Rum is back. And this time it’s chic and smart …with the merest hint of pirate.
Gin has been warmly embraced by the hipster distillers – read our guide to the new gin – but rum is a darker, more decadent affair.
Here’s our guide to the best rum bars – and the recipes to bring the tropical heart of darkness home.
The Liars Club
Where: 19A Back Bridge Street, Manchester
Image source: The Liars Club/ Facebook
The crazy cats at The Liars Club certainly know their rum. The tiki-fuelled fun house boasts more than 100 different rums, making it the north west’s most extensive collection. Choose from a heady selection of cocktails: the classic Pusser’s Rum Pain Killer cocktail is a big hit, or try Breakfast at the Liars Club, a milky Wray and Nephew affair. Fancy a snack? Grab some popcorn – infused with the club’s favourite sugarcane spirit, of course.
Try it yourself: For a milk, rum and nutmeg mix up at home, try this Rum Cow recipe by Pennsylvania cocktail bloggers The Drink Kings. A fresh, creamy delight.
Serve in: Show off the creamy goodness by serving in a Mixology clear tumbler.
Cottons Rhum Shack
Where: 55 Chalk Farm Road, Camden, London
Image source: Cottons Camden/ Facebook
A little slice of sunshine in London town. It may be playful in aesthetics, but Cottons Rhum Shack is the place to go if you mean business about rum. The endearing Caribbean joint has been in Camden more than 30 years, boasting the widest rum selection in the UK. If you’re feeling brave, try their Killer Doppi – a combination of four different rums, apricot liqueur, blue Curacao, orange, pineapple and lime.
Try it yourself: Inspired by the Rhum Shack’s green-tea-infused Wild Caipirinha, we love this sencha and mint rum punch recipe from Panna Cooking.
Serve in: Create a striking centrepiece by mixing up in a John Rocha black cut bowl.
Where: 1 Dover Street, Mayfair, London
Image source: Mahiki
Ah, Mahiki. The London bar is as famous for its extensive rum menu as it is for its A-list clientele, from Prince Harry to Rihanna. As you’d expect, the exotic palace has a very nice cocktail menu. We’re talking treasure chests filled with golden rum and topped with Moët & Chandon nice. Or for serious indulgence, try Ixchel’s Rose – a dark rum love potion with black cherry and vanilla jam.
Try it yourself: Mahiki know that dark rum and cherry are a match made in heaven. Give it a go at home with this spiked cherry lemonade recipe from Sweet Paul magazine.
Serve in: Mix up this grown-up’s lemonade in the Lismore Diamond pitcher. And pour.
The Voodoo Rooms
Where: 19a West Register Street, Edinburgh
Image source: The Voodoo Rooms
One glance at the gantry of 60+ rums in The Voodoo Rooms and you know you’re in for a treat. And that’s on top of the glossy opulence of the main bar. Its themed cocktail list of original, artisan creations pushes the boundaries of invention. Anyone for a Swashbuckle Daiquiri? It’s a heady mix of homemade rum, tropical juices, star anise and crushed coffee beans.
Try it yourself: If you can’t make it into the bar to sample one of its Kraken Floats, whip one up at home. This Rum N’ Root Beer Float recipe by tropical travel blog Rum Therapy is a mix of vanilla ice cream, root beer and dark rum. We’re feeling summery just looking at it.
Serve in: This long and strong ice cream float deserves the heft of the London hi-ball glass.
Where: 14 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London
Image source: Portside Parlour
After a hugely successful speakeasy pop-up in Broadway Market, Portside Parlour
dropped anchor in a permanent Shoreditch spot. The charming nautical hangout claims to be East London’s ‘first and only rum bar’, serving up an impressive selection of more than 80 different spirits. And boy do they know how to serve them. Order an Autopilot if you dare: it’s loaded with three different rums (Pampero Blanco, Appleton Estate VX and Gosling’s Black Seal 151), grapefruit and lime juice, housemade (fruit punch syrup) fassionola, Pernod Absinthe and bitters.
Try it yourself: Straight from the horse’s mouth. Portside Parlour shares the recipe for one of its most popular cocktails, The Grace Jones, with the Telegraph. It pairs aged dark rum with ginger liqueur, lime juice and mint – topped up with champagne. If that’s not a party showstopper we don’t know what is.
Serve in: Eternally elegant – and a little scary – show off your Grace Jones cocktail appropriately in a Mixology coupe. Pick your own colour.
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