Cocktail of the Month: Rum

We look at some of the rum-based opportunities for cocktails in the on-trade.

With over 60% of rum’s total market value being sold via the on-trade, rum has proved a pretty consistent seller for bars and pubs around the country.

Rum enjoys a 7.7% share of the Irish spirits market. Of course the gin explosion has given the other categories a cuff around the ears, with the traditional rum and cola no doubt one of its victims, but the IWSR predicts an expanded future for Premium rums, with an estimated growth of 10.9% between 2016 and 2021.

While rum sells 137,000 cases a year (worth an unchanging €36 million) in the off-trade, the on-trade rum market is worth €60 million through 54,000 nine-litre case sales MAT to June.

So next to a vast selection of gins, many pubs have come to specialise in a fairly fulsome rum collection too which ranges from different brands and colours to different vintages.

There has also been a growing interest in dark rums as dyed-in-the-wool rum drinkers explore the category further, feeling their way to more premium and aged styles of rum. This has led IWSR to predict a growth rate of 11.7% in the five years from 2016 to 2021 for premium dark rum.

Rums have become more popular in the bar, agrees Shane McCann of The Blind Tiger in Sligo.

“We have 47 gins and 28 rums,” he says, “Rum sales are up in the bar and people are looking for that tropical, fruity rum but not that ‘full glass of juice’ taste.”

The Blind Tiger boasts white rums, dark rums, golden rums, spiced rums and aged rums.

“Just like whiskey it’s the same thing with rum” he says, “and people are starting to discover that rum is not just your standard white rum and Coke. Different flavours can be found in it. A 7 year-old rum is like a 7 year-old whiskey. People are appreciating the taste a bit more.”

And while gin is “keen” right now, he finds that The Blind Tiger’s rum cocktails “fly out higher than our whiskey and vodka ones. It’s second to gin on our sales sheet.”

People are drinking rum with ginger, like whiskey, he says.

“They came away from the Rum and Coke about two years ago.”

The Blind Tiger also mixes up batches of rum for a cocktail where it blends three or four rums in a barrel and adds Pineapple and Peppercorns.

“We call it  a ‘Rumpelstiltskin’,” smiles Shane.

Rum is also a high-flyer at Street 66 in Dublin.

“In the last three or four months craft rums have become very popular, as have golden and dark rums,” says Street 66’s Siobhan Conmy, “It all seems to be part of the craft revolution.”

Street 66 has Premium runs and spiced rums too but in cocktails the most popular calls seem to have gone back to basics with the Daiquiri, Dark ‘n’Stormy, Mai Tai and ‘Espresso Martini’ (using rum and called a Columbian Martini) taking over at the top of the rum cocktails Hit List in Street 66.

“It’s a trend that everyone seems to be going for with craft beers: darker beers – and so darker rums, neat, mixed or at different price ranges,” comments Siobhan who stocks the popular rum basics such as Bacardi and Havana Club 3 Year-Olds and Specials.

“The premium ones most people are asking for now include Kraken (from the Caribbean), Abuelo (from Panama) and Plantation Rum (from Trinidad and Jamaica) as well as Venezuelan rums.”

While gin is going to last, she says, craft rums have grown apace.

“Rum and Tequila are almost on a par. My opinion is that rum and Tequila are about 50:50 at present and rum will exceed that as you can get rum in many different countries but you can only get Tequila in Mexico and if there’s a problem with the Agave plants there, you won’t get any more Tequila.

“But new craft rums are being introduced to the on-trade on a weekly basis.”

The sweet taste of rum also makes them ideal partners in a cocktail so that you don’t have to add any extra sugars, “… so they’re easy to mix,” says Siobhan, “They work really well with cherries”.

Such developments all go to make some pretty interesting cocktails for the rum aficionado – and bars should be on their toes when asked what they can offer by way of a rum cocktail.


Mount Gay

Available from Barry & Fitzwilliam, Mount Gay’s roots can be traced back to the processing of Barbadian sugar cane three centuries ago, making it the oldest rum and continually-produced spirit in the world.

Through centuries of experimentations the blending of single and double distillates has become an art form for Mount Gay, passed down from generations of Master Blenders to successors.

Mount Gay Eclipse is the reference for character, body and aroma which our Master Blender Allen Smith uses to blend every variety of Mount Gay Rum. For many rum aficionados Eclipse is also the reference by which all rum should be measured.


Rum Runner:

1 oz Mount Gay Eclipse

¼ oz Blackberry Liqueur

1/4 oz Créme de Banana liqueur

2 oz Orange Juice

½ oz Grenadine and 8 oz of crushed ice

Pour ingredients and crushed ice in a blender. Blend until slushy and pour into hurricane glass.


