Wray and Ting

When in Jamaica, drink as the Jamaicans drink! Over 90% of the rum consumed in Jamaica is produced by the Wray & Nephew distillery and most of that rum finds its way into the most popular cocktail on the island, the classic Jamaican Wray and Ting.
Wray & Nephew began producing Jamaican rum in 1825 and has marketed many different expressions of their rum with varying degrees of success and staying power. The Wray flagship brand is their overproof white rum bottled at 63% ABV, or 126 proof.
Wait a minute, 126 proof? Is it flammable? As a matter of fact, it is. Outside of Jamaica Wray & Nephew overproof is primarily used as a “float” on top of flaming drinks and shots.
It has culinary applications as well, many chefs like to use the potent Jamaican rum to flambé desserts. Occasionally bartenders will use it to give a kick to an overly sweet drink such as a Rum Runner or a Zombie.
In Jamaica, they actually drink the Wray overproof, and they drink a lot of it.
I have heard the “90% of all rum consumed in Jamaica” stat throughout the years, and wondered exactly how Jamaicans were drinking this stuff. Overproof rum has a certain jet fuel burn to it, although it has sweet notes on the front end. The finish is a bit rough as you can imagine.
Sure, it's an acquired taste, but one that is celebrated on the island. Wray & Nephew overproof is a great source of pride for the island and toasting with the iconic spirit is a part of many milestones and celebrations in Jamaican life.
It turns out that the most popular rum in Jamaica is used to make the most popular mixed drink in Jamaica, the Wray and Ting.
Wray and Ting? We know by the name that the drink uses Wray & Nephew, but what is Ting?
Ting is a Jamaican grapefruit soda, one that is wildly popular on the island. Many tourists have enjoyed a Wray & Ting on a Jamaican cruise and attempted to replicate the drink at home using Squirt, or a store brand American grapefruit soda.
Squirt is not an ideal substitute for Ting as Squirt is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup whereas Ting is sweetened with pure cane sugar.
The pure cane sugar complements the white overproof rum in the Wray and Ting, squeeze in a wedge of lime and you will see what the hype is all about.
Are you ready for a Wray and Ting? I have some good news for you. US distribution for Ting soda is getting better by the week, it may already be in a supermarket near you. Be sure to check the “international foods” section of your local store if you do not see Ting in the soda aisle.
I picked up a six pack at my local store and had a few sips of the Ting on its own, and it does have a unique and refreshing sweetness to it. I am not a huge fan of soda, but Ting over ice does the trick and tastes like actual grapefruit.
If you are unable to find Ting locally, it can be ordered from Amazon or any number of other online retailers. As mentioned earlier the distribution is getting better, and you have social media to thank for that. Thousands of Facebook posts depicting vacationers with Wray and Ting has managed to create worldwide demand for Ting.
Pick up some Wray & Nephew overproof, and I hope that you can track down a six pack of Ting. Let's pour one of these.
One thing that you will notice in the recipe below is that the starting point for this drink is 6 ounces of soda to 1 ounce of rum. That seems like a bit much on the soda side, but remember that we are dealing with a rum bottled at 63% ABV.
In terms of ABV, one ounce of overproof rum equals approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 ounces of standard 80 proof rum. If you want more kick in your Wray and Ting you can certainly turn up the heat by adding more of the overproof rum.
One more thing, and this is important: Don't forget the lime. I prefer to squeeze in at least 1/4 oz. fresh lime juice, maybe a bit more. Keep in mind that this is a 7 ounce drink on ice, it can take a little lime.
Simple as it may be, the Wray and Ting is a cultural phenomenon that must be sampled if you are a fan of Caribbean cocktails.
Building a dynamite reggae playlist is not a requirement to enjoy a Wray and Ting, but it certainly doesn't hurt either.
The classic Jamaican Wray and Ting is served over ice in a Collins (tall) glass.
Fill glass with ice and add:
• 1 oz. Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum
• 6 oz. Ting Grapefruit Soda
• Squeeze in juice from one lime wedge
• Stir and garnish with lime wedge
Until next week, enjoy responsibly.