LONDON — Ordering a piña colada or a rum and coke in your local pub will likely never taste the same as it does on a beach in Bali.

But one brand is trying to recreate those holiday booze flavours using a very un-tropical tool: data

According to Joe Harrod — a big data analyst and Artificial Intelligence expert — Virgin Holidays used IBM Watson’s linguistic AI to interpret millions of social media posts to pick out key emotions associated with holidays.

Watson — IBM’s famous supercomputer — then analysed thousands of rum reviews to uncover which ingredients elicit different emotions and sensations in reviewers.

The two data sets were then matched up to create the “world’s first data-distilled rum recipe”.  Harrod explains that they took key emotions and concepts from 15 million public social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The second data set analysed the language and tone of 5,000 rum reviews and tasting notes found online.

“The data showed us that the top five emotions associated with holidays are: happiness, adventurousness, curiosity, relaxation and excitement,” says Harrod.

“It also showed us that these emotions matched with the following respective flavours: vanilla, all spice, curiosity, coconut and sugar or sweetness. This gave us the key flavours for our rum recipe,” Harrod continued.


While technology played a key role in developing the recipe, the rum was produced using traditional methods.

“The rum essentially tastes like a holiday. With the perfect blend of vanilla, sweetness, spice and tropical coconut this premium drink captures all the flavour of the holiday spirit,” Harrod continued.

The limited edition bottles of rum, priced at £59 ($73.42), are available to purchase from London V-Room stores and at the V-Hols lounge at Gatwick Airport


Virgin Holidays has bottled genuine ‘Holiday Spirit’ and now you can have a taste of it…

Virgin Holidays enlisted IBM’s Watson – the world’s most intelligent super computer – to analyse the thoughts and feelings of more than 15 million holidaymakers from their social media posts. These emotions were then matched to thousands of rum flavour descriptors and Virgin Holidays created a bespoke rum blend from the one-off recipe.

The Holiday Spirit | Virgin Holidays

The project was overseen by Ian Burrell, a leading authority on rum, to make sure that a recipe derived from artificial intelligence was distilled with complete accuracy. Ian meticulously replicated the emotion-infusion and the end result is a smooth, sweet and lightly spiced drink that captures the home of rum, the Caribbean.

“We’ve long been known for creating the ‘perfect blend’ when it comes to holidays, so we set ourselves the task of translating this into something tangible,” David Geer, interim Managing Director at Virgin Holidays said. “Bottling the holiday spirit, and creating a blend informed by joy, excitement, curiosity and confidence perfectly encapsulates the Virgin Holidays experience. We’d encourage any rum-lovers out there to pop into any of our V-Room stores over the last week of our sale to try it while stocks last!”


800 bottle of Virgin Holiday Spirit are available now in nine V-Room retail stores nationwide. These stores feature a fully operational bar that will either serve the rum in a bespoke cocktail for any customers, or sell a take-home bottle for £59.

To find out where you can get your hands on a bottle of Holiday Spirit, head to the Virgin Holidays website.


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