Din Hassan of Black Tears Dry Spiced

Black Tears Cocktail | Cuba's Only Spiced Rum - Din Hassan of Black Tears Cuban Spiced Rum | Food For Thought

Black Tears Dry Spiced

Spiced rum is a type of rum that is usually made using dark rum, with additional flavour and you guessed it, spices. One of the most interesting quirk of spice rums is that they usually take on seafaring and adventurous names, and Black Tears Dry Spiced is no different. We sit down with Din Hassan, Brand Ambassador the brand to get to know a bit more about what spices make it so special and how we should use the spiced rum in a cocktail.

Din Hassan Brand Ambassador | Cuba's Only Spiced Rum - Din Hassan of Black Tears Cuban Spiced Rum | Food For Thought

Can you tell us how Black Tears Dry Spiced started?

In 1577, a small village was built in Falla, Ciego de Avila province, in Cuba. Hidden away, hundreds of miles from Havana, this village became the site of a legendary distillery. Through ages of prosperity and pestilence, it produced rum according to the traditional methods; a rum known throughout Cuba for its unsurpassed quality and otherworldly taste. Today, the village is home to an emotional blend of Cuban white dry rum and seductive Cuban spices known as the Black Tears Dry Spiced Rum. Black Tears Dry Spiced Rum also began with the story of a young woman who sobbed black tears of sorrow into a vat of rum, giving it an otherworldly, bittersweet taste. We have rooted our product with that story, calling our liquid Black Tears. It is crafted with Cuban rum, seductive spices, love and loss.

Din Hassan | Cuba's Only Spiced Rum - Din Hassan of Black Tears Cuban Spiced Rum | Food For Thought

What is your philosophy behind the Black Tears Dry Spiced produces?

The story of Black Tears Dry Spiced is rooted in Cuban music, specifically a bolero – a song about love and loss called Lagrimas Negras, which means Black Tears. Written in 1929 by Cuban composer and singer Miguel Matamoros, and recorded by luminaries like Celia Cruz and Compay Segundo, it has been one of Cuba’s most famous songs for many Cuban generations. Just like “Lagrimas Negras”, Black Tears is crafted to honour those who dedicate their lives to express their true emotions. Good and bad, love and loss – for Cubans. These are all a part of the bittersweet taste of Black Tears. Cubans never know what struggles a new day may bring, so they take life as it comes, holding nothing back. They live with their whole heart, experiencing love and loss together en la ‘lucha’ – the fight. Hold nothing back.

Gummy Bear Cocktail | Cuba's Only Spiced Rum - Din Hassan of Black Tears Cuban Spiced Rum | Food For Thought

What goes into Black Tears Dry Spiced?

Black Tears Dry Spiced is distilled from exceptional molasses, sourced from four mills in the province of Ciego de Avila, near Cuba’s northern coast. Black Tears Dry Spiced is then spiced with coffee and cacao, which have flavoured the history of Cuba itself, and infused with ají dulce, the sweet pepper, and one of the most distinctive tastes in Cuban cuisine. The irresistible, bittersweet taste of Black Tears and its low sugar content sets it apart from other spiced rums. Moreover, Black Tears has earned the seal of high quality rum – the Vigía seal – acknowledging the excellence and passion in the production process.

Ron La Progresiva | Cuba's Only Spiced Rum - Din Hassan of Black Tears Cuban Spiced Rum | Food For Thought

Which are your best sellers and latest releases?

We have developed two products as of today, Black Tears Dry Spiced and La Progresiva 13, our first aged rum.  Every product is finetuned by our Cuban Master Blender after years of development looking for the best taste and innovative formulation in order to reveal the fine treasures of our ageing cellar in Ciego de Avila, in Cuba, to the world. We are currently working on a third product, planning to release it early 2021 and we have more than 7,000 barrels of aged rum in our bodega.

Tau Huay Cocktail | Cuba's Only Spiced Rum - Din Hassan of Black Tears Cuban Spiced Rum | Food For Thought

What challenges do you face as a spiced rum producer that consumers might not be aware of? What has been the most common misconception of spiced rum that you have come across?

Generally spiced rums are not considered as rum by legislation in many countries, like in the European Union for instance. Because this is not a legal category, its definition is quite loose and consumers can find many different kinds of liquids, from very sweet (no control of sugar level) to many added spices more or less natural. We are using 100% handcrafted Cuban rum, 40% ABV and decided to be very strict on sugar level, way below EU requirements for rums approving 20g/litre. Black Tears Dry Spiced has only 9g/litre which makes it quite unique in its category. This enhances the taste of the spices and sticks to traditional Cuban way of making rum, very dry and light.

Aji Dulce | Cuba's Only Spiced Rum - Din Hassan of Black Tears Cuban Spiced Rum | Food For Thought

Can you share a cocktail recipe that you like making?

Aji Dulce Cocktail

  • 40ml Black Tears Dry Spiced
  • 20ml Pimm’s
  • 3 slice Cucumber (Muddle)
  • 2 drops of Tabasco Sauce
  • 30ml Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 20ml Simple Syrup (1:1)
  • 45ml Ginger Ale

Shake and double strain into highball glass.
Top up with ginger ale.

Black Tears Tonic | Cuba's Only Spiced Rum - Din Hassan of Black Tears Cuban Spiced Rum | Food For Thought

Can you recommend the best way to enjoy a spiced rum?

Spiced Rum Tonic

  • 40ml Black Tears Dry Spiced
  • 120ml Tonic Water
  • Orange Zest

Serve in a highball glass.

Aji Dulce Cocktail | Cuba's Only Spiced Rum - Din Hassan of Black Tears Cuban Spiced Rum | Food For Thought

How is black tears rum dealing with the covid-19 and how has it affected the business?

Before the Covid-19 we had an order from Indonesia, Japan and Shanghai and 2nd order from Taiwan (need about 6 weeks to ship to their country) and its just nice to launch BT there when the Covid-19 is over. We also outreach to our consumer thru online learning, masterclass and online platform.

| PHOTOGRAPHY: NICHOLAS NG & BLACK TEARS CUBAN SPICED RUM | WEBSITE: BLACK TEARS CUBAN SPICED RUM |

Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic, travelogue and opinion columnist which is curated on Food For Thought. He has been a freelance writer for 10 years and has previously worked as a lawyer. He currently is the Principal Counsultant of A Thoughtfull Consultancy.

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