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A Positive Change from Brexit? Well, one at least, sort of… Apr 22

While not exactly a hidden secret, it appears that with a change to the Duty-Free rules for travellers to Great Britain, there may have been one positive to have come out of Brexit on the 31st December 2020, albeit, with a bit of a caveat.

While it doesn’t appear to be being shouted from the roof tops at the moment and let’s face it, the lack of being able to travel internationally at the moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic might legitimately play its part in the limited press coverage on the subject, those of us with an interest in Rum and Cachaça can now bring in 4 litres of spirits (of 22% ABV and above) per adult to Great Britain from elsewhere in the world.

A little background history

From 1999 onwards Brits travelling between EU countries and the UK lost the ability to buy duty-free shopping on alcohol and tobacco products, but gained the ability to buy virtually unlimited amounts of goods from within the EU for personal use, without paying duty on return to the UK.

Duty-free shopping remained for those travelling from the rest of the world, but with the following allowances for personal use:

  • 16 litres of beer
  • 4 litres of still wine
  • 1 litre of spirits over 22% ABV OR 2 litres of fortified wines, sparkling wines and other alcohol spirits up to 22% ABV

This last allowance could be split, so for example you could bring back half a litre of 40% ABV Rum as well as a 1 litre bottle of, let’s say, Malibu* at 21% ABV

This is how it was until 11pm GMT on the 31st December 2020, when the UK exited the EU. Unfortunately for those in Northern Ireland, the above older rules still apply for those arriving from non-EU countries, although on a positive note, those travelling from EU countries to Northern Ireland will still continue to be able to arrive with unlimited amounts of alcohol and tobacco for personal use.

Original Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

A Post-Brexit world of travel

So what about the rest of us arriving into Great Britain (made up of England, Scotland and Wales), from the 1st January 2021 from either the EU or the rest of the world? Well, things have been simplified. What was once two different sets of rules, has now been combined into one. So on the one hand those travelling from the EU to Great Britain will see a reduction in their alcohol and tobacco allowances, but on the other hand, those travelling from the rest of the world will see a marked increase in their alcohol allowance.

The new single set of duty-free rules for personal use on alcohol are as follows:

  • 42 litres of beer
  • 18 litres of still wine
  • 4 litres of spirit OR 9 litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine (e.g. sherry or port) or any alcoholic beverage of less than 22% ABV

Again, this last allowance can be split, so for example you can bring 2 litres of 40% ABV Rum as well as 4 and a half litres of Malibu* at 21% ABV (Please note that a 50-50 split isn’t the only option, other combinations are allowed, as long as the total of allowance used equates to no more than 100% of the allowance)

One thing to note with the new rules, is that if you exceed your personal limits, then you will need to pay tax/duty on all the goods in that category, not just the excess amount. So for example, bringing back 6 x 750 ml bottles of rum from the US totalling 4.5 litres, would result in in all 6 bottles of rum being liable for duty and not just the 1 bottle that would take you over the limit.

* Please also note that the use of Malibu is just for example as a spirit drink that is under 22% ABV – it is not in any way an endorsement of the product.

Koloa Rum from Kaua’i

We’re all going on a summer holiday?

While we’re still waiting for the UK government to announce when international travel will be on the cards for holidaymakers this summer and beyond, when that time does come around, it’s worth knowing about the new duty-free rules.

And for those of us Brits, who either travel further afield than the EU or maybe are lucky enough to have family and/or friends visiting from outside the EU, we can enjoy more locally sold Cachaça and Rums from around the world, that maybe we can’t get so easily here in Great Britain.

Granted, in no way does this make up for everything else that’s come about as a result of Brexit, but in these miserable times, I’ll take any silver lining I can find. Further details can be found at the House of Commons Library and in the UK Government’s Travellers Communication Pack.

London Cocktail Week 2014 – Malibu Beach at Maggies Sep 26

London Cocktail Week LogoThe launch of the new Malibu Watering Can at Malibu Beach, Maggies. Coconut shys, limbo compititions, pina coladas and Watering Cans. More details can be found here.

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New Cocktail: Hans on Deck Aug 02

Named in honour of one the hosts of a most agreeable garden party held last Saturday (25th July 2009), the hour was late, the choice of mixers as diminished as the available liquors and this particular amateur mixologist was certainly 3 sheets to the wind and yet my friends wanted yet another jug of cocktail.

Having been given access to the bar earlier in the evening, I’d spent the rest of the evening make June Bugs for most of the table. Initially this was by the shaker, but it became clear it was going to be easier to make them by the jug full.

At some time after 3am we ran out of pineapple juice and Midori. After much deliberation on my part as to what would go together from the selection in front of me, I started with Ice followed by a large measure of Malibu. To this I added Crème de Cassis and Grenadine, topped up with Orange Juice. Although not bad, I felt this to be a tad to sweet, so looking around I spied a bottle of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and added this to spice things up a bit.

The resultant drink was met by great enjoyment and yet more merriment. As such I felt it worthy of a name related to the party itself and picking up on both the Sailor Jerry rum and cheeky Navy connotations related to our hosts James and Hans’ sexuality I settled with a play on words with Hans on Deck.

The recipe has since been refined by actually making it with an understanding of exactly how much of each ingredient goes into it and is as follows:


  • 2 Measure of Malibu
  • 1 Measure of Crème de Cassis
  • 1/2 Measure of Grenadine
  • 1 Measure of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 3 Measures of Orange Juice
  • Ice
  • Orange Slice to Garnish

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Highball Glass
  • Tall Drinking Straw

Half fill the Cocktail Shaker with Ice and add the Malibu, Crème de Cassis, Grenadine and Orange Juice. Shake well until a layer of ice forms on the cocktail shaker.

Half fill the Highball Glass with fresh Ice and strain the shaken mix into the glass. Float the Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum on top and garnish with an Orange Slice and straw before serving.

This recipe and others can also be found in the Recipes section of