Rum and Cocktail Pairing Dinner Hosted by Mount Gay Rum On Thursday, November 5, 2015,
Mount Gay Distilleries Ltd. hosted an enriching and entertaining evening full of great cocktails, delicious food, and great stories. It was an evening of fantastic storytelling about the world’s oldest and most prominent rum distillery and owners of the world’s oldest bottle of rum.
Mount Gay Rum is the world’s oldest and most prominent rum distillery, with written evidence that extended to 1703, making the distillery and brand approximately 300 years old. The original owner of the plantation/distillery, John Sober, hired Sir John Gay Alleyne to manage the distillery, which turned out to be a perfect decision.
Sir John Gay Alleyne did such a remarkable job of managing and leading the company, which upon his death, the distillery was renamed after him. Since there was already a Mount Alleyne in Barbados, the company used his middle name in renaming the distillery, thus launching Mount Gay Rum.
The dinner was at Miss Things, a restaurant in the Parkdale known for its retro tiki-inspired décor and creative interpretations of classic Polynesian and Pan-Asian dishes.
Showcasing the Mount Gay Rum and guiding the guests through the tastings were Scott Fitzgerald, the national brand ambassador and Allen Smith, the Master Blender of Mount Gay Rum. Both Scott and Allen were personable, engaging, and knowledgeable hosts as they regaled everyone with fascinating stories behind each of the rum that the guests got to taste on their own, as well as in several cocktails.
Mixologist Robin Wynne also shared stories of his travels to the Mount Gay distilleries in Barbados and the inspiration behind each of the four cocktails that were served that night.
Each guests received three mini glasses of rum samples during the tasting. The first rum everyone sampled was the Mount Gay Eclipse, which has been on the market for a century. The Mount Gay Eclipse rum had notes of sweet caramel, mocha, and bananas.
The first dish was a Poisson Cru, a cured snapper in a coconut dashi garnished with coconut lime crema and sliced jalapenos. It was served with a Mount Gay Eclipse Coconut Lemongrass Daiquiri. The cocktail was incredibly refreshing and really brought out the lingering heat of the jalapenos and the fragrant coconut in the dashi and crema.
For the second course, guests enjoyed the Mount Gay Black Barrel rum. The ‘Black Barrel’ refers to the charred bourbon casks that houses the rum after it’s been distilled and blended. The resultant liquid is dark amber in colour and has heavy aromas of toffee and chocolate with a spicy finish lingering on the tongue long after consumption. The Black Barrel rum was the feature ingredient in the Mount Gay Black Barrel Bridgetown Sour and paired with a fried eggplant with pineapple fried rice dish.
The Mount Gay Extra Old was the third rum guests sampled. This rum had a very rich and spicy nose with very pronounced pastry and chocolate notes. The braised short rib with Parisian gnocchi that accompanied the rum was absolutely fantastic! The Mount Gay XO Extra Old Manhattan was the perfect accompanying cocktail with this dish. The Manhattan had aromatic and Cohiba bitters, which brought out the smokiness in the ribs and Korean chili sauce.
The final dish and rum pairing of the night was the most decadent. Glasses of Mount Gay 1703 were brought out and served to the guests along with the spiced pineapple almond financier. The Mount Gay 1703 has been aged for 30 years, making this the brand’s most refined and most mature rum. It was a delicate rum with a creamy mouth feel with notes of oak, lemon, and tobacco, making it a perfect after-dinner sipper.
The evening came to a wonderful conclusion with a special surprise tasting of limited edition release of small batch rums. Created by Allen Smith, these rums has only been released in the U.S. and Barbados and is intended to provide rum enthusiasts with two distinct tasting experiences.
One of the rums was finished in a virgin French oak cast and was delicate with nice aromatics. The second rum was finished in charred American bourbon oak cask. This rum was heavier with stronger fruit notes that coats the mouth and has a lingering cinnamon finish.
At the end of all of that alcohol consumption, guests received a bottle of Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum as a present.
The Mount Gay rum and cocktail pairing dinner was a tremendous experience. The brand’s rich history and devotion to craft and quality shone through the rum that guests savoured throughout the evening. From indulging in so many delicious cocktails, it is clear that rum is a versatile spirit, one that can be enjoyed on its own on a cold winter day, blended in a tropical cocktail, or topped with ginger beer. As Allen said at the dinner, “To all of the rum converts, welcome to the club.”
(photo credit: Arthur So)
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