Craft rum hits a high | Chennai News


A head of World Rum Punch Day on September 20, Mel Whisks, a snuggly gastro bar in Puducherry’s White Town, threw open an unseen barrel in its rum spectrum last week, piquing the interest of its largely under-40 regulars and weekend visitors. The occasion was a bar takeover by Maka Zai, a less-than-a-year-old craft rum brand from Goa.
“There’s usually a couple of cocktails you think of when you think rum – a mojito or a pina colada,” says Abhirup Bhattacharya, seasoned bartender and brand ambassador of Maka Zai. “I made Arribada Highball — mixed with Maka Zai’s medium-bodied white rum (derived from sugarcane grown by the Panchaganga river in Maharashtra), blended with fresh lime, ginger ale and ginger; and Beyond the Horizon – white rum with fresh pineapple juice, fresh lime, raw turmeric, ginger, honey and soda. ”
The distinct local-ness of the flavours and the spirit itself is at the heart of a rum renaissance that India is witnessing, with the emergence of young entrepreneurs who are engaging in vibrant advocacy with bars, bartenders and clients. Their goal is to strip down a drink coloured with stereotypes — from being the dark colonial spirit to one you need to ‘go slow with’ or kept aside for cold months — and reinvent it as a versatile, artisanal spirit celebratory of all seasons.
The last decade has seen a soar in homegrown rums, among them the Amrut Two Indies (a delicate rum with see-saw notes of sugarcane and tropical fruits) from Bengaluru-based Amrut Distilleries, best known for its single malt. This blend of premium, natural rum from the West Indies with Indian jaggery-derived rum, won a gold medal at the New York International Spirits Competition and double gold at San Francisco WorldSpirits Competition this year.
Also, in just two years since the pandemic, two craft rums — Segredo Aldeia (in white and café rum variants) and Maka Zai (in white and gold rum variants), by Goabased Fullarton Distilleries and Stilldistilling Spirits — were launched.
“The current craft spirits market for gin is already crowded and whiskey needs deep pockets to compete against entrenched players. Rum, as a beverage itself, has an edge,” says Vikram Achanta, founder and CEO of Delhi-based Tulleeho, a drinks’ training and consulting firm and co-founder of 30 Best Bars India. “I recently interacted with the manufacturer of a craft vermouth from Italy, who mentioned that almost 40% of their flavouring comes from South India. As Indians, we have discovered local botanicals with crafted spirits like gin. Rum’s compatibility with fruit and spice flavours are an advantage to the Indian market, with the bounty of local ingredients available here,” he says.
In less than a year, Maka Zai has found a market in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Puducherry, and its founder Kasturi Banerjee says this growth is indicative of the demand for craft rum in India.
“India is a leading producer of sugarcane, and keeping it fresh is a natural choice for us. The audience today no more drinks to get drunk; they want to know the quality of the label, what’s gone into the bottle and how the colours have been derived,” says Kasturi. “We are a fully homegrown brand — our bottles come from the north of India, our sugarcane molasses come from Kolhapur, and we add absolutely nothing to our rum. It’s cane to bottle — literally — and that’s why we follow the mantra, ‘drink well’ – that is, drink what is seasonal, pure and locally available. ”





Source link

Leave a Comment