If you have a thirst for adventure, why not look beyond the Caribbean for your rum and set your sights on the Philippines? This stunning archipelago with its beautiful beaches, mountains and volcanoes is also a major sugar cane producer. The tropical island of Negros Occidental – known locally as Sugarlandia – is planted with verdant sugar cane.
The Philippines is ranked the third largest rum market in the world and its first small batch, single island, sipping rum, Don Papa (£32, 70cl, Sainsbury’s) sold just under one million bottles globally in 2017.
The ancient sugar mills of Negros grind the noble cane, the original variety of sugar cane in Southeast Asia dating back thousands of years, and this variant is much sweeter than others and transforms into the special ‘black gold’ molasses used in Don Papa.
A golden rum aged for 7 years in American oak barrels, Don Papa is light and fruity on the nose, smooth and delicate on the mouth, with a long textured finish and flavours of vanilla, honey and candied fruits. Deliciously versatile, it’s perfect for sipping or mixing in a range of flavoursome cocktails.
“‘The Don is not for the feeble hearted – it’s for those who have a burning desire to do things differently, experience life’s greatest pleasures, have an appetite for adventure and have an undeterred, generous spirit,” says Stephen Carroll, founder of Don Papa.
And in case you’re wondering who the moustached chap is on the label, it’s one Papa Isio, a sugar cane farmer who became an unsung hero in the late 19th century Philippine revolution, helping to free his beloved island Negros from Spanish rule.
To raise a glass to National Rum Day, Don Papa have created three cocktails inspired by sugar cane.
Simple, sweet and filled with the essence of Sugarlandia…
Ingredients: 40ml Don Papa Rum, 20ml Aperol, equal parts soda water and prosecco to top.
Method: Half fill a large wine glass with ice. Add the rum and Aperol, top with soda water and prosecco. Stir slowly and garnish with orange and mint.
The Don’s midweek interlude – a delightful summery hit with a fruity twist…
Ingredients: 50ml Don Papa Rum, 20ml egg white, 25ml lime juice, 4 raspberries.
Method. Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Dry shake and then shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled coupette glass and garnish with rosemary.
A twist on a classic with a hit of Filipiño magic…
Ingredients: 35ml Don Papa Rum, 30ml pineapple juice, 60ml coconut water.
Method: Dry shake and then shake with ice, pour into a highball and garnish with a long pineapple leaf.