Three rums from back then that are so right, right now.
"For the last 400 years, rum has been on an epic journey,” says Christopher Moore, head bartender at the Beaufort Bar in London’s Savoy Hotel. “The spirits we know today are a far cry from the fire-water once traded as a commodity all over the world for spices, sugar and (regrettably) slaves.”
Moore attributes the rise in appreciation of quality rum to the recent vogue for mojitos and daiquiris. “Rum is complex enough to complement the nuances and intricacies of even the most delicate mixed drink,” he says.
Here’s Moore’s definitive rum edit — what to drink, and how to drink it.
1 Black Tot (Last Consignment)
Nose: Dark treacle and thick molasses; liquorice and blackcurrants.
Palate: Cocoa flavours. Earthy, woody and robust.
Finish: Lingering notes of cassis, cinnamon, baked apple and raisins.
“Liquid history,” is how Moore describes it. “On 31 July 1970, the daily rum ration (or tot), which existed in the British Navy for 315 years, ceased. This was known as ‘black tot day’. Lain in government-bonded warehouses for 40 years, the last batch of Black Tot has now been bottled for sale. A truly remarkable rum.”
Perfect for: Japanese ice ball serve
• 50ml Black Tot
“Add ice ball to short glass, pour rum over and swirl.”
2 El Dorado 21 Year Old £75
Nose: Citrus, caramel, chocolate and cigar leaf.
Palate: Coffee, cinnamon, treacle and figs.
Finish: Rich, with dark sugar and cigar smoke.
“This wonderful rum has aged well, drawing complexities from the barrel while retaining freshness and finesse.”
Perfect for: Rum Old Fashioned
• 50ml El Dorado
• 2tsps soft brown sugar
• Dash Angostura bitters
“Add sugar and bitters to a short glass, then add a little rum and stir. Add ice and the rest of the rum, and then stir down.”
3 Bacardi 8 Year Old £25
Nose: Spice, toffee, butterscotch, orange peel and mint.
Palate: Dry and complex. Fine oak, banana, vanilla.
Finish: Long and delicate.
“The lesser known brother from the most famous of all rum brands, but it is an entirely different beast. The eight-year age statement is a minimum age for all the rums in the blend, which is a rare way to categorise. For decades, this blend was only available to the Bacardi family themselves.”
Perfect for: classic Daiquiri
• 50ml Bacardi 8 Year Old
• 25ml freshly squeezed
• lime juice
• 2tsps caster sugar
“Shake hard with half cubed and half crushed ice. Strain into a chilled coupette glass.”
Photograph by Clare Winfield