Bartender, brand ambassador, bar owner, sales and marketing maverick—there isn’t a hat in the booze business that Arijit Bose hasn’t worn. Drawing on his 15 years of experience that includes running PCO, the wildly popular Delhi bar known for its craft cocktails, founding Indian bar consultancy Bar Back Collective and being the brand ambassador for Monkey 47, Delhi-bred Bose launched The Lovers Rum, a premium blended spirit that combines the styles of five very distinctive Latin American and Caribbean rums. Having achieved much success abroad, The Lovers Rum is now available in Goa and Gurugram.
Heart in a cart
Having a sales and marketing job with Bacardi that took him drinking practically all around the world, Bose explains that the idea for a rum of this kind was born when he missed a flight in Mexico. That led to him spending a few days learning more about the world of rum and craft cocktails from his now-business partner, David Cordoba, an award-winning spirits and bartending educator and beverage program director. The brainchild of Bose and Cordoba, the rum, therefore, is serious business.
A blend of aged rums from Barbados, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Panama all contribute to the unique flavour of The Lovers Rum. “While visually it is a golden rum, I don’t like categorising rum by colour. It’s not gold or white or spicy—it’s just a solid real rum. It starts with a delicate initial taste with aromatic, fruity and sweet notes and then brings a level of complexity with a touch of pepper and delicate tannins,” explains Bose.
“Unlike gin for which you have to add character with botanicals, the taste of a good rum comes from its main ingredient—sugarcane. Much of the taste depends on how and where it is grown, what the soil conditions were, and so on,” explains Bose. It makes sense then, that the team tapped the world’s most renowned regions for sugar and molasses—the Caribbean.
The moniker ‘Lovers’ is inspired by the Lovers card in the Tarot deck that represents equilibrium and balance, the “essential characteristics for any well-made spirit”. The spirit is truly international-made in Amsterdam, the bottles come from Italy and the corks, from Portugal. Considering the small batches they can currently produce, and the duties paid to authorities to bring it into the country, The Lovers is an expensive addition to a bar, but will, per Bose, expand your palate.
Can rum catch up with gin?
As far as the rum market goes, India has much catching up to do. “Rum is made in countries that grow large amounts of sugarcane and have hot, tropical climates. It’s used in some of the most refreshing cooling cocktails around the world, so why isn’t India drinking it yet?” Per Bose, it’s only a matter of time. Trends from the West soon make their way over to India and the rum boom, Bose says, is coming. “Consider the number of whisky drinkers there are in the country and the quality of rums available in the international market already being treated like whisky and cognac. These rums are enjoyed on the rocks and in cocktails such as Negronis and Old Fashioned, where the flavours of the spirit are not masked. India has the potential to take to rum very easily. It’s simply a matter of quality and accessibility.” The Lovers Rum hopes to nudge Indian drinkers down that path and even has plans of a fully made-in-India rum in the near future.
The Lovers Rum is available in Goa (Rs8,300) and Gurugram (Rs5,300)