On Friday, 3 July invited guests flocked to Seven Prime Cuts and Sunsets in the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, for the launch of Ron Zacapa rum in the Cayman Islands.
Jacques Scott hosted the evening and will be the exclusive distributor for the rum in Cayman, which will be available in Jacques Scott liquor stores and distributed to restaurants and bars throughout the island.
‘It is premium rum and we are a premium destination full of rum-loving people,’ said Barnaby Richardson, marketing manager for Jacques Scott, on why the company decided to introduce Ron Zacapa rum to the islands. ‘People in Cayman respect and understand good rum when they taste it.’
Guests were welcomed with a glass of fruit punch, recommended prior to tastings because the acidity of the fruit cleanses the palate for the rum.
Once inside, smoke machines filled the room with dry ice, creating an atmosphere similar to that found in the company’s aging facilities, which are located 2,300 metres above sea level below the upper slopes of the mountains and volcanoes of Guatemala.
Mr. Richardson welcomed Rebecca Quinonez, brand ambassador for Ron Zacapa, and she led the guests through the tasting while providing information about the brand and how its three rums are made.
The Ron Zacapa 15, a premium rum, was the first rum to taste. This rum has been aged between six and 15 years. Zacapa 23, the second rum, is a premium rum that has been aged anywhere from six to 23 years and Zacapa XO is a super premium rum that has been aged up to 26 years.
Zacapa XO was generally agreed by most to be the smoothest rum, relatively easy to sip. Zacapa 15 is best in cocktails, and some mojitos were served using the rum which showcased its ability to blend.
Ron Zacapa rum was created in 1976. Virgin sugar cane juice is used to make the rum, rather than molasses, which is how most other rums are produced. The blending is done using the solera method, which is traditionally used for producing sherry.
The solera method involves aging liquids through fractional blending, so the resulting product will be a mix of ages – hence the ranges given for the various rums in Ron Zacapa’s line.
The first rum to be entered into the International Rum Festival’s Hall of Fame, the award-winning Ron Zacapa rum has a 98 point rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute.
After the rum tasting, Seven Prime Cuts and Sunset’s chef Anthony LePape introduced his five-course tasting menu.
A wide variety of tastes and textures was included in the menu, from the tomato and basil consommé with XO Zacapa rum watermelon brunoise appetiser to the Zacapa 25 rum-poached and roasted pineapple spiced coconut rum cake, which was served with a coconut ice cream in rum-infused vanilla mango sauce.
Served with each course was a complementary beverage, from white wines including a 2006 La Poussie from France to a Moet & Chandon rosé to a deep Amarone red with the main course, which was braised short ribs and halibut cheeks in a mango virgin dressing with red bliss mashed potatoes.
A glass of Zacapa rum XO was served with the dessert.
‘I found using Ron Zacapa for my choice of dishes an excellent enhancement, especially for the heirloom tomato consommé with infused watermelon and Ron Zacapa XO,’ said Mr. LePape. ‘It was a great, refreshing combination.
‘I thought the menu worked perfectly by starting with a rum dish as an aperitif and finishing as a digestif with the dessert.’
An extra treat for diners was a hand-woven napkin ring which resembled the ‘petate’ which is included in a band around each bottle of Ron Zacapa rum. A petate is a piece of hand-woven matting made from palm leaves that dates back to Mayan times. Each petate on each bottle is handmade and unique.
Mr. Richardson was delighted with the way the launch went.
‘With the blend of the Ritz-Carlton food, the Cayman Islands setting and finishing the evening off with one of the greatest rums ever produced, the launch in Cayman of Zacapa rum was an unforgettable experience for all,’ he said.
‘The first rum to be entered into the International Rum Festival’s Hall of Fame, the award-winning Ron Zacapa rum has a 98 point rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute.’