Although Rich and Sue love a nice craft beer, I personally don’t drink. But that doesn’t mean I was uninterested in learning how you turn sugarcane into one of the Caribbean’s most profitable exports. Yes, you’ve guessed it… rum!
I’ve actually been to two Caribbean rum distilleries. Most recently I visited the Bacardi distillery in Puerto Rico, less than three months ago.
The Bacardi tour was free, fun and very informative. A little ‘train’ takes you past the outside of the distillery, dropping you off at a specially constructed museum where you learn all about the production of Bacardi’s rums and the history of the brand.
Before/after the tour, those who are interested are invited to try a complimentary rum or three.
My first visit to a rum distillery was at the Appleton Rum Estate in Jamaica, back in 2012. While there was a charge for the tour, we felt you more than got your money’s worth. Especially as our tour was extremely intimate, since we were the only ones on it (my favourite type of tour!).
The Appleton distillery is located right in the heart of the estate’s sugarcane plantations. I tell you, working the sugarcane fields didn’t look like a job for the lazy!
The tour itself began with a walk through the estate’s beautifully manicured gardens, which provided a lovely backdrop to a series of exhibits explaining rum production in general. I particularly enjoyed meeting Paz the donkey, who works the demonstration sugarcane press.
From there you get to go inside the distillery itself, to see actual Appleton rum being made. Boy was it hot in there! But the smell was wonderful, even for a teetotaller!!
Next we went inside the Ageing House, which is filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of barrels filled with ageing rum. Once again the smell was amazing. In fact, I’m sure I got a little bit drunk on the fumes alone!
The final stop, as at the Bacardi distillery, was the tasting room, where you could sample some of Appleton’s many rums, if the mood took you.
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