Gin has been having its moment in the sun for quite some time now – but if it’s actual sunshine you want, then it’s probably time that you start turning your attention to rum.

Banish thoughts of white rum (Bacardi Breezer anyone?) and think instead of rounded golden and spiced varieties – actual sunshine in your glass.

According to the WSTA (Wine and Spirits Trade Association) rum sales hit the £1 billion mark in 2017, up from £960 million the previous year – and, if the trend forecasters are correct, these figures are only set to rise further, with the UK about to experience a ‘Rumnaissance’ akin to the growth that the gin sector has enjoyed over the past few years.

Neptune Rum: The Lowdown

Enter Cheltenham-based Neptune Rum, a sleek bottle of golden goodness emblazoned with the bearded god of the sea. Founder Richard Davies has his rum distilled in Barbados, in a family-owned distillery which dates back to the 17th century. Created from pure sugar cane molasses, Neptune is both pot and column stilled before being aged in American Bourbon Oak casks for up to eight years. It’s then transported to Amsterdam, where the addition of a unique and top secret blend, which took Richard and his colleagues 18 months to finalise, turns it into a smooth, mellow, golden rum, which can be enjoyed straight up but also lends itself perfectly to a variety of cocktails.

The lengthy and painstaking process that rum requires is just one aspect of the drink that industry insiders believe will drive its popularity.

“You can make a craft gin in just a day or two,” points out Richard. “Even though this means that rum output is necessarily smaller, consumers are increasingly driven by a desire for products that require time, passion and attention to detail. If anything, rum’s relative ‘scarcity’ will probably just makes it more desirable, as people turn away from other, over-saturated, drinks markets.”

And then there’s the growing popularity of Tiki bars – including the fabulously retro Trailer Happiness in Notting Hill, which stocks Neptune. Sun-deprived Brits have increasingly been seeking out such bars out to get their Caribbean fix without need of a passport; the decor that such venues boast doesn’t hurt (#instaworthy) but then, neither does the fact that they serve up Mai Tais and Pina Coladas. And you don’t even need to get ‘beach body ready’ before you enjoy them.

Rum’s history is cooler than gin’s too, if we’re being honest. Think William Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’ … and then think pirates, sailors, tattooed forearms and crashing waves. Rum makes you think of gold, cutlasses, sea serpents and palm trees. It does not make you think ‘drunk lady dropping baby on its head.’ See?

So just how does Neptune Rum taste? For Richard, it’s a very personal thing and he’s eager to encourage drinkers to enjoy their own impressions of the drink rather than obsessing over elusive notes and aromas. The rum calls toasted apricots to his mind, for example; for others, it has hints of pepper, vanilla, honey and nutmeg, as well as an exotic touch of ripe banana. Summer’s a long way off, people. Best grab that feeling whenever and wherever you can.

Neptune Rum: Make Your Own Cocktail

The Cocktail: the Neptune Espresso Martini.


30ml Neptune Rum

20ml Coffee liqueur

25ml Espresso

10ml Pedro Ximenez sherry

Grated nutmeg


Combine ingredients, add ice and shake. Strain and pour into a chilled martini glass, then lightly dust the foam cap with freshly grated nutmeg.

For more information on Neptune Rum, see here.