Rum and Rummer.
A rum do
Comfortably numb. From rum.
Dare I say young, dumb and full of rum? Seems I do.
Ok the puns are out of my system now. Which is hopefully also the case for the sheer amount of rum I consumed last Saturday at the Mercure Hotel, Piccadilly Gardens.
The Manchester Rum Festival was established five years ago by Dave Marsland, a Manchester-based event curator, spirits expert and bar owner, to put Manchester on the map as a rum destination and to showcase the contribution the north west is making within the rum renaissance.
You can read more about the line-up here in my preview blog: It’s a Rum Do in Manchester as Festival returns this August bank holiday
I will say this, you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck, in terms of the number of different producers in the room and their passion for pouring you a great drop (or two).
Whilst I’ve been known to frequent a champagne festival or two in my time, it was my first spirits festival and I was excited/apprehensive. I know how these things usually go.
I’m just there for the tasting, and the tasting only.
90 minutes later…
I like the taste of literally everything and given how ‘merry’ I am, I shall proceed to buy literally everything.
Not me. Not this time.
I mean of course this time, and I regret nothing.
With some fine beats from the DJ on stage and measures both great and small, the rum festival gave great atmosphere.
The ‘popular’ percentage amongst the rums seemed to be 40% but reader? I went large (before I miraculously made it home). The 50% from The City of Manchester Distillery, I tried most innocently. The 67.5% from (confession, I can’t remember but are you surprised?) I knew what I was doing…
All fine pours, all reps lovely and enthusiastic, I had to make sure that I tried most of the rums on offer. I’d love to say I made it to all stalls but I’d guess I did 80% before I decided it was best to retain some dignity.
And soon our tote bags were brimming with our wares, having happily put our money where our mouths literally were with three of our favourites (with 2/3 loyally local but genuinely loved):
- The Salford Rum Company – honey rum. My word, this is lovely. A wonderful warmer of a drink, and a perfect match with ginger beer.
- The City of Manchester Distillery – limited edition. Yes, it’s the 50%, ok? It’s great! And a little bit special too.
Festival owner Dave Marsland and The City of Manchester Distillery created this entirely unique, never-tasted-before rum solely for ticket holders.
This extra special, limited-edition bottling is a blend of Barbadian rum aged in the Caribbean for 12 years, before spending a further 5 years in the barrel in the north of England with Batch No 1. of Manchester’s first ever legally produced rum, from the City of Manchester Distillery
- Plantation Rum XO – a little further afield, this Barbadian rum is smooth, soothing and special.
So there we have it.
I shall pray that I’m not on some sort of local lush list that prevents me from attending what I hope will return next year; that is, a fantastically vibrant drinks festival which not only took us round the world but showcased what excellent tipples we have on our own Mancunian (and Salfordian) doorstep.