Trinidad and Tobago Rum
“Drink a rum and a punche-crema, drink ah rum…” Lord Kitchener
Over the Carnival season in Trinidad and Tobago rum will be drunk by millions. Rum is an exquisite drink which is a byproduct taken directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels. Rum can be referred to in Spanish by descriptors such as ron viejo (“old rum”) and ron añejo (“aged rum”).
The majority of the world’s rum production occurs in the Caribbean and Latin America. Rum is also produced in Austria, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico, Hawaii, the Philippines, India, Reunion Island, Mauritius, South Africa, Taiwan, Japan, United States and Canada.
Light rums are commonly used in cocktails, whereas “golden” and “dark” rums were typically consumed individually (i.e., “straight” or “neat”) or used for cooking, but are now commonly consumed with mixers. Premium rums are also available, made to be consumed either straight or iced.
Rum plays a part in the culture of most islands of the West Indies as well as in the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland. This beverage has famous associations with the Royal Navy (where it was mixed with water or beer to make grog) and piracy (where it was consumed as bumbo). Rum has also served as a popular medium of economic exchange, used to help fund enterprises such as slavery, organized crime, and military insurgencies (e.g., the American Revolution and Australia’s Rum Rebellion).
See more about the Caroni Sugar Factory here:
One of the first rums produced by this distillery was Old Oak. The rawest of rums is called Puncheon Rum:
Puncheon rum (or puncheon) is a high proof heavy-type rum produced in Trinidad and Tobago. Three local brands, Forres Park, Caroni and Stallion produce bottles that are 75% alcohol by volume. The first puncheon rum is said to have been manufactured in 1627 by the makers of Caroni Puncheon Rum. The first distillation of rum took place on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 17th century. Plantation slaves first discovered that molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, can be fermented into alcohol.
Approach with care!
Two popular rums drunk in the Trinidad and Tobago either straight or with a chaser are Vat 19 white and gold. This is a mellow rum of good quality ideal for either drinking or cooking.
White rum is traditionally the rum used to make cocktails, but if you are using a chaser like coke or cocunut water then a dark rum is preferable. When making fruit cakes or creole cake for Christmas or a punche -crema/ egg -nog then a dark rum is the best choice.
Part II _ Recipes….