Rum and Ready
Bar NoneThursday, February 27, 2020
with Debbian Spence-Minott
The second staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival led by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and Appleton Estate rum is fast approaching. By all accounts the first staging was impactful and successful, and this year we expect nothing less. Word has it that new labels of rums will be released and showcased, and new expressions brought to the fore. What is for certain is that Brand Jamaica will be on show if the organisers truly intend to solidify Jamaica as rum country! With that said, it is important that all of Jamaica's rum producers shine and shine brightly showcasing their own authenticity, heritage, and credibility.
As many of you know, I am an enthusiast of the rum category. Last year, Bar None showcased some of Jamaica's rum worlds that we do not usually hear too much about and, as a result, quite a bit of excitement was triggered within the category. At the Jamaica Observer's Salut held last November, Appleton/Wray & Nephew, Hampden and Worthy Park Estate were major participants. Appleton/Wray & Nephew showcased in-market appeal through traditional drinks found at your local bar. Hampden demonstrated its international appeal and highlighted the vegetal funks that Jamaican rum is globally known for. Worthy Park brought rum-chic lifestyle to the fore and demonstrated how rum can be sophisticated. We were in rum lifestyle heaven with glasses raised amidst rounds of cheers.
Jamaican Rum 101
Jamaica is currently home to six distilleries producing over 20.5 million litres of rum per year! The distilleries are: Worthy Park Estate (St Catherine), New Yarmouth, Monymusk Estate/Clarendon Distillers (Clarendon) Long Pond Estate, Hampden Estate (Trelawny), and Appleton Estate (St Elizabeth). A visit to any of the six distilleries is a visit to rum country. You will find similarities in production, such as all distilleries being located in limestone-rich areas, but also distinct differences as to what makes each distillery special.
What is Rum?
Rum is defined as a spirit distilled from the fermented products of sugar cane (molasses). Sugar cane has its origins in Papua New Guinea and was introduced to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus circa 1493. This grass-like plant buoyed Jamaica's economy for many years with the production of sugar, molasses and rum. In 1893, Jamaica had 148 distilleries which produced approximately 7 million litres of rum per annum. Rum is considered quite versatile, given its infinite variation of colour, body, style and age.
Characteristics of Jamaican rum:
• Made using Jamaican limestone-filtered water.
• Uses molasses in fermentation.
• Must be fermented and distilled in Jamaica.
• If designated aged in Jamaica, tropical ageing and minimum age statements apply.
As We Prepare …
In preparation for the festival, I asked first-time participant Worthy Park Estate's Marketing Manager Tamika West what we should expect at this year's staging. West said, “Worthy Park Estate is excited to join the staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival, and over the two-day period, look forward to sharing with patrons our history, legacy and international award-winning portfolio of rums.” In addition, Marketing manager at Monymusk Rums Brian Hanson shared, “Monymusk Rum is proud to be a part of this endeavour that allows Jamaican rum producers to join together and promote our rum as the best in the industry. Not only is Jamaican rum unique for its high ester and funk, but also because it represents our history and people. Monymusk is proud to have been a part of the history of rum and we look forward to sharing our own history and great-tasting rums with patrons this weekend.”
Readers' Grapevine Club: If you are new to wines and want to join us on our wine discovery, then this is for you. On the third Thursday of each month (commencing March 2020) I will highlight your feedback on our grape variety of the month. I know that you have all tried Moscato and are enjoying every sweet note; however, for the coming weeks, try to purchase a bottle of Riesling from your local store and call a few friends. Share with me a description of the wine using the information about reading wine labels and what you thought about that experience.
Grape Variety of the Month: Riesling
Extraordinary wonder and joy are interwoven through ordinary life. Seek them relentlessly. Please share with me your wines, spirits and cocktail experiences or comments on the above article at email@example.com, or follow me on IG @debbiansm #barnoneja.
An Alumna of the US Sommelier Association
CEO of the Academy of Bartending, Spirits & Wines
President, Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists (JUBAM) Limited
Marketing Studies Lecturer – The University of Technology, Jamaica