RUM? That’s the stuff you mix with Coke or put in a frozen daiquiri, right? I’ve never considered myself a rum drinker, but Mark Wyatt, aka “Dr Rum”, assures me that there is rum for everyone and every occasion.
Mark is one of the owners of the Fish D’vine Cafe and Rum Bar at Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, and prides himself on introducing people to the world of this precious nectar. It’s been his passion for more than 25 years, and the thing that drove him to open Australia’s largest rum bar on Airlie’s main strip; which has itself recently undergone a $23 million makeover.
With more than 450 varieties in stock (Dr Rum has personally tasted them all), including some very rare examples he’s collected from around the world, Dr Rum has quickly established himself as one of Australia’s leading rum experts, and at the forefront of the rum revolution sweeping Australia’s bars.
“A large rum collection is indeed impressive; however any idiot can collect 450 rums,” he says. “But without an acute understanding of the flavours and how they relate; how each one is made; where it comes from; the fantastic history of this monumental, exciting, world changing spirit; and above all, a cheeky sense of fun; it’s useless.
“It’s the most diverse, interesting, rebellious, delicious, yet misunderstood spirit,” says Dr Rum. “What makes a good rum is the emotion around it – the feeling; the place, like if you’re sitting on a beach in Barbados.”