The other week fellow blogger Natalie, invited me and two of our colleagues to come along to a cocktail class at The Maven Bar in Leeds. Last time I was there, was for the Blind Pig Cider launch but this time we went to learn more about Mount Gay rum, and in particular their Black Barrel range.
Mount Gay regularly invite key influencers in the bar industry to come to Barbados to do workshops and learn more about their rum. This evening, three of the best bar men – Nino Lopes (owner of The Maven Bar), Bruce Govia (Oskars Bar in London) and Jason Scott (Bramble in Scotland) – were at The Maven Bar, presenting their signature Mount Gay cocktails.
First we had a run through by Miguel, who works for Mount Gay, about the history and culture behind the rum and the company. He also taught us the steps of how to really taste rum.
How to taste Mount Gay Rum
- Put on a serious rum face. The kind of face you would get if you are given a very
impossibledifficult equation to solve.
- Tilt the glass to see its colour and say “Hmmm”. he Black Barrel is stored in bourbon barrels which gives it its colour. Not sure I’d be able to tell how a rum has been stored if it’s lighter or darker…
- Give the rum a nice little toss. In this step we look for the speed from top of the glass to the surface of the liquid. I don’t remember the difference between a fast and slow moving leg, sorry!
- Stick your nose down the glass and smell. Inhale all the way down and you’ll feel that this rum doesn’t sting but its blending technique gives a tingle on top of the nose instead. Second time of inhaling you can smell the banana, vanilla, chocolate, almond and spices.
- Drink lightly! The second sip tastes different to the first and you can tell that the Black Barrel gives a smoky after taste than other Mount Gay rums.
‘The Long Walk’ – Perfect for Christmas Eve
Have you caught on to the coconut water hype? Then this drink is for you. I’m not a massive fan of coconut water but I think if you drink it often enough, you will start to like it. Anyway, the lime which is used in this cocktail refreshes the taste and it’s a drink you can have more than one of without getting bored or feel that it’s too sweet. I’d have a few on Christmas Eve, helping to digest all the gorgeous Christmas food. (Where I’m from the Christmas buffe comes out on Christmas Eve)
40ml Mount Gay Black Barrel
20ml Coconut cordial
15ml Noilly Prat
10ml Manzanilla dry Sherry
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain over ice filled rocks glass
Garnish with a lime twist
‘Earl of Grey’ – Perfect for Christmas Day
I’m not a massive fan of tea so I was sceptical to this cocktail. It looks beautiful, served in small cocktail glasses and did well in pictures, but I’m unfortunately not a fan of the taste. The smoky rum taste is too prominent, something I can’t handle. For those who like tea and smokey rum, the drink is perfect for a cold day, when you want to snuggle up and need something to warm you up inside. I think it would work really well on Christmas Day when everyone is having a lazy day.
35ml Mount Gay Black Barrel
10ml Amontillado sherry
10ml strong, cold Earl Grey tea
5ml Créme de Mure
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini/small cocktail glass
Garnish with a blackberry
‘Bajan Crusta’ – Perfect for New Years Eve
As soon as we stepped in to the bar and saw the three different cocktails we would be shown how to make I knew this would be my favourite, and it was! Unfortunately we didn’t get to see how this was made, as we were served it soon after arrival, but I’m sure it’s easy to make at home. It’s a very fresh and fruity drink. Some might say it’s too sweet but I really enjoyed the refreshing taste after trying the other two. I could easily make this my signature New Year’s Eve drink, or at any party for that matter!
40ml Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
25ml lemon juice
Cinzano 1757 Sweet Vermouth
Angostura bitters 2 dash
25ml passion fruit syrup clove and bay leaf
Serve with crushed ice and lemon peel and sugar on the glass rim
Have you tried Mount Gay Black Barrel? Have you got any Christmas cocktails to recommend? Let me know in the comments below.