As Brits one thing we all love is a bit of boozing. Well, a lot of boozing. The variety of alcohol has become so extensive from wine, to your IPA’s and APA’s to marmalade vodka, we’re really spoilt for choice. The thing is, not many – if any – question the origin of the alcohol we are happily guzzling, if it tastes good (and makes us feel good) that’s all that’s on our minds.
However, for pub landlord Paul Stanley, this wasn’t the case. Having worked with alcohol for a living, Paul became cynical about mass imported and corporate marketed alcohol. He was aware the rums that are branded Caribbean, are not so much, with their fake history and Caribbean themed captains to fool us into thinking so. These rums usually come white in colour and are dyed and polluted with cheap flavourings. Unhappy about the whole concept, Paul set out to make his own special, authentic spiced rum. Not concerned about a gap in the market or sales orientated “office pop” Paul knew what people really wanted from a good drink.
First, finding the perfect base rum was crucial, in order to find this, hundreds of rums were imported in small batches from the Caribbean and other countries in South America and Africa. After much blending, testing and tasting Paul discovered a wonderful combination of delicious flavours. The two rums that were eventually married together were one from Guyana, on the coast of South American from the Diamond Distillery. This is caramelised naturally with local Demerara sugar and then aged in Bourbon casks. Rum number two is a lighter rum from Trinidad which balances out the more intense flavours of the one from Guyana.
Then, what makes a great spiced rum? Spices of course! Vanilla was a flavour that was avoided as using more natural and unusual tones that complimented the palate was the goal. Again, plenty of tasting took place, subjects being Pauls friends and patrons at the pub until a secret recipe was created that could not have been improved any more. Hey, presto, Cloven Hoof was born.
Now the recipe had been nailed, a name had to be thought up. One evening sitting around drinking rum, one of these renegade rebels thought up Cloven Hoof. “Why?” They asked, “Because the Devil made us do it” she replied. They fell about laughing and knocked back the remains with a toast and on that day this satanic libation was born.
At Pauls pub, customers couldn’t get enough of Cloven Hoof, with him struggling to keep up with demand. Feeling guilty about keeping this delectable punch to themselves, too, he decided to produce it on a larger scale and go to market. The base ingredients are now shipped into the docks of Liverpool and are mixed and bottled down the road in nearby Chorley by H&A Prestige. Paul passed on the rum blend and his secret recipe to H&A Prestige who replicate the original product on his behalf.
The rum ‘blended in hell’ has become a devilish success since its launch in Brighton in 2016 and has widespread listings throughout the U.K. is the top selling rum at The Rum Festival which is the country’s first ever travelling rum festival. This naughty but nice rum has almost revolutionised the world of the drink, bringing back the originality to the Caribbean born beverage. So why not grab yourself a glass, or hell, a bottle, and raise the hoof!
Available at Hartleys and Trafalgar Wines