Catch up with The House of Angostura’s new ambassador
Rohan Massie is the new brand ambassador for The House of Angostura. Here, Massie — who is also the co-owner and venue manager of Rude Boy in Hobart — talks about how he got into rum, what’s happening in the world of rum right now, and healthier, low-ABV drinks.
Congratulations on becoming the new brand ambassador for The House of Angostura. How does it feel?
Absolutely amazing! It’s such a great opportunity to work with a brand that has a 200 year history of making quality products. With such a diverse portfolio and so many flavours to play with, I feel it’s a dream job for any creative bartender.
You’re venue manager and part owner of Rude Boy in Hobart. How did you get into rum?
I have always loved making drinks with rum but it wasn’t until the opportunity to open Rude Boy came up that I actually got to take a deep dive into the category, and as they say once you start…
Why do you love rum so much?
Rum is one of the most flavour diverse categories in the world because of the enormous range of production techniques and base ingredients. Produced in such a range of countries, with different laws and traditions in each, rum really gives you that feeling of time and place.
What’s happening in rum right now?
It’s a huge time in the rum world right now. Finally, people are starting to take rums more seriously and viewing it as more than just as an ingredient in a Pina Colada. This means we are seeing more and more focus on top-end bottlings such as the Angostura 1787. This interest is driving customers to educate themselves about what’s in their glass, how it’s made and where it’s from, and in turn it’s driving bartenders to learn more because who wants to be out smarted by the guest right?
The drive in customer education is also resulting in a demand for better ingredients in the tin. And that means if people are really considering what’s in the glass, as a whole they are not drinking as much but they are happy to pay more for a better drink. Rums like Angostura 1919 and Angostura 7 Year Old are amazing base spirits for a range of New World drinks with loads of spice notes, citrus and even deep molasses, particularly in the 7 Year Old, and that makes them a popular choice at the bar.
Talking of drinking less, what role does Angostura bitters play in helping people to make healthier choices?
The low and no category of drinks is really taking off right now and deservedly so. Customers should be able to choose their drinks based on flavour without the need for a high booze content. As our industry progresses, less is becoming more in the same way people now go out to small plate degustations rather than a supersized schnitzel every day of the week.
Healthier alternatives are all about having the choice in the first place and a great example of this is the original Australian adult soft drink, the Angostura Lemon Lime and Bitters. In this drink, as in so many others, Angostura aromatic bitters acts as the bartender’s spice rack, loading the drink with flavour while balancing some of the sweet and citrus notes. Recently at Rude Boy, we have been using Angostura bitters to do exactly that, by adding it to our kombucha before fermentation to create a real depth of flavour.
Why do you think amari are so popular? How are people drinking it?
Amari are truly one of the most versatile ingredients on the back bar. Whether it’s lightening them up with something sparkling in a spritz for Aperitivo Hour or stirring them down as something heavier for an after-dinner digestive, Amari just pack so much flavour. At Rude Boy, we have been playing around a lot with Rose spritzers. The wonderful red fruit characters in the Rose bounce beautifully off the cherry, licorice and cinnamon notes in Amaro di Angostura.