The Alchemist tasting panel gathers for a round of Caribbean aged rums
Nothing says “tropical getaway” like the sweetly spiced flavour of rum. Although it is made all over the world, the sugar-cane spirit originated in the Caribbean islands, where we’re seeing a surge of richly complex aged rums. So when The Alchemist decided to dive into tiki culture, it made sense for our tasting panel to sample as many aged rums as possible.
Just how sweet can rum be? To find out, we gathered at Tableau Bar Bistro with some of the city’s top barkeeps: Alex Black, bar manager of Wildebeest; Max Borrowman, bar manager at Juniper Kitchen; Amber Bruce of The Keefer Bar; Sabrine Dhaliwal, cocktail consultant and Pourhouse bartender; Adam Domet, bar manager of Pourhouse; J-S Dupuis, beverage director of Wentworth Hospitality; Robyn Gray of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia; Ryan Johnson, bar manager of Tuc Craft Kitchen; and Olivia Povarchook, bar manager of Juke Fried Chicken.
The panel tasted 10 different rums; here’s what they had to say about them.
With bold Bacardi deal, a legendary rum emerges from Venezuela
Wars. Runaway inflation. Gangs. Rugby. Rum.
The last 200 years have seen a lot of turmoil in Venezuela, and Ron Santa Teresa has been around for all of it. “The whole history of Venezuela has been quite volatile,” says brand ambassador Jason Browne. “The family is constantly battling outside forces to keep the company going.”
Lemon Hart & Son was established in 1804 with the creation of its iconic British-style rum, aptly named 1804. Times were exciting then, Beethoven was performing symphonies in Vienna, ‘Mad’ King George III ruled Britain and the world’s population had just reached 1 billion. Today, nearing its 215th birthday, the 1804 lends its traditional base to Lemon Hart’s fuller-bodied counterpart. A rich, Demerara style Spiced Rum.
George S. Grant is part of the sixth generation of the family that bought the Glenfarclas distillery in Scotland’s Speyside region in 1836. Now the director of sales for the brand, he talked to The Alchemist about innovation, tradition and the distillery’s most famous drams.
There’s a lot of innovation in whisky and in Scotch today. Is the Family Cask series at Glenfarclas where your fans see that within your brand?
“We’ve seen the revamping of Scotch, or the experimentation side of things, I suppose. I’m not saying we do don’t it or haven’t done it, but it’s things we’ve done 60 or 70 years ago. Primarily, all of the Glenfarclas range is now 100 per cent aged in Oloroso sherry casks. Back in the 1960s we did an experiment where we filled 15 different types of sherry casks—fino, Manzanillo, Amontillado, Pedro Jimenez… About 20 years ago was the first time you started seeing finishing ranges on Scotch, and ever since then people have been jumping on the bandwagon.
Heering’s classic liqueur continues to inspire the world’s top mixologists
For close to 200 years, Heering Cherry Liqueur has been a staple behind the bar in any respectable drinking establishment. The original Cherry Brandy, created in 1818 by Danish purveyor Peter F. Heering, the liqueur has gained a global reputation for its delicious, refined taste. The backbone of classic cocktails such as the Singapore Sling, the Copenhagen, and the Blood and Sand, Cherry Heering is sold in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Earlier this year, the iconic brand launched the 2016 Heering Classic Challenge, seeking to inspire the world’s greatest bartenders to take classic cocktails and reimagine them with Cherry Heering.