23/06/2014

Not quite a Dum Dum

As many of you know I'm not monogamous with beer; Oh no, I enjoy cider, whisky and all kinds of other beverages too. Recently I have been enjoying rum (though I can't claim to be able to afford to buy many bottles!). 

A couple of months ago I was contacted by someone representing Diageo (booo, hiss I hear you cry). Given some of the company's previous antics you've a right to be sceptical: but I decided to give them a chance. Naomi was looking for coverage of Diageo's spirits portfolio as presented on their new website The Bar. More on that later, but the upshot was a chance to try some new (to me) booze and why pass that up?

I decided I'd take up Diageo's offer of reimbursing me for the required spirits to make a few cocktails and Guatemalan Rum Ron Zacapa caught my eye. I'd previously enjoyed this in a Dum Dum at love and death inc but had been put off by the bottle pricetag, a little over my usual budget at £45. I availed of Diageo's offer and also picked up a bottle of grand marnier for £13 whilst on offer in Tesco. That's £58 of free booze maths fans. All other ingredients came from my own store cupboard and whilst under no obligations to writethis post I thought I'd share the results with you, mainly as I like saying "look wot i dun"! Ron Zacapa is an excellent rum and is actually really easy to enjoy neat (I actually bought the bottle in duty free on the way out to China and shared it with Daisy, my in laws and my parents and well received by all (despite mum insisting on mixing coke with hers...). Its warming, smooth, deep earthy spiciness, rich high cocoa chocolate, fruity coffee and caramel make for an excellent evening drink which would equally work well in a fruit based cocktail.

After procrastinating for thebest part of two months since I returned I thought this weekend would be a good time to try out some cocktails. To get warmed up i mixed up a simple concoction using the gran marnier, some cranberry and blueberry juice and lime. Perhaps a little sweet but it lined the stomache for some of the boozier numbers that were to come later. Adding in an extra quarter of a lime did the trick and was enjoyed by Daisy whilst I tried out a different libation.
 
Grand Cran
25ml Grand Marnier
25mlCranberry Juice
7ml lime juice


The next was Kiss Above the Clouds created by a Chinese bartender Cross Yu working in MUSE,Shanghai.Video
 Picking up on those coffee notes it uses coffee liquer and chocolate bitters alongside fruity rosso vermouth and a dash of whisky (he used johnny walker gold, i had none so substituted peat chimney). It was a decent drop, though perhaps lacked something to make it really sing. Use of cinnamon was inspired however as it plays well to the spice in the rum.


Kiss Above The Clouds
60ml Ron Zacapa
5ml whisky
20ml Sweet Vermouth
5ml Coffee Liqueur
2 dahes Chocolate Bitters
Cinnamon Stick

After a day off I returned to try out a different creation, this one by a Spaniard David Rios who works in the Jigger Bar, Bilbao. Turns out he won World Class Bartender of the Year last year in a Diageo competition; so this should be one to look forward to! Again using coffee liqueur but also orgeat, an almond based syrup, with a cream float. Named Aroma for his two children's names which is kinda cute.
I was pretty pleased that i didn't create some kind of curdled mess and it was an excellent rich drink too. Although a tiny component the mint leaf pulled thelot together which highlights the importance of a proper garnish on a cocktail. Nb a bit of confusion on the website which suggest the coffee beans be shaken with the cocktail but watching the video will set you straight. Also chose to go for regular cream rather than coconut cream.

Aroma
50ml Ron Zacapa
10ml Coffee Liqueur

10ml orgeat
17.5ml cream

coffee beans
mint


Finally I decided to have a go at recreating that dum dum cocktail I tried over a year ago which started my rum discovery journey in the first place.Luckily Love&Death Inc are fairly open with their ingredients (if not proportions) in their bar menu (did I  mention its presented in the form of a comic montage?!) I didn't fancy forking out for a bottle of clement creole shrub just yet so substituted grand marnier with a few dashes of  peychauds bitters. Chilli tincture seems like a faff for just myself; so that was substituted with a small amount of chopped red chili. It was pretty close to hoe I remember the bar version being, though perhaps required another 10ml of rum to really bring out those deep fruity notes. Maybe someone from the bar will see this and kindly let me know the real proportions?!
Steve's Dum Dum

50ml Ron Zacapa 23
25ml Dubonnet Rouge
1sp Amaro Averna
1tsp Grand Marnier
2 Dashes Peychaud's
1/8 tsp chopped red chili


So i had a bit of fun mixing up some cocktails and there's certainly a few worth looking at on their website. Its pretty easy to navigate with a decent search function that lets you search by ingredient or by spirit (but cocktaildb will still be my go to) and of course serves to highlight Diageo's own alcohol range. The majority of the cocktails on the website are of your standard spirit+mixer±citrus ilk but there are certainly some that s more original creations, along with short YouTube clips on how to make them presented by their creators. The site could stand to lose the majority of the standard mixes and highlight the likes of these which are the more interesting ones. What it really showed me though was the breadth of Diageo's spirits portfolio...seems they're not just about the black stuff and single malts after all.


Many thanks to the team at Diageo for getting in touch and arranging for reimbursement, I have the best part of a litre of rum to consume how i see fit, which will slot in nicely beside the Brugal and Appleton 12 y/o in my growing collection. More Diageo based frollicks coming soon as we attend a beer and food pairing meal at St James Gate this weekend as partof the European BeerBloggers Conference...stay tuned folks!

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