Last Updated on September 4, 2021 by HodgePodgeDays
We were invited guests of the Manchester Rum Festival. All images and opinions are our own.
During the pandemic, most of the gin/beer/rum/whatever your favourite drink festivals had been put on the back burner for the duration. With things opening up a little more, life, and drinking is returning to something almost normal. When a shiny invitation fell into my inbox from the Manchester Rum Festival, it was impossible to say no.
On the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend, we hot-footed it to the 4-star Mercure Hotel in Piccadilly Gardens to enjoy an afternoon of rum and rum based fun.
I’ll hold my hand up and say that although I’ve enjoyed drinking rum for many years, it’s not something I know a great deal about. It tasted nice in coke and made excellent cocktails, but I’d never given that much thought to how it was made or really considered how different rums could be.
Rum from Jamaica and Venezuela; to Manchester and Lancashire were showcased at the festival. With brands such as Saint Benevolence, AB Gold, Bacardi, Ninefold and Montanya nestling alongside local rum brands Diablesse, Salford, Witch Kings, ARLU Rum and City of Manchester Distillery. There were also new brands including the Cuban rum, Black Tears, from the Island Rum Company and the world’s first dry spiced Cuban rum.
Tickets were £30, which included all samples; plus chats with the rum brands, a DJ and there was also a selection of rums will be able to purchase by the bottle to take home and enjoy.
When we arrived, the rum room was busy. People had dressed up for the festival, with flowery shirts being standard attire for gentlemen, mine included. Together we did a couple of circuits of the room, stopping to sip samples and chat to the brand representatives. We learned a lot about rum, almost without fail the reps were generous with their knowledge and their samples. Together we sipped rum which had been aged in bourbon casks; we tried some aged in sherry casks and even one with had spent some time in a port cask.
I was especially excited to see so many local brands represented at the festival. We loved the Salford rum, their dark spiced rum tasted like a really rich Christmas cake, which was excellent. We were enchanted by the Witch Kings, with their flavoured rums (watch out for their next flavour. Their new coffee rum is out of this world). We also enjoyed an impromptu tarot card reading.
I think my favourite rum from the festival was another local hero, ARLU rum. Their original flavour was so smooth, I’ve put a bottle of that on my Christmas list! My companion who favours a less sweet rum really enjoyed the English Harbour 5 year old rum from Antigua.
We both left the festival with a whole new respect, admiration; and dare I say it, love for rum which we’d not had before. The Rum Festival was really good fun. We learned a lot, tried a lot of rum and laughed a lot too. It’s a lovely thing to do with friends and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for tickets to the festival next year.
For more information, visit the Manchester Rum Festival website.