Rum tasting at The Plough, Harborne

It may be due to the brief spell of sunshine the U.K. is currently snatching (last week we were hotter than Spain, don’t you know?! In your face, Costa del Sol. We don’t need you anymore. Welcome to Costa del Brum), but rum is definitely having a moment. 

In the past month alone I’ve been to two rum festivals and drunk more rum cocktails than I can count (especially after a few rum cocktails). 
But probably the most interesting rum-based activity I’ve undertaken recently is a rum tasting evening at The Plough. Along with most of Birmingham I love the Plough but until now, I’ve never made it to one of their spirit master classes – run by Spit Wine School – so I was pretty excited to get all education-y and learn more about rum than that (as the great MJ once said) it don’t matter if it’s black or white. That song was definitely about rum, right…?

Our guide on this voyage of rum discovery was Tom Bartram, who has spent over 10 years working in the drinks industry and was clearly incredibly passionate about the spirit. Over the course of the evening he guided us through a tasting of seven different rums, whilst also giving us the low-down on the history and distilling process of pirate water (note: this is definitely not the technical term). To prove I was listening and not just getting pissed, let me hit you with a fact: the origin of the word rum isn’t entirely clear but many think it was first used around 1650, and derived from ‘rumbustion’, a slang word for ‘uproar’. Judging by my behaviour after a few too many rums, I’m happy to go with this explanation. 

As I might have already mentioned, I’ve drunk a lot of rum recently, but it’s one of the spirits I probably know least about. We tried a range of rums such as the Cuvée de L’Ocean, an “Agricultural rhum” with an almost tequila-ish vibe, a darker rum with a hint of whisky to it’s character, and (my favourite by far) the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva which had a creamy, banoffee flavour. Throughout the tasting I was amazed at the variety there was within the spirit; it’s something you just don’t appreciate when your only experience of rum is the standard brands.

The spirit masterclass was a brilliant insight into the world of rum and I left feeling a lot more knowledgable (as well as pretty tipsy – maybe not recommended if you have a big day at work coming up). Who says you can’t drink and learn at the same time? The evening costs only £17 and (let me hit you with another fact here) as rum was worth more than it’s weight in gold at one point, I reckon that makes it an absolute steal. Cheers!

Thank you to The Plough for having me. Details of all Spit Wine School classes can be found here.

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