All Mixed Up: Sam Jeveons, founder of Nusa Caña Tropical Rum
November 02, 2022
Our continent loves a good drink. To cool off from our temperate weather and hot food, you can find us huddled in an airconned bar sipping on something cool, sexy, and clean. To celebrate our boozing culture, All Mixed Up explores the stories behind Asia’s famed mixologists, bartenders, and cupbearers that make our tipples and what makes them tick.
Hailing from the U.K., regional drinks consultant and co-founder of Nusa Caña Rum, Sam Jeveons has called Hong Kong home since 2006, establishing himself in the city and continent by way of his specialist skills in mixology and branding.
Birthing Nusa Caña Rum with three friends, Marc Rodrigues, Andy Gaunt, and Joe Milner, Sam and the founding team sought to tell the forgotten legends of Indonesian rum with their award-winning spirit. Combining two words “nusa,” island in Indonesian, and “caña,” sugar in Spanish, the tropical rum brand is putting the legend of Indonesian spirits on the international map.
With the upcoming release of Nusa Caña Rum’s new libation, the Godfather, a 100% Batavia Arrack, Sam sat down with The Beat Asia to chat tropical Indonesian rum, mixing and cocktails in Asia, and to share with us his new favourite cocktail using Nusa Caña, made by mixologist Maikal Gurung of The Daily Tot.
East Indie Punch (HK$130) made by Maikal Gurung of The Daily Tot
- 45ml of Nusa Cana Rum infused with dry sorrel
- 45ml Stone & Wood Ale
- 15ml of Disaronno Amaretto
- 15ml of Yuzu cordial
- 15ml of lemon juice
- 10ml of simple syrup
- Three dashes of walnut bitters
- A leaf of dry sorrel
- Long ice
Wet half the rim of a highball glass with a quartered lime, and dust with worm salt. Add all ingredients into a shaking tin, shake, and strain into glass with a tall ice cube in the centre. Pour dashes of walnut bitters for taste, and present with a leaf of dry sorrel.
Why are you interested in alcohol and mixology?
I've been in alcohol in one way or another all my life, from university onwards, consulting [for] and operating F&B venues. I’ve always been in beverages, not food. At some point in my life, I realised I wanted to stay in hospitality, but didn’t want to stay up serving till two in the morning and close at three.
Friends of mine and I got together and had this idea about “wouldn't it be great for once?” We created a spirit from Asia and sold it to the rest of the world. We started with this passion project [creating Nusa Caña Rum] and became big enough that I could step away from the service and hospitality and move my energy into the alcohol.
What is Nusa Caña Rum?
Nusa Caña stands for putting the fun back into rum, being open, authentic, and available to listen to a new chapter in the rum history. Indonesian rum has a long history, it's one of the oldest spirits in the world, predating all other rums. We just want to remind people that this rum started all rum. Tell everyone that rum started in Asia, it has great quality and fantastic provenance.
What to you impacts your career in Hong Kong, and why have you stuck around?
At the heart of Hong Kong, nothing has changed. If you are enamoured with it, you see it through your lens of pink-coloured eyes, and it's got all the right attributes when it's going well. We've all gone through difficult times, but nothing yet has been difficult enough to make me seriously consider changing what we do. I've often loved Hong Kong; I fell in love with it in 2006 when I first came out to visit.
It is and will become again top of the heap in the Asian F&B scene, in terms of Michelin-starred restaurants, Asia's Best Bars and World's Best Bars.
What is the post COVID-19 outlook for rum and Nusa Caña in Asia?
I do worry that in places that were longest hit, the bounce back will be slow. Behaviours have changed with drinking in Asian cities, with behavioural changes that will have an impact on taking time to get over We’re happy to wait it out and we’re on the right trajectory for opening up and recovering.
Tell me about Nusa Caña’s newest releases and future
With our white and spice rum, we recently launched the Godfather, our newest expression, 100% Batavia-Arrack, a piece of liquid history created for today’s taste. In the future pipeline, we’ve got things in the new product space, such as canned cocktails and new aged rums, to push out.
Right now, we [are focused] on building our relationships and growing our volumes, travelling to numerous markets to build that value brand. For the last two years, which has been the hardest years, our volume has doubled every year. Investment is good, talkability is good, Europe [market] is good, and we’re about to enter the United States at the end of this year.
Thanks for speaking with us Sam
My pleasure Rubin!
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