Friday, February 1, 2013

Rum and Barbados

     I got to thinking last week as I spent the week with the Regatta people here in Key West that is sponsored by Mount Gay Rum how much that Barbados has to do with the world of Rum.   Beside the fact that there are four distilleries on the 21 x 14 mile island, but nowhere is the rum culture more pronounced.     From your first step on to the island, you will see one or more of the hundreds or thousands of Rum Shops that cover the island.  These are the real everyday watering holes of the island.    This is a place you walk in order a bottle of rum, a mixer, a glass and a bowl of ice that you take to a chair or something you can sit on and enjoy your cocktail.  You will find yourself with the rest of the locals playing dominos or cards, fellow tourists looking around in disbelief and everyone else of who know what origin.

     The countryside is covered with old sugar mills and remnants of the once dominant sugar industry that made the island so important to the British in the 1700's.   There is a large sugar mill museum as well as several old cane crushing windmills left on the island.  One of the more complete sugar plantations is the St. Nicolas Abbey.  There they still grow the sugar cane, crush it, and make rum on the plantation.   Larry Warren and his family have brought this majestic old sugar plantation back from the brink of collapse to a wonderful snipit of life in the colonial days in Barbados.  Did I mention the rum they make there is absolutely wonderful and a bottle that needs to be added to your collection.

     While on the island, you would be remiss not to take the time to travel around the island and see all of the beautiful scenery.   I hired a cab for a day and went to a couple of distilleries and many rum shops.  The trip around the island to see the destinations was as enjoyable as anything we say on our arrival.   Keep in mind that the Rums of Barbados are wonderful, from the inexpensive rums to the finest anywhere.   My friend Richard Seale, Foursquare Distillery, is one of the islands most accomplished rum producer.  He believes that good rum can be made inexpensively and his Old Brigand and Special Barbados Rums are great examples.  If you taste calls for a more high end rum May I suggest Doorly's XO.  

     A visit to Barbados is a visit to the birthplace of rum as we know it today.  Don't miss an opportunity to see the island and sip the many fine rums that the island has to offer.  ;o)