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Distilled – A new luxury rum from Brugal

Our latest round-up of trends from the top shelf, including the launch of a new luxury sipping rum from Brugal, the recipe for a refreshing Singapore Sling and the definition of a hydrosol.

A toast: New rum from Brugal

Dominican Republic distiller Brugal has launched a new luxury sipping rum as a permanent addition to its range. Maestro Reserva (Alc 41.2%) is aged in American oak Sherry casks, using a proprietary toasting technique called ‘dark aromatic toasting’, developed by maestra ronera Jassil Villanueva Quintana. After an initial period of barrel ageing, the casks are emptied, then immediately toasted while still wet. ‘This process is like flambéing a crème brûlée,’ explains Jamie Campbell, global brand education manager at Brugal.

The casks are refilled straight away for a final period of ageing. ‘This re-imbues the rum with additional sweetness,’ adds Campbell. Aged for up to three and a half years, this is a darkly seductive rum with harmonious aromas of caramel, orange, vanilla and toasted coconut, plus subtle smokiness. It’s exceptionally smooth and rich, with an enjoyable viscosity on the palate that’s layered with notes of caramel, toffee, dulce du leche, citrus oils, ripe tropical fruits, roasted pineapple and mellow spice. The long, creamy finish has hints of fig and sultana. £148 £175/70cl Amathus Drinks, Berry Bros & Rudd, Hedonism, Master of Malt, Selfridges, The Whisky Exchange

What is… a hydrosol?

Used in skincare and beauty products, hydrosols have also been popping up on cutting-edge cocktail menus lately. Sometimes called ‘floral waters’, hydrosols are a by-product of essential oil manufacture, made by distilling fresh flowers, fruit, herbs and leaves. As these botanicals are heated with water to release their oils, the steam that’s created contains oils and essences from the water-soluble parts of the plant. When the steam cools, it becomes a hydrosol, a water-based product that’s much gentler than an essential oil. Hydrosols can be used to add subtle botanical notes to drinks.

What to drink now… Singapore Sling

A cocktail that instantly makes you feel like you’re on holiday, the Singapore Sling dates back to colonial times, when it was invented by Chinese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon sometime between 1899 and 1915 at Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The Singapore Sling is first name checked in The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock in 1930, where the ingredients are given as gin, lemon juice, cherry brandy and soda water. Today, the signature recipe at Raffles also includes Cointreau, Bénédictine, pineapple juice and Angostura, and substitutes lime juice for lemon. It’s the cherry brandy that distinguishes the Singapore Sling from a standard Gin Sling and gives it a pink hue. Raffles recommends Heering Cherry Liqueur (Alc 24%, £22.99-£38/70cl Widely available).

Ingredients: 30ml gin, 15ml Heering Cherry Liqueur, 7.5ml Bénédictine DOM Liqueur, 7.5ml Cointreau, 10ml grenadine, 15ml fresh lime juice, 120ml pineapple juice, 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters, soda, water to top

Glass: Sling

Garnish: Lemon slice and cherry

Method: Put all of the ingredients except the soda water in a shaker with ice. Shake until your hands are cold, then strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with soda water and stir gently to mix.

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