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Aged Rum and 3 Dishes To Pair With It at Calabash Bistro

Whether you're looking for something refreshing on a sunny day, or something to sip while you warm up inside, now that it's getting cold and grey, rum has got you covered.


Whether you're looking for something refreshing on a sunny day, or something to sip while you warm up inside, now that it's getting cold and grey, rum has got you covered. Recently we went to the Calabash Bistro, (which has an extensive and exotic rum list), to ask owner, Sam Willcocks, and bartender, Alex Dickinson, to pair some food and rum-based drinks together and about the different kinds of rum, and why aged rums (like the Havana Club Year 3 Old White Rum pictured above) stand out.

Words & Photos by: Christine McAvoy


VIA: What makes a good rum?

Alex: "The overall feeling that you get from it I think. Rum to me, generally, brings warm feelings, and reflects where it comes from."

Sam: "It's pretty complex as well."

VIA: Why are aged rums better?

A: "With aged rums, the complexity of the flavours really changes. Depending on how they are aged and where they came from, you get a real variety. In short, they are more complex and have a greater flavour profile."

S: "Rum, unlike a lot of other spirits, is one that you'll have a whole spectrum within itself. All sorts of different flavours in one type of spirit."


VIA: What do you look for in a rum when someone asks for a recommendation?

A: "We have rum flights with tastings notes that range rom introductory to complex. My favourite is the "Classics", which are all aged rums. It takes you through the different countries that produce rum, and their different styles, as well as all types of processing. For example, using molasses vs cane sugar."

S: "We also have a "Reserved Rum List". Rums you can't get anywhere else, sourced from all around the world!"


We asked Calabash to pair three of their dishes with three drinks containing aged rum, including Havana Club 3 Year Old White Rum, and this is what they cooked up for us!:


Pairing #1: Hemingway Mojito with Ackee & Saltfish

The ackee and saltfish is sautéed with bell peppers, red onion, tomato, herbs and spices. It's served with rice & peas, and mixed greens.

The Hemingway Mojito is a classic mojito with a twist - it uses champagne instead of soda, along with mint, lime, and white rum.

S: "Ackee & Saltfish is a traditional Jamaican breakfast, and the Hemmingway Mojito is a play on a mimosa. The fish is light and the drink is refreshing, and won't overpower the fish."

{Calabash now serves Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10-3, so you can try this duo out together!]


Pairing #2: House Daiquiri and Doubles

Doubles are traditional Trini fried bread, stuffed with curried chickpeas, and served with a tamarind sauce (in this case, mango).

The House Daiquiri has Havana Club 3 with fresh lime and ruby grapefruit juices shaken with honey mango sugar syrup

S: "This pairing has the Caribbean curry & citrus aspect to it. The daiquiri has pink grapefruit juice, and is great to start, or as a palate cleanser. The Doubles are more of an appetizer and have a bit of spice to them, and the daiquiri quenches and balances it out."


Pairing #3: "Maple Ginger Melt" and Patties

Two fresh, house-made patties - you can choose between beef, free-range chicken, or vegetable, and are served with your choice of sauce.

The Maple Ginger Melt was a special creation just for this blog post (and you can get it for a limited time at Calabash!) pairs the aged rum with ginger and star anise and is great for sipping on a cold day. 

S: "Depth factoring was taken into account, as this drink is stronger, but doesn't taste super strong. It's more of a winter drink, and Patties are soul food, full of flavour and are accompanied by mango sauce and jerk aioli. The spice in the patties and sweetness in the drink make it a great bar snack. Very Calabash. Come down, sit at the bar, have a snack and a drink and people watch."


Thanks to Calabash Bistro for helping us out and giving us more insight into the world of aged rums, and hopefully you've been inspired to explore the spirit and the great range that it offers.