Matugga Beverages has launched the first rums to be distilled in the UK using African sugar cane molasses.
Matugga Golden Rum and Matugga Spiced Rum have been crafted in small batches in Cambridgeshire under master distiller Dr John Walters.
They have been curated by husband and wife team Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, who own extensive family land in Matugga, a town 13 miles north of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city.
The molasses are fermented for seven days before being triple-distilled in 200-litre copper pot stills with swan neck condensers.
Matugga Golden Rum is finished in uncharred English oak casks. Matugga Spiced Rum is infused with a uniquely East African mixed-spice tea blend featuring six fragrant botanicals – black tea, ginger, cloves, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon.
The smooth Matugga Spiced Rum has already been awarded a silver medal at the 2015 New York World Wine and Spirits Competition.
Jacine said: “The challenge with rums is to capture a panoply of flavour and depth and maintain a silky smoothness. Our master distiller has achieved this. As a result, our golden and spiced premium rums can truly be sipped neat or on ice in addition to making outstanding cocktails.”
John added: “I chose 42% alcohol by volume for both rums not simply for weight, but to hold just the right ensemble of flavours intended and to deliver a rich mouth feel.
“With Matugga Golden Rum, on the nose we have fine oaked deep fruit cake, with raisins and sultanas abounding. The palate is full of slightly honeyed cracked caramel with a hint of Szechuan peppers and bay, finishing with vanilla, strawberry and a rich treacle.
“Special seems too small a word to describe the award-winning Matugga Spiced Rum. This is a truly mouth-watering rum. Honey and orange blossom are entwined with raisins on the nose. The palate is a flood of smooth, but warm, tangerine, liquorice and cracked black pepper before a honeyed Christmas pudding finish.”
Paul and Jacine, who are rum and whisky aficionados, set out to combine their heritage with “playful innovation” to capture and celebrate the most adventurous and unique flavours of Africa.
Paul said: “The naturally rich, red soils of East Africa provide an ideal terrain for high-quality sugar cane, from which we source the finest molasses.
“We are proud to be promoting East Africa’s incredibly rich natural produce while showcasing British micro-distillery craft at its best.
“Consumers are becoming more attuned to carefully crafted, artisan sprits. In addition to quality and taste, their focus is very much on how the ingredients are sourced and, importantly, how they’re handled afterwards. It matters to them and it matters to us.”
Cocktail ideas from Matugga Beverages
Matugga Spiced Clandestino
50ml Matugga Spiced Rum
20ml Pineapple juice
20ml Champagne syrup
10ml Fresh lemon juice
5ml Balsamic vinegar
2 pieces Fresh pineapple
Shake ingredients and fine-strain into a wine goblet. Garnish with a slice of lime and some mint.
Matugga Golden Daiquiri
50ml Matugga Golden Rum
1 to 2 Sugar cubes
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake ingredients and fine-strain into a chilled coupette glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.
Matugga Spiced Old Fashioned
60ml Matugga Spiced Rum
20ml Lime juice
20ml Sugar syrup.
Shake ingredients and fine-strain into a rocks glass with ice cubes. Garnish with a burnt cinnamon stick and star anise. Add a fresh twist of orange peel, stir a couple more times and serve.
Matugga Vintage Rum Negroni
25ml Matugga Golden Rum
25ml Cocchi Rouge Vermouth
Stir well over ice. Pour into a rocks glass with ice cubes. Garnish with a fresh twist of orange peel.