The diary has another adventure to add to its list, as we continue our journeys through the chic bars of London. Only this time we arrive to somewhere new, with a completely different twist to the experience.
We recently teamed with the Wine & spirit education trust on a project to create a series of immersive experiences that will focus on a different spirit each time.
In our first experience we travel down to Marks bar by London Bridge, with a focus on the sweet nectar that is Rum. Mark’s Bar at Hixter Bankside is one of eight of their London venues, owned by the notorious restauranteur Mark Hix (hence the name).
As a brand Mark’s Bar is known very well for its experimental cocktails, as well as their take on mixology, a trend which has also filtered down into the Marks Bar in Bankside.
For the night Mark’s Bar set out three different types of Rum; Havana Club 3 year old, Appleton Estate V/X and Smith & Cross London. When it comes to tasting rum we believe having it neat is the best way to initially open up your palette, to really soak in the multiple flavours that come from the spirit.
The Havana Club 3 year old is a classic white rum, used by bars across the city. The beauty in Havana Club is its colour, in this case being more of a clearer coloured rum. This is an indication of the time that it’s spent in an oak cask which by the whiteness of the spirit, shows it’s had little to no time in oak.
From a notes point of view the Havana club presents an essence of caramel and vanilla to the nose, whilst to the palette, opens the tongue to more sweetness and caramel, with some tropical fruits and banana skin.
Appleton Estate V/X
Next up on the menu was the Appleton Estate V/X, a member of the notorious Appleton Estate family that we’ve yet to try before. From initial glance you can see the V/X has more of an amber colour to it, indicating that it’s spent a reasonable amount of time in the oak barrel, allowing it to soak in some of the rich flavours within the wood cask. On the nose you will noticed that the notes detected are much richer, delivering more of a dried fruits and raisin quality about it.
On the palette however this opens up to greater detail, with a burst of candy fruit and dried citrus peels, followed in subtly with hints of toffee and coffee flavours. Not quite what was expected from this version of Appleton Estate rum but nonetheless, a real smooth joy to sample.
Smith & Cross London
Finally to conclude the tasting the Mark’s Bar team bring out the Smith & Cross London Rum, another rum we’ve not come across before but had quite the surprise up its glassy sleeve.
With the Smith & Cross London the indication of time spent in the barrel is very obvious to you, as its deep, dark amber colour is so prominent compared to the other two rums.
Your nose must be prepared for what’s to come, as the higher ABV level in Smith & Cross gives off the smell of dried fruit far stronger than anything we’ve come across.
From a palette point of view the effects are quite similar to the effects on the nose. With a much higher ABV the taste is initially quite sharp to take on, but then delivers the rich taste of caramel, toffee and raisin. The Smith & Cross London is the kind of rum that would bode well with more of a bitter mixed cocktail or simply neat, for the consumer that enjoys rich and bold flavoured spirits.
Our cocktail at the end of evening had no name, as it was a new experiment from the genius mixers of Mark’s Bar, this was a blend of the Smith & Cross London with tabasco sauce with lemon bitters.
Fiery way to end the evening, but one of the best cocktails I have come across. Kudos to you all at Mark’s Bar Bankside.