The rise of rum: an introduction to gin’s latest rival
- Credit: God's Own Spirit
While you might associate it with swashbuckling pirates of the Caribbean, rum has steadily been gaining popularity much closer to home. In fact, over the next five years it’s been tipped by those in the know to overtake gin sales in the race for Britain’s favourite spirit.
From light and fruity rums perfect for summer cocktails to smoky spiced rums made for sipping over ice, Yorkshire-based distillery God’s Own Spirit is one of only a few producers in the UK handcrafting micro-batches of this versatile liquor.
We speak to Joe Dunning and Campbell Carruth, founders of God’s Own Spirit, about how their premium pure single rums are made and what gives them their unique characteristics.
Let’s start with the basics – what is rum?
Rum is made from sugarcane juice, syrup or molasses, which are by-products of sugar production. The clear liquid produced from the fermentation and distillation process is essentially your base liquor.
While there are many different distillation methods with varying results, the three main types of rum produced are dark, white and spiced.
How is your rum made?
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We use the copper alembic pot still method which is recognised as superior in retaining the complexities and depth of flavour and aromas derived from the sugarcane base.
Unfortunately, we don’t grow sugarcane here in the UK so we import our base ingredients from producers in the Caribbean island of St Lucia. After blending the base rum with other carefully selected ingredients, we distil it in the copper pot.
Our rum is carefully conditioned using innovative techniques for oak aging, blending and flavouring. This allows us to produce rums beyond the traditional dark, white and spiced varieties that we are accustomed to seeing on supermarket shelves.
How are flavours added?
While we start our flavouring process with an oaked single rum spirit (which is delightful as it is, by the way), natural botanicals or locally sourced berries and currants are added at various stages during the production.
For our spiced rums, we complement the process both during and after distillation with botanicals such as gunpowder green tea, liquorice, ginger, cardamom, peppercorns and fresh vanilla pods.
For our unique Blush rum, we use a traditional German recipe which involves blending dark rum with Yorkshire’s seasonal berries and currants. After leaving the mixture to infuse for several months, we blend it with our white rum to produce a complex yet light and fruity, pink-tinged pure rum spirit.
We don’t use any artificial flavouring or sweeteners like many mass-produced brands do, and all our products are vegan friendly and gluten free.
Which rum is best?
If you want that classic sweet flavour with subtle complexities and depth, you can’t beat premium, handcrafted pot still rum. We’ve spent two years perfecting our recipes and experimenting with different techniques to produce the very best quality spirit – and you can really taste the difference compared with non premium brands.
All our rums are diluted to 44 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume) which creates a punchy, flavourful and full body liquor.
What’s included in the God’s Own Spirit range?
At present we make three premium rum spirits: Yorkshire Spiced, Winter and Blush. In 2021 we will be adding Gold to the range, which is a pure rum spirit perfect for sipping, with no botanical flavouring. We will also add more bespoke rums through our ‘White Label’ concept, with details to be announced throughout the year.
Will rum become the new gin?
Well, positive feedback and growing sales volume of our Yorkshire rum suggest consumer appetite is indeed plump with curiosity – and they seem to want more!