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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 2013 – Tickets on Sale Now Jun 09

The UK RumFest

What better news to receive on a cold and dreary day in late spring: The UK RumFest dates have been announced and along with their shiny new website, you can now buy your tickets to the UK’s biggest homage to Rum. So for all you rum lovers out there, here’s the latest press release from The Rum Experience:

“Returning to the UK’s capital this October, the world famous UK RumFest will take place on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October 2013 and will offer visitors to London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre the chance to embark on a voyage of rum discovery. Featuring a brand new two-tiered ticketing structure, the seventh annual UK RumFest will provide a tailor made experience catering for discerning connoisseurs and casual enthusiasts alike. This year’s UK RumFest will once again showcase over 400 of the rarest and most diverse rums from across the globe as well as feature intimate seminars hosted by industry aficionados, an extended Tropical Food Market with mouthwatering food from all over the world, plus live music and main stage presentations and holiday giveaways. UK RumFest continues to be THE premier event for educating and entertaining rum enthusiasts. Tickets are on sale now with standard tickets priced at £25 plus booking fee or premium tickets, which give access to the brand new Connoisseur Cove at £45 plus booking fee. All available from the brand new RumFest website which has also launched this week.

Rum’s popularity has soared in recent years, becoming the UK’s fastest growing spirit and the drink of choice for millions across the globe. Today, The Rum Experience, founders of the UK RumFest are thrilled to invite rum lovers to join them at the world’s largest celebration of rum culture, the seventh annual UK RumFest. After 2012’s sell out success, this year’s UK RumFest will feature a series of innovations to the programme, all of which are designed to deliver an excellent experience for UK RumFest visitors wanting to enjoy some rum-fuelled fun and entertainment. This year’s event will feature a mixture of rum bars, providing the opportunity to sample the best known brands on the market, either as a 1 centilitre free sample in exchange for a token or as a professionally mixed cocktail, alongside a series of stands from carefully selected rum brands.

Bringing together the industry’s top blenders, distillers and mixologists, visitors are invited on a journey of rum discovery with a vast array of masterclasses, talks and seminars available to all ticket holders. For those who have a passion for cocktail sampling, creating or spectating, worldclass mixologists will be showcasing their skills through cocktail battles and demonstrations. The Carnival atmosphere as always will be electric and will be heightened by a bill of live music that will reverberate throughout the weekend featuring a heady mix of reggae beats, samba rhythms and traditional souk dancers. There really is no other show quite like it.

Taste buds will be tantalized at this year’s extended Tropical Food Market hosting an abundance of street food outlets on hand to help soak up the rum drenched day. Embracing cuisines from across the rum regions, where the sweet sugar cane grows in abundance, traders have been invited to bring their flavours from the Caribbean, South America and Africa. Generous samples will be available and for those enticed by the cuisine on offer will be able to purchase meals from each of the food outlets. For those interested in discovering more, celebrity TV Chef Hasan De Four will be hosting the live presentations on the Demo Kitchen Stage showcasing exclusive one-off masterclasses including rum & food pairing, cooking with rum and much more to be announced very soon.

For the first time, UK RumFest introduces the brand new Connoisseur’s Cove area inviting the discerning drinker to an exclusive rum haven. Visitors can sip, savour and discover some of the rarest, most exquisite premium rums from across the globe. This exclusive area is perfectly designed to take the connoisseur on an extensive rum discovery, set away from the lively Carnival crowds and creating an incredible journey. Expect some very special rums of distinctions to sample whilst educating palates like never before.

Bacardi's David Cordoba and RumFest organiser Ian burrell with Samba Dancer at RumFest

Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador and founder of The Rum Experience comments, “UK RumFest is the destination event for rum lovers and we promise two days that will take each and every visitor on a journey of rum discovery. With the brand new ticketing structure we aim to cater for the discerning drinker and the casual enthusiast creating a one-off experience for all. We look forward to seeing you in October!”

