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Ten Top Caribbean Rum Distilleries You Can Visit & Sample

Cayman Spirits Company Distillery – Rum and pirates, what can you say?
Cayman Spirits Company Distillery – Rum and pirates, what can you say?

The Caribbean is synonymous with sun, fun and rum! Of the later, there are several distilleries that host tours for the public. It’s a great way to see how this spirit is made, take a taste and buy something to fortify your galley stores. Here’s a sampling:

1.  Cayman Spirits Company Distillery, Cayman Islands
One of the newest of its kind in the Caribbean, this custom-built, 5,000-square foot facility, with its 1,200-gallon (54,553-liter) Vendome copper pot still, opened in 2013. “Many people’s favorite part of the tour is the guided sampling with the distiller,” says owner Walker Romanica. “We have over 12 different types of locally made Cayman Islands spirits to sample.” Tours: Monday-Saturday, 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm.US $15 pp. caymanspirits.com

2.  Appleton Estate, Jamaica
Watch the resident pet donkey, named Pax, demonstrate how juice was extracted out of sugarcane during the 18th century. Visitors can juice their own cane and sample fresh-squeezed cane juice as well as rum. The tour also includes the distillery, where different methods of distillation are illustrated, and the aging house. Tours: Monday-Saturday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. US $30 pp. www.appleton estate.com

Roll out the Barrel at the Brugal distillery, Dominican Republic
Roll out the Barrel at the Brugal distillery, Dominican Republic

3.  Casa Brugal, Dominican Republic
Founded in 1888, Brugal rum is the main ingredient in Mamajuana, a spirited beverage whose ingredients sans the rum date back to the pre-Columbian Taíno Indians. The 30-minute guided tour traverses the huge distillery where 1.5 million liters (396,258 US gallons) of white and dark rum are produced annually. Tours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm. Saturday and Sunday, 8:00am to Noon. US $5 pp. www.brugal-rum.com

Fill your own bottle at Bacardi in Puerto Rico … It could get interesting!
Fill your own bottle at Bacardi in Puerto Rico … It could get interesting!

4.  Casa Bacardi, Puerto Rico
Choose from three different tours: historical, rum tasting or mixology. There’s also the self-fill experience. “Most memorable is being able to self-fill your own Bacardi bottle directly from the barrels where the exclusive rums were crafted. It’s a hands-on experience where you’ll seal the bottle with signature red wax and personalize the label with your name,” invites Irene Muñiz, business development manager. Tours: Tuesday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:30pm. Saturday and Sunday, Noon to 4:30pm. US $15 to $160 pp. www3.bacardi.com/casa-bacardi  

The Cruzan Rum Distillery in St. Croix started production in 1760 … now that’s a lot of rum!
The Cruzan Rum Distillery in St. Croix started production in 1760 … now that’s a lot of rum!

5.  Cruzan Rum Distillery, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Learn the rum-making process up close and personal on a walking tour of this distillery that dates back to 1760. “The most notable part about the tour is that you get to see everything from the molasses to warehouses to the final product, which is unique to rum distilleries,” says spokesperson Hannah Richman. The Visitor’s Pavilion at the end of the tour houses a tasting bar and rum boutique. Tours: Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Saturday 10:00am to 2:00pm. US $5 pp. www.cruzanrum.com

6.  Habitation Clément, Martinique
A registered French historic landmark and birthplace of Rhum Agricole over a century ago, thousands of visitors annually tour the grounds of this historic estate which include a museum, ancient Creole plantation house, art galleries and botanical gardens, aging cellars and tasting room. No one leaves without a special bottle of rum. Tours: Monday-Friday, 9:30am to 5:00pm. US $15 pp. www.habitation-clement.fr

7.  St. Lucia Distilleries, St. Lucia
Take the Rhythm of Rum Tour. “The tasting at the end is the most memorable part of the tour for most people,” says Margaret Monplaisir, managing director. “This is where you get to taste over 15 different rums, creams and liqueurs all made here. Anyone who is a true rum connoisseur needs to indicate that they would like the professional tasting and we will have them taste our base rums through to our blended rums.” Tours: Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. US $10 pp. www.saintluciarums.com

8.  Mount Gay Distillery, Barbados
Select from five ways to experience the sailor’s red-cap favorite at the world’s oldest (Est. 1703) commercial rum distillery in Bridgetown. There’s a Signature and Full Signature Rum Tasting, interactive Cocktail Tasting, Rum & Food Pairing Experience, and Lunch Experience, the last of which comes with a bottomless rum punch station. Each tour has its days and times. US $20 to $130 pp. www.mountgayrum.com

9.  Clarke’s Court Rum Distillery, Grenada
Old steam engines, some dating to the 1800s, are one sight to see on the 15-minute guided tour of the island’s best-known rum manufacturer. It’s fascinating to learn about the distillation process starting from the sugar cane itself. The tour ends at the hospitality center where there’s unique barrel furniture, Clarke’s Court products to sample and rum recipes to take home. Tours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm. US $2 pp. www.clarkescourtrum.com 

The still is an impressive sight at The House of Angostura, Trinidad
The still is an impressive sight at The House of Angostura, Trinidad

10.  The House of Angostura, Trinidad
Famous for its bitters, the company is also the major producer of rum in the dual-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. “While everyone may have a different experience when they take the two-and-a-half hour tour, which includes sampling; some of the more remarkable parts are a visit to our bottling plant and the bitters manufacturing room,” says Ronda Betancourt, public relations officer. Tours: 9:30am or 1:00pm by appointment only. US $10 pp. www.angostura.com

 

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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