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Stratford gin-makers Shakespeare Distillery introduce new rum line, Jester

Could rum give gin a run for its money in the favourite UK spirit stakes?

That’s the hope of Stratford gin-makers Shakespeare Distillery who have just launched their own white rum called Jester.

And with the the Wine and Spirit Trade Association dubbing rum the ‘drink of lockdown’ it may just be a sure bet. This was after rum sales experienced a huge hike over the past year, with an estimated 70 per cent rise in sales, which has led many alcohol experts tipping it as one of the biggest drink trends of 2021.

Peter Monks, right, and mixologist Sam Evans. Photo: Mark Williamson S5/1/21/9692. (43944955)
Peter Monks, right, and mixologist Sam Evans. Photo: Mark Williamson S5/1/21/9692. (43944955)

Established in 2015 by Simon Picken and Peter Monks, Shakespeare Distillery has successfully been distilling gin for the last five years on their own premises. Their products are inspired by the Tudor period and, of course, William Shakespeare. Everything they produce is in small, handcrafted batches.

Director Peter said of the new rum: “The name Jester is taken from the famous sculpture of a jester which sits in Henley Street, just yards from Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Almost all of Shakespeare's jesters were fond drinkers, and known to be bold, memorable, and popular characters - the ideal traits for a new British-made spirit.”

Most of the rum on sale in the UK has in fact been imported – with many makers importing their base spirit before spicing it themselves.

Peter continued: “By importing their base rum, a distillery will have no control over the flavour of the fermentation. Shakespeare Distillery’s own fermentation is a seven-day process in which the unique combination of yeast, water and sugar creates both flavour and alcohol, bubbling away slowly in our new fermenter aptly named Titania.

The Shakespeare Distillery stills. Photo: Mark Williamson S5/1/21/9697. (43914209)
The Shakespeare Distillery stills. Photo: Mark Williamson S5/1/21/9697. (43914209)

“To make the rum we ferment sugar cane molasses to craft the base. By using molasses, a superior and more characterful flavoured rum can be produced. The rum is then distilled twice producing a final bottled white rum of 40 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume). The rum combines tropical fruits with a hint of citrus and buttery smooth molasses make for a rich, yet mildly sweet finish. The rum can be enjoyed sipping neat or alternatively as a rum cocktail.”

The rum is available in various sizes, with the largest, a 50cl bottle, costing £34. The company will be selling the rum, along with their other products, from their Stratford High Street pop-up shop from 12th April.

Peter added: “I am so proud of the entire team who have worked hard during a year of lockdowns to produce this truly delicious Warwickshire-made Rum. We’re very much looking forward to our loyal customers getting to taste it and I know they won’t be disappointed.”

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