And a barrel of rum: Part 2

In our May/June issue, Joe Sinagra explored what might be the most varied spirit category: rum. Made on almost every continent, in a myriad of different styles, there’s a rum out there to suit every palate. Here’s part two of Joe’s feature – click here for part one


Using this knowledge of the different rum styles as a base of understanding, it becomes easier to find the perfect rum to match with almost every guest. When recommending rums the bartender can ask questions to lead the guest to finding the rum that will suit them. Do they prefer sweeter, heavier rum or drier, medium weight rums? Are they looking for something to mix in a cocktail (and what kind of cocktail) or sip neat or on ice?

The key here is to have an understanding and then help steer the guest. Often leading them to a choice of a few options with a brief description (accompanied by a recommendation based on the interaction) can not only provide the guest with a great drink, but also gives the guest a memorable service experience.

Being such a wide and diverse spirit category, rum really does have something for everyone. This variety of styles lends itself to upselling premium rum offerings to be enjoyed with a mixer or indeed sipped neat and enjoyed as a unique new experience for the guest.

Rum’s potential when it comes to cocktails is really that of a ‘do everything’ spirit. From spirit forward, classically styled sippers to fruity, fun tiki-style punches, rum offers bartenders and venues the opportunity to personalise the guest experience.


Angostura 7yo

Loads of barrel spice balanced beautifully with the right amount of sweetness. This really is a rum that can do everything from complex, spirit-forward sipping cocktails to standing out in a fruit laden punch.

Appleton Reserve

Classically Jamaican. Loads of tropical notes and sweetness in this rum. Balanced nicely on the finish with just the right amount of barrel notes. A great rum for a cocktail brimming with little umbrellas and a neon red cherry.

Bacardi 8yo

Perfect to sip on neat and still priced to be able to use in cocktails. Bang for buck, this is one of the best performing rums on any back bar. Sweet but not overly, giving way to warm spices and pleasantly lingering finish.

Plantation OFTD

Old Fashioned Traditional Dark. It’s a rum that does what it says on the bottle. The higher ABV of this rum really helps to carry the flavour through in cocktails. Don’t be shy though, even at 69% ABV it’s still beautifully sippable.

Rhum J.M XO

An elegant and sophisticated rum. Beautifully fresh and floral cane notes are complimented with a hint of orchard fruit and Christmas spices. Like most French style rums this is all about terroir and beautifully balances the character of the base cane with just the right amount of wood influence.

Ron Zacapa Centanario 23

After dinner in a glass. This sweet, rich, dark fruity rum makes a great recommendation for the guest who loves fortified wines. In cocktails, try to accent the richness without adding too much sweetness.


Bingo, Bango, Bongo

This cocktail highlights the balance of sweetness and barrel influence perfectly. Le Birlou’s apple and chestnut flavour matches well with the warm maple, dry coffee and toasted Christmas spices of the Angostura 7yo. The sweetness from the liqueur is all that is needed to help balance the addition of the bitters and dilution. A simple yet complex cocktail designed to showcase the hero rum.


  • 40ml Angostura 7yo
  • 20ml Le Birlou
  • 6 dashes Angostura bitters

Method: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with an apple ball.

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