How to throw a Rum Tasting Party.
While Rum is a celebrated drink of the ages, what do you know about it? What better way to learn about and appreciate rum than to throw a party!? It’s a great reason to get together some of your closest friends and share your findings. Whether you’re a seasoned rum aficionado or a rum rookie, it’s a sure fire good way to spend the evening. Rum is usually considered a mixing spirit so this is a new way for most people to experience it.
Getting started. Here are a few basic steps to follow when tasting rums, plus with some tips to make things simple.
To start the tasting, make sure you have an assortment of different rums. You’ll want to start with the younger rum because they have a lighter taste, like Havana Club 3 Year Old, and work your way up to richer, older rums like Havana Club 7 Year Old. Before you dig in, have a few palate cleansers ready so that people can start fresh with each new rum. Good palate cleansers are crackers, bread or sorbet. It’s best to save strong flavoured party snacks for afterwards so the tastes don’t interfere with each other.
Also, a nice touch is to set each guest up with a small pad of paper and pen to record all their observations. After each rum, talk about your experience and write your thoughts down. Don’t be surprised if people have different observations on the same rum.
1. Choose the right glass to serve your rum in. Brandy snifter, wine glass or whisky glasses are all ideal.
2. Pour in about 1/4 oz. of the first rum you are sampling. .
3. Start with your eyes. Hold the glass up to the light and check for colour. Check for clarity. Aged rum is darker from the barrels they age in. The colour should hint at the taste. The lighter the colour the lighter the taste, and the younger the rum. The darker the colour, the heavier/richer the taste, and the older the rum.
4. Next, experience the aroma of the rum. Take an initial smell when the glass is still down on the table. Can you get a hint of the rum’s aromas from there? Then bring the glass in closer to your nose. Smell from all angles, and see if that impacts the aroma. Every now and then clear your nose. Take the glass away and breathe in some fresh air. Then smell the rum again to see if it’s changed.
5. Give it a gentle swirl and check the legs it leaves on the glass. Is it a thick rum or a thin rum? A light rum is generally lighter and will leave thin legs on the side of the glass. A dark rum is thicker and should leave heavier legs. Legs will help you understand how the rum should taste in your mouth.
6. Now Taste the rum! Take a small sip and swirl it in your mouth. Then take a fuller sip and see what flavours you can identify. Breathe in over the liquid in your mouth and see how that enhances the flavours.
7. Finally, assess the ‘finish’ after swallowing. Does the taste and spice of the rum last a long time, or does it dissipate quickly? The length of the finish often speaks to the complexity of the rum.
Now repeat the process with the remaining rums. Once you’ve tasted them all, review the entire flight and discuss what you liked and what you didn’t like. Did you have a favourite, and if so, why?