18 July 2017

Rum-tinis with Pirate's Grog

Okay guys, my apologies, I did bring my camera with me to this event but - classic - the memory card wasn't in there. So I apologise profusely for these grainy photos. But here's what went down at The Jam Tree's Rum-tini Masterclass with Pirate's Grog rum...

July is National Rum Month, so The Jam Tree has been celebrating with a Rum Festival, consisting of rum themed nights, masterclasses and cocktail specials at its branches in Clapham Old Town and Chelsea.

I couldn't resist the sound of the Rum-tini masterclass with Pirate's Grog in Clapham - after all, who doesn't love an Espresso Martini? - substituting vodka for a smooth, golden rum.

We were hosted by Greg and Beth, who in 2012 teamed up with the founder of Pirate's Grog, Robert J. van der Weg, to begin exporting the rum around the globe.

Greg was an impressive brand ambassador, resembling an actual pirate...

The rum collection

To start, we were provided with some info about the origins of the rum; that it was founded in Roatán, a Caribbean island situated 40 miles off the coast of Honduras, and Pirate's Grog HQ is now in Hackney Wick. Like most drinks brands, it doesn't take itself too seriously, but the one thing they are serious about is the quality and taste of their rum.

The original rum is the Five Year Aged Honduran Rum, aged for 5 years in white American oak barrels, giving it a slightly smoky taste. We tried this first.

I don't tend to drink ~any~ spirits neat, and for a second I had flashbacks to a gin tasting I did last year, but this was surprisingly easy to sip. I'm no rum connoisseur, so the 'notes' were lost on me, but for those more receptive to flavours than I, it has notes of vanilla, raisin and butterscotch. At 37.5% ABV, it's great on ice and suitable as a cocktail mixer, too.

 The original Pirate's Grog rum

Next up was something a little special, their No. 13 Single Batch 13 Year Aged Rum. Limited edition, this is very much present material for the rum enthusiast. The packaging, too, deserves a shout out; it was seriously beautiful, embellished with gold writing which positively shimmered. Notes are apricot, peach, white chocolate and vanilla, and at 40% ABV, it packed a punch.

Such cool packaging - and all hand-drawn designs, apparently

Finally, we tasted the Black Ei8ht Coffee Rum, which is an infusion of premium Brazilian coffee (yum) with the original 5 Year Aged Rum. It offers notes of chocolate, caramel and a hint of toffee and was so-o-o-o good, at 25% ABV. However, its primary function is to be mixed to create the perfect Espresso Rum-tini...

So it would have been rude not to!

Greg showed us how it's done, guiding us step-by-step through the recipe:

50ml Pirate's Grog Five Year
25ml Pirate's Grog Black Ei8ht Coffee Rum
25ml Espresso (Greg's tip: the more you add, the frothier it is!)
25ml Vanilla Sugar Syrup (we used about 35ml, so it depends on how sweet you like 'em)

Add the ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice.
Double strain (as quickly as possible, otherwise you lose the 'froth').
Garnish with a coffee bean - or three.

Greg's, obviously, looked fantastic...

Mine? Not so much...

My first attempt, in dire need of extra froth

Greg took pity on most of us and so our second attempt looked faaaaar better

Much improved!

And because we figured out after our first rum-tini whether we wanted more or less espresso (always more) and more sugar syrup (also yes), they tasted better too.

One happy customer

As a thank you, Greg and Beth gifted us all a miniature, so we got to choose from the original, the single batch or the coffee liqueur. I opted for the original, knowing full well how tasty it would be in a rum 'n' coke (I was right).

I had a fantastic evening with the Pirate's Grog team at The Jam Tree, and am excited to see what the future holds for the brand.

As well as selling online, you can find them at food & drinks festivals, Harvey Nichols and Not On The High Street. Plus, the bottles will look so good in your drinks cabinet/on your drinks trolley, so that's as good of an excuse as any... Is it payday yet?

**I was invited to The Jam Tree's Rum-tini masterclass with Pirate's Grog rum in exchange for review. However, all opinions expressed are my own. 

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