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Mount Gay Rum: The story behind Barbados’ most famous export

Mon 06 Jun 2011 19:47

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No trip to Barbados would be complete without a taste of the island’s national drink: rum. The country is regarded as one of the finest rum producers in the world and is home to the renowned Mount Gay rum distillery in St. Michael.

MountGay has been produced in Barbados since 1703 and is widely exported around the world. The drink’s smooth taste and aromas of caramel and vanilla are achieved using a distinct distilling process, which takes days to complete.

The Hour sent Eadie Manson to St Michael to see how the drink is produced and why it holds a special place in the hearts of the Barbadian people.

Accompanying him on his quest was tour guide Sherri,who works at the distillery. She spoke to Eadie about the drink’s main ingredient: sugar.

Sherri said: “First of all they start with the harvesting of the sugar cane, which is taken to the sugar factories and ground down into sugar crystals and molasses.

“The molasses are fermented and a bit of yeast is added to the fermentation process. Then a distillation process is carried out and then an aging process.

“They use white Kentucky oat barrels which were once used to store bourbon.

“After that there’s the blending process and then the rums are reduced to 43 per cent alcohol.”

Over 10,000 bottles of Mount Gay rum are produced on the island every day, and several varieties of rum are produced to suit most drinkers.

Mount Gay Eclipse rum was created in 1910 and gets its name from the eclipse of the sun that also occurred the same year.

For best taste, Sherri recommends tossing the rum around in the glass, passing it across your nose and inhaling to smell the aromas, before having the all-important sip.

Eclipse black came out in December last year and is the same blend of rum as the eclipse but has a much richer colour. It is 50 per cent proof and is very smooth.

It was one step too far for our intrepid taster Eadie however, who almost choked on the drink’s alcohol kick.

The Hour in Barbados

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