And… we have a winner! CUT to the Comp Final

Bristol, Liverpool, Brighton, LEEDS, Cornwall, Nottingham, London: it’s been a whirlwind of a national industry

cocktail competition over the last two months. After a fierce battle, seven talented regional winners were chosen to come down and compete in the London final on 6th August.

Taking place between 2pm-7pm at TT Liquor in Hackney, there was an incredible backyard BBQ from Smokestak including CUT Rum infused sauces, BBQ pork, brisket and aubergine. Of course, there was also plenty of rum punch!

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After everyone was suitably full, from the amazing food, it was time for the main part of the day: the cocktail making.

The rules stayed the same as always: 2 cocktails, 4 minutes, 8 ingredients.

We brought the rum; bartenders brought the ingredients and created 2 top notch cocktails in 4 minutes.

The competition was seriously outstanding, and there were several shout-outs at the end for originality,

including Korma Colada from KRIS, Liverpool: an intriguing mix of curry flavours and pina colada. No one believed it would work, but it was absolutely delicious.

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After a heated discussion amongst the judges (and plenty of disagreements) the final three were decided on.

In third place, was Brian Connor from Motel Bar, Liverpool. His first cocktail, ‘Up in the Clouds’ was a smooth drink flavoured with banana. ‘Good Morning Revival’, his second, was an intricate combination of rum, marmalade and almond flavours.

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In second place, was Ben Ziehm-Stephen from Brighton. His first drink, ‘Cut My Life into Pieces’, was a bold turbo shandy using CUT Spiced Rum and Brewdog Pink Grapefruit IPA. His second, ‘Last Resort’, was a vibrant mix of CUT Smoked Rum, blackberry liqueur, guava and a touch of absinthe.

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And the overall winner was… Liam Bodde, Bristol! He created his two impressive tipples using Overproof and Smoked.

Here are the winning specs:

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Lift Home

·        50ml Overproof

·        20mml Cointreau

·        15ml Sweet Vermouth

·        15ml Maraschino

·        3 Dash Chocolate Bitters

Thicker than Water

·        50ml Smoked

·        2 Dash Angostura

·        5ml Port

·        15ml Shiraz

·        Pastis Glass Rinse

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Congratulations Liam, enjoy the £1,000 prize and we look forward to the next CUT Rum cocktail you come up with!

We won Gold at the FAB Awards!


When we first partnered up with boutique agency Butterfly Cannon to design the CUT Rum brand, we knew we didn’t need pirates, sea monsters or pin up girls. We just wanted to introduce our quality, naturally infused liquids to the world.

We believe our simple, clean design represents our brand identity perfectly: simply the best tasting rum for the people that know the difference.

So, we were pleased to find out we’d got this right on the mark from those in the know. We’ve just won Gold for ‘Brand Identity’ at The FAB Awards.

The FAB Awards (or the Food and Beverage Excellence Awards) is an International Awards programme purely focused on the work of food and beverage brands and outlets.

The awards ‘recognise the critical contribution that outstanding creative work makes to building brands’ and ‘identifies and rewards leading practitioners from over 60 countries’.

2019 marked the 21st year of the programme.

The full list of winners can we found on The FAB Awards website here.

Follow us on social to see what else we’re getting up to @cuttotherum

Cut To The Comp - Brighton Regional Heat

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been travelling round the country for the CUT RUM cocktail competition regional rounds. For our next stop, we were back down south again to vibrant seaside resort, Brighton! You would have found us in a hidden townhouse bar overlooking i360 British Airways and Regency Square.

First of all, we would like to thank The Fix for letting us use your space and for being an amazing host!

Now, onto the winner…

Congrats to Ben Ziehm-Stephen!

We had the pleasure in tasting two yummy drinks, ‘Cut My Life Into Pieces’ and ‘Last resort’. ‘Cut My Life Into Pieces’ was a bold, no nonsense turbo shandy. Ben perfectly balanced the cinnamon and fiery ginger notes of the Cut Spiced Rum with citrus and hops. He utilised the popular, pungent aroma and taste of Brewdog’s pink grapefruit American style IPA ‘Elvis Juice’. The zesty bitterness of the grapefruit, orange and citra hops with the butterscotch and vanilla of the Cut Spiced Rum was a perfect marriage of flavours.

