Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Rum Yard celebrates J’can culture, craftsmanship and hospitality

Published:Thursday | February 29, 2024 | 12:08 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Gail Bell gives a demonstration using the sugar cane juicer.
Gail Bell gives a demonstration using the sugar cane juicer.
A section of the tasting veranda at the Rum Yard.
A section of the tasting veranda at the Rum Yard.
Gail Bell, owner of the Rum Yard at Main Street Rose Hall in St James.
Gail Bell, owner of the Rum Yard at Main Street Rose Hall in St James.
Items on display for sale at the Rum Yard include tasty gizzadas.
Items on display for sale at the Rum Yard include tasty gizzadas.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

Upon entering Rum Yard at Main Street, Rose Hall, St James, one is immediately struck by a sense of authenticity.

The zinc roof, reminiscent of a factory, looms overhead, setting the stage for an immersive experience. Dominating the space is a three-litre bottle of The Emperor, the Spirit of Jamaica, Wray and Nephew white rum, sparking conversations and igniting curiosity.

The brainchild of Jamaican entrepreneur Gail Bell, the Rum Yard stands as a testament to Jamaican excellence, a phrase Bell proudly champions. Speaking with Food, Bell emphasises that the Rum Yard transcends being merely a rum experience store; it’s a journey into the heart of Jamaican craftsmanship and hospitality.

Opened just seven months ago, the Rum Yard boasts an impressive array of premium rums, including J Wray and Nephew and Appleton Estate selections, ranging from signature blends to aged reserves. Additionally, the establishment proudly offers Sangster’s Rum Cream, Stone’s Ginger Wine, Monymusk Estate, and an assortment of West Indies rum creams and liqueurs.

But the Rum Yard is more than just a purveyor of fine spirits; it’s a celebration of Jamaica’s rich culinary heritage. Here, guests can indulge in the largest collection of gourmet chocolates, expertly curated to complement the nuances of each rum. From Pure and Likkle More to Cafe Blue and Mount Pleasant, the chocolates are a testament to Jamaica’s world-renowned cocoa legacy.

Bell’s passion for showcasing the best of Jamaica extends beyond rum and chocolate.

CULTURAL-INFUSED DECOR

Collaborating with artisans from Haiti, she incorporates their craftsmanship into the Rum Yard’s décor, infusing the space with cultural richness. Recycled oil drums are transformed into bar trays, while Bartley’s woodwork adorns the walls with whimsical phrases like ‘God Made Rum to Apologize for Mondays’.

Bell’s commitment to excellence is evident in every detail of the Rum Yard. From the carefully curated décor to the unique offerings, each element contributes to an unforgettable experience. Visitors are invited to explore the history and craftsmanship behind Jamaica’s most beloved exports, from rum to coffee to chocolate.

One particularly noteworthy feature of the Rum Yard is its dedication to sustainability. Bar trays crafted from recycled oil drums and charcuterie boards made from reclaimed wood not only add to the rustic charm of the space but also reflect Bell’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

Her commitment to excellence extends to every aspect of the Rum Yard’s offerings. In addition to an extensive selection of premium rums and gourmet chocolates, the Rum Yard also offers a unique range of cocktail candles, each capturing the essence of beloved libations.

Guests can choose from an array of scents, including refreshing Mojito, rich Kentucky bourbon, effervescent Prosecco, and zesty tequila. These candles not only fill the air with enticing aromas but also serve as delightful souvenirs, capturing the spirit of Jamaica in every flickering flame.

As guests sip on the Rum Yard’s official cocktail, the Dr Bird, made with Appleton Rum, they are transported to a world where every sip tells a story. Trained by the JWN Academy, the Rum Yard’s team ensures that each drink is expertly crafted to perfection.

Outside, a tasting verandah beckons guests to savour the flavours of Jamaica in a picturesque setting. Plans for a retrofitted rum bar and a second-floor cocktail lounge promise even more delights for visitors to enjoy.

Amid it all stands a sugar cane juicer, a nod to the origins of rum and a reminder of the rich heritage that permeates every corner of the Rum Yard.

The Rum Yard is more than just a store; it’s a celebration of Jamaican culture, craftsmanship, and hospitality. Through its curated offerings and immersive experiences, it invites visitors to discover the true spirit of Jamaica and indulge in the excellence that defines the island’s culinary and cultural landscape.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com