On an unbecoming mid-August evening, a group of us took refuge from the rain at the gorgeous Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell. The private room, with it’s plantation shutters and dark wooden tactile furniture, was the optimum location for both an education and to sample the award-winning, Venezuelan Rum brand, Diplomatico; in there, the sun was shining.
“Do you like rum?”
“Err… not really I’m afraid.”. However, I am always open to persuasion.
The first cocktail to test my nerve was a bold aperitif with the simplest of ingredients: Diplomatico Blanco, their white rum, on ice, topped up with coconut water and a squeeze of lime. It was clean and tasted rather alcoholic due to the absence of sugar, but unexpectedly crisp; a relatively healthy choice that will no doubt appeal to the health conscious bunnies into trying this as an alternative to vodka for a low-calorie drink. As the evening went on, I realised how versatile this rum is.
This was followed up by a Mai Tai – this time using the Reserva – which was paler in colour than a normal Mai Tai and as a result, not too sweet and thoroughly refreshing. The use of crushed ice rather than cubed really improved this inveterate drink and what I also learnt was the beautifully fragrant orgeat syrup(almond sugar syrup) is made for Bianco rum. I have a new found love of the Mai Tai.
Dinner was simple fare, salty and hearty roast chicken with a spicy stuffing and cajun salmon wellington with all the trimmings you could wish for. Our stomachs were well lined for what was to come.
The next 2 cocktails were most definitely digestifs. The first a “Pionero”, created by one of the top 50 mixologists in the country, Sam Fish which was a refined curation of Diplomatico Bianco, lime juice, Falernum(a sweet syrup with carribean spice flavours), Manzilla sherry, egg white and salt. This was a delicate work of art and acted as a light lift as well as a palate cleanser. This cocktail should win awards, well it was created by a woman, so no surprise there.
Next up was The Old Timers Club: Diplomatico Blanco with chamomile and coco butter infused Cocchi Americano, garnished with a morello cherry. Delicious and warming with well-rounded flavours, it certainly did the job in hand and the soaked cherry was a worthy prize to mark the achievement.
The soirée certainly was an eye opener for all things rum and tasting the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, with it’s treacle and cinamon notes and the Diplomatico Single Vintage 2000 for the rich spicy chocolate and oaky palate, coveted by rum lovers everywhere, was a real privilege. Ian Burrell, with the very niche job title of Worldwide Ambassador for Rum along with the Diplomatico team took us through the processes used to make the rum and helped us with what to expect from flavours. It was an education with attention to detail by people who really believe in the brand, it’s no surprise Diplomatico is still a family run business today.
Look our for the Diplomatico float, bringing some sunshine to this year’s Notting Hill Carnival.
42 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HU