Caribbean, Countries, UK

Bajan Auld Rummie in Edinburgh

The Fringe faithful are wading through the rubbish from the strike… we though take to the water, it’s Bajan Auld Rummie in Edinburgh.

The Union Canal in the West End of Edinburgh is bathed in sunshine and the office buildings are reflecting off the water.

OK, it’s not Bridgetown.

But we’re with a true Bajan, Shane, and we’re drinking Barbados rum and cocktails.

Auld Reekie: Edinburgh

And filling ourselves with our favourite drink and filling up on Scottish links with the Bajan rum story.

All with the help of Jamie and the two-hour Summerhall Drinks Lab Rum Cruise.

Labbing it up

Stir it up: The rum mixology

Now you remember how gin had its hour with juniper (and more of that later) the tipple du jour of the Twentyteens.

Well, now that’s rum and hence why Summerhall Drinks Lab have added a rum tour to their popular gin cruise.

And why where Dark Matter in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, started pouring in 2015, a raft (well we are on a boat cruise) of rum distilleries followed.

And a shout-out here to my work colleague Michael.

His Jacobite Spirits business and their new spiced rum Charlie’s Chopper Clean Cut.

For the day and the company that’s in it we’re on the Bajan rum.

Well it is the birthplace of rom.

All roads lead to rom

Abbey days: At St Nicholas Abbey

And that means kicking off with Cockspur Old Gold which we taste.

As a sample to warm our palates and throats, a la a whisky or bourbon.

And if you’re getting that bourbon hit then it’ll be because one-use bourbon barrels get repurposed for rum.

For those who like their rum in mixers we’re treated to the daddy of them all the Mount Gay Black Barrel.

And the new kids on the block, St Nicholas Abbey and their white rum.

And a couple of sips and I’m right back.

In the verdant courtyard after our steam train journey and old plantation visit from June’s Barbados Celtic Festival trip.

Rum’s a Ting or Hing

See you Jamie: Summerhall chemistry

Jamie is a font of wisdom on Bajan rum and how Scottish craft and guile was at its heart.

And he has even adapted the staple Rum Ting cocktail.

With a Scottish version the Rum Hing with local grapefruit juice and lime.

Limin’ is of course the daily Bajan rhythm of life.

And we lime our way throughrums, samples and cocktails…

And the lychee-based beaker particularly hits the spot.

All before we arrive back at Leamington Lift Bridge and toast Shane and Jamie with a Doorly’s 14-year-old  from Foursquare rum distillery.

Juniper Mac and Cheese

Say cheese: Mac and cheese

There’s time enough in the evening to carry on the party in true Bajan style.

And we taxi to Juniper on Princes Street.

And we avoid the garbage which has revived references to the Scottish capital’s old nickname of Auld Reekie.

Juniper offers a relaxed library to lime.

With mini-saucepans of Mac and Cheese, a particular Bajan fave, my pick from its menu.

Do like the rumans do

Home of rum: Mount Gay

With Mount Gay kindly providing us with rum punch which is, of course, water to Bajans but strong water at that.

Talk, of course, turns to absent friends.

And old pal Marc who represented the island so well over eight years in the UK.

But who has understandably returned home.

And he has now set up a rum tour business with distilleries, rum shops and the magic ingredient, Bajans at hand.

We’ll meet again, and hopefully soon but for now I’m keeping my end up here…

A Bajan Auld Rummie in Edinburgh.



Caribbean, Countries, Culture, UK

Woah we’re gaun tae Barbados


Woah we’re gaun tae Barbados… but this time from Edinburgh, Scotland.

Scotland has long had a footprint in Barbados but this direct Virgin Atlantic flight represents it dipping its toe in the West Indies.

As Scotland’s only Caribbean route.

Two Scotlands

This is where the rum is: Mount Gay distillery

That Scotland is reconnecting with Barbados should not be surprising

As we stood side by side with them centuries ago when the British Empire first set foot there.

And used Scottish indentured servants to do their dirty work.

The MacBajans

At the cricket: With Jevan

The Bajans have never forgotten us MacBajans, naming their inland district of Scotland after us.

Giving over St Andrews Day as their national Day of Independence.

Encasing the Scottish Saltire in their coat of arms (a slave’s clenched fist holding two sugar canes in an X cross).

Which is on their dollar notes.

St Andrew’s people

Soca time: With the locals

Scotland sits in the district of Saint Andrew and, better than our own northern European, Scotland is hot, hot, hot all year round.

So better wear your boardies rather than your kilt, although some MacBajans might.

And there is plenty of time anyway during May’s Celtic Festival.

Scotland and Barbados

Irie: Rum time

One of our own, my old student days pal Jevan, of Trinidad and Aberdeenshire, is waving the Scottish flag in Barbados.

As owner of Red Advertising & Marketing Ltd which means he knows everyone.

And introduced me to them all over their carnival, Crop Over, and the cricket.

So our new route from Edinburgh to Bridgetown will be welcomed by those of us who will be screaming Woah we’re gaun tae Barbados.

Old Scotland

Ruby do: With Ruby in Barbados

And those MacBajans who will be coming our way.

Though I expect their suitcases will have a few more woollies.