Saturday, 2 February 2013

Spicing up the Rum World

Over the last few years, there has been a massive growth in the spiced rum market. Many different spirit companies are now all fighting to realise there own version of this popular type of sweet brown rum. It seems to be a popular trend now to create and sell many cocktails using spiced rum and during our time, out and about in Glasgow, I’ve noticed that a popular theme is to slightly change the classic rum cocktails to give them a “spicy” new taste. 

There are instantly 4 popular brands which spring to mind. These 4 rums seem to be featured on the back selves in almost every bar we visit. I thought I’d write a little about each one, to try and find what each of these brands are doing differently to get the edge over their competitors. The 4 rums I’m focusing on are as follows:

Morgans Spiced Rum: Stemming from the original “Captain Morgan’s Dark Rum”, This light brown alternative has been marketed as a "party rum”. Meaning that it’s not pretending to be a trendy spirit to sipped over ice. The people at Morgans’s have been open in saying that it’s advertised and made to be mixed as the perfect accompaniment with coke and lime. Morgan’s spiced rum is lower in alcohol percentage (compared with it’s rivals). It’s only 35% ABV, making it cheaper for the customer. This adding to it’s popularity. As I mentioned, it has a rich golden colour, which is achieved from the charred oak barrels which it’s aged in. To the nose, you get an instant hit of vanilla. To be honest it’s hard to pick up any other smells other than vanilla, but I’m told that there should be hints of lime and cinnamon. I think the lime and cinnamon flavours come through more in the taste.  Morgans spiced rum is a nice rum, not amazing in my opinion. But it’s easy to drink, and with coke and lime, it’s perfect.

Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum: Unlike the Morgans, Sailor Jerry's has a little bit more of a “trendy” stigma attached to it. It’s quite often seen as a premium rum, and at 40% ABV, it is therefore a little more expensive. Distilled in the Caribbean, the makers of this rum blend vanilla, cinnamon and nut-meg together create a product which is unique and is not as sweet as other spiced rums. To the nose you get strong aromas of the 3 ingredients mentioned earlier, but there is also hint of smokey toffee. These smells translate perfectly to taste, picking up all the same qualities. Sailor Jerry’s is great also with coke and lime, but it has a little more scope to work with. It would work well in cocktails or with many other mixers. I personally love a Sailor Jerry’s, ginger beer and lime. 

Bacardi Oakheart: Bacardi is by far the most famous rum brand in the world. For many years, Bacardi Superior (the original white rum) was the highest selling spirit around. It was even selling more than vodka.  Bacardi already had a well established portfolio of rums, but it was only a few years ago that they decided to jump on board the spiced rum market. They realised the "Bacardi Oakheart”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Bacardi brand and I think the Oakheart is a great rum, but it just seems to be to similar to the Morgans Spiced. The fact that it’s aged in charred oak barrels (like the Morgan’s), gives it the exact same colour. It also contains similar flavours such as vanilla and cinnamon. It is also the same 35% ABV as the Morgans, however the price can be sometimes a little more expensive.  The only edge that I can see which gives the Oakheart some uniqueness, is it’s a little more fruity. When I did some more research on this product, no could tell me what specific fruits were used to give it this flavour, only that it’s made with a mixture of dried fruits. 

Kraken Spiced Rum: Kraken rum seems to be the product which is causing the most waves in the spiced rum world. This is largely due to the fact that it is completely different to other spiced rums. It’s dark brown (almost pitch black) colour makes it stand alone from it’s rivals. Kraken still possesses the similar flavours as the others, such as vanilla and cinnamon, but it also contains strong citrus and orange flavours. This makes it perfect to serve with a slice of orange as opposed to lime. Along with the citrus taste, there is also hints of dark chocolate, which make it delicious to drink on it’s own, or in a cocktail. Kraken rum seems to be the most popular choice for using in cocktails. It’s ability to able to mix well with other flavours has added to it’s popularity.  It’s one of the strongest spiced rums around at 47% ABV. 

On one of our nights out in Glasgow, I came across a variation on the classic Daiquiri. This cocktail was called a “Krakquiri”. The original classic Daiquiri contains, white rum, white sugar and lime. Then came along a variation called the “Black Daiquiri”, which is Dark rum, brown sugar and lime. The “Krakquiri" is a variation of the two. It contains 30ml Kraken spiced rum, 15ml chocolate liqueur, 15ml lime juice and a dash of sugar syrup. The result is a sweet tasty concoction best suited as an after dinner drink. As the popularity of spiced rums continues to grow, I’m sure more brands and more cocktail creations will start to feature more prominently in bars around the world.

  “The Krakquiri”
In a shaker:
30ml Kraken Spiced Rum
15ml Chocolate Liqueur
15ml Lime Juice
Dash Sugar Syrup
Add Icc and Shake
Double strain into a martini glass

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