Dream job of island hopping rum connoisseur from Tufnell Park
Some jobs are enough to make you green with envy – a Formula One driver, chocolate taster, international film star.
But how about this; spending your days jetting from one island paradise to another, drinking cocktails and promoting rum on a professional basis.
It may sound like a fantasy, but that is how Ian Burrell – rum ambassador to the world – earns his keep.
“It does involve a lot of travel to places like Jamaica, Barbados, Cuba, Trinidad and St Lucia,” said Ian, a 40-year-old who lives in Carleton Road, Tufnell Park.
“The Caribbean basin is the centre of the rum world, so I spend quite a lot of time there. But because rum is enjoyed in so many different countries – wherever it is needed, I’ll be there.
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Ian owns his own company, which is hired by various rum brands to promote the drink to people, companies and the media.
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This involves putting on events, rum tastings and making cocktails – and this weekend he has organised The Rum Experience, a three-day event at Kensington’s Olympia.
“It’s an indoor festival with tropical music, dancing, food and 400 different types of types of rum to sample – it should be fun”.
When not island-hopping for the greater good of Caribbean spirits, Ian runs a bar in Camden called Cotton’s Rum Shack, and it was while serving drinks that his love affair with the drink began.
“When I started behind a bar, I realised pretty quickly that rum brought smiles to people’s faces,” said Ian.
“Drinks like Pina Colada or Mai Tai are a lot of fun and I think there is a rum out there for everyone. So I set up the business and now companies approach me, which is great.
“If they need a rum expert, my name tends to come up.
“Then they fly me out to judge a cocktail competition or something, because I lend a certain credibility.”