‘Last resort’ was a vibrant and complex drink with flavours of dark chocolate, oak, sweet molasses and a nose of citrus, aniseed and coffee. The bitter sweetness of the blackberry liqueur cut straight through to complement the guava’s flavours of pear and strawberry. This perfectly bought together the whole drink and its use of the Cut Smoked Rum. The use of Absinthe adds a complexity to the drink and highlighted its sweetness with flavours of liquorice root, fennel and star anise.


The next regional heat will be in Cornwall, see you then!

Cut To The Comp - Liverpool Regional Heats

From down South to up North, our next heat was held at Pattersons in Liverpool!  

We were greeted with a familiar face … rain. However, that did not mean the experience was the same. We noticed a change in accents and of course, the drinks.

 This heat was particularly hard to judge. So we ended up choosing not one but two winners who will both be heading to the London final.

The first winner was Chris Lewtas from The Florist. He served us two amazing tipples called ‘Mother of Dragons’ and ‘Don’t Cut Me Down’ instead of a Don’t Cut Me Down was based around a style of a tree which had a perfect mix of coconut. This was finished with a smooth rich kick of smoke.


The second winner was Brian Connor from Motel Bar who presented us with a cocktail named ‘Up In The Cloud’ which was smooth and light with a delicious touch of banana, and an unexpected punch of rum. Brian’s second serve called Good Morning Revival was rich and intricate with some banging marmalade and almond goodness.


We want to thank everyone that competed and Pattersons Bar for having us.

Brighton, we are coming for you next!



Cut To The Comp - Bristol Regional Heat

This week we kicked off the CUT RUM cocktail competition.

The first regional heat was held in Bristol. Despite the rain, the mood was lifted by passionate bartenders creating tasty drinks!

The rules were simple

2 cocktails, 8 ingredients, no homemade ingredients, 4 minutes.

After a heated round there was one clear favourite…


He created two very impressive cocktails using Overproof & Smoked. Check these out…

Lift home

▪ 50ml Overproof⁣

▪ 20ml Cointreau⁣

▪ 15ml Sweet Vermouth⁣

▪ 15ml Maraschino

⁣▪ 3 dash Chocolate Bitters⁣⁣

Thicker than water

▪ 50ml Smoked⁣

▪ 2 dash Angostura⁣

▪ 5ml Port

⁣▪ 15ml Shiraz⁣

▪ Pastis Glass rinse⁣

Next stop, Liverpool!


Thank you to Loose Cannon for having us, you were amazing hosts!

CUT Smoked Rum has won a national accolade!

We are thrilled to say that CUT Smoked Rum has been presented with an ‘as featured in ibuys’ award by National Newspaper, The i.

The rum beat many other brands in a rigorous taste test and was finally chosen to be included in the

Specially curated feature ‘10 best rums under £50’.

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On our Smoked Rum, The i called it “adventurous” and “exciting”, going on to say it is:

an unusual spirit that’s ideal for drinks making experimenters looking for their next rum-based cocktail twist.”

It was great to see The i also gave our Overproof Rum a special mention, saying it: “has been causing jaws to wag […] with some rave reviews”.

The i is a British newspaper published by Independent Print, the same company who publish The Independent.

The paper is aimed at readers with limited time who want an easily digestible source of news.

You can read the full feature online here.

CUT Smoked Rum is available to buy from ASDA.

Follow us on social @cuttotherum

CUT to the Comp: No Average Cocktail Contest

Wanna win a bundle of CUT Rum goodies? All expenses paid travel to London and a free tab for the night?

What about £1000?

If you’re a bartender we’re giving you the opportunity to win all this and more with our national cocktail contest: CUT to the Comp.

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The rules: 2 cocktails, 4 minutes, 8 ingredients.

We’ll provide the rum, you bring 8 ingredients and create 2 top notch cocktails in 4 minutes. Simple.

What’s the timeline?

Firstly, you need to submit entries via the website here: before 24th May.

