Mount Gay Rum was first produced in Barbados 325 years ago and yet its 1703 brand remains a hit.
At the recent International Food Festival, organized by the Society of Foreign Consuls, and hosted by Ference Kumin, Consul General of Hungary at the Consulate’s Offices at New York, on Third Avenue, it was all about the cuisine, costumes, music of European countries and alcoholic beverages, including the rums of Barbados and Jamaica.
Patrons were able to mingle, move from station to station sampling food and drinks and listen to individuals and groups perform national instrumental and vocal songs in national costumes.
Lead hostess Delores Wallace, who joined the Barbados Consular staff in October 2017, was kept busy attending to the several persons who visited the Barbados station.
“It was fun. It was my first food festival experience in New York. I was asked a range of questions, including the taste of the rum; where it could be purchased and things like that. I am glad that I was able to assist them and pleased that many of them seemed to like the taste of the rum. It was also educational,” explained a smiling Wallace.
Carl Lander, in a 2015 review of 1703 posted on The Whisky Exchange website, confirms the views expressed by others about the Bajan brand.
“I think 1703 is by far the best rum I have ever tasted. It has a rich, warm set of flavours that change and blend as the glass progresses. Would recommend it as an occasional treat, to be drunk with good friends and a Bajan menu! The Eclipse is a lovely mixer rum that immediately tickles the memory cells and evokes those lovely Bajan holiday times! Enjoy!”
That said, there was a noticeable cultural difference, namely: The Barbados and Jamaica displays were the only two stations with soft drinks – chasers. Barbados had Coca Cola and Jamaica, Pepsi.
Evidently, the European people drink their booze straight up, as a shot.
According to a source who once worked at Swedish and Danish business organizations, Europeans drink their alcohol straight up, and, at parties, they have shot competitions. Additionally, some cultures preserve the alcohol in dried fruit and leaves, and then make the brew into a tea. In the United States, a shot of alcohol can contain anywhere from one to two ounces.
Another feature of the Food Festival was this: Some of the food stations were booklets that explained the history and recipe and the preparation of the delicacy. Thailand offered a spicy brown fried fishcake (Tod Mud Pla) made from seasoned tender fresh fish and served with sweet chill dipping sauce.
Ultimately, for the Bajan at heart, for those who wish Barbados well, the celebration of 1703 Mount Gay brand was a tribute to master distiller Allen Smith and the many historic Bajan accomplishments that are simply waiting to be rediscovered, reclaimed and renewed.