Introducing: Georgi Radev, Drinks Distilled Rum Guide
Meet Georgi Radev, one of Drinks Distilled rum guides.
Georgi has been specialising in rum and rum cocktails for the last 20 years.
He has travelled around the world to judge in rum competitions and to learn and teach people about rum, tiki, cocktails, and all things tropical.
His passion for rum started in 2003 when he started working at La Floridita rum bar in Soho, one of the best bars in the UK at the time. After that he was Global Creative Bar Manager for the world-famous Mahiki.
In 2018 he co-founded Laki Kane Tropical Escape Bar and Restaurant which has gone on to win Best Rum Menu in the UK twice, been voted in the Top 10 Bars in Europe and many more awards. They love rum so much that they have their own micro distillery where guests can learn about rum and even distill their own.
Georgi is also the author of the cocktail book ‘Let’s Get Tropical’ and founder of the Spirit of Tiki festival.
Tell Us About Your Selections
This delicious liquid carries in its flavours the soul of Cuba! The history, culture, unique terroir, and centuries of experience of the maestro roneros (master rum distillers). The notes of cacao, vanilla and honey mixed with tropical fruit and spice make it very easy for newcomers to Cuban rum, but also sophisticated enough for seasoned rum lovers to enjoy it. With its minimum of 8 years ageing, this rum can be consumed neat, on the rocks or in cocktails.
This is a sugar cane juice rum with a fresh grassy aroma, the taste of sweet sugar cane and a touch of citrus which develops into a drier herbal taste. Unlike most rhum agricoles, Clément Blanc Rhum Agricole has a lower ABV of 40% alcohol and yet when you open the bottle, it feels like you are in the middle of a sugarcane field - like the Caribbean winds are bringing you fresh grassy aromas, sweet sugar cane and fruity and dry herbaceous notes. This makes it the perfect choice if you are just starting to explore the world of rhum agricole.
What Are the Most Common Misconceptions People Have of Rhum Agricole?
Most of the rum produced in the world is made from molasses and people often don’t understand the difference between rum made from molasses or sugar cane juice. Rhum agricole is made directly from sugar cane juice and retains much more of the original flavours of the cane. The fruity, grassy, citrusy, and earthy notes of the cane remain in the rum. Often it is bottled at much more than the standard 40% ABV of alcohol, which makes it a bit more robust and flavourful than rums made from molasses.
Those who are used to refined white spirits sometimes assume that lighter aged spirits will be harsh. This can’t be further away from the truth. Rhum agricole is of very high quality as producers follow very strict rules, just like cognac or scotch do. The rum is refined, but is flavourful, because it originates directly from the sugar cane.
What Are Your Top Tips for Picking Rum?
When you pick up a bottle of rum you need to do your research on the brand. Figure out which distiller it is made in and if it has a blend of rums from different distilleries, research them and the company, that represents the rum brand. If you see a number on the bottle, make sure, that it is written ‘years old’ rum after. Very often brands add numbers for marketing purpose, rather than referring to it as the minimum age statement in the blend.
It’s good to know the truth about what rum are you buying before you do. In the end the most important thing is for you to like the taste. The only way to understand rum is by tasting and researching.
What’s Your Top Home Bartending Tip?
Follow the recipe of rum punch and get creative with its ingredients. In translation punch means five - aka the 5 ingredients that go into the cocktail. In most of the Caribbean islands this is simplified into counting to five:
- part sour: the citrus
- parts sweet: syrup or liqueur
- parts strong: the rum
- parts weak: the juice/mixers or the addition of crushed ice
- parts spice to make it nice (you can use any spices but the most common is nutmeg, or you can use different varieties of bitters instead)
The punch recipe was created in the beginning of the 17th century when there were not many ways to add flavour to the drinks apart from using spice to spice it up. Today we are spoiled for choice with different ingredients and don’t even have to use spice, but it always helps. Just be creative!