Scoring on taste, look, chat and originality, this is no average cocktail competition. Nothing homemade, no bullshit and no boring please.

Secondly: cocktails are reviewed, regional entries selected and announced from 27th May.

Thirdly: regional heats start 10th June, for the chance to win CUT Rum goodies and all expenses paid travel

to London for the final, and a free tab for the night.

Finally: regional winners go onto final BBQ Backyard Final in London in early August to compete for the

all-important £1000 prize.

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Go on, give it a go:

CUT Rum is available to buy at ASDA

Follow us on social @cuttotherum


UK sales of rum reached £991m for the nine months to the end of September, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), which expects the annual figure to top £1bn! But with so many new rums brands appearing on back bars and supermarket shelves, how do you ensure that you are getting the best bottle for your buck?

Why are some rums better than others?

Unfortunately, as with most spirits, for years brands have been getting away with producing rum for as quickly and as cheaply as possible, fooling everyone to accept that this is how rum is supposed to taste. But no more, the rum revolution is here! 

Some rums aren't even rums!

The heartbreaking truth about many of the mainstream so-called 'rums' is that they are NOT EVEN RUMS. The producer's bottle below the minimum level of alcoholic strength that would designate them as a ‘rum’. Here in Europe, this is 37.5% ABV (EU LAW)  and many rums are 35% or lower, sometimes much lower. Malibu is only 21% and many retailers list it as ‘rum’ when it is really on a ‘spirit drink made with rum’.

Next time you pick up a Captain Morgans bottle you will notice that they are not allowed, by law, to call themselves a rum, instead, they refer to themselves as a 'Spirit Drink.' Basically, this means that the producer gets away with paying less on duty and makes more money from rum that isn't even rum! 


Spiced and not so spiced 

Spiced Rum has been a driving force in the overall popularity of rum and they offer a perfect example of how these rum masqueraders are always looking to cut corners. The less imaginative brands use little more than sugar and vanilla but the very worst of them will use synthetic flavourings! 

However, the better brands use a range of blended spices from around the world and macerate them in real rum. This process is more time consuming and you’d expect the human effort and cost of production to result in a more expensive product. 

For example, CUT SPICED sources;

- Natural cinnamon & aniseed from Sri Lanka (16,244 km)

- Peppercorns & vanilla from Madagascar (14,142 km)

- Butterscotch, aniseed, coriander seeds from South India (15,616 km)

- Ginger & nutmeg from the West Indies (1,149 km)

Our ingredients travel a total of 47,151 km from their source to be blended with our rum but every km is worth it to create a liquid that delivers a multitude of real flavours.


Click here to find out more about our CUT Spiced Rum.

Dig deeper into the production methods

Often when a rum producer decides to use mass production methods they will use column stills in which to distill the alcohol. Usually, molasses-based rum is going to be distilled via a column still, which is kind of a continuous distillation process which means no impurities or unwanted chemicals can be removed from the liquid.

Smaller craft batch rum producers use pot stills, which allow the producer to have much more control over the liquid. They can remove those unwanted chemicals which occur naturally when producing alcohol. The Difford’s guide offer a great article on the alcohol distillation process here.

Find out about the unique production method we use to create the UK's first Smoked Rum. 


Watch out for added caramels or synthetics 

Originally, gold or dark rum was coloured by ageing the rum in charred oak barrels but, mass producers decided this process took too long and cost too much. Unfortunately, it is now common practice to use caramels to colour the liquid quickly, however, this results in a sickly artificial sugar taste.

Taking the time to colour rum through ageing or using real ingredients or natural colourings should be a timely and costly activity. CUT Smoked Rum, for example, is made using 100% sugar cane and is rested in oak barrels for 3 years to produce a natural toasted oak flavour. 


Now it’s up to you… 

It's easy to be seduced by an exciting story, the history of rum is woven in scandal and violence, from which brands have cleverly resold to blind us from the actual liquid that they sell.  

Next time you are at a bar or in the supermarket, ask yourself these questions;

1. Does it say rum on the bottle?

2. Which ingredients have they used?

3. Where have the ingredients come from?

4. Who produced the rum?

5. Does it say artificial flavours or sweeteners on the bottle?