While there has been overwhelming popularity for the various kinds of whiskey and vodka, perhaps we need to start appreciating Rum as a slightly more wallet-friendly option but equally promising alcoholic drink. Rum, fermented from sugar cane, retains a rich degree of sugar cane aromas while tasting smooth and delicious. For a place that serves excellent Rum, visit the Jamaican style Rum Bar at Amoy Street’s Sugarhall. For those unacquainted or just wishing to try something a little new, simply tell the bartender “Surprise me!” and prepare to have your expectations blown! I was well impressed by Senior Bartender Stuart Danker and his creation, the Legado Rosa, which placed him in the top 5 of the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2016. Well-versed in the world of rums, the affable and dynamic bartender who previously trained as a chef will bring you on an exploration of the endless possibilities of flavors and textures in rum appreciation.
Sugarhall has an amazing collection of around 110 bottles of Rum that comes with different ages and brands, almost promising a little something for everybody. For this particular Rum tasting session, we had the Bacardi White Rum, Mount Gay Black Barrel 1703, Plantation 20th Anniversary Rum, El Dorados 12 Years Rum, and Diamond 1999 Rum. Starting with the Bacardi White – a very pure and non-aged rum. Most of the time, this Rum’s clarity in taste is unappreciated as it is taken in shots. Usually, Bacardi White is a very common rum base for most cocktail drinks as it does not overshadow the mixer’s flavour.
Following up is the Mount Gay Black Barrel 1703 ($16++ per Jigger / $170++ per Bottle). This is an aged rum that takes on a clear reddish brown coloring due to the barrels where it was stored before being bottled. Compared to the previous one, the Black Barrel leaves a slightly stronger burning sensation in the mouth. Its flavour reminds me of that of my own collection of Johnnie Walker Black (12). And of course, if you would like to try the Mount Gay Rum with a more luxurious looking bottle, there is the Mount Gay Extra Old Rum [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][IMG 3837].
The next selection, the Plantation 20th Anniversary Rum, is my favorite so far. The highlight for me is the sweet smelling aroma that permeates the senses before the first sip. I loved its scent as much as its taste. The sweetness takes a long time to fade and it is smooth from start to end.
Stuart’s recommendation was the El Dorados 12 Years Rum ($20++ per Jigger / $220++ per Bottle), a rum which he fell in love with rum after the first try. In his own experience, the El Dorados 12 is just as good as the El Dorados 15 and 21. It is good neat and mixed.
The strongest rum by far is the Diamond 1999 Rum. With its 53.1% alcohol content, it is strong and heavy in taste. However, to appreciate the rum better, Stuart prepared some special chocolate chips to complement the drink. The chocolate chips, crisp and with a slightly sour and bitter taste, magically takes the Diamond 1999 to the next level. When infused with the stronger rum-rich flavours, the overall effect is a delicious flow of rum and chocolate down the throat. Truly indulging.
The exciting part of the Rum Tasting event is the hands on session where I get to try making some of Sugarhall’s signature blends of cocktail. I tried making one of the most popular tropical cocktail “San Juan Cooler”. It was during my Student Exchange Program in Puerto Rico when I took my first sip of the Rum, and I really loved it. The Puerto Rican Rum that was well blended with the tropical fruit flavor made up the most unforgettable part of my trip. Here again in Sugarhall, it brought my SEP memories back alive. With mashed grapes and lime juice, shaken thoroughly with Bacardi White and topped up with elderflower tonic water, it is the best summer drink that is both refreshing and fruity at the same time.
This “Mai-Tai ala Sugarhall” is also on the top of the cocktail list that has earned many thumbs-up. With a flame floating atop the ice, it is truly a visually-stunning feast.
Overall, the rum tasting session was an eye-opening experience. I love Sugarhall’s ambience, their music and I would definitely drop by again with my friends to try out some of the other signature drinks. Guests are more than welcomed to come in a party of 5 to 10 to have a special rum workshop adventure with Stuart. For first-timers like myself, this might be an experience not to be missed.
Thank you Sugarhall for the invitation.
This article is brought to you by guest writer Wu Chao.
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