Last week I received word that my entry for the Rum category of Diageo’s World Class competition has made it through to the regional finals for Scotland, which will be hosted at Amicus Apple in Edinburgh on the 10th of January.
This is pretty exciting stuff, as whoever wins the regional heat will join the other regional finalists on a trip to Mexico to visit the Don Julio distillery and (probably) drink a lot of Tequila. Responsibly, of course. The drink I have entered was inspired, in part, by the boys over at the French Culinary Institute in New York. Earlier this year they posted on a game-changing method of infusing flavour into liquids – specifically, booze, using nothing more than a Cream Whipper. Seriously.
When I first read about this, I had a hundred ideas jump into my head and do a little happy dance, but the one above all that I was burning to try was a big fat cigar. I played around with this and discovered that while I did extract a good amount of flavour, I got something far more exciting (for me, at least) as well. In addition to the taste of cigar in the vodka I was infusing, it left a seriously dry finish in the mouth that lingered and developed for minutes afterwards. It was just like having smoked a stogie. Moving on to World Class, the Rum category is for Ron Zacapa 23. I don’t know about you, but when I think of Ron Zacapa, I picture an after dinner digestif, taken while sat in a bloody great chesterfield leather sofa with a fat Montecristo. Given that you can’t smoke indoors anymore, I really wanted to create a drink that allowed you to have that experience. The drink is now up on the World Class website, and you can have a look at my creation here. Please feel free to ‘like’ it too.
The name, of course, is inspired by Zacapa being from a Solera with an average age of 23 years, and being aged at 2,300 above sea level in Guatemala. Probably a few other 23s in there as well… It’s a delicious rum and one that consistently gets most Rum connoisseurs all excited. Many declare that it should only be sipped neat, or that at most, it might benefit from a single cube of ice. I take such puritanical insistences with a pinch of salt, as a rule, but Zacapa is a fantastic rum and it is very difficult to improve on perfection – why would you drink a cocktail with Zacapa when the rum alone tastes so good? Well the answer to that is pretty simple – to add an element you otherwise couldn’t enjoy while sat in your chesterfield with friends. Something like a cigar.
Anyway, if you’re about on the 10th, you should come along to Amicus and watch Edinburgh’s finest duke it out – I’m pretty sure it’s going to be good.