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A Rum Guide to the Caribbean

By Rachel Nash

Posted: 16th October 2012 09:51

You don’t have to be Jack Sparrow to enjoy your rum but it does help to be in the Caribbean.  The original and finest rum originated from the islands so we’ll be telling you how and where to enjoy the best bottles available along with our top recommended rums.  If you take our advice however, just like Jack Sparrow and his fellow shipmates, you’ll defiantly find yourself asking ‘where has the rum gone?’

How Rum is Made

Rum derives from the Caribbean, in particular Barbados.  The first account of rum distillation was in 1651 with Mount Gay Rum dating back as the first reported production company.  Rum is made from molasses - thick dark syrup made of sugarcane, grapes and sugar.  Yeast and water are then added to start the fermentation process and aged for at least a year.  The colour of the drink depends on what it is aged in, for example oak casks darken the rum whereas steel tanks leaves the rum colourless.   There are seven ‘grades’ of rum, these being light, gold, dark, spiced, flavoured, over proof and premium, with light rum being filtered to remove all traces of colour, spiced made with cinnamon, rosemary and pepper and flavoured rums coming in mango, orange, banana and lime amongst others. 

If you fancy seeing how rum is made and want to take a sip of the first drink Daniel Craig orders in Casino Royale visit Mount Gay Rum for tours Monday to Friday 9.30am-3.30pm here

Where to Enjoy It

Barbados is the island to head to for original rum but neighbouring islands such as St Vincent, the Dominican Republic, St Lucia, and Jamaica all run rum production lines.  Haiti in particular is famous for theirs, with it being the country’s most popular alcoholic drink.  Head to Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti where the family run business ‘Rhum Barbancourt’ makes the tastiest rum in the country.   St Kitts and Nevis produces some of the best flavoured rums sold in a Brinley Gold Company bottle.  The company produces unique rum flavours such as coffee, mango and vanilla. 

For a more familiar take on the drink, it would be unheard of to visit Bermuda and not try a glass of Bacardi, the place where it all began.  Take a lift to the top floor of the Bacardi building where sits a bar which stocks all types and flavours and blends.  Order your favourite poison, sit back and enjoy your Bacardi from where it all began. 

The Best of the Best

Mount Gay Rum - Barbados

Being the oldest, means it’s one of the best.  As a dark rum, it’s described as having a rich caramel sweetness and leaves a long lingering dry finish.  This one is perfect severed alone and during the winter to warm you up.

Shillingford Estates – Dominica Republic

Shillingford’s Macoucherie red rum may at first fill your nostrils with an overwhelming smell of sugar and alcohol but once you’ve tried it you’ll find its distinctive aromas of spice and wood.  Sold in a plastic bottle, the Macoucherie range is best enjoyed on the rocks.

Captain Morgan – Puerto Rico

An old favourite, Captain Morgan’s dark rum is rich in taste and smooth in texture.  Sweet and spicy, we recommend you enjoy it mixed with ginger beer and a dash of lime and so does Captain Morgan. 

Rum Festivals!

The Caribbean’s love to party! So why not join them and tag along to a rum festival? The Caribbean rum and beer festival is held in Grenada every year between 2-3 November, with a range of national and international rums shipped into the country to enjoy a whole two days of free alcohol with traditional Caribbean music and dancing.  

The St Lucia food and rum festival combines some of the delectable food made by top chefs with some of the finest rums the Caribbean has to offer.  Food critics, rum connoisseurs and gourmands attend every year and features 40 different rums for rum tasting.  The festival takes place every year in October.

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