Rum's road to the dark side

Kutlesic has created what he claims is an interesting twist on the Negroni – he calls it Timber: 40ml Fair rum, which he says is quite light, 15ml of Campari, 15ml of byrrh, the juice of half a lime and two barspoons of caster sugar.

The drink is shaken and finished with grapefruit zest.

Timber is also set to evolve. “I’m planning to introduce aged cocktails,” says Kutlesic. “That includes a plan to age Timber for a couple of weeks in a barrel.” Kutlesic will age all the boozy ingredients then shake with sugar and lime before serving. “The wood-ageing will connect better with the name of the cocktail, too,” he adds.

For premium Guatemalan producer Botran, high-end tipples are the name of the game.

Botran’s global commercial director Frank Quinones says: “Rum has become more sophisticated. We are now at a point where quality has raised the bar. People appreciate the actual liquid is important – when you drink Cognac or Scotch, for example, you appreciate the value of it. Now people are appreciating rum.”

It’s not surprising then that both Quinones and Isabel Molina-Botran – one of the family – agree that their rum can be used in dark spirits cocktails. But they are keen not to rule out fruity numbers.

“Different people have different tastes and people will still drink fruity rum drinks but, as they get to know rum better, we would love to see people appreciate the spirit.” The fact that the company recently earned a GI status shows its dedication to producing a spirit of Guatemala.

Botran also has the benefit of expertise from the best bar in the world. Alex Kratena from Artesian is described by the company as a kind of ambassador and Botran is the house pour at the Langham.

Spiced rum

Spiced rum has long been making inroads in cocktail culture and, though Botran doesn’t currently offer a spiced rum, never say never. “We’ll see,” says Isabel Molina-Botran. “You have to be very careful because part of the essence and beauty of our product is that it is very high quality. It is hard to create a very good quality spiced rum.”

However, she did point out that there are a plethora of spices native to Guatemala. Watch this space...

In the tattoo-covered Sailor Jerry camp, the second half of 2013 has been about ramping up the serve strategy and working more closely with the on-trade around the spiced rum brand and its various serves.

Enda O’Sullivan, global brand director for Sailor Jerry says: “We have three approaches depending on the outlet and what it wants to achieve. The first is around simple serves, such as Jerry & ginger beer. The second is about heritage drinks – think 1950’s American dive bars.” He says the third is about more interesting and difficult cocktails, such as the Heavy Punch (see below left).

“Spiced rums are growing and they have sourced a lot of growth from dark spirits and also from beer,” says O’Sullivan.