Experiments with rum

Inspired by last nights event hosted by Dave Broom [Link to blog] for the launch of his book, Rum: The Manual – I decided to replicate his night at home for friends.

I had previously asked Dave Broom if he had only £20 to spend on rum in a major supermarket, what rum would that be? Essentially the question was one of damage limitation. If you found yourself in Asda and had to buy a rum there and then, what would it be? The Havana Club anos 3 LINK we’d had the previous night was a contender at only £15. For a potential sipper however, Dave [understandably with some reticence] suggested Appleton – and as he had stated previously, ‘If you want to understand rum’, you must go to Jamaica. So Appleton it was:

Appleton Estate Signature Blend Jamaican rum 40% £20 WFx RR5.4[22].


  • N: No doubt young [and blended] with toasted molasses, toffee apples, a little rubber and wax. Light fresh, honeyed>fruit sweetness.
  • T: Tastes ok. It has a soft-sharp arrival with a slight congestion and then moving swiftly to a light-sugary fade.
  • F: Soft wood influence with a little grapefruit [pips] and clean sugar-water & surgical spirit finish.
  • C: Thankfully not too sweet and not too harsh, it was a reasonable choice in the circumstances. i’ll be sourcing some decent rum in the coming weeks/months. As a spur of the moment buy, i have something ‘useable’.

Scores 69 points.

The sign of a decent/balanced rum is how it reacts to one simple mixer. Quoting from Rum, The Manual [p.60] – ’A successful mixer doesn’t dilute or close flavours down, but opens them up, adding its own qualities to build on existing ones or create new flavours and textures’. Dave says that coconut water as a mixer was the top performer of all the ones he experimented with.

So, Appleton with coconut water. Well, this simply works. The rum compliments the coconut water, and vice versa.


Next, i made my first Daiquiri, Naval style haha!

  • 4 parts [white] rum [should have bought the Havana Club]
  • 1 part lime juice
  • 1/3 part sugar
  • Cubed Ice

And then I shook and shook and shook. It tasted truly delicious and we immediately felt like Naval officers.

A few things came up from making the Daiquiri.

  • I wanted a better rum. The Appleton was fine, just a bit dull tasting with a plain mouthfeel to match. I was looking for a little more complexity, in other words more chat from the spirit along with a more interesting textural quality.
  • I used a combination of lemon and lime. i personally like the combination as both lemons and limes possess different flavour characteristics and bite. This led on to me wanting to set up a lemon and lime tasting – it’s getting deep!
  • Sugar. I rarely have sugar in my diet and the only sugar source i had in the house, [aside from honey] was an organic, brown, granulated sugar. In the near future i shall be experimenting with different sugars including stevia and coconut sugar. For now, it was just fine




Along with the rum i’d bought some Grenadine and wanted to use it in something.

After perusing the options, the Bahama Mama was calling. I had just returned from Rhodes and that had been ‘the’ holiday drink, alongside Rusty Nail. I also had all the ingredients, kind of.





  • 1 part rum
  • 1 part coconut rum
  • 1 part grenadine
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 2 parts pineapple juice
  • 2 cups crushed ice

But I changed it, of course

For the coconut rum, I used more of the coconut water and added a little more rum.

For the orange juice, well id just bought they babies.



They are like an intense, fruity clementine – a mixer also highly recommended by Dave. Absolutely delicious fruits although some of the small print doesn’t read so well. Sweetinies TM? Thiabendazole orthophenyl phenol?


Result – fabulous. By far the best Bahama Mama i’ve had.

This makes me want to dive into the world of fruit, sourcing some of the more traditional and forgotten strains and varieties for mixers. More experiments to come.


Next up, I cracked open the Lemon & Ginger soda to make punch essentially.



I reduced the sugar content, used less citrus and rum – guess I was feeling a little rum/sugared out.

Result – it needed more sugar, citrus and rum. Otherwise, delicious. That Lemon & Ginger soda is yum. Got it in M&S for £2.50


Finally, I finished with a replication of Dave’s, ’Sweary Nick’s Rum punch’.


  • 1 part Jamaican rum
  • 1 part blackcurrant syrup
  • 3 parts earl grey tea
  • citric acid.

I used the grenadine for the syrup, black tea [no earl grey in the house] and lemon juice instead of citric acid. Dave had said citric acid gives a different/better result, so i shall order some!

Result – exactly the same as the punch last night. Easy, satisfying punch.

Experiments for the future:

  • Fruit, citrus and Grenadine comparison tastings
  •  More rum. Fortunately the RumFest in London is coming up next week so i better start saving.


And with that,….. zzzzzzzzzz