Each of the flavors of Rum Babs is crafted according to a Malagasy family recipe which has been handed down from generation to generation, tested, and approved for over 100 years.
Their “Punch au Rhum” is created by mixing seasonal fruits, spices, and local rums. (According to European laws the official naming for Rum-based drinks with a lower alcohol content than 37.5% vol. are to be called “Punch au Rhum”)
TRL: Who is Gaële Sary?
My name is Gaële, I am 33 years young. Recently became a mum, work a full-time job, and currently work Rum Babs on the side.
I didn’t always live in Belgium; my current home. Up until the age of 10 I lived in Madagascar, being raised by my grandmother and aunts. My mother in the meantime worked and lived in France in the hopes of one day bringing us over and providing us with a better life.
I never forgot my childhood on the island so when I saw the opportunity to create Rum Babs, I didn’t hesitate. Being able to use my families’ recipes combined with the exceptional spices and fruits from Madagascar allows me to showcase the cultural heritage of Madagascar.
TRL: What does the rum mean for you? What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?
Rum for me is a memory of good times from when I lived in Madagascar. I always saw my family enjoy it, use it to make flavored rum, or simply craft it themselves.
TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective.
Smoothness, complexity and makes you instantly dream away of exotic destinations.
TRL: What is the most important contribution you have made in the rum industry?
So far, it would be to have put Madagascar and its exceptional products that tiny bit more on the world stage. My long-term goal is to expand and uphold the reputation of Madagascar.
TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.
The rum industry has allowed me to launch my own company. As rum is a versatile product it makes it easier to create your twist. Especially in the flavored rum niche.
TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?
Madagascar. But that isn’t always possible, so my second favorite place would be in the company of friends, family. I believe that rum is a shareable moment drink, much like wine is.
TRL: Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?
Rum still has a lot of room to up its game in terms of quality and reputation. I can still remember the days when rum was only good enough to be mixed with coke. I encounter people daily that have very little understanding of the rum industry, the variations that exist, and are unaware that there are rums that can be enjoyed outside of a cocktail.
TRL: Any tips to train the palate and taste a good premium rum?
Taste and enjoy the widest variety of different rums as possible. I still learn every day and still have a long way to go. Avoid rums though with high sugar contents. Yes, they are smoother but they mask a lot of the original flavors.
TRL: How can rum contribute to improving the crisis in some countries?
It can create jobs. It can also help to educate the local population and motivate them to start their production.
TRL: Is the commitment to sustainable development the key to success for the permanence of the rum industry in the world? Why?
Yes! It should be the case in every industry and certainly as we continue to progress towards the future. Finding the right balance between the preservation of nature and agricultural exploitation is increasingly important. Especially as sugar cane, naturally consumes large amounts of water and is often cultivated in countries where drought is not uncommon (like the south of Madagascar).
Next to the ecological impact, sustainable development should also focus on the livelihood of the local communities that cultivate, harvest, and transform sugar cane. These communities are too often the losers in the production chain. This is of course not a problem only related to the rum industry but does require a whole new way of thinking.
TRL: Who would like to meet in the rum industry? What would you say to him/her?
No one particularly. I guess anyone who is interested in the rum industry or wishes to learn more.
TRL: What are your next goals in the rum industry?
Continue to develop my brand in Belgium and afterward towards other European countries. At the same time, I am going to continue improving the circularity of our production chain to reduce or reuse waste. Also improving relations with local communities is on my list. Having direct access to the produce, allows us to better support the farmers and receive exceptional products in return.
TRL: Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?
They can tell the story, the background, the how, why, what, when to a large group of people and further enhance the reputation of the rum industry.
TRL: What is your advice for new generations in the rum industry?
Learn, adapt, show respect and just go for it!
TRL: How can people learn more about you? Website? Social media page?
Try to get a well lit shot from the front of the rum label
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