Confession time; I’m primarily a gin girl. I know, I know, but I just love it. I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth so my mixed drinks and cocktails of choice tend to the sharp, sour or bitter, perfect for the complexity of a decent botanical dry gin.
I’m also increasingly interested in local sourcing and sustainability, particularly recycling and repurposing items or produce we would normally throw away - which, in a very roundabout way, explains why Foxhole Spirits were already on my radar: partly for their passionate and inventive no-waste ethic and okay, yes, also for their award-winning gin.
What does this have to do with their Mad City white rum I hear you (and probably my editor) ask? Simple; their expertise in gin-making has been transferred to the creation of an exceptional Botanical Rum, with all the depth and complexity needed to tempt a die-hard gin drinker to the white side. Made with sugar-cane molasses (a natural by-product of the sugar industry) with vanilla, nutmeg, cacao nibs, orange, cardamom and cloves among its twenty-five botanicals, this has none of the harshness or single-note flatness of standard white rums.
The website has a couple of helpful cocktail recipe videos; first we tried the Hard Seltzer, this year’s US import of choice for those looking for a lower-carb, more refreshing option than a cold beer. A hard seltzer is basically flavoured sparkling water with a dash of the hard stuff; these were made with coconut water (which divided opinion, but I actually liked), a hefty, zingy twist of orange zest and fresh rosemary.
The verdict? This was clean-tasting and refreshing – although I’m personally still not sold on the general concept of hard seltzers, I can see this would tick every box if you were. (Going off-piste a little, I can wholeheartedly recommend this with more rum and mixed with Fever-Tree Clementine tonic water with orange and rosemary.)
Back to basics, we then made a Mad City Mojito. One of my favourite cocktails of all time, this was fabulously smooth and I felt showcased the complexity of the rum perfectly; citrus yes, but then a very subtle warmth to balance out the herbal notes. I’m now interested to try a cocktail that takes advantage of the spicy, Oriental side of the botanicals in this rum, particularly the cardamom – suggestions on socials @ChattingFood please!
And the bottle? The Mad City label art – vibrant, stylish, modern and energetic – was designed by Bristol-based street artist Sled One, an inspired choice; a range of build-your-own Christmas gift bundles on their website include a bottle of Mad City and a version of the artwork. Ahem, Santa?
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Chatting Food Contributor: Amanda David
Freelance food writer, copywriter and blogger, Amanda David is dedicated to sharing news about London’s restaurants, bars, exhibitions and general wonderfulness. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.
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