What has always been a constant in the world of Rum has been meeting incredible people. There is something about the Rum crowd that just makes it feel like a great big family, #rumfam. Amongst all of those I have met along the way I thought I would spend the next few posts focusing on the awesome bartenders by sharing their answers to a few questions and also by making some of their favourite cocktails. They certainly have shown me the way when it comes to great cocktails and have also imparted a lot of knowledge!
Starting with Gergö Muráth
How long have you been bartending?
I’ve been bartending for nearly 6 years now, since my move to the UK. I used to be an English teacher and an EU project translator back in Hungary.
What made you decide you wanted to work behind a bar?
I explored which one of my hobbies would work best as a job here, since I knew teaching English was less needed in a country with English as its mother tongue, I quickly fell in love with making drinks and interacting with guests within a space of weeks.
Where do you find your inspiration for new cocktails?
I try to start off with a flavour pairing and build around it or think of something I like that is outside of drinks, such as a dish, piece of art or even a concept, and then create a drink that shares the flavour I imagine it to be.
What’s your go to ingredient?
I have a good few baby ingredients. Everybody who knows me will never be surprised to run into Creme de Peche, Apricot, Pimento dram, Orgeat, Amontillado Sherry or Smith & Cross in any of my drinks.
What’s your proudest accomplishment so far?
My proudest accomplishment has to be the fact that I have regulars who go from bar to bar (or rum festival to rum festival) to follow me, and have drinks by me.
Define the perfect cocktail?
The perfect cocktail is one that can’t be improved on in any way, and as such, I don’t believe it exists. But the three drinks closest to it are the Manhattan, the Martini and the Daiquiri, all being the absolutely perfect vehicle to deliver their respective spirits in the best possible way, while giving it the main role.
What is your go to drink on a night out?
Go to drink on a night out is either one of the above (and variations thereof), something tiki, some neat rum, or what I like to call a Normandy Boilermaker: Cidre Breton with a shot of Calvados.
What’s your favourite thing about working behind a bar?
Favourite thing has to be when I manage to provide a full hospitality experience: the drinks, atmosphere and chat all line up for an equally rewarding experience for both the guest(s) and myself.
What’s your least favourite thing about working behind a bar?
Least favourite is probably the constant tiredness and muscle/joint pain.
What is your favourite drink to make?
Current favourite to make and drink is
Joaquin Simo’s Flor de Jerez:
A huge thank you Gergö. I look forward to drinking with you again soon!
Since Christmas I have been spending time with the Aroma Academy ‘Rum’ Aroma Training kit. I was first introduced to this in 2016 when I attended the Rum University as part of Rumfest. Kim Lahiri delivered a session which was very informative and made a lot of sense.
The kit is aimed at both industry professionals and enthusiasts alike. It contains 24 aroma nosing samples selected by Dr George Dodd who is a leading specialist aroma scientist.
First inspection is that it is an attractive presentation box. Upon opening the box not only are there the 24 aroma samples but also blank nosing strips, recording sheets and an explanatory spiral bound booklet. The booklet is both a guide on how to use the kit but also contains information on how to nose and taste Rum as well as some examples of aroma profiles of Rum.
The 24 aromas are those which are commonly found in Rum ranging from vanilla, molasses, tropical fruits and caramel as well as others such as leather, tobacco and cask aged. The first time I attempted to identify the aromas I did it blind. I have to say it was an interesting experiment. Some are more obvious than others but of course this is all dependent on your own experience of the aromas. Point of reference is so important and this is why I was so happy to receive the kit to build up my own aroma reference library (something I have mentioned in a previous article how to taste Rum). I was able to identify 12 of the 24 which I thought was ok. Since then I have returned to the box and now more are familiar. Some remain tricky as they are quite subtle but I am sure that over time my knowledge of these will improve.
Overall I am really pleased with the kit. It is not cheap at £99.95 but I do recommend it, if like me, you want to expand your knowledge and develop both your aroma vocabulary and understanding of Rum.
The Aroma Academy also produce other kits such as Bourbon, Whisky or Wine as well offering training courses both face to face and E-learning. The website for more information can be found here at Aroma Academy.
As 2018 comes to an end I have been reflecting back on all of my Rum experiences this year and also which has been my favourite Rum.
The year started on a high visiting Barbados. Some of my favourite Rums are from Barbados so it seemed a logical decision to spend the New Year there.
We visited St Nicholas Abbey, Mount Gay and of course the Foursquare distillery.
An unforgettable moment was sitting with Richard, Gayle and Christian Seale whilst tasting amazing Rums. Even better was being given a bottle of Principia! It was also a day where my love for the exceptional cask 2005 was confirmed.
The month ended back home with lots of new Rums and a Real McCoy Twitter Tasting hosted by thefloatingrumshack. These are great events and worth looking out for. The Real McCoy 12 is a beauty!
February saw another Twitter tasting, this time Mount Gay.
March and we were in London for the Foursquare Exceptional Cask Release at Trailer Happiness Again, 2005 was a highlight!
(more about this here Exceptional Cask releases)
We also attended a Rumrunners tasting at Merchant House. This was really enjoyable as Sam is keen to promote the Rum category.
April and we were in Nottingham for a therumfestival event.
These are good value and Lucy who runs the events really wants to spread the Rum love.
A new one on me this year was the Cachaca Festival
I was fortunate to spend the day with thefatrumpirate and all I can say is you need more Cachaca in your life.
April also saw a detour as we attended the Cognac show.
A highlight however, was sharing a Rum with Paul McFadyen! We also took a trip to Trailer to enjoy a Foursquare 2005 Old Fashioned.
In May we attended an evening with The Rum ambassador himself, Ian Burrell. An informative and fun evening with someone who knows and loves his Rum!
We also spent an evening on board the Golden Hind with the Rumcask guys.
It was nice to be introduced to some new Rums as well as some more familiar ones.
June and we were in Manchester for Dave Marsland’s event.
Manchester Rum Festival gave us the opportunity to experience some new Rums and it was nice to see Leszek Wedzicha with some amazing Cachacas! Tickets for 2019 can be found here.
July meant Bristol and Cardiff Rumfestivals uk
We love these events run by Jon and Debbie Rees, in particular the secret Tiki room, and look forward to what 2019 brings!
August and we were in Altrincham to visit Dave Marsland in his newley opened bar,
Marigot Bay Bar and Cafe. Dave has over 100 Rums in this very relaxed bar and it is well worth a visit.
September and we were back on the Twitter Tastings, this time Rhum Clement. This year has seen my love for Agricole grow.
October meant London, the premier Rumfestival.
It is always great to see everybody as the Rum community migrates to one place for the weekend. Rare Rums was an unforgettable experience.
A new Rum called Bimber was introduced at Rumfest. As a London based distillery we decided to visit whilst we could. Read about the visit here.
November saw us enjoying Old Fashioned week. The year was also nicely punctuated with deliveries from Tiki cocktail box.
December meant Rumvent with 24 days of Rum.
It also meant another visit to Marigot Bay for a Taste of St Lucia
Dave is running monthly tastings so look out for the 2019 line up.
Finally, the year was rounded off with birthday drinks in London at Trailer Happiness and Laki Kane.
Looking back it has been a great year. My Rum of the year if you haven’t already guessed is the Foursquare 2005.
I seem to have lots of shots with 2005 in them!