The Flavour of Cuba In Each Sip of Rum
By María Elena Balán Saínz
The explorer Christopher Columbus, discoverer of Cuba, acknowledged 500 years ago that sugar cane grew very well on the island.
In later centuries, it was the African slaves brought to the Caribbean islands who developed the cultivation of cane. Not only was sugar extracted but also the juice that, with time, could be converted into Cuban rum.
This distilled product was born in the Antilles and traveled to Europe and its colonies in America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It also made it to the Royal Palace in Spain and won the preference of the Court. From there it spread to the most refined places of the European aristocracy but still remained very popular with the common people.
To paraphrase a popular song, SUQvecito, rum is the most sublime thing to entertain the soul and, from this island of Son music, tobacco and aromatic coffee, this drink also comes with a seal of guarantee. The rum makers in Cuba follow the centuries-old practice of mixing and aging a variety of rums until getting to the essence of what is Cuban, its variety of aromas and colors reflecting this island's mixed peoples.
For the different levels of aging, a variety of barrels are used for specific periods and numbers of time as if the presence of ancient woods would confer some mysticism to the final product. An offering of the flavour of Cuba in each sip of rum is 10 maximo that exemplifies this national and cultural creation.
These days, the rum of Cuba constitutes a specific type of spirit within the family of world rums, classified as light and of very high quality with a delicate aroma, a lightly sweet flavour, and appropriate to drink alone or mixed in a cocktail.
Within the fifteen best drinks in the world from the Old Fashioned to the Gin & Tonic to the Manhattan, it says a lot that there are three Cuban drinks. The Daiquiri, the Mojito, and the Cubalibre - all the original recipes requiring genuine Cuban rum.
The island of Cuba, full of attractions for the millions of tourists visiting each year, also provides for their leisure time with this liquid offering distilled from centuries of tradition.
Plenty of sun, beautiful white sand beaches, and a diverse and fascinating culture work together to provide a unique mixture capable of satisfying the most demanding expectations. For a visitor to Cuba, a glass of excellent rum enjoyed with a fine cigar is not just a trendy activity but a connection to the ancient culture of the region.
THE MUSEUM OF RUM According to rum experts, crafting a great rum depends on a combination of climate, the land where the cane is grown, the length of aging, and the care taken during production.
Each distillery contributes its brand to the market with its distinct aromas, taste and colour.
The best known rum in this Caribbean country is Havana Club. Made in one of the largest distilleries in Latin America, more than thirty million litres per year are produced.
Honouring this drink in an old colonial mansion, formerly owned by the Count de la Mortera, is the Museum of Rum located at 262 San Pedro at the corner of Sol near the historical centre of Old Havana. This tribute to rum is celebrating only its sixth anniversary but has received thousands of visitors from over 60 countries. A visitor can discover a part of Cuban culture through the history of its quintessential spirit.
The stages of its production, the facilities of a traditional factory, and the Havana Club Bar to taste Creole cocktails along with the rhythm of live, traditional Cuban music are some of the aspects which you can enjoy in this place.
In addition to buying this world class product, the gift shop offers souvenirs for the visitor who wants a memory of this island of Son music, cigars, coffee and rum.