A 5 Course Dinner with Don Papa Rum

Rum is the new gin. Remember you heard it here first! I used to be a rum drinker before moving over to gin. Lately I’m starting to think I should soon go back drinking rum as my main spirit and only enjoy the occasional gin now and again. As opposed to lots of gin and now and again a cheeky rum. Don Papa, a Philippine rum with a smell and taste of vanilla, made me remember how tasty rum cocktails really are.

Don Papa Rum CocktailDon Papa Rum NegroniDon Papa Rum Old Fashioned

For one night only a selected few bloggers and a couple of bar industry people where exclusively invited to dine with the Dons. Hosted at the gorgeous Corn Exchange in Leeds, we got a taste for the Philippine island where the rum is distilled: Sugarlandia.

The invitation design with its exotic flowers and cheeky monkeys rumoured for a colourful and fun filled night which on arrival the table set up, menu and Don Papa rum bottles could vouch for. Before being seated a couple of Darker Dons (Dark & Stormy) where enjoyed over mingle conversations learning more about the rum. The Darker Don cocktail is a really fruity and too easy to drink summer cocktail. Perfect start to the evening!

Don Papa RumDon Papa Rum menu

The table was beautifully set up underneath Corn Exchange’s impressive roof for us to enjoy a five course meal. Each course resembling one of the five pillars of Sugarlandia (Volcano, Rainforest, Nature, Land and Sugar Canes), paired with rum cocktails to experience its true taste. It was the perfect setting for a pop-up meal like this to take place. Making it feel even more exclusive and secretive than already promised.


Bone Marrow

This was a first for me trying bone marrow. It doesn’t sound appealing by name but not knowing what it is, it doesn’t taste weird. It’s soft like butter with a taste similar to pork belly. Spread on flat bread and dipped in the accompanying fragrant broth, it goes down really well. A nice start to the meal giving indications of what more to come.


Crab Salad

Second up is my favourite of the evening: crab salad on tomato salad. I love fish (feels like I say this in every food post I write) and this crab works really well with five different tomatoes. It is meant to be a papaya and mango salad but the different colours of the tomatoes still makes it feel like a rainforest.


Egg three ways

Egg three ways with perfectly green and crunchy asparagus. The Papa Negroni cocktail match beautifully in colour with the egg yolk and its taste change for the sweeter after a bite of asparagus. Who would have thought food could have such an impact on liquid flavours? Combining tonight’s rum and food, this is the one that blows my mind the most.


Pork Belly

The bone marrow starter gave indications for pork belly to join later and it did. Here braised in Don Papa rum with seaweed and lemongrass. A fresh lighthearted main course melting in your mouth. Simple and almost like a pallet cleanser, very effectful.


Jelly dessert

Last but not least a sugary dessert (Yuzo jelly, coconut three ways and green tea gel) accompanied by the Don Fashioned to balance sweet and bitter. As an Old Fashioned sceptic this in’t my favourite but replacing whiskey with rum makes it a lot more drinkable.

I would love to go back to Sugarlandia soon but it might be because pop-up events like this and spontaneous nights out are the best and most special. We continued our evening at The Maven so if you’re in Leeds fancying a try of Don Papa Rum and its for now mysterious culture, head there. Or stock up online and have a go at making your own Don Papa cocktails. Tip! Don’t drink too much or it will be really difficult to spot all the 50 animals pictured on the label.

What’s your go to spirit? Would you swap it for Don Papa Rum?

Jennie xx



  1. 2nd July 2017 / 8:50 pm

    Yes! I’ve been tooting the ‘rum is better than gin’ horn for as long as I can remember, but I’m glad other people are coming around! I don’t really know Don Papa rum but it looks cracking!

    • 6th July 2017 / 6:33 pm

      It’s a super nice bottle! Makes it taste even better, ha 🙂 x

  2. 5th July 2017 / 4:20 pm

    I personally find rum a lot more drinkable than gin in simply mixes, and there are some truly wonderful dark flavours that I would consider straight depending on the situation! But gin rules when it comes to cocktails; I find it more powerful, and that’s what I think cocktails need to avoid simply being a nice mix of juices.

    • 6th July 2017 / 6:35 pm

      That’s very true! So many more things you can do with gin but I’m sure we could be surprised with rum cocktails. I’m not sure I’m quite there yet with enjoying a rum or any other spirit on its own… x

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