Look out spirit lovers, there's a new girl on the block. Her name is Appleton Estate Jamaica Independence Reserve Rum and she's sweet, sophisticated, smooth, and all grown-up. She recently turned 50, so Appleton Estate held a shindig at Sydney's Riley St Garage on 6 November in her honour that was both a birthday and coming-out party for the oldest and possibly the most expensive rum in the world at a cool $5500 per bottle.
Distilled in 1962 to commemorate Jamaica's independence from Britain, the rum has passed through two generations of master blenders, ageing for 50 years in 10 oak barrels, evaporating over that time down to the equivalent of three barrels, which were bottled late last year.
Appleton is Jamaica's largest private employer and one of the few distilleries left that continues to produce rum from harvesting the sugar cane to bottling the spirit all on one estate. Only 800 bottles of this prestigious expression have been released worldwide, 17 of them landing on Australian shores.
The food Beef carpaccio with soy vinegar and brioche croûtons, tempura Moreton Bay bug, spinach and ricotta ravioli with burnt sage butter, grilled baby snapper with red pepper and chorizo dressing, and crisp pork knuckle with a soy-mustard glaze and pickled apple.
The drinks Tropical rum cocktails were front and centre with bartender Bobby Carey mixing up a Dark and Stormier, Piña Coladas served tiki-style and the classic Treacle.
We loved While hot and steamy summer nights call for cool rum-based cocktails, the 50-year-old Independence Reserve is a force to be reckoned with served neat. But at that price, we might just have to settle for the 21-year-old.