Mount Gay Black Barrel is a small-batch, handcrafted blend made of matured double pot distillates and aged column distillates. In a process called “finishing”, the blended rum is then matured for a second time in deeply-charred Bourbon Oak barrels. This unique process releases spicy aromas that are at once balanced and bold.


Mount Gay Black Storm:

50ml of Mount Gay Black Barrel, top with Ginger Ale and add a wedge of Orange – outstanding!












Matusalem Rum

Introduced in Santiago de Cuba in 1872, Matusalem Rum was the preferred rum in Cuba for its exquisite taste and smoothness.

Matusalem’s reputation spread the world over when Cuba became the destination of choice for celebrities and trend-setters from the 1930s through the 1950s.

However, with the rise of the Castro revolution, Matusalem Rum manufacturing was stopped in Cuba and moved to the Dominican Republic.

Matusalem is famous for blending its rums in a traditional ‘Solera’ ageing process. (Mature aged Caribbean rums are carefully blended with more youthful rums to create exceptionally smooth, unique blends.)

Matusalem Platino is a unique blend of triple-distilled, hand-crafted rums, combined in a special ageing process and then filtered and refined to create rum of exceptionally clean taste, delicate balance and layered flavour. It is a discerning trade-up for standard rum-drinkers and a sophisticated alternative for premium vodka-drinkers.


Matusalem Gran Reserva 15Year-Old is known as the “Cognac of Rums” and it’s Solera-ageing and can be enjoyed straight-up or on the rocks. It is the perfect choice for those looking for exceptional quality and sophisticated taste in a Super-Premium rum. Gran Reserva is complex, yet velvety smooth, with an exceptional bouquet and flavour.


Mai Tai Cocktail:

35ml Matusalem Platino Aged White Rum
20ml Orange Curacao
10ml Freshly-squeezed Liime juice

10ml Orange juice

10ml Pineapple juice
10ml Almond (Orgeat) Syrup
10ml Sugar Syrup

Matusalem Solera 7yr-Old Rum to float

Put all the ingredients (except Matusalem Solera 7 Rum) into a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake vigorously to chill and mix all ingredients.
Strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Float a little Solera 7 Year-Old Gold Rum and garnish with a sprig of fresh Mint, a wedge of Lime and maybe a cocktail Cherry too. Drink with a straw.




Kraken Black Spiced Rum

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is imported from the Caribbean and blended with secret spices including ginger, cinnamon and clove.

Named after the sea beast of myth and legend, the spirit is bold, rich, black and smooth. The rum’s distinct rich black colour reflects the mysterious ink with which the Kraken is said to have covered its prey.

The horrid tale has it that a ship, carrying one of the largest quantities of black spiced rum ever to set sail from the Caribbean islands, was lost at sea after an attack by the monstrous squid. The rum was renamed by seafarers as a tribute to the beast’s unchallengeable power and might.

We’re presently seeing a resurgence in the popularity of dark rum due to its smooth taste, bold character and mixability. The smooth taste of The Kraken makes this an ideal ‘sipping rum’ which can also be used as a key ingredient in many cocktails.

Try your hand at some of these deliciously dark cocktails, if you dare!


Ink Spritz

This spritz is not for the faint-hearted – the twist in the tale features Rhubarb and Lillet.

Step 1 – Add crushed ice to a large wine glass

Step 2 – Add Rhubarb soda until glass is 2/3 full

Step 3 – Pour 35ml Lillet

Step 4 – Add 35ml of Kraken

Step 5 – Add Rhubarb stem and stir

Step 6 – Add Orange slice


Black Mojito

The ubiquitous minty marvel reveals its blackened soul with the use of The Kraken Black Spiced Rum.

Step 1 – Add 6 to 8 Mint leaves

Step 2 – Add 25ml sugar syrup

Step 3 – Add 25ml Lime juice

Step 4 – Add 50ml of Kraken

Step 5 – Fill glass halfway with crushed ice and churn

Step 6 – Add Lime wedge and Mint sprig


Kraken Rum is available at all major wholesalers.

Follow the Kraken story at @KrakenR

umIRL #ReleaseTheKraken










Bacardí rum, the world’s favourite and most-awarded rum, is also the number one rum in Ireland.

It has now introduced Bacardí Anejo Cuatro, the first new liquid in 10 years, created in collaboration with its Masetros de Ron (Master Blenders) who shape and craft all the products in the Bacardí portfolio.

Bacardí Cuatro is designed to create elevated, flavourful cocktails that make the rum stand out on its own.

Using the “Undisturbed Ageing Method” used for all Bacardí blends, Cuatro is fermented, distilled and then stored in American Oak-aged barrels under the Carribean sun for at least four years, allowing the rum base to develop its own identity which the Maestro will then use to conjure infinite combinations.

Bacardí Cuatro is the perfect addition to a 1920s-inspired drinks tray that’s best enjoyed with ginger ale.

Find out more about the Bacardí family heritage at:






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