Cayman Airways and Seven Fathoms rum join forces for a new take on an iconic in-flight cocktail.
By Lane Nieset
Photo by Jim Gates
Whilst some travellers wait until they reach their destination to indulge in local spirits, beers or wines, Cayman Airways Limited (CAL) makes switching to island mode a whole lot easier by offering passengers a sip of the Caymanian experience before they land.
“Cayman Airways has been offering complimentary rum punch aboard every international flight for decades, so it is very much a part of the Cayman Airways brand and traveller experience, and is engrained in the Caymankind culture of generosity that the airline is known for as the National Flag Carrier of the Cayman Islands,” explains Olivia Scott Ramirez, Marketing & Public Relations Manager for Cayman Airways. “We’ve traditionally partnered with local rum brands like Tortuga for this important added-value product for our passengers, and now we’re thrilled to partner with such a uniquely-made Caymanian rum like Seven Fathoms.”
Seven Fathoms rum is no stranger to the Cayman Airways in-flight experience — its mini bottles have been available for passengers to purchase from the airline’s in-flight cocktail list since 2011 when Seven Fathoms was being introduced to the Cayman market. As the product’s popularity grew as a premium Caymanian rum, the fusion of the Cayman Airways Rum Punch offering and Seven Fathoms rum became a natural progression. The result is a unique recipe designed just for Cayman Airways, in-keeping with the same great tropical flavours its passengers have come to love. The new Seven Fathoms Rum Punch will be rolling out in 2017 aboard all Cayman Airways international flights to and from The Cayman Islands.
“For many, Cayman’s national airline and Cayman’s national rum are both a point of pride,” says Walker Romanica, co-owner and co-distiller at Cayman Spirits Company, Seven Fathoms’ parent distillery. He created Cayman Spirits Company, the first and only distillery in the Cayman Islands, along with childhood friend Nelson Dilbert. They produced their first batch of rum 11 years ago. “To serve locally made rum on board offers guests a taste of the true Cayman experience that many visitors come here for.”
Rum is just as legendary in the Caribbean as the pirates who once plundered it. In the seafaring days, sugar plantations took on a dual role distilling rum using molasses from the sugar refining process. Whilst some rum distilleries still hang on to this tradition dating back to the 17th century, newcomers aren’t afraid to try their hand at crafting a contemporary version of the Caribbean “kill-devil.”
When Seven Fathoms started toying with the idea of creating “dock rum” in the early 2000s, a few friends got together with a goal of producing genuine ocean-aged rum inspired by the days when pirate ships transported rum barrels throughout the Caribbean. Sprouted from the concept of ageing rum on the ocean floor, the team set up the first undersea rum maturation site. One problem: Their secret was quickly discovered.
A diver pulled a barrel up to shore and sampled it at a local bar. Luckily, this pirated treasure turned out to be a success with the public. Reserves were then moved off to a more secure location, and that’s just where the rum got its name. The spirit sits for three years off of Cayman’s coast, seven fathoms under the sea in an American white oak bourbon cask. The natural rocking back and forth of the ocean tides increases the liquid contact of the rum with oak, creating a richer, more complex flavour.
But the consistent temperatures and rocking currents are half of what makes this rum stand out from other competitor rums. It’s the combination of cane sugar and copper used in the hand-done distilling process that really makes Seven Fathoms something special. Fresh, organic cane sugar is sourced from farms on Grand Cayman’s East End. The juice then makes the transformation in a Christian Carl copper pot, incorporating traditional West-Indian techniques.
Whilst travellers can sample the rum straight at the source at the distillery once they arrive in Cayman, Cayman Airways offers passengers the chance to experience this locally made product before their flight even touches down.
“Cayman Airways plays an integral role in the tourism advancement of our beautiful Cayman Islands,” says Ann-Marie Byrd, CAL’s Senior Manager of Inflight Services. “We are the pride of the Cayman Islands and serve as the first introduction to these shores. So we’re very excited about the new Seven Fathoms-infused rum punch now being offered on-board.”
The rum and its story is special enough, but there’s nothing like weaving it into a Caribbean-style punch to get the party started island-style from 30,000 feet in the sky, giving passengers a true taste of what’s to come in Cayman.