Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell
“I travel around the world spreading the gospel according to rum through seminars, mixology, bar training, tastings, judging competitions and drinking rum, so smile & enjoy self life’s too short”.
Even before he began his career as a singer, with hits such as ‘Rock da Juice’ which were used in several big motion pictures, Ian was, and will always be a mixologist. He is also the founder and brains behind ‘UK RumFest…The Rum Experience’, Europe’s first ever festival to celebrate the diversity of Rum in October last year at The Royal Horticultural Society (Lindley Hall), London.
Ian’s career has taken him on an interesting and inspired journey. He first dived into the cocktail world during the boom of the early 90’s while taking a year off from school. Mixing fun cocktails such as ‘Long Island Ice teas’, ‘Sex on the Beach’ and ‘Freddy Fudpuckers’ were the rage back then, and Ian took to the industry like a duck to water for chemistry was his major in school!
‘Alcohol is the element and cocktails the compound’ is one of his favorite quotes. But it was his love of tropical cuisine and creating drinks to match that brought his attention to drinks companies such as J Wray & Nephew, who made Ian the first Rum Brand Ambassador in the UK.
His role was to create rum cocktails for their high profile accounts as well as telling the story of rum to an ever-growing cocktail and bar culture. Although the task of educating a new wave of bartenders and mixologists was demanding, Ian still found time to co-present two TV shows on ITV, perform on stages around the world as rapper, ‘Via B’ and play professional basketball in the British Basketball league.
In 2007 Ian created the UK RumFest, the world’s first international rum festival in London attracting rum companies from all over the world. This festival went on to inspire rum promoters from all over the world to create their own versions of Ian’s RumFest including the Rum Renaissance in Miami,Florida, the Berlin Rum fest in Germany, the Paris Rum fair in France and the Rum show in Rome, Italy. Ian has also personally helped to launch rum festivals in the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Mauritius.
Today Ian is Recognized as The Global Ambassador for Rum, traveling around the world conducting rum seminars, rum academies, tastings & masterclasses as well as judging many cocktail competitions including Bacardi’s Legacy final, Havana Club’s Cocktail Grand Prix, Angostura’s Cocktail challenge and Diplomatico rum’s World Tournament. He also acts as a consultant to many rum companies helping with promotional strategies, marketing and creating new brands.
In 2013 Ian Burrell became the first person set up a rum shack in Antarctica.His dream of being able to conduct rum masterclasses and tastings in all seven Continents meant that the most elusive Continent had to be conquered. But not only did he brave the Antarctic cold to spread the gospel of rum, he visited the 6 remaining continents within 10 months further cementing his Global rum ambassador status.
In 2014 at the IBIS Hotel in London the global rum ambassador decided to take the promotion of the rum category to a new level by breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest rum tasting. With the help of 6 rum producers including Appleton Rum, Angostura Rum, Diplomatico Rum, Don Q Rum, Havana Club Rum and Pusser’s navy rum; Ian held the rum master class for 353 people. The previous record being 313 by a spirits institute in Colombia.
Awards & Accolades
- Drinks International Bartender of the Year
2008 Gold medal winner.
- Drinks International Cocktail Challenge
2008 Gold Medal winner
- One of Theme Magazine’s Top 100.
- Included in the Maxxium Yearbook 2007.
- One of the Observer/Courvoisier Future 500.
- Contributor to CLASS Magazine, Drinks International, Imbibe, Drinks Business and On Trade Review
- Tales of the cocktail Spirited Awards final four nominee as the International Brand Ambassador of the Year for 2011, 2012 & 2013.
- 2013 First person to set up a rumshack in Antarctica.
- 2014 Spirited Awards top 10 nominee.
- 2014 Guinness World Record holder for the largest official rum tasting.