Rum's the Word

02 November 2017

Beach Rum

Photo: Beach Craft Spirits

As artisan gins have now saturated the Scottish market it was only a matter of time before rum producers caught up. Long the preserve of sailors or Caribbean cocktail aficionados a whole new batch of distillers are aiming to bring rum consumption back to the mainstream. Here is our choice of 4 of Scotland’s best new rums, 4 different ways to drink them and 4 great places to stay while you do.

Beach Craft Spirits is a small family owned distillers based on the Moray coast. The husband and wife team ferment, distil and infuse their home made rum here and even hand bottle and label everything leaving the distillery. The intense dark rum features fun and exciting spices which tantalise your taste buds and refreshing citrus and berry flavours that cool you like a sea breeze. Watch out for the limited edition sloe rum coming early next year. Nothing sums up summer socialising like a big bowl of rum punch and Big Sand is just the place for it. 13 adults can get together here and its outdoor decking with sun loungers is the perfect spot for a get together. With views over big sand and Longa Island you can create the atmosphere of Barbados with a unique Scottish twist and all you need is a few simple ingredients. A large punch bowl and a ladle to serve make this the most fun and genial way to enjoy Scotland’s newest signature spirit. Include plenty of ice and some grenadine for colour along with freshly squeezed lime juice, orange juice and pineapple slices.  Put some carnival tunes on the sound system and practice your limbo dancing.

Wester Rum takes its name from the Wester Sugar House Company which was established in Glasgow in 1667. For over a century it built a reputation for refining sugar and distilling and now the brand has been revived to spearhead the craft distilling revival. Crafted using copper pot stills to impart a rich, full bodied flavour, the rum is then infused with the finest spices, citrus zests and vanilla to create a complex taste to be enjoyed over ice or with your mixer of choice. With a rum this flavoursome it would almost be a shame to drown it with too much fruit juice so our favourite way to enjoy would be an old fashioned. Add Demerara syrup, a dash of old fashioned bitters a dash of angostura bitters and serve with ice. Rum has always had nautical associations, whether it’s because of its adoption by the Navy in days gone by or its depiction in popular culture as the drink of choice of your average pirate. A perfectly appropriate place to enjoy your old fashioned then would be from Beach House. This luxurious nautical themed retreat sits right by the water and even comes complete with its own telescope.

Seawolf is the first ever white rum to be produced in Scotland and is distilled in Angus by the award winning Ogilvie Spirits. The fermentation of the spirit’s base ingredient, cane molasses, is done at low temperature for four weeks using Champagne yeast, resulting in a distinctive, full bodied flavour profile that is the perfect base for a classic cocktail. Notes of unripe banana and sugar cane on the nose give way to tropical fruits on the palate, with a faint citrus and spice finish. The beaches of North Uist have often been compared to the Caribbean, although if we had to be perfectly honest we would choose the azure waters and white dunes of Clachan Sands over The Bahamas any day. One thing Uist does lack however is coconuts, so you will have to remember to bring your own to drink out of. An alternative would be to scoop out the flesh from a watermelon and fill with crushed ice, a few shots of Seawolf and some freshly squeezed juice. Kick back in the hot tub at Clachan Sands Cottage but bear in mind that during summer there is so much daylight you may have to wait longer than you anticipate for that sundowner.

Dark Matter was started in Banchory in 2015 by two brothers who left the oil industry to pursue their dream of opening Scotland’s first rum distillery. A gold medal at the global rum masters for their spiced rum has led to a tie up with supermarket giant Tesco and it will soon will be available in stores all over the UK. Molasses-based and featuring full-bodied notes of pepper, fresh ginger, green peppercorns & allspice this is a drink for all seasons. For a refreshing summer pick me up then mix with ginger beer and ice but Dark Matter also makes a mean hot toddy. A double measure with some honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick, topped up with hot water will banish the winter blues for sure. One of the best winter destinations in Scotland is the Cairngorms and Thyme Cottage is right in the heart of it. A comfy seat by the wood burning stove cradling your rum toddy is the ideal place to relax after a day out in the snow. It tastes that little bit better with the satisfaction that it was produced just a short drive away.