New Milton's Silma Ramsaywack scoops Las Vegas award for Uncle Ernie's Rum Punch
FOREST-based rum punch producer Silma Ramsaywack has rounded the year off nicely by winning a double silver medal in the Proof Awards held in Las Vegas.
Inspired by her father’s legendary Caribbean rum punch recipe, New Milton youth worker Silma Ramsaywack launched a drinks company in his name at the end of last year.
Uncle Ernie’s Rum Punch is widely hailed as a cocktail like no other on the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla where Silma has been helping run the family’s beach bar for the last 35 years.
As well as scooping accolade in a blind tasting at the awards ceremony – a two-day affair involving 40 judges from the drinks industry – Silma’s punch also picked up a medal for the business’s back story and packaging.
Silma has been raising her profile at various events over the year, including Bournemouth Reggae Festival and the Speciality & Fine Food Fair at Olympia London, and she supplied drinks for London Fashion Week.
Uncle Ernie’s is available as a rum punch mix of dark Caribbean rum and natural fruit juices, with no added sugar, or a slightly lighter sparkling rum cocktail, with a sprinkling of spice.
Silma’s drive to develop the business draws parallels with her father Ernest Harrigan’s dream of setting up an Anguillan beach bar more than 35 years ago.
“My father, known affectionately by all as Uncle Ernie, came to England from Anguilla in 1954 as part of the Windrush generation,” she said.
“During his 30 years working here, Ernest would have reoccurring dreams of a beach in Anguilla called Shoal Bay and, with my help, he and his wife Catherine retired to the island and made their dream a reality.”
Ernest manned the beach bar whilst Catherine mixed up the crowd-pleasing special rum punch, which quickly gained widespread popularity.
“Hurricanes have destroyed the beach bar many times,” continued Silma. “But each time it would rise again, and while Ernest and Catherine are no longer with us, their legacy lives on through their daughters, extended family and beloved beach bar.”
Silma’s three children, Esther Lea, Josh Ramsaywack and pro skateboarder Benny Fairfax, who is a brand ambassador, are also involved in the business.
In the new year, Silma has plans to launch a rum and ginger offering, as well as a zero-alcohol fruit punch.
To find out more, visit www.uncleerniesrumpunch.co.uk