We all know that a beer revolution has been sweeping the globe in recent years. Cider has also experienced a renaissance, followed by boutique gin served with boutique tonic. And if I’m not mistaken, we are now starting to see the resurgence of rum.
Recently, several South African micro-distilleries have begun to branch out into rum, using African molasses as the beverage’s base and, earlier this year, Cape Town got its first dedicated rum bar where you can sip dozens of varieties neat or in cocktail form. But now you don’t even have to be a big spirits drinker to dip your toe into the rum barrel, for Savanna has released a cider variant that’s inspired by the rum revolution.
Say a hearty ahoy to Savanna Blackbeard – it’s a cider with a hint of rum! A deep inhale offers up hints of raisins, spice and honey, then as it opens up there’s a subtle apple aroma in the background. The first sip instantly transported me to Cornwall in the southwest of the UK – not because of the pirate connection, though there is a certain swashbucklingness about Cornwall. And they kind of speak pirate English all year round. But in fact, Savanna Blackbeard reminded me so much of rum and raisin ice cream that I was suddenly back in Newquay slurping a cone at the seaside. I wasn’t sipping cider back then of course, but Cornwall is also known for its superlative ciders and Blackbeard, beneath the rum, still has Savanna’s signature flavour.
Savanna is well known for its light-hearted approach to marketing and when you’re dealing with anything rum-related, you’d be a scurvy landlubber for not embracing the pirate link. And of course, Savanna has done just that (I guess the name was a bit of a giveaway), launching in late October at an event worthy of Jack Sparrow himself. Blackbeard even comes with its own pirate-inspired fable, telling of treasure and ocean voyages to avoid potential pillagers.
And Savanna are not the only ones who have embraced their inner pirate. Cape-based brewery Atlantic Storm produces The Buccaneer, a spiced rum pale ale with a label that celebrates the high seas. Beer and rum have been partners for a while, with Innis & Gunn perhaps being the best known brand to marry the two with their Rum Finish oak-aged brew proving so popular it managed to make it into the permanent line up.
More recently, cider has joined the rum revolution, with US and UK breweries dabbling with rum-inspired ciders (more often than not with labels that feature skulls and pirates and parrots). Savanna Blackbeard is our local addition, offering the refreshing sip you expect from Savanna, with a just enough rum character to have you donning an eye patch and raising your tumbler of grog with a rousing cry of “down the hatch me hearrrrrrties”.
Savanna Blackbeard is available at leading liquor outlets nationwide, RRP R79.95 for a six- pack.
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