On a mission to spark the Rum Revolution

On a mission to spark the Rum Revolution

Craft Rum Box Monthly Craft Rum Club

In the UK, rum is fast-becoming the spirit of choice for consumers. But, there isn't a dedicated mixer for rum to help ignite and support this revolution. Until now. Enter QUBA, the rebellious rum mixer.

Looking to ignite the spark that sets off the rum revolution in the UK, QUBA is a set of rebellious mixers designed to be paired with rum.

All three mixers – Grapefruit & Red Sorrel, Ginger, Chilli & Pimento Berry and Lime, Apple & Lemongrass – are based on flavours that would traditionally be used in the Caribbean, the birthplace of rum. QUBA’s blended natural fruit juice ingredients are reinventions on classic pairings, with a few revolutionary twists.

To find out more, Rum’s the Word spoke to the company’s founders – Nick and Ned – about the origins of QUBA, the inspiration behind the flavours, what rums go best with which of their mixers and what role they see QUBA playing in the UK’s rum revolution.

Can you introduce our readers to QUBA? Why did you launch the brand?

QUBA is a set of three non-alcoholic
mixers that we’ve created to enhance and complement the complex flavour of rum, rather than stifle it.

When drinking rum, outside of a cocktail at an expensive bar, Coca-Cola and Ginger Ale or Beer are what most consumers pair this spirit with. These combinations work. However, both are far too sweet and drown out the incredible and complex flavours of rum.

We believe rum drinkers deserve better, which is why we launched QUBA. Our mixers are low in sugar, under 50 calories, made with natural fruit juices and no artificial sweeteners. Each unique flavour, delicious in their own right, serves to champion the rum they are paired with.

Like the Cuban revolutionaries before us, QUBA was created to help ignite the spark that sets off the rum revolution in the UK and eventually... beyond.

Why rum?

First of all, we love rum; it’s heritage, diversity and flavour, which we feel has
been overlooked by traditional and emerging mixer brands... until now!

Rum, also, is the last major spirits category to undergo a revolution. We want to do what Fever Tree did for gin all those years ago and satisfy current rum drinkers, while introducing more consumers to the category. With an explosion of emerging craft rum brands in the UK, we believe there is an opportunity for rum to be the new spirit of choice for people in the UK, whether at home, or out at a restaurant or bar. Until these premium rum brands can get behind one premium mixer that everyone can do at home in a long serve, the rum revolution will never truly take off.

We see this as QUBA’s role in the rum revolution – to propel, support and fuel the growth of the rum category in the UK.

What was your inspiration behind the flavours?
We’ve both worked at a number of bars and pubs, and the range of mixers we could offer rum drinkers underwhelmed us. Consumers can experience delicious and complex rum drinks at cocktail bars, but this comes at a hefty price. We wanted to provide this same experience of an intricate cocktail, but at a fraction of the cost, to make rum more accessible for consumers, while also inspiring current fans of the spirit. To do this, we headed to the Caribbean and on islands like Cuba, Jamaica and Barbados, discovered an amazing variety of ingredients that could be paired with rum. We wanted to bring this experience back to the UK and share a slice of island life. We then worked with renowned liquid developer, Robin Honhold, to blend our carefully selected range of ingredients and produce our three mixers that can now be enjoyed today.

Can you describe the three mixers and what rums they go with?
Our mixers are all reinventions on classic flavour pairings:

Grapefruit & Red Sorrel –
The Forbidden Fruit
In 1750, Reverend Griffith Hughes referred to the grapefruit as The Forbidden Fruit in his book, The Natural History of Barbados. Putting a modern spin on this citrus delight, we’ve added red sorrel and guava for our take on a refreshing punch.

Ginger, Chilli & Pimento Berry –
Dark N’ Spicy
Our riff on the classic Dark N’ Stormy. Instead of lime and bitters, we’ve paired Scotch Bonnet chilli and pimento berry with ginger for a spicy twist. Vibrant and lively, yet dry and crisp. This delivers the natural aromas of ginger with a little heat from the chilli and pimento, and a slight citrus touch, without the cloying sweetness of most ginger beers. This goes well with a rich Jamaican or light Cuban rum.

Lime, Apple & Lemongrass –
Island Hopping
A convergence of Caribbean and UK flavour. We’ve brought together lime, British apple and lemongrass to evoke memories of Daiquiri cocktails and beachside retreats.

This mixer is an excellent combination of astringency and floral freshness. Citrus oils lift the deep sorrel flavour and provide an exciting and novel drinking experience. This goes well with an unaged Jamaican pot-still rum.

Round and aromatic, with all sorts of fruit flavours coming through. Apple isn’t your go-to thought when mixing rum, but the acidity of the apple, lime and lemongrass work beautifully together. This goes well with a cane-juice rum, such as Rhum Agricole.

The above are only recommendations, depending on your pallet, and we believe whether white, dark, spiced or golden, QUBA will be the perfect companion to your favourite rum.

What are your thoughts on the future of the UK rum industry? Where do you see QUBA in this rum revolution?

The future of the UK rum industry is bright! With a proliferation of quality products and brands entering the market, rum is fast becoming the drink of choice for consumers. The spirit’s historical reputation, based on the limited options in the UK is being shaken off, and its versatility is now being celebrated. The rum revolution is here.

QUBA’s role is to support this rum revolution, by providing consumers a better option to mix with their rum, whether old or new, while matching up with preferences for low sugar, more refined flavours and an even brighter drinking experience!

Join the rum revolution, Drink QUBA.

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Bernadette Pamplin

Bernadette loves rum. She set up a gin focused blog Under The Ginfluence eight years ago. Since then, her passion has naturally spread from gin, to rum and other spirits too. You can find work from her on Gin Magazine, Distiller Magazine, and Spirits Beacon, as well as content for  The Gin Guide.

She’s also the editor of Rum’s the Word, writing articles on rums featured in the box, as well as other rum related topics. Bernadette has built up six years experience in judging for events like Gin of the Year, World Gin Awards, Spirits Business Awards, Gin Guide Awards, IWSC and the American Distilling Institute Judging of Craft Spirits and works behind the scenes, assisting with organising and participating in panels for the Craft Distilling Expo.