Celebrating National Rum Day with LSA (and some Cuban Memories)
It’s well and truly the British Summer time (even though the weather didn’t seem to get the memo) and whether you’re holidaying at home or abroad I hope you’re enjoying yourselves and having some much needed downtime that we all need it from time to time. The school holidays has rendered London an empty expanse as people have chosen stranger shores and new cultures. Yes there’s tourists but as a Londoner the difference to life palpable. We truly enjoyed the gorgeous weather the other weekend listening to live music in a field at Neverland (the epitome of summertime in my eyes!) and when Mr Sun actually shows it’s face, it’s warmth on my skin brings nostalgic memories of previous adventures…
I’m a true sun worshipper and hate nothing more than being cold. So when the scorching sun beats down on my skin it reminds me of far-flung places where the sun shines on a daily basis. I’m trying to capture a little of this in this blog - a little different from my usual content but hopefully just as entertaining, maybe even more so! Indulge me in a little reminiscing of when I honeymooned in Cuba ten years ago. Apart from a glass of rich, heavy European red wine with dinner, my drink of choice has always been a nice dark rum. From my younger years when I spent a summer in Guatemala to when we honeymooned in Havana and other spots across the Cuban island, rum for me manifests the taste and vibrancy of these Latino cultures. There are so many tales to tell (but we can get into them more later in the recipes) but one that remains my fondest was when we explored a random town on the island and ended up being invited to a street party…
When the opportunity came to collaborate with LSA International to celebrate Rum Day on 16th August, it was a very easy yes! LSA, a well established brand in bar and tableware and other home decoration are constantly refreshing their collections with new designs that are always contemporary, simply stylish as well as adding a little wow to your home. Their products are always high quality and their complex artisan techniques create distinctive products. Previously I’ve used a few vases and tea-light holders so can vouch for their great quality and think they’re a perfect choice for a contemporary twist on a classic wedding present that will be used and used for years to come. For this collaboration, you are going to see how I used the RUM Mixer set to create my favourite and nostalgic rum cocktails. You can browse their other cocktail drink glass selection here.
Before I get into my top 3 Rum Recipes I’d like to set the scene for you.
Imagine a light breeze lightly brushing over the Malecon allowing the warm sea air float past your face and bringing with it sounds from the golden age of Cuban music arriving at your ears (the Buena Vista Social Club were brought out of retirement to record this album andwhen I listen to this on vinyl it literally takes me to the dusty streets of Havana). As classic Spanish melodies and Caribbean drum beats fill your ear, you also smell a slight waft of perfumed cigar that tickles your nose. As the golden light begins to fade behind the colonial architecture, it reveals the sunkissed pastels of the buildings in the old town (less saturated in hue than you’d imagine) and your weary limbs are looking to perch somewhere and a fresh Mojito is the only thing that will quench your thirst…
As well as enjoying reliving that moment, I’m excited to share my 3 favourite Rum recipes to help you celebrate the summer with a little Latino style.
1. Cuba Libre
Translated as ‘Free Cuba!’ apparently this refers to the battle cry for independence from Spain in the 19th century but became a popular drink when America took over and introduced Coca Cola in the 1900s. It’s quite a heavy drink and although some would argue that it should have white rum, I prefer the taste of dark or spiced Rum. And it always needs a twist of lime! This drink takes me back to summer surf camp along the pacific when I stayed in Guatemala (when I ashamedly drunk way more Rum than I should) or dancing the night away with friends in Quetzaltenango.
You’ll need: a lime, 2 ounces dark or anejo rum, Coca-Cola (traditional colas also work well but avoid pepsi)
First, squeeze a lime into a Rum Mixer Glass. Then throw half the spent lime shell into the glass and muddle the oils into the lime juice. Add ice and rum. Top with cola and stir a little.
2. Frozen Daiquiri
This one makes me giggle as this is actually my husband’s favourite drink and he’d ask around every bar in Cuba to get one of these to be often heckled by the locals! Yes, it’s essentially a grown-up slushie and tastes amazingly refreshing. I vividly remember sitting in Hemingway’s bar in Havana, John is seventh heaven at the taste of the refreshing, icy cold rum. There are loads of different flavours but the original or strawberry are the most common. You’ll need a blender for the crushed ice and a little bit of patience for this one.
You’ll need: 2 oz. light rum, a tone of ice cubes, fine sugar or sugar syrup, some patience
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend at low speed for 10 seconds, then medium to high until smooth. Pour into Rum Mixer Glasses and serve immediately (decorate with a sprinkle of edible petals and/or twist of lime)
3. Classic Mojito
How could I not mention the Mojito?! The iconic Cuban taste of the mint and rum, mmmmm. Although we tasted a ridiculously amount of these in a short 2 week stay on the Carribran island, surprisingly they were often quite weak and watered down way too much with soda water. Some of the best we have tasted have been in cocktail bars in London. I’m sure a lot of it boils down to the quality of the rum to be hones but always use white or golden rum rum for this one.
You’ll need: 2 oz white rum, a lime (juice freshly squeezed), 1 tsp. superfine sugar, handful of mint leaves, club soda
In a Rum Mixer Glass, muddle the lime juice with the sugar. Add the mint leaves, mushing them against the side of the glass. Fill glass 2/3 with cracked ice and pour in the rum. Pitch in the squeezed-out lime shell and top off with club soda.
Well did that whet your appetite for an ice cold drink? Which one do you fancy trying this weekend? Note that this is the closest I will EVER get to blogging about food as although I’m a multi-creative person, cooking is NOT my forte! However I was excited to share this blog as it reveals that our interiors are so much more than just how something looks. It’s about how spaces feels and what we chose to do in them that really makes it home. After making these drinks and doing the photo shoot in my own home, I invited friends over and we shared stories and laughed and cried together, sharing life and drinking these cocktails. These are the best times and a reminder that our perfect interiors are not for outward show but they should facilitate our relationships, lust for life and a place where nostalgia can be gently ushered in.
Which one are you going to try this weekend for Natonal Rum Day on Friday? Let me know in the comments!
Disclaimer: I was given this amazing set of glasses from LSA in exchange for a blog post. However as always, the creative direction and approach to my content is completely my own.