1…2…3…4…5 glasses of rum down and it’s only Monday! I assure you my weeks don’t usually start this way, but it’s good to break up your schedule every now and again right!?
The Riverside at Vauxhall is somewhere that I had not had the pleasure of visiting before, but as it turns out, early on an October evening was the perfect time to wander down the riverbank as the sun set over the Thames.
My reason for heading to Vauxhall on this beautiful Monday evening was for a night of rum tasting and Caribbean food at Cottons Rum Shack with the Love Pop-Ups London community! The restaurant is the newest addition to the Cottons’ family, with their first Rum Shack opening in Camden in 1985!
The restaurant has an impressive selection of over 250 rums to choose from, and a rum cocktail list to match. Rum has long been my spirit of choice, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never branched out further than a Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum and Coke (classy, ey!?).
As we took out seats at the bar we were handed several empty glasses ready for our masterclass to begin. One-by-one a selection of different rums were taken from the shelves and poured into each of our glasses, with a lesson about the origin and age of the spirit. Not only was the barman extremely knowledgeable about everything rum related, but he was also very friendly and happy answer our many questions.
Did you know that the darker a rum is, the longer it has been aged, however, ‘dark rum’ gets its colour from added caramel? Due to the labour-intensive ageing process, the older the rum, the more expensive it tends to be.
We started our rum tasting World tour with a glass of Plantation 5, a 5-year-old rum made in the Caribbean then aged for a further 2 Years in the Cognac region of France. Next, we moved onto Angostura 1919, aged for 8 years in Trinidad and Tobago. This one was very light and smooth with a vanilla/woody taste – one of my personal favourites. After this, we moved onto Venezuelan rum, Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, which is matured in whiskey barrels for 12 years. Being slightly sharper than the previous 2, we were given a delicious chunk of dark chocolate to take the edge off, and oh my… what a pairing! Finally, we moved on to El Darado Guyana 15 year and the rather luxurious Plantation 20th-anniversary rum from Barbados. You could definitely taste the quality of these special reserve rums.
A few too many rums later we were shown to our table and brought a selection of delicious Caribbean and Creole dishes, including jerk chicken wings, melt in your mouth bbq pork ribs, king prawns and sweet potato patties. Plus, to make sure the food didn’t sober us up too much, we enjoyed a selection of rum cocktails with our meal!
Find out more about Cottons and book a rum masterclass or dinner (or both) here. Cottons Rumshack has locations in Camden, Notting Hill, Shoreditch and now Vauxhall.