Meet the Kirkstall bartender behind Leeds Rum Festival

Kirkstall's Samantha Fish. Photo: Anete Lusina Photography

Speak to Samantha Fish for even a few moments and it soon becomes clear she’s incredibly passionate – and knowledgeable – about rum!

The Kirkstall resident is one of three city bartenders presenting the Leeds Rum Festival 2018 – a night filled with rum, masterclasses, music and merriment.

Samantha, who is operations manager for popular bar Mojo, has teamed back up with Dan Crowther (Hedonist Project, brand ambassador for Maverick Drinks) and Bruce Lerman (Hedonist Project) to celebrate the drink they are passionate about.

Samantha, a bartender for 15 years, has visited places like Cuba to see how the drink is made. The 33-year-old said:

“Rum is the most diverse spirit category in the world.

“The way it’s made varies massively from country to country resulting in many expressions.

“It’s often so laid back there are no rules and regulations, which means there’s an incredible number of experiences and tastes to be enjoyed.

“In 2016 we were at a rum festival in Birmingham in 2016 couldn’t believe that nobody else was already doing this kind of event in Leeds. We decided that its history and diversity deserved to be celebrated – it turned out that hundreds of people agreed with us.”

This year there will be over 100 rum expressions, the return of the popular masterclasses presented in the region of 40 industry professionals, DJs and live entertainment, The Rum Shack bar and a Desert Island Disco taking the festival into the night.

Leeds Rum Festival Founders Dan Crowther and Sam Fish
Leeds Rum Festival Founders Dan Crowther and Sam Fish

“All the rum samples and masterclasses are free with a ticket,” Samantha added. “Although we believe there is a rum out there for everyone, we also appreciate that not everyone wants to try and find it, so we have some Whiskies, Mescals and Tequilas to sample too. With this and the The Rum Shack Bar selling beer, Prosecco and cocktails there really is something for everyone.”

Independent Leeds-based retailer Latitude Wine and Spirits will host The Bottle Shop stocking all the brands for ticket holders to purchase and take home.

Masterclasses hosted by brand ambassadors will give Rum lovers new and old the chance to discover more about their favourite tipple from the people that know the most about them.

European Brand Ambassador for Diplomatico Rums, Jon Lister, returns as a host. Samantha added:

“Last year Jon’s ‘Sensory Masterclasses’ were overwhelmingly popular. He’s so knowledgeable and passionate about his subject that his classes can’t help be fascinating and fun. We’re excited to welcome him back.”

Leeds Rum Festival is at The Corn Exchange, Leeds City Centre, on Saturday, October 27th from 7pm ‘til late. Tickets are on sale now priced at £18, plus booking fee.

Follow the event on Facebook.


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