The Mixologist Recommends
We asked mixologist Callum Pates for his top tips when it comes to stocking and selling rum. Here’s what he recommends…
Rum should be part of a mixologist’s portfolio
Rum and rum-based cocktails are in huge resurgence – just look at the Mojito – it’s the most popular cocktail in the UK at the moment. When we talk about tequila or cognac, these are spirits that can only be produced in particular regions. Rum however is made all over the world giving us a plethora of styles. Havana Club from Cuba for example, has the traditional Cuban style of being floral, light and dry, whereas rich and dark Navy Rum is a very different animal. With so many possible variables and techniques now used, rum is for sure the most varied of all distilled spirits. Consumers are starting to embrace aged sipping rums with as much passion as other premium dark spirits and so it is therefore important that we have a range of premium rums to offer.
Best range to stock
A recommended range could consist of a pouring white rum such as Havana Club 3 year old or Captain Morgan White. This rum works perfectly in light fresh drinks such as Daiquiris and Mojitos. Havana Club Especial offers a great up-sell for a rum that was designed to complement long drinks such as a rum and coke. The extended range could then include the likes of Havana Club 7 year old, Appleton’s and Ron Zacapa. This clear pricing ladder can help guests trade up to more premium brands when they want to treat themselves. It also gives me, as a mixologist, the range of rums I need to create a wide variety of cocktails. Don’t forget to have Spiced Golden Rums on offer too – they’re really in demand and go brilliantly in drinks like Long Island Iced Tea.
Top tips for getting a customer to move from an R&C to a full blown cocktail
Offer simple serves at a competitive price to tempt customers to switch to a cocktail. Serves such as a Cuba Libre or a Cuban Mule are great alternatives to a simple R&C.
The importance of the correct glass
The old ‘first impressions’ quote very much applies to cocktails. How it is served and thus the visual aspect of the drink is key to leaving lasting impressions. The correct glass however, is not just for aesthetics but has two more practical aims: maintaining the temperature of a drink, and to accentuate its aromatic qualities. So, for a Daiquiri, use a chilled cocktail glass, for an Eggnog a tall glass or goblet, a highball glass for a Long Island, and of course, a Mojito in a Collins.
How to use a muddler
A lot of cocktails call for the use of a muddler. This is a great tool to use when you want to extract juices out of fruits. Just remember, the objective is not to beat the ingredients into a messy pulp, but to gently press the essence out of it. And don’t go overboard with its use. An authentic Cuban Mojito does not call for lime wedges or mint to be muddled – something we regularly see now in the UK – but a great many recipes do call for it. Just remember that when made well, a Mojito is a clean and refreshing cocktail. Over-muddling mint breaks down the leaves releasing chlorophyll, which has a very bitter and unpleasant taste to it, so the rule is five or six presses, no more!
Make the most of making it premium
It is imperative that bars promote and highlight their premium offerings – whether it’s spirits or cocktails. Creating a premium pyramid on the back bar, with the most expensive rums on the top shelf is a great way of doing this. Staff can help educate guests with brand or serve knowledge as well as helping them choose their perfect cocktail. With premium spirits currently in growth we can see that consumers are more likely than ever to go for a premium serve. Capitalise on this by offering a premium-bottled mixer – it’s great for your bottom line and consumers are more likely to feel that they are getting a better deal.