What's On: RumFest at the Excel

By Rob Virtue on October 11, 2012 11:00 AM |

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The man given the grand title of Global Rum Ambassador is bringing a vibrant festival celebrating the spirit to the Royal Docks this weekend.

RumFest at the Excel promises to be a feast for the lips and the eyes when it kicks off to fans of the drink on Saturday.

Organiser Ian Burrell, singer, actor but most of all a lover of the exotic spirit, said: "There will be 400 different rums including the newest on the market, tropical rhythm, music, food, drinking and education from cocktail mixologists.

"It's a festival through the eyes of rum.

"We've held it before in Olympia and at the Royal Horticultural Society and it's always been full of discerning customers who like new experiences.

"It's the perfect place for professionals to find out about rums, new and old."

Running on Saturday and Sunday it will be the event's sixth year. Tickets start at £20 and include entrance to the Tropical Food Market and the Boutique RumFest running alongside.

It aims to bring a burst of sunshine to Docklands as well as some culinary treats.

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"We'll have chefs coming in and cooking great food with rum," said Ian. "And we've got rum and chocolate. There's a lot to experience."

Dubbed Global Rum Ambassador by the spirit trade press, Ian travels the world giving classes on the drink. This month has already seen a whistlestop tour of the likes of Amsterdam, Moscow and Berlin.

And by hosting a celebration of the versatile spirit in Docklands he's bringing it back to its birthplace in the UK.

"Some communities understand it for the mature spirit it is, others just put a coke on top of it," he said.

But places like Russia, where you'd expect that rum would be a tough sell, are really getting better. Moscow's now got its own rum bar.

"Compared to other countries, the UK is more discerning. That's understandable as its been around there for a long time with a history of importation to the London docks."

And for those who are fans of the high street brands, will this be a place for them to enjoy?

"Any rum is good but on the rum ladder it's at the beginning of the rum journey," he said.

Go to rumfest.co.uk for tickets.