Rum and the Caribbean go hand in hand. There isn’t any other drink that will recall the quintessential Caribbean island setting quite like it. St. Lucia has a rich history of rum production and boasts a wide variety of different types and flavors. When my Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistant let me know I could visit a genuine rum distillery and see how the entire process works as well as sample every variety of rum created there, I couldn’t resist!
The creation of rum is highly connected to the organized production of sugar. The fermentation of molasses, the by-product of sugar production, is the first step to rum creation.
At first, it appeared to me as if the molasses was boiling. I learned, however, that what I was seeing was the fermentation process in which yeast is introduced into the molasses to begin creating alcohol.
After fermentation comes the distillation process. I was fascinated to discover that in order to create rum, the fermented molasses is sealed in a vessel that heats the liquid so the alcohol evaporates. The evaporated alcohol is then re-condensed and collected, ultimately becoming the raw rum spirit!
We also learned that each of the stills, (the primary apparatus used in the distillation process), can vary widely from one to another. Each variant can have a profound effect on the outcome of the rum. The distillation process can also yield a number of by-products that are useful in other industries.
The raw rum spirit is often aged in barrels or infused with herbs, fruits, spices or juices to produce a specific type of flavored rum. It is also diluted with water to the specific alcoholic potency desired for its type of rum.
Even though I was aware that many different types of rum exist, I was surprised to realize just how many and impressed that one distillery could create varieties so vastly different from one another.
Here at the St. Lucia Distillers Group in Roseau Valley, nearly 30 different types of rum are made! We were able to sample a good portion of those which was both delicious and fun. After everything we had learned, it was even more fascinating to note the differences in taste, texture, sweetness, color and alcohol content of each!
My personal favorite was the Nutz’n Rum, a deliciously sweet peanut flavored rum cream.
I definitely left the distillery with a newfound appreciation for this amazing product and the wide variety of cocktails that can be created with it!
Is it any wonder that I spent some time at The Rum Cave afterwards learning how to mix some of my favorite rum cocktails? And, in case you missed it, here’s a rum cocktail you have to try at home: Capella Marigot Bay’s The Rum Goddess!