Deep in the glass and steel heart of Crown Square, we get introduced to a rum that really is a cut above – Cut Rum
My father, who rarely even finished a glass of Pale Ale, would watch his brother in law with suspicion, as the level in the bottle dropped faster than a London house price post-Brexit.
My generation, when young, drank only white rum,’Bacardi and Coke’ was the phrase you’d hear pronounced most often across bars, second only to’pint of lager, please’. I think we felt it was vaguely sophisticated and for teenage palettes all that sugar made it very palatable.
Here though in The Coal Shed in the private dining room, some very enthusiastic young-ish men are plying me with rum to show me just what a drink’dark’ rum can be.
They wanted a rum that cut out all the nonsense of pin up girls and arrrr haaring! Cut Rum blends rum from Trinidad and Jamaica’s Worthy Park.
I say dark, but the drinks are golden in the glass. There are three variants – Spiced, Smoked and Overproof, so we got down to tasting accompanied by excellently paired dishes from Coal Shed chef Dave Mothersil
Cut To The Spice is infused with real spices such as aniseed, nutmeg, ginger, coriander to name but a few. And then there is the heady scent of vanilla, too.
Neat it was slightly peppery with caramel notes. The spices well balanced with each other and in a Sugar Mama cocktail, made with pineapple and lime juice some orgeat syrup and Campari, it held its own, pushing back against what could have easily been too sweet.
Next up on the tasting block was Cut Smoked Rum. London’s near obsession with smoked food shows no sign of abating and so this is bang on trend. They take three year old rum and infuse with oak chip smoke, plus a smattering of coffee beans and tobacco.
Chris Hare, one of the three founders and their Brand Ambassador, explained the process which, like most things of this kind, is deceptively simple in theory but devilishly difficult to get right.’And we certainly did not want any carcinogens to get through the process!’ he says, reassuringly. The smoke is actually a condensate mixed in the rum, no actual smoke passes through it.
You definitely for the wood and tobacco on the nose, like an old sports coat, and on the tongue the smoke was mild and ticklish and reminiscent of licking leather. Or is that just me? Perhaps I have said too much.
The Smoke Storm cocktail was a simple one; smoked rum, ginger ale, bitters and lime. A good long drink for a long summer’s day.
And then the big boy, Cut Overproof Rum. Weighing in at a meaty 75/5% ABV this one took no prisoners and was brimming over with aromas from the aniseed, nutmeg, ginger and pepper and above all the vanilla. Drunk neat, rather too easy to drink it neat, it was already like a cocktail and in a cocktail, it still kept its end up in a Daiquiri that leavened the rum with some lime juice and sugar syrup.
Chris says reaction from bartenders, or Mixologists if you must, has been extremely positive and it’s easy to see why.
This is not rum as we knew it, this is rum for a new generation and the old seafarer Captain Morgan is now likely to go down with his ship if he doesn’t change course.