UK RumFest is presented by The Rum Experience and takes place on Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th October 2013 at London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre. Standard tickets for this year’s RumFest are now on sale from £25 and includes access to central zone featuring Rum Bars and selected Rum brands, the Tropical Food Market, seminar rooms and the Main Stage presentation area. The Connoisseur’s Cove tickets priced at £45 allowing an additional exclusive access to the most exquisite rum brands available at the moment where visitors are invited to take their journey of rum discovery to the next level. Weekend tickets are priced at £80 and include access to the Connoisseur’s Cove.”

For those rum lovers who haven’t attended before, I can’t state enough how much you will want to attend this year’s UK RumFest. To see a little glimpse of last year’s UK RumFest please take a look at the RumFest 2012 picture gallery. You can also find additional images from both last year and the 2011 UK RumFest on the Rum@Charlosa RumFest Pinterest Board.

Please check back for more details as they become available, as well as an overview of what to expect for those who haven’t previously attended the UK RumFest.

Rum @ London Cocktail Week 2011 Oct 08

London Cocktail WeekLast night kicked off the start of 2011’s London Cocktail Week. Running from the 7th to the 16th October, this is the biggest drinks event on the London scene and with so much to choose from, it should be possible for everyone to find at least one thing to do.

For the rum lovers out there, there are Rum Trails; Rum Masterclasses; Rum Tastings; Rum Cocktails galore and of course the week finishes off with RumFest itself. So with an emphasis on the rum side of things, here’s a quick and dirty guide to the week’s events:

Rum Sours CocktailSunday 9th October kicks off with Rum Trail – A walking tour round the Notting Hill area, visiting five bars. Meeting at Trailer Happiness on Portobello Road, each bar will give you the opportunity to try a different age of Havana Club Rum, while discussing the stories behind Tiki culture. There are two seperate 2 hour tours this evening, starting at 6pm and 7pm respectively. Tickets are available from the London Cocktail Website and are priced at £35.

Monday 10th October is the first full day of events and that means more chances to try some Rum. Today’s Rum Trail moves into the West End, meeting at HIX on Brewer Street. With a slightly earlier start of 5.30pm and 6.30pm, these 2 1/2 hour tours will take you around five bars in the Soho area, where you’ll again be given the opportunity to try different ages of Havana Club Rum. Tickets are available from the London Cocktail Website and are priced at £35.

For those in the trade, pickup your red ‘Trade’ wristband and head to the Drinkology Studios on Batemans Row, from 2pm ’til 3pm, for the Below the Equator – The Oldest and Newest Cane Spirit seminar with Leblon’s Jacob Briars.

Tuesday 11th October gives you the chance to learn about Caribbean rum from The Chairman’s Reserve team. Held from 1pm to 2.30pm at Le Méridien Picadilly’s Longitude 0°8′ bar this free event will also feature tastings of limited edition bottling’s from the Chairman’s Reserve range.

Between 2pm and 6pm, those with their red ‘Trade’ wristband can meet the Havana Club Rum Ambassador Meimi Sanchez at the Havana Club Bar, at the Drinkology Studios, where she will be making drinks and running informal tasting sessions.

Today’s Rum Trail moves yet again, but this time to the City of London, meeting at the Boisdale of Bishopsgate. The last night of the Rum Trails, will find you on a 2 hour walking tour of five bars in the Shoreditch area, starting at both 6pm and 7pm. Tickets are available from the London Cocktail Website and are priced at £35.

Wednesday 12th October brings Latino rum, chocolate and vinyl. My only disappointment is that with the exception of Hermione Granger, Marty McFly and Dr Who, we won’t be able to enjoy all three of the rum events on this ‘Hump Day’, due to their similar start times. So in no particular order, I’ll start with one of my favourite rums: the Zacapa Tasting at The Speakeasy at Selfridges. Starting at 6pm, this is a 1 hour full portfolio tasting with Ron Zacapa‘s European Ambassador Mario Nevarro and costs £15.

