Discovering Rum in the City of Style
Updated: Dec 26, 2022
In an out-of-character twist, we got productive and discovered the first rum distillery in Glasgow for nearly 300 years.
Whilst not a foodie or a dedicated food blogger by any stretch of the imagination, I had hoped I could use this platform to give a shout to some fab places. Some may be ones I go to frequently, others may be an occasional treat.
“Our weekends are notoriously lazy; I work long hours so by the time Saturday rolls around the last thing I want to do is leave the house!”
Often, the furthest we go is Lidl for shopping or to my Mother-in-Laws for a curry and too much wine, but this weekend I had other plans. In an unusual twist, we visited a rum distillery. In Glasgow.
My husband Simon turned thirty in January and I had - in all honesty - struggled with gifts for him.
We travelled to Venice as his 'big' present so it was smaller gifts that had me stumped.
Luckily I spotted an Itison offer that had him written all over him (the current deal is no longer live, but you can find it on 5pm.co.uk here).
'Rum distillery tour with tasting and cocktail', Despite never having heard of the Wester Spirit Co brand and having no idea where it was, I was SOLD. I'm so glad I was too, as it is a serious hidden gem.
Simplicity has clearly been key when establishing this brand, from the clean lines of the logo to the minimalistic interiors of the distillery and it's a refreshing break from flower walls and decorative fairy lights.
The no-frills appearance admittedly did make me slightly uneasy initially as I wondered whether this one guy in this industrial unit with the distinct smell of booze in the air had just ripped us off.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
Straight off, our tour guide didn't try to be anything he wasn't. We weren't lectured at, instead we were taken on a whistle-stop tour of Glasgow's fluctuating relationship with rum, sugar and the darker side of the trade.
Some I had prior knowledge of, others I didn't. For example, the brand itself pays homage to Glasgow's first sugar refinery dating back to 1667 that was established in the Candleriggs area of the city. Some sections were designed to shock, with Scotland's slave trade highlighted as a huge enabler for Glasgow's success in the sugar trade. While not to everyone's taste on a tour where the end goal is realistically to get some cocktails down your neck, it encouraged me to go on and find out more, which is exactly what I like from this kind of event.
We were talked through the processes involved in creating the Wester Spirit Co rum and a huge element of this was learning of its 'zero waste' nature.
From the molasses used in the initial fermentation process, the leftover 'mulch' and the fact that certain fractions of the rum can be purified to produce cleaning products - I was inspired by this as much as anything.
Personally, I'm not a huge rum drinker. I've had one too many nights end tragically following one too many Bacardi and Cokes, so when we came to the tasting of the rum neat - I had a quick sip and swiftly passed it on to Simon to finish along with his own.
Holding a small amount of the rum under your tongue and this drawing air in through your teeth is supposed to desensitise your throat to the harshness of the rum. It did work to an extent, but by this point I was a bit too cold and starting to buzz off the alcohol fumes, so I passed on mine.
As a group we passed round all nine flavourings that go into the production of the rum including orange peel, cardamom pods, star anise and cloves.
Also included in our tour was the chance to try some of the cocktails developed by the small team at Wester Spirit Co - which is where my very own Tom Cruise stepped in to give us his very best Cocktail audition.
A Malay Bouquet
25ml lime & grapefruit juice
12.5ml Hibiscus Syrup
Shake, garnish with Lime & Grapefruit twist
This was my favourite of the two we tried, though maybe I was biased from having such a vested interest in my own personal bartender!
Less harsh and almost creamy - I'd possibly try making one of these myself.
10ml Sultana Syrup
1 Dash bitters
In all honesty, not something I'd be in a rush to have again - but that's what a cocktail masterclass is all about, and it saved me spending £8 in a City Centre bar to learn that lesson.
Wester Spirit Co is tucked right out of the way from Dumbarton road, but just a quick dash - in our case, in the rain - to some fab spots in Partick.
Grab a half pint of Lindeman's Pecheresse in 6° North, 566 Dumbarton Road. Super refreshing and served in a dinky, branded glass - this is quickly becoming a favourite beer of mine.
If you prefer a full pint, I'd suggest a meander along to the newly refurbished Thornwood Bar, 724 Dumbarton Road. After being closed for months and a grand re-opening on Friday, the perfect match of vintage and modern is an ideal spot for a Saturday swally. I'm a fan of Beavertown's Neck Oil which is on tap, much less sweet than my last drink - but still with fruity hints throughout. I have no doubts that I'll be making a return at somepoint soon, so keep your eyes peeled for more!