Rum for Your Life! A Visit to Grenada Distillers
To quote country music star Toby Keith's hit song "Rum is the Reason," "I ain't getting much done but I'm having fun!" Much of the merriment that takes place in the balmy Caribbean is enhanced with a taste of the beloved liquor, and in Grenada, known as "The Spice of the Caribbean," they know how to spice things up with island-made libations. And while you can find a rum drink basically anywhere in Grenada --- at the resort, on the street and on the beach --- nothing beats going straight to the source.
Diana ponders the good stuff
Grenada Distillers, located in St. George Parrish in the southern part of the island, has been making rum on site for more than 80-years. Prior to that there was a sugar mill on the spot where the distillery now stands, and the location is one of Grenada's most-visited historical sites. Some who take the tour at Grenada Distillers may be primarily interested in just what the tasting room has to offer, but the brief exploration that precedes the sampling is fun and informative. Plus you get to wear a hard hat!
Hard hats are required because the tour takes visitors into multiple levels of the distillery where the process of making rum is in progress and local safety regulations require it. After donning the safety gear in the tasting room, tour takers assemble just outside the working factory where an old and disused steam engine, once used in the processing of sugarcane, sits frozen in time. Here the tour guide gives an overview of the history of rum making in Grenada, pointing out a couple of small, potted sugarcane plants adjacent to the steam engine; after all cane is the thing that will yield the byproducts that'll eventually become rum.
Old rum making equipment
Upon first going in the factory it seems like you've entered some kind of steampunk fantasy world as more old disused equipment, consisting of a patchwork of huge gears, cogs and wheels, stands as a reminder of how things used to be. Old iron tools that were used in the maintenance of this equipment are on display too, and the crude appearance of the wrenches and such thoroughly convey how much muscle it must have taken to put them to use. It all makes the modern process of making rum, explained as you view equipment used in each stage of the process, seem simple. One of the things tour takers will see is the large "liming tanks" where not-quite-rum sits and rests for a period of time; the tanks are amusingly named if you realize that in the Caribbean when a person says they are liming that it means they are kicking back and doing nothing of too much import. And liming is often done with a rum drink in hand!
Rotating bottle display
With a newfound understanding of how rum was and is manufactured in Grenada, tour takers head back to the tasting room where a large array of the rums made at Grenada Distillers sit ready to be sampled. Lined up are bottles representing the distillery's Clarke's Court brand, rums of various potencies and flavorings including coconut, lemon, rum punch and a spice-infused variety. There's Old Grog if you fancy yourself a pirate, Camerhogne Liquer for your more refined moments, and Pure Jab, a local favorite for when it's party time. And if you dare there is White Ball, the distillery's most potent rum that comes in at a whopping 150 proof. Samples are dispensed in small plastic cups with each taste being enough to get familiar with the product.
Clarke's Court is Grenada's favorite
All of the rums are available for purchase in the tasting room along with a small assortment of gift items. Also noteworthy is the furniture in the sampling room that is made out of rum barrels. There's also a clever display made from a rum barrel that rotates to show some of the distillery's varieties. Grenada Distillers is generally open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are sometimes open on weekends as well. For more information go here.
For information on all the other fun things to do in Grenada go here.
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