An Epicurean Journey on the South CoastThursday, February 25, 2021
The first documentation of rum was in correspondences sent from Barbados to Charles II of England. It quickly became popular, not because of its taste, but its efficacy and compared to available sources of drinking water, rum was less likely to cause dysentery. However, by 1749, Appleton Estate had refined the rum-making process. And, for over two centuries Appleton Estate rums have found favour across the world from palaces to community bars to weekends discovering Jamaica.
Over the weekend of Saturday, February 6, Appleton Estate invited Hollywood actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and her journalist/fashion designer daughter Ivy-Victoria Maurice to eat and drink their way through the south coast. Anchoring the weekend was a private tasting conducted by Appleton Estate Master Blender Joy Spence, a private tour of the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience (JSAERE), and a multi-course Jacqui Tyson-prepared luncheon dubbed An Epicurean Journey with Joy.
On Saturday, Ralph and Maurice spent quality time in Holland Bamboo. They were greeted by local vendors who had cold jelly coconuts, ready to be fortified with Appleton Estate 8-Year-Old Reserve. The Appleton Estate Epic cocktail is created by combining fresh coconut water with Appleton Estate 8-Year-Old Reserve allowing the exceptionally smooth rum with its subtle notes of molasses and warm oak to shine.
After checking into Sandals South Coast, the duo enjoyed some downtime while experiencing the award-winning Sandals butler treatment at every step along the way. Later that evening, the mom and daughter had a delicious private dinner on the beach and responsibly enjoyed a few more Appleton Estate cocktails.
As if the JSAERE wasn't already superb, the Appleton Estate team elevated Ralph and Maurice's experience by having them enjoy a private tasting led by Appleton Estate Master Blender Dr Joy Spence. Spence carefully chose three rums for the tasting — Appleton Estate 8-Year-Old Reserve, Appleton Estate Rare 12-Year-Old Casks, and Appleton Estate 21-Year-Old. The rums were respectively paired with smoked gouda, dates, and a chocolate-dipped strawberry, to highlight their individual taste profiles.
The Appleton Estate 21-Year-Old is a source of pride for Spence. The sipping rum is as luxurious as it is viscous. It's “powerful yet delicate”, and the notes of orange peel, vanilla, nutmeg, almond, coffee, cocoa are a carnival for the tastebuds. Spence peppered the tasting with scientific facts. For example, when you hold a glass of Appleton Estate 21-Year-Old to the light, the meniscus (the curve seen at the top of a liquid in a container) appears green. Spence said that “this is called the green ring of ageing” to which Ralph responded, “Well, this is the best wrinkle, ever!”
Spence also hosted a luncheon for Ralph and Maurice that they enjoyed after having a private estate tour. Jacqui Tyson created a five-course meal, three of which were paired with Appleton Estate cocktails and premium rums.
The salad — Blue Mountain Passion — was a delightful combination of Blue Mountain-grown lettuce, baby tomatoes, cucumber, and Otaheite apple, tossed in a mango-passion fruit vinaigrette. The words “salad” and “flavour-bomb” rarely appear in a sentence together. But because of Tyson, here we are. A win, right out of the gate.
The second course, which was vegan, showed the versatility of jackfruit. Pulled ripe jackfruit was given the Thai yellow curry treatment in Jack of All Trades. Instead of masking the jackfruit flavour or making it appear to be meat, Tyson celebrated the fruit's natural flavour and fattiness. It was buttery, flavourful, and redolent— the symphony of spices, including turmeric, savoury seasonings and sweet jackfruit made for a delightful dish. Tyson went the extra mile by boiling the jackfruit seeds and making hummus from it which she schmeared on the plate. Straight-from-the-fryer pappadums, pickled beets, and a currant-studded naan played supporting roles, and the course was paired with an Appleton Estate 8-Year-Old Reserve brown sugar daiquiri.
Pan-seared rosemary-brown butter salmon and pimento-rubbed baby lamb chops were christened the New Surf and Turf. The proteins were served alongside roasted cho-cho cups filled with carrots and bell peppers, and the dish was paired with Appleton Estate 12-Year-Old Rare Casks Old Fashioned. A classic Old Fashioned is made with whiskey. However, Spence has converted many sophisticated whiskey drinkers with the Appleton Estate 12-Year-Old Rare Casks rum. The balanced dark cocoa, orange peel, vanilla, and coffee notes are, in a word, beguiling.
Technically, there were two desserts — delicious crÍpes and a trio of chocolate chunks. The CrÍpes Pour Joy gave the classic French dessert a Caribean treatment with roasted pineapple and caramelised ginger. Tyson encouraged guests to get all the different elements in one bite and oh, was it perfect. The meal ended with guests sipping on Appleton Estate 21-Year-Old and nibbling on Scotch bonnet dark chocolate pistachio milk chocolate and saffron-infused white chocolate.
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