Masterclass: Mount Gay’s secrets to serving sublime rum

Words by
Jemima Sissons

4th January 2021

In true Barbados style, the premium rum brand’s global ambassador Miguel Smith delves into how to serve, what to serve and what to gift this season

In the year 1703 on the northerly reaches of Barbados, there were quiet stirrings at a distillery. Using richly flavoured molasses, its limestone filtered water source and a pot still, it was the birthplace of rum as we know it. Although much has changed, Mount Gay has been making the treacly drop every day since it opened its doors. Bottoms up!  

A party trick...

Keep a bottle of XO in the drinks cabinet and one in the fridge door, for instant cool tipples. Once opened, rum — like all spirits — will slowly evaporate and oxidise.

To control dilution...

Never pour rum on to ice — do it the other way around, as it will dilute. 

There is a rum for everyone...

For lovers of dark spirits, this season sees the launch of the limited-edition Port Cask Expression, which is getting into rum connoisseur territory, matured in ex-Tawny Port casks. For a rum-wary aunt, I would suggest Mount Gay Black Barrel for a pick-me-up with ginger ale and a slice of orange. Millennials are far more sophisticated than we were back in the day — they appreciate a good Negroni. Try a rum Negroni made with Eclipse and sweet vermouth. 

Invest in some essentials...

For a good home bar, buy an ice tray that can make big ice cubes, so that you can control dilution. Get a jigger — or an egg cup works well as it’s 25ml. I like a traditional three-piece continental shaker. As for extras on the drinks tray, you can’t go wrong with Angostura bitters and a red vermouth such as Martini Rosso.  

Don’t get me started on ginger beer... 

Some can have up to 44g of sugar. I go for Fever Tree Ginger Ale, which is much less sweet.  

Coconut ice cubes are your secret weapon...

Just pour some pure coconut water into an ice tray and use for your rum. Ideally, you will have fresh green coconut, but if you don’t happen to have a palm tree in your back garden, brands such as Innocent
are just as good. 

For a zesty pick-me-up...

Go for a Forbidden Cooler, rooted in Barbados and made with Mount Gay Black Barrel, grapefruit juice, soda and Falernum topped with a slice of grapefruit.

For a therapeutic winter warmer...

Try a Honey Old Fashioned with a twist (see recipe below). To make it more of a therapeutic rum toddy, just add some hot water and a cinnamon stick.

Winter Honey Old Fashioned 


45ml Mount Gay XO

1 bar spoon runny honey

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

45ml hot water

Orange zest



1 Pour all ingredients into the Old Fashioned glass.

2 Add hot water.

3 Stir with a spoon until honey is dissolved.

4 Express the orange zest and serve.

Rémy Martin is one of the official partners of Sphere's 2020 winter issue.