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Rums at the ready for Manchester’s first Rum Festival Jan 19

Manchester Rum Festival LogoManchester’s first ever rum festival is coming to town this year, thanks to freelance drinks curator Dave Marsland, aka the Drinks Enthusiast.

Located at Revolución De Cuba, the festival will be held on Saturday 3rd June, and will boast over 40 types of rum including Bacardi, Chairman’s Reserve, Diplomático, Sailor Jerry and Mezan. Brunches, afterparties and shenanigans galore will mean it’ll be a Caribbean affair from dusk ’til dawn.

Tickets cost £15 for the festival (brunches and afterparties not included) which runs from 12pm-5pm, and include a welcome drink by sponsor Coco Re’al, along with a taster from each of the 15 stalls as you work your way round exploring the top brands.

And if that’s not enough booze for you, a team of mixologists and brand ambassadors will be on hand at the cocktail bar serving up a selection of rum cocktail favourites.*

Dave Marsland said “Rum is a staple within the Manchester bar scene, especially with the popularity of venues such as Revolución De Cuba, so I wanted to celebrate it! There’s so many incredible rum brands I felt the best way to celebrate them would be with a festival.

Manchester Rum Festival - Chairman's Reserve Mai Tai

The festival will host entertainment, themed food and drinks offers and gifts, so we really are going all out, plus there’ll be events running throughout the day to get everyone in Manchester involved. I’m just looking forward to meeting guests on the day and seeing how popular the already much-loved brands become.”

Details for brunches and afterparties and further rum promotions will be announced soon, but here’s how to purchase your ticket to the main festival – www.manchesterrumfestival.com/whats-on

*Prices not included in ticket, this is a normal bar operation.

The UK RumFest 2013 (Sneak Peak) Oct 03

The UK RumFest 2013

With a week and half to go until this year’s UK RumFest, what can you expect of your day out immersing yourself in all things rum? Well for starters, Rum and a lot of it.

It may sound obvious, but with so many rum producers exhibiting at the show and with most of them having more than one expression of rum available, for those who have never been before, if can be quite an overwhelming experience as to how much rum there is to choose from on the day.

This year’s exhibitors list includes: Angostura Rum, Appleton Estate Rum, Banks Rum, Blackwell Rum, Bristol Classic Rum, Chairman’s Reserve Rum, Cruzan Rum, Don Papa Rum, DonQ Rum, Doorly’s Rum, El Dorado Rum, English Harbour Rum, Gosling’s Rum, Green Island Rum, Koko Kanu, Lamb’s Rum, Mount Gay Rum, Mount Gilboa Rum, Old Grog Rum, Pink Pigeon Rum, Plantation Rum, Pusser’s Rum, Pyrat Rum, R St Barth, Ron Bacardi, Ron Barcelo, Ron Botran, Ron Brugal, Ron de Jeremy, Ron Diplomático, Ron Fortuna, Ron Zacapa, Rum Fire, St. Aubin Rum, St. Nicholas Abbey Rum, Toz Rum, Virgin Gorda Rum, Wray & Nephew Rum, XM Royal Rum

While some of this rum will be available in the form of cocktails, most will be provided in the form of 1cl tasters – all the better for being able to appreciate the flavour and character of the rum. For those of you who are not used to drinking spirits neat, the best piece of advise to be offered is pace yourself, drink plenty of water from the various water coolers dispersed around the show and follow the RumFest Etiquette Guidelines.

So what else can you look forward to? Well the UK RumFest describes itself as:

… an international celebration of rum & cane spirit. The Rum Experience prides itself on bringing together the finest rum, great food and a range of educating seminars and entertainment to make learning about rum both fun and stimulating.

From personal experience, this statement does truly sum up what to expect when visiting RumFest and it’s also fair to say that words alone cannot sum up the experience. Of course, if you don’t follow the advice given above, you might find it even harder to put anything into words the following day… So lets forget words for a moment and rely on the old adage of a picture paints a thousand words and check out the Rum@Charlosa Pinterest board for some photographic inspiration of some of the things to expect at RumFest.

