profiles.”

Acknowledging that rum is the “main component in some of the world’s most iconic cocktails”, Bacardi’s UK brand ambassador, Metinee Kongsrivilai, also advocated serving rum neat.

“This allows all of the spirit’s vibrant and distinct flavours to shine through and help you to really get to know your rums,” she said.

In terms of in-demand serves, Love Drinks’ Jones said the Dark ‘n’ Stormy – made with dark rum, ginger beer and bitters – is “definitely on the rise” amongst “adventurous” drinkers who are looking for something new and different.