Great Escapes: Rum lover Ian Burrell’s favorite cocktails

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Ian Burrell, co-creator of Equiano Rum.

Courtesy of Ian Burrell

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The history of rum is dark and tumultuous: The spirit and cultivation of sugar cane for molasses served as direct cogs in the transatlantic slave trade. Rather than hide from this fact, the creators of Equiano Rum want to shed a unique light on it, while shaping a new story for the future.

“The entire western world was built on the colonization and exploitation of regions such as Africa and the Caribbean,” says Ian Burrell, co-creator of Equiano and longtime rum ambassador and educator. “And it is no coincidence that sugar cane, necessary for making rum in the days of the transatlantic slave industry, was one of the main sources of wealth for many industries and families who still benefit today of this heritage.”

This is why the brand’s rum is named after Olaudah Equiano, born in Nigeria in 1745, sold as a slave and taken to the Caribbean. He eventually bought his freedom – with the savings from selling rum – and traveled to London, where he worked as an abolitionist and entrepreneur. He further became one of the first African writers to be published in the UK, writing powerful works on slavery.

“The creation of this rum was an opportunity to tell a true story linked not only to the history of rum, but also to that of a historical African figure, whose story had not been sufficiently shared on the international circuit,” Burrell said. “So for me as an Afro-Caribbean living in the UK and as an ambassador for rum, Equiano Rum was and is an ideal way to showcase some of the great man’s beliefs and educate a discerning public. .”

It’s a story more important than ever, not only for a country and a world fighting for social justice, but especially for the global spirits industry, which is notorious for its lack of diversity. “What needs to happen is real change for the future, not just ‘performative awakening’ or ‘corporate talk,'” Burrell says. “If the spirits industry is sincere about real change, then the allies of marginalized people need to be more vocal to help create work environments where equality is the norm.”

A portion of the proceeds from the rum goes to the Equiano Foundation, funding freedom and equality projects to help achieve these goals.

The rum itself, which contains no additives, is a blend of spirits from the Gray’s distillery in Mauritius, as well as the Foursquare distillery in Barbados, whose master distiller Richard Seale is the other co-creator of the brand. . “Pure rums are known for their subtle complexities of taste, flavor and aroma, especially when aged in tropical climates such as Mauritius and Barbados,” says Burrell, adding that rum from Mauritius provides notes of black fruit, vanilla and citrus. bark, as well as spices from the use of French oak barrels, while Barbadian rum offers flavors such as butterscotch, toffee, oak and peach.

Burrell spoke with penta on his favorite ways to get away from it all through uplifting rum cocktails.

The Daiquiri. “This classic is the king of rum cocktails that is based on the trinity of Caribbean drinks. Rum, lime, sugar. Simple! I prefer mine shaken with ice and served straight.

The rum punch. “If you can’t travel to the tropics, bring the tropics to you…in a glass!” Everyone in the Caribbean has their own recipe. Try one sour (citrus), two sweet (simple syrup or sweetener), three strong (rum), four weak (water and ice dilution), and five spicy (freshly grated nutmeg) to make it enjoyable.

The pinacolada. “One of the most exotic drinks ever created. Drained pineapple, coconut, rum and cream or optional milk. Shaken or mixed with ice. A guilty pleasure. I use Coco Re’al coconut puree cream, for my part it is the best in the world.

The dark and stormy. “Rum, ginger beer and fresh lime juice. Originally created in Bermuda with a local dark rum, but any rum will work if you like a tall, refreshing cold rum drink with sugar and spice and a balance of citrus. I love mine with an old Jamaican ginger beer.

The Mojito. “This great Collins Rum is more popular than ever, and when made properly can be one of the most delicious drinks in the world. A lightly aged rum with fresh mint is key, as the aroma represents 80% the taste of a drink I like to use a light and sweet demerara sugar in my mojitos, as well as a light sparkling wine instead of the usual sparkling water.

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