Pete Ste­wart and Andy Gem­mell

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Food + Drink - Pete Ste­wart is Glas­gow di­rec­tor of In­ver­ar­ity One to One, 185a Bath Street. www.in­ver­ar­i­ty­mor­ton.com

I’m quite par­tial to a wee glass of rum with my Christ­mas pud­ding, as the rich­ness of the spirit sits well with the rich­ness of the dish. Also, rum is a great di­ges­tif at the end of a big fam­ily meal fea­tur­ing turkey with all the trim­mings, beef wellington or a five-bird roast. And it makes me feel like a pi­rate.

Rum is one of my favourite spir­its (gin, whisky and tequila all vie for the top spot), and there are few things quite as sat­is­fy­ing as a large glass over ice in front of a roar­ing fire, es­pe­cially if the weather out­side is fright­ful.

Rum is made all over the world, but its spir­i­tual home is the Caribbean. I would go fur­ther and say that Bar­ba­dos is the true home of this ex­cep­tional spirit. This amaz­ing is­land has rum shops which are es­sen­tially grocery stores, domino par­lours and rum bars rolled into one. Rum has been called “kill-devil”, “Nel­son’s blood” and even “a hot, hellish and ter­ri­ble liqueur”, but my favourite name for it is “Bar­ba­dos wa­ter”.

In the heat and hu­mid­ity of the Caribbean, you can ex­pect roughly 8% evap­o­ra­tion per an­num from the bar­rels (the an­gels’ share) com­pared to about 2% in Scot­land. This re­sults in more rapid age­ing of the spirit, so a seven-year-old rum could be equiv­a­lent in per­ceived age to a 15 or 16-year-old malt that has been aged in the slightly less “Caribbean” cli­mate of Scot­land.

There is, of course, a ma­jor link be­tween rum and the navy. Back in 1731, each sailor was given half a pint of rum as their daily ra­tion.

Plan­ta­tion Three Star Rum 41.2% ABV (In­ver­ar­ity One to One, £24.99). This flavour­some white rum has enough char­ac­ter to stand on its own, but is lovely with a splash of coke and a twist of lime.

Doorly’s XO Fine Old Rum 40% ABV (In­ver­ar­ity One to One, £33.99). Doorly’s XO is aged for a min­i­mum of six years in Bar­ba­dos and is fin­ished in oloroso sherry casks for ex­tra rich­ness. The qual­ity of the spirit comes from this ex­tra age­ing in good qual­ity casks. It is mel­low, sup­ple and de­li­cious.

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