Alcohol does not seem to be the most suitable solution to problems, but your trip to Mauritius may prove otherwise! Mauritius is a relative newcomer to global rum markets. For centuries, colonial governments in Mauritius frowned on using sugar cane for rum, because refined sugar fetched much better profits. The historical progression of the rum industry in Mauritius is no less elevating than that of the Caribbean or of the South America. It was Mr. Pierre Charles Francois Harel who initially proposed the concept of local distillation of rum in Mauritius, in 1850. Thanks to him, Mauritius today proudly houses distilleries. Presently, the industrial rum represents about 90% of the world production of rum. Mauritius is one of the few countries that produce both industrial and agricultural rum!
Whether or not you are a rum connoisseur, you will love discovering the rum making process when visiting one of the many rum distilleries in Mauritius. A few of the ones you can visit are: St. Aubin, Rhumerie de Chamarel, and Labourdonnais. They all make excellent rums that you will want to bring back with you as souvenirs. During your visit, make sure to ask about the Mauritian tradition of rum arrangé, or flavored rum!
The process of making agricole rum requires distilling the juice as quickly as possible after it’s crushed out of the cane. Twelve kinds of sugar cane grow in Mauritius, but two are used for rum — yellow and red. The color refers to the stalk, only visible once the green leaves are stripped away. At the Rhumerie, everything is designed to showcase the process, to encourage visitors to watch rum being made and then to sample the results. The finished drink is smoother than the traditional molasses rum.
If you are to take those bottles home, we suggest you try the Chamarel’s Gold variety which is kept in French oak for 18 months, giving it a woody undertone. Another batch goes into American oak for a fruitier taste. Also, look out for Rhum Arrangé traditionnel. “Arrangé” refers to the infusion, often from macerated fruits like litchi or coconut, or other local produce like coffee, vanilla and spices. They create 21 different flavors, and for tourists worried about flying home with liquids, they also sell packets of dried fruit and Mauritian sugar, with instructions on how to infuse rum at home. Couldn’t get any better! And for the Coffee Lovers, it’s time to taste St. Aubin’s Coffee Rum, packed with intense flavor of Mauritian Coffee and ideal as a liqueur or an engaging aperitif, served on the rocks.
Cheers to the weekend, we drink to that!