Everyone knows that the Swiss terrain is suited for growing grapes for quality wine, which assures Switzerland’s place on a competitive international wine market. Similarly, Jamaica has a global reputation as a producer of some of the finest rums. But what do you know about Jamaican rum? Here is a quick introduction.
During the 1400s the Spaniards started growing sugar cane in Jamaica, imported from the Canary Islands, to make rum. The production of rum was refined by the British when they took over Jamaica in the 1600s, with experience in making rum in Barbados.
As Jamaican rum became more refined the production rapidly increased and the international rum industry boomed. By the mid-1800s there were over 140 rum distilleries across the island. But as the abolition of slavery in 1838 took hold on the sugar plantation economy, the numbers of distilleries dwindled to 25.
Today Jamaica is home to six distilleries producing over 20.5 million litres of rum annually. They are Worthy Park Estate, New Yarmouth, Monymusk Estate/Clarendon Distillers, Long Pond Estate, Hampden Estate, and Appleton Estate.
Jamaica’s limestone soil is perfectly suited for growing cane, which is made into molasses. Molasses is a key ingredient that is fermented in large casks known as ‘puncheons,’ then distilled in pot stills. This practice that dates to the 17th century.
Full-bodied rum relies on natural fermentation that gives it a distinct flavour. Made with GMO-free yeast, it is aged in oak barrels without any artificial flavours added. The final steps include blending the rums and then aging them, some for many decades.
Jamaican rum production is highly regulated, consequently all rum for export is certified by the government. Every step of the distilling process is monitored to ensure the highest quality product.
Ways to have rum
Visit any well stocked store with alcohol in Switzerland and you are certain to find Jamaican rum. Ideally, rum is best had straight with a few ice cubes. You could also add a chaser, such a Coca-Cola.
Fruit punch takes on a whole new meaning with a good helping of white rum. For many Jamaican families, rum is an essential part of home remedies for colds and flu. It is also used in pastries. My favourite is Christmas pudding soaked in rum.
Hope to see you at the next Jamaica Rum Festival…cheers!
For more on Jamaican rum visit these websites:
Also visit our art gallery: https://www.experiencejamaique.com/product_gallery