And what of the great food, education and the fun mentioned above. Well it includes: live entertainment, such as Salsa, Soca, Reggae, Zouk and Samba; the Tropical Food Market; the Cooking Demonstration Stage (hosted by Chef Hasan de Four); Food and Rum Pairings; the chance to win holidays to the Caribbean and visit a real rum distillary; live cocktail demonstrations; cocktails to try from some of the UKs best mixologists; hundreds of rums to try and buy and several Rum Experience University Masterclasses conducted by industry experts and master blenders.

RumFest 2012 - El Dorado Rum and Aochabee Chocolate Pairing

All being well you’re now sold on the idea of the rum, but which shores must you head to with a steady wind in search of this here pirate’s booty. Well, for the second year in the events history you can expect to set sail towards the ExCel Exhibition Centre on the northern quay of the Royal Victoria Dock in London Docklands. The nearest station is Custom House on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which is served from either the Tower Gateway or Stratford lines through to Beckton.

The UK RumFest 2013 opens its doors at 12pm midday on Saturday 12th October, with last pours at 4.30pm and closes at 5pm. For those of you who either can’t make the Saturday or just love rum that much that you need to head back for a second day, you’ll be pleased to know that RumFest is also opening its doors for the same times on Sunday 13th October.

Now you know when and where to head for your rum, how much is this little expedition going to cost you to get there. Well RumFest tickets come in two flavours and cost £25 and £45 each day for the Rum Experience Ticket and the Connoisseur Cove Ticket respectively. For the serious rum lover, you can alternatively purchase a weekend Connoisseur Cove Ticket for £80, giving a saving of £10 over separate tickets for both days. All tickets are subject to a booking fee.

So what do you get for your money and which ticket should you go for. Well this will largely depend on what you’re interested in for the day. Both tickets will give you:

  • The Rum Bars sampling 1cl tots in exchange for your tokens ( full sized cocktails will be on sale)
  • Small selection of rum brands sampling 1cl tots in exchange for your tokens
  • The Main Entertainment Stage
  • Seminar Rooms
  • Tropical Food Market stands selling hot and cold food
  • Food Demonstration Stage hosted by Chef Hasan De Four
  • 5 tasting sample tokens to exchange for 1cl sample and 50ml mini cocktail samples within the Rum Experience Area ( no more tokens will be available to purchase).

But only the Connoisseurs Cove tickets will also include:

  • Entry to the Connoisseurs Cove with a selection of brands exhibiting their premium rums and serving 1cl samples (no drink tokens needed here)

RumFest 2012 - Plantation Rum Bar's Cheeky Tiki Girls

And for those of you in the professional drinks trade, make sure you register for The Boutique RumFest, which runs alongside RumFest, for the opportunity to see and try many new brands and expressions, many of whom are looking for UK distribution.

So now you know what to expect, what are you waiting for, mark Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th October in your diary, head over to the UK RumFest 2013 Website and book your tickets now and make you so you finish London Cocktail Week with some serious rum fun.

Oh did I not mention it’s London Cocktail Week next week… You wait ages for a drinks event to turn up and then they all turn up at the same time – no wait, isn’t that meant to be buses… Anyway, make sure you also check out the London Cocktail Week website to help get you in the right spirit for the UK RumFest 2013.

The UK RumFest 2012 Oct 10

RumFest Flag LogoThis weekend (13th and 14th October 2012) sees the return of the UK RumFest and this year’s show has moved to new premises at the ExCel London Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands. Promising to bring an “unrivalled combination of the rarest and most delicious rums from across the globe”, the show is back for it sixth successive year and will be continuing to mix rum, Caribbean food and a Carnival atmosphere of live music and exotic rhythms.

 Appleton Estate Rum Tasting at RumFest 2011

For anyone with at least a passing interest in Rum and Sugar Cane Spirits, this is the place to be with some of the biggest names in the business sharing the hall with the smaller and boutique rum brands, who may not be so instantly recognisable to the average consumer, but whose drinks often rival the big boys for quality and taste.

While some of these smaller brands will be out on the main floor, some of them will only be available at this year’s Boutique RumFest, which is a trade only show, taking place over both days of RumFest.

