For Earth’s sake

The new spirit to come out of Goa is a spiced rum, which wants to be eco-friendly.
Earth rum, which launched in goa this month, and some of its characteristics.
Earth rum, which launched in Goa this month, and some of its characteristics.

There’s a new spirit that’s made its debut in Goa’s buzzing alcohol market. No, it’s not another gin.

Earth is a premium spiced rum, the colour of coffee, with flavour notes reminiscent of Christmas cake. The newest spirit from Surbhi Wines, it aims to tap into the vacuum left by those seeking good Indian spiced rum.

The idea for the spirit originated last January, and went into hibernation, briefly, when the second wave of Covid hit Goa. After a year of experiments perfecting the blend, Surbhi Beverages launched Earth Rustic Spiced Rum this month.

Surbhi Beverages was founded in 2019 by Sachin Bhamri and Vijay Khalate and their portfolio includes Don Jovan brandy, Black Puma brandy and Mighty Bison whiskey. Earth is their first premium product.

In Goa’s buzzing alcohol market, gin still tops the list when it comes to new releases. Why did they choose rum? “We felt the gin market was saturated,” says Bhamri. “Post the Covid lockdown, we were looking at entering the premium market. There were few options for good, spiced rum so we decided to fill that gap.”

The beautiful black, white and gold label on the earth rum bottle is inspired by elements from nature.
The beautiful black, white and gold label on the Earth rum bottle is inspired by elements from nature.

Earth is made in a distillery in Margao with spices — pepper, star anise, cinnamon and clove — sourced from across India. The rum is fragrant on the nose with notes of vanilla and clove. Spiced with pepper, star anise and cinnamon, it is light and smooth on the palate with a sweet vanilla aftertaste. The blend takes 21 days: six days of infusions (which are done separately) and 15 days to rest the spirit.

What’s the best way to drink Earth? Bhamri is aware of the Indian tendency to drown rum in cola. Though he promises Earth still holds strong when mixed with cola, he advises having it on the rocks, or with a ginger-spiced tonic. In fact, the next batch of bottles will feature some information on the best way to drink Earth. “We have teamed up with European Bartender School in South Goa to create cocktails that showcase the drink and make it accessible to people,” says brand ambassador Jigyasaa Malhotra. These include a twist on the Old Fashioned, and Espresso Martini, and experiments with Assam tea, coconut milk, and pineapple. “The perception that people have of rum is that it is a man’s drink and very stiff/ formal. We want to break those stereotypes.”

There's much more you can do with earth rum than just mix it with cola.
There’s much more you can do with Earth rum than just mix it with cola.

Earth had a trial run at Tom’s Wines in Panjim in the beginning of July and the feedback was positive — they sold 30 cases within days. Earth’s TG, adds Bhamri, are people seeking to try an affordable homegrown spirit.

The rum comes in a clear, rounded bottle with a black, white and gold label that depicts the moon cycle, water, fish, mountains and trees…all things that portray the earth. “During the lockdown, everyone was talking about how much the world had changed and how we needed to do more for Mother Earth. We thought ‘why not name the rum earth’,” says Bhamri. Once they fixed the name, it became their inspiration for the brand’s essence: giving back to the earth. Accordingly, they aim to be as low waste as possible, in their operations and logistics. They use wooden corks (though they are imported), and paper labels on the bottles and their goodie bags include biodegradable and zero-plastic articles: a ceramic drink measure, soy wax candle in a ceramic holder, and notes printed on brown paper. “Once the rains cease, we want to focus on collaborating with people working in the sustainability space, and engage in beach clean-ups, tree plantation drives and more,” adds Bhamri.

The earth rum brand, true to name, believes in giving back to the earth.
The Earth rum brand, true to name, believes in giving back to the earth.

The brand wants to focus on Goa for the next few months, before launching in Delhi and Bengaluru. Later in the year they will launch their second Earth product, a golden rum (a richer, aged rum). There’s also a premium whiskey in the pipeline. “We believe rum is going to be the next best thing,” says Bhamri.

A bottle of Earth rum retails for Rs 1,350 (750 ml). Instagram  

Read more.

Goa’s newest gin promises a happy high

Goa’s newest dining spots