Rum and Ting is the saviour of spirit-and-mixer drinking

Never has anything tasted more like sunshine

Drinks nowadays are bland. Alcohol that you once thought was adventurous now disappoints, and there are so many niche varieties of craft beer and silly frothy cocktails that it’s hard to get excited about any of them any more.

Most boring of all? The simple spirit-and-mixer, which has been so done to death you’ve probably given up on the idea entirely. Vodka and lemonade is boring, while Jägerbombs make you look like you’re still in sixth form. Gin and tonic is for posers, anything with soda is for narcissists and the less said about vodka/squash the better.

But there is still one combo which remains enchanting – and if you’ve tried it, you’ll understand. Ever since your first sip you knew it was a gamechanger, and slowly the world is cottoning onto the fact: Rum and Ting is the saviour of spirit-and-mixer drinking, an under-appreciated liquid gem adored only by those in the know.

Picture: Mike Mozart

Picture: Mike Mozart

For those not yet in the know, Ting hails from Jamaica and is huge in the Caribbean – yet despite its popularity across the pond, it hasn’t got much further than the Tesco world foods aisle over here. That’s why it’s still something of a luxury, and why its devout drinkers know just how lucky they are to have tasted the nectar of the gods.

Ting has the sweetness of Fanta, the bitterness of grapefruit juice and the odd gritty quality of Orangina: it sounds like it shouldn’t work, yet add a dash of rum and you’ve got the greatest cocktail you’ll ever try. Affectionately called “Ting’n’sting” in St Kitts, from the moment the first taste of rum and Ting hits your lips you know you’ll never feel the same about another drink.

The Red Stripe-swilling edgy crowd have brought Ting to the masses in the UK, but the difference here is that it’s actually something fresh and entirely different. From that tacky Rubicon-esque vessel comes what is essentially Lilt for grown-ups, which sloshed into a plastic cup with a handful of ice and a splash of rum becomes so much more.

Ting is officially a grapefruit soda, but it transcends a single flavour – it tastes like sunshine, like good vibes. It’s essentially summer in a can, and therein lies its genius. It has a whole feeling associated with it, not just “getting drunk” but having fun – something no-one’s ever said about a vodka and Coke.

There are very few drinks which can brighten up a dingy East London backroom or a 4am basement party, but this is a little slice of summer sun in the middle of a miserable British winter.

Sun, sea and sex are great when you have them – but until you do, rum and Ting is the next best thing.