For those of you with a sweet tooth, why not head to Poland Street’s Barrio Central at 6pm for Rum & Chocolate. Also costing £15, this 2 hour tutored tasting will introduce you to some of the exquisite rums from the Santa Teresa range, followed by a Venezuelan style party.

Alternatively, bring your best vinyl and any unusual ingredients with you to Upper Street’s Wax Jambu, for the free Pampero Off the Record event. Starting at 7pm, the bar staff will endeavour to make you a bespoke cocktail until late into the night.

Tickets and further details of today’s events are available from the London Cocktail Website.


Thursday 13th October – Despite being the eve of the start of one of the largest events in the Rum calendar, there’s still plenty of rum events to choose from. Starting with the Zenna Rum Cocktails masterclass, being held at Zenna Bar on Dean Street. Priced at £30 and starting at 5pm, during this 2 hour class you will learn to make classic cocktails and create your own new drink. Guests will also leave with their own goodie bag.

Hosting the Cuban Cinema Double Bill, from 7pm to 11pm is Borough High Street’s Roxy Bar & Screen. Featuring Havana Club cocktails at the bar, for £10 you’ll be able to sit back and while away the evening watching Chico & Rita and Fresa y Chocolate.

For a Rum & Cachaça Paired Cocktail Dinner, hosted by the Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, head to Brown’s on St Martin’s Lane for 7.30pm Priced at £70, the evening is also hosted by Boca Loca Cachaça and will feature dinner courses paired with distinctive rum and Cachaça cocktails. Special treats will include appearances from some of the world’s top rum experts and a chance to try some rare and special sugar cane spirits.

Tickets and further details of today’s events are available from the London Cocktail Website.

Friday 14th October is the start of this year’s RumFest and it kicks off with the trade-only Boutique RumFest. Hosted by Ian Burrell at the Hilton Olympia and running from 12pm until 9pm, the day features a series of tastings and seminars including: Santa Tersa Tasting; Let’s Talk Rum; Diplomatico Tasting; Don’t Fear the Blender; The Art of Distillation; The Grand Tasting; El Dorado Tasting and the Bacardi Legacy Seminar. For those in the trade with an interest in rum, this is a day not to be missed. Further details of today’s events are available from the London Cocktail Website.

Saturday 15th OctoberRumFest, what more needs to be said… Well quite a bit really, which is why I’ll post a separate entry on RumFest. What I will say here though is that this is the first public day of this year’s drinks festival celebrating the diversity of rum and its rapidly growing popularity. Tickets start at £25 are available from Ticket Source. Starting at 12pm and finishing at 6pm, RumFest is being held at Olympia 2 and further details can be found on the RumFest website.

For those of you that can’t make it to RumFest, the Selfridges Wine Shops is hosting Cheeky Tiki – a free event running from 12pm to 6pm, that looks at Tiki culture, it’s history and cocktails with the help of Havana Club Rum.

Sunday 16th October is the second and last day of RumFest. Expect more Rum and Rum escapades on Hammersmith Road for the last day of RumFest and London Cocktail Week.

Cocktail ShakerAlong with all of the above listed Rum events, it’s also worth bearing in mind that there are also loads of other events related to mixology and other spirits and with nearly 200 bars in and around London, who are each providing a signature cocktail for £4, everyone should be able to find something that they like. Many of these cocktails will be rum based, so please check the London Cocktail Tours page for further details.

Another worthy note is the American Bar at the Savoy where each day from Monday 10th to Sunday 16th October, they will be hosting the Miniature Cocktail Museum between 3pm and 11pm each day. Here you’ll find a pop-up bar specially created for London Cocktail Week, featuring Bacardi Brown Forman brands.

So if you haven’t already signed up, then head to to do so and collect your wristband from Gordon’s Speakeasy on the 1st floor of Selfridges. Don’t forget that each day there’s also a Bacardi Oakheart sponsored bus that will drive you between bars in each area for free when you show your wristband. Each day will cover a different area so remember to check the timetable.