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The Rum & Crab Shack – St Ives, Cornwall

As some of you may know, RumCask spent some time in Cornwall recently and ended up in St Ives along the pier at the Rum & Crab Shack. A great location on the harbour and a unique selling point of having a wide selection of rum with their food – they were guaranteed a visit from me!

The Rum & Crab Shack was established in St Ives in 2012 by a team of four who were drinking rum and had a light-bulb moment to combined rum with their other favourite thing – crab.

The restaurant is set on the first floor, which is ideal to give the patrons a nice view. The house rum there is Dead Man’s Fingers which is a small batch spiced rum created by the shack itself. The menu is full of fresh seafood as expected, with a section dedicated to lobster and crab. They have a bar area where you can come in for a drink, or wait to be seated for food (no reservations here, first come, first served!).

As you may have seen on our Instagram, the first drink we tried was the house cocktail, ‘dead mans grip.’ It’s a mixture of lemon and lime juice, passion fruit syrup, Benedictine, peach bitters and egg whites along with the house rum. A delicious and incredibly moreish cocktail that seemed to drink itself!

The staff on the restaurant side were also warm and welcoming. Even though they seemed full, they managed to squeeze us in for a table for some dinner, which was hugely appreciated. It was definitely a busy night when we were told 3 of the dishes we wanted were sold out. We settled on the Whitebait and the Rum and Crab soup to start. This was followed by the Crab Claws and the Lobster Mac & Cheese. The standout dishes were the Whitebait and the Crab Claws. A top meal to accompany the rum.

The dessert is where they really excelled. Torn between the ‘Espresso Yourself’ cocktail and the Rum Cake, a tough decision was made, with the Rum Cake being the winner. Topped with cream cheese frosting and served with Cornish vanilla ice cream, the rum (dead man’s fingers) and vanilla soaked cake was sublime. A great way to round off the meal.

Another point worth mentioning is the price of the rum in the bar. This was extremely competitively priced, and much lower than I expected. If you would like to try a variety of rums without breaking the bank, then the bar here is worth the visit.

Overall, a very enjoyable visit to a very cool rum bar which as a bonus does really tasty food with amazing views. An all round winner in our book, make sure you go down and check it out!

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The Eden Project

During a small getaway to Cornwall, RumCask made it down to the Eden Project. It’s an amazing place which everybody should visit at least once; if you can pack it all in during one visit. They have two Biomes which are the main draw to the attraction. One contains a Mediterranean climate and the other a rainforest climate. The rainforest climate Biome is much larger and has diverse array vegetation throughout its different stages, not to mention the warm and muggy climate to go with it!

Once you moved along from the World’s Rainforests section, you enter the crops and cultivation part of the 50 meter tall Biome. In this section, I came across a Bay Rum Tree (Pimenta Racemosa). Obviously being drawn to it, I found it is native to Tropical America. The distillation of the leaves and stems produces an essential oil used in lotions and colognes and contains anti-bacterial properties. Although this oil is essentially rum, the concentrated oil is actually toxic and renders the products undrinkable. Much to our dismay!

Further on we stumbled across a bright colourful truck with the word sugar across it. We had reached the sugar cane! Along side the live crop, Eden had given quite a few signs with a lot of information on sugar and sugar cane. Worldwide it is grown more than wheat in around 26 million hectares in over 90 countries globally! In 2012, this attributed to a worldwide harvest of 1.83 billion tons. Although it was chewed in New Guinea 10,000 years ago, in the 14th century, European luxury consumed a teaspoon per head per year, a far cry from today’s consumption of around 30kg!

A relatively large section of Eden was dedicated to Sugar cane crop, showing just how imperative the crop is not only to the rum world, but the world in general!

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Review 8: Revolver Rum

Revolver Rum is a relatively new brand produced by Rathlee Distilling Company (established in 2012) who are based in Cornwall, UK. Two rum lovers have come together to produce this rum, one is from Cornwall and the other from Bogota, Colombia. I would recommend a visit to their website here for some information on the brand, company and limited number of stockists which have this rum for sale.

The name Revolver is based on the Spanish verb meaning ‘to stir’ which has two main connotations. The first is that Revolver is all about mixing together and enjoying great cocktails. It also represents the mixing of the two cultures of Colombia and Cornwall, in two different countries but with one passion.

