We’re going all hot and sultry this season. Let’s serve rum on ice, turn up the music and do the salsa, the samba and the mambo to celebrate New Year’s Eve Cubana style. Salud.
Que comience la fiesta … let the party start. The Kraken Black Spiced Rum – named for a sea monster of myth and legend, said to have brought down the world’s largest shipment of Caribbean rum – is dark and powerful and smooth. Distilled in the Caribbean from naturally sweet molasses, you’ll taste notes of cinnamon, citrus, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, peppercorn and a big punch of vanilla. Oh … and also danger. Lots and lots of danger. Drink on the rocks, or with cola, ginger ale or ginger beer. R335 from takealot.com
Spytail Black Ginger Spice, made in France, is all ginger and spices, vanilla and candied fruits. It’s lovely on the rocks, but is amazing with ginger beer and a squeeze of fresh lime. R199 from Makro
Limestone Rum – a limited edition 10-year-old pot still rum from the incredible Inverroche distillery – is a distinctive, full-bodied sipping rum, all toasted oak, caramel and nuts, orange zest , dried fruit, marmalade and vanilla, followed by cinnamon, butterscotch and spice. It’s dry, warm and smooth and is exceptional with dark chocolate, or a curl of orange zest on ice. R409 from cybercellar.com
Great bottle appeal! Don Papa Rum is a small batch, single island rum from the sugar island of Negros Occidental in the Philippines. Aged in American oak barrels for seven years, it’s a light amber liquid that’s smooth and delicate with flavours of vanilla, honey and candied fruits. Drink it neat, or over one large ice cube. And be sure to look out for the 10-Year-Old and Sherry Cask Limited Edition versions, too. R549 from yuppiechef.com
Hand-distilled on a sugar estate in Gingindlovu in Zululand, the amazing Tapanga Premium Reserve single batch, five-year barrel-aged rum is made from freshly cut sugarcane and is gorgeous … think vanilla and cherry, dried fruit and citrus. Great gift, if you can bear to give it away, R750. Details: tapangarum.com or Facebook @Tapangarumafricole
Dominican and Barbados rum, with hibiscus, orange blossom and honeybush. Swoon! Suncamino Spirit Aperitif is distilled and aged for eight years in Barbados and the Dominican Republic, then shipped across to Cape Town, where it’s infused with locally sourced floral extracts, matured and bottled by hand. R299 from yuppiechef.com
Rhino Rum from Port Elizabeth on our east coast is all raisin and toffee, honey and vanilla, with just a hint of dried fruit and banana. Look out, too, for the Spiced Rhino, which is more aniseed and liquorice, clove and ginger. Around R350 from your local bottlestore.