This year’s exhibitors at both the Boutique RumFest and the actual RumFest include: Angostura, Appleton Estate, Bacardi, Banks, Ron Barceló, Blackwell Rum, Ron Botran, Bristol Classic Rum, Ron BrugalChairman’s ReserveCruzan, Doorly’s, Ron Diplomático, Don Papa, Don Q, Rhum Dzama, El Dorado, Flor de Caña, Green Island Rum, Gosling’s, Koko Kanu, Lamb’s, Ron LegendarioMount Gay, Mount Gilboa, Old Grog, Pink Pigeon, Plantation, Pusser’s, PyratRon de JeremyR St Barth, Rum Fire, St Aubin, St Nicholas Abbey, Takamaka Bay, TozWray & Nephew, XM Royal and Ron Zacapa.

Havana Club BartenderAlongside the exhibitor stands with their 400+ rums, visitors can also extend their knowledge in all things Rum related at the Rum University Room, where they can learn about the history of rum and rum cocktails with a number of seminars provided by master blenders, distillers and drinks experts.

In addition to the Rum University, you’ll also have the chance to find out what goes on behind the scenes at some of the country’s top Rum bars, with the Cocktail Academy. Bar tenders from bars such as London’s Trailer Happiness, Wax Jambu, Mahiki and Manchester’s The Liars Club, along with several others, will show visitors what makes them the best in world at making and creating Rum cocktails.

For further details, please look at the RumFest 2012 Master Classes page. These seminars and tastings have limited spaces and as such operate on a first come first serve basis, so please register at the main entrance of Rumfest.

 In addition to the rum tasting opportunities, the foodie’s paradise that is the Tropical Food Market is set to expand on its success of last year, showcasing the finest delicacies and cuisine from the Tropics. Highlights are set to include: chocolatier Paul Wayne Gregory and Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, who together will launch a bespoke range of chocolates that have been crafted to perfectly compliment the unique flavours found in a number of carefully selected rum brands; Caymanas Rum Cake, which following last year’s RumFest has secured a deal to stock its products with one of the UKs leading supermarkets; as well as the opportunity to see celebrity chefs and presenters on the Angostura Bitters stage, who will be tasting, discovering and exploring rum beyond simply drinking it.Bacardi's David Cordoba and RumFest organiser Ian Burrell with Samba Dancer at RumFest 2011

Alongside the food and drink enticing the senses, attendees will be able to feel the tropical spirit through the music and Carnival vibe of Mas Band: Bacchanalia.

Returning for another year of Soca and Samba music,  Bacchanalia will be bringing the Carnival spirit to a possibly cold and dreary London with uplifting dancing and stunning costumes.

Tickets are available in advance online at £25 for the Saturday, £20 for the Sunday or for a weekend pass at £40 per person. For your money you will receive: Access to the world’s biggest Rum Festival from 12pm to 5pm; with over 400 rums to sample; 5 Rum sampling vouchers; Live musical entertainment, cocktail master-classes and demonstrations* and your exclusive goody bag with tasting glass and show guide. *subject to availability.

For those new to RumFest, the sampling voucher is the show’s currency and will need to be handed over for each sample. 1 voucher = 1 sample. Additional vouchers can be bought from the front desk for £1 each.

There’s also a limited number of VIP tickets for both days, priced at £40 for the Saturday and £35 for the Sunday, giving: access to the show from 11am – an hour before general admissions; fast track entry into the show; entry into the V.I.P  room, including 3 cocktail tokens; Rum Experience Rum Cake; a show goody bag, including 5 Rum sampling vouchers, tasting glass and show guide.

Those in the drinks trade can also attend The Boutique Rumfest, where you will have the chance to explore a range of new and boutique distillery rum. So make sure you register for the show and head down to the ExCel Exhibition Centre over the 13th and 14th October. Please remember that entry to the Boutique RumFest still requires a valid ticket to RumFest.

I know that I’m finishing with the same line as I did last year, but I think it so amply sums up my expectations for this year’s RumFest: So for more rum than any one man or woman could handle, live Caribbean music, great food and a totally tropical weekend, make sure you finish the London Cocktail Week by heading to the ExCel London Exhibition Centre for the UK RumFest, this 13th and 14th October 2012.