The recipe of Revolver was perfected in a pot still in the UK by the owners of Rathlee using a variety of different raw materials including a type of sugar, called panela, from Colombia. They went through a number of different recipes before deciding on the formula that has been used. This was then handed to some expert rum producers in Central America.Although being tested and created in a copper pot still, Revolver is distilled in a triple column still for its wider production. This method helps to separate the stages of distillation thereby making them more efficient. More information can be found on my earlier article on distillation which can be found here.

Revolver is aged for up to 18 months at source before being moved to the UK and is stored in white oak barrels and left to mature for another six months (possibly more). They also add some pure Cornish water to the rum to help bring down the ABV to 40% and add the touch of Cornwall to the spirit. The aging here in the climate of the UK will bring a different and unique flavour to the young rum as opposed to the warm and humid climate found in Central America.

The kind team at Rathlee Distilling sent me a bottle to review. The design of the bottle is similar to the Don Papa and Pussers 15 year style which is a heavy glass bottom with rounded shoulders and a long neck. There is a wooden cork top to the bottle which suits its design well. The label front displays the brand name and the term ‘Cask Aged Golden Rum’ alongside a few smaller details. The back label has a nice blurb which also has a few words highlighted within. These words together make up the phrase ‘Evolve beyond expectation with Revolver Rum.’

The rum is a very light yellow/golden colour. This indicates there has been no caramel added which is usually used to create the illusion of an older rum and adds a level of sweetness. On my first sniff I don’t get as much ethanol as I would have expected for a rum of this age. It is there without a doubt, but some of the other notes including oak help to tame it. I also smell a few spice notes of mainly clove and hints of cinnamon. The rum finally smells grassy and fresh which is consistent with a rum that is as young as this.

On my first sip I am met with a soft entry and then a rush of spices. These leave a small tingle on the lips. The spicy notes from the nose are evident with the addition of pepper. Following this initial spice, the oak from the barrels comes through. The rum seems very light and glides over the tongue without too much remaining in the mouth to the finish. The ethanol taste is present as expected from the nose and the age of this rum, but it isn’t overpowering.

The finish is strong and peppery with a medium burn but this burn fades fairly quickly. Having sat for a few minutes I can now taste a touch of vanilla in the rum, but the rest of the notes become a tad more prominent alongside.

Having tried Revolver neat, I decided to see how it would fair in the cocktail world seeing as this is the market which Revolver has targeted. This is especially evident with not only the name of Revolver but also how they have teamed up with The Cocktail Trading Company to create three new cocktails which they feel complement the flavours of the rum; a list of which can be found here. From their recommendations I managed to try to create the Brewbalee.

The Brewbalee is made with ginger beer and an equal amount of Revolver rum and red wine. I’ll be honest here, it proved harder than expected to get the red wine to ‘float.’ I gave up after 3 attempts. I think the red wine I chose may have been too full bodied and heavy for the cocktail. As a result my findings may not be as accurate as if the cocktail was made by an expert. I found the transition of smooth red wine to a bubbly ginger beer didn’t work for me. It contrasted too much. The burn from the Revolver that I found when tasting neat however has definitely gone in this cocktail and the finish is very much the ginger beer with a touch of the rum which is quite nice. I do feel the red wine overpowers this cocktail at the start and the rum is hard to place at all except for a touch at the finish. Overall it’s a decent cocktail but not one for my taste.

I also tried Revolver with lemonade. This is one of my staples I enjoy when mixing a rum as a nice alternative to coke. Here I find Revolver shines through. The lemonade brings forth a more fruity side to Revolver but doesn’t dull down its spicy notes. Instead it tempers the oak flavour slightly and adds a citrus side which seems to complement the rum very well. A lovely change to some of the more common mixing spirits which have a lot of sugar and caramel added and can become sweet.

Overall I would recommend trying this rum neat before mixing it. At around £25-£30 a bottle it is priced as a high end mixing rum. If you don’t like the sweeter side of rum and much prefer the more oak, spicy and summery/fresh side of rum then go and grab yourself a bottle. I look forward to experimenting in more cocktails (Mulata will be next) with Revolver in the future and definitely look forward to future releases from the Rathlee Distillers.