Leeds-List: The Best & Most Insightful Guide to Leeds

Leeds Rum Festival

Grab your friends and slurp your way through 130 different rums, expert masterclasses, street food specials and late-night music. Back for its fourth year at Leeds Corn Exchange, it can only be Leeds Rum Festival. Find out more…

Mark your diaries, liquor lovers. Leeds is about to get a serious dose of rum-bunctious revelry.

If you love rum so much you could spend a whole evening drinking, discovering and generally delighting in it, oh boy are you in for a treat. Leeds Rum Festival is transforming Leeds Corn Exchange into an after-hours oasis straight from your spirit-soaked dreams on Saturday 21st September 2019. There will be unlimited tastings, masterclasses, demonstrations, entertainment, plus the chance to slurp over 130 of the best rums in the world. You read that right, 130! It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Leeds Rum Festival

Credit: Anete Lusina Photography

With so much on offer you may dither at first, but their nifty event guide will help you decide which of the 30 rum brands to dive into first. Why not kick off with a few snifters from Appleton Estate Rum, crafted in Jamaica by rum’s first female master blender? Afterwards, move onto silky smooth Naud Rum from Panama, before sampling sweet Bayou Rum made using Louisianan molasses – it’s the perfect base for a mojito!

Leeds Rum Festival offers a rare opportunity to speak to the people behind the drink and find out precisely what makes their spirit so special. Every stall comes loaded with rum and all the tastings are included in the price, so there’s no limit to your quaffing. Simply wander, admire, chatter and indulge. It’s like the tastiest research trip you’ve ever been on.

Leeds Rum Festival

Credit: Anete Lusina Photography

While you’re still seeing straight, don’t miss the chance to choose your own adventure at one of the festival’s popular rum masterclasses, held in private rooms around the Corn Exchange. You can join the journey for bold flavours with Spice Hunter – this English rum is made by Berry Bros and Rudd, the official wine supplier to the royal family, so you know they’re masters of flavour. Or why not unite with Gethin Jones, brand ambassador from Diablesse, to uncover the secret of how to taste with your nose?

If you’d prefer to sip your way through history, make a beeline for the Pusser’s Rum masterclass. Led by ambassador Peter Thornton, you’ll unearth a centuries-long love affair between rum and the British Royal Navy. All sessions are included in the ticket price – no hidden extras. And with no cap on how many you can visit, it’s possible to leave the festival with a whole lot more knowledge in your brain, as well as all that rum in your belly.

Leeds Rum Festival

Credit: Anete Lusina Photography

In between masterclass-hopping, make sure to find time to pull up a pew at The Rum Shack bar. No party is complete without a cocktail or two, right? As well as classic Mai Tais and rum punches, you’ll find an exclusive Highball menu inspired by four brand new Coca-Cola Signature Mixers.

These innovative drinks have been handcrafted by some of the world’s most exciting bartenders, including Leeds’ own Pippa Guy (currently Senior Bartender at the famous American Bar in The Savoy). Each is a unique twist on the classic Coca-Cola recipe, specially designed to be paired with dark spirits like rum and whisky. We’ll cheers to that.

Leeds Rum Festival

Credit: Anete Lusina Photography

But Leeds Rum Festival has plenty more in store besides booze. Full on fiesta mode will be unleashed when Black Music Festival join the party, complete with steel pan musicians, singers and even a carnival troupe to get you up and dancing. In for the long haul? DJ Will Graney is spinning funk, soul, disco and reggae well into the evening.

Grab a bite to eat from street food favourites Humpit Hummus, upcycle your rum bottle into a one-of-a-kind home accessory or find a take-home treasure at one of the various craft stalls led by Leeds traders. And if you’ve fallen head over heels for a new rum blend, local liquor merchant, Latitude, have a pop-up shop stocked full of festival favourites. They can even point you towards the right bottle if your head is feeling more muddled than a mojito.

Leeds Rum Festival

Credit: Anete Lusina Photography

All in all, Leeds Rum Festival promises to give your Saturday night a serious side of spice. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get ready to rum-ble.

Leeds Rum Festival will take place at Leeds Corn Exchange at 7pm on Saturday 21st September 2019. Tickets cost £25 plus booking fee and once inside, all the tastings, masterclasses, music, talks and demos are free. Cocktails and street food will be charged at an additional price.