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About Cuban Rum
About Cuban Rum
Rum is one of the world's five global beverages (along with gin, vodka, brandy and whiskey) that can be produced anywhere. Unlike, for instance, cognac, armagnac or tequila, rum is produced in the USA, Canada, India and many Spanish-speaking countries.
Cuba produces many varieties of rum, some of the most well-known are Havana Club, Varadero and Santiago de Cuba. The latter is called their best rum by Cubans themselves.
In October 1492 Christopher Columbus reached America and introduced tobacco to Europe. That's where the history of rum begins. Once imported from Asia to Latin America sugar cane had quickly spread across the continent. One of its varieties is used to produce sugar and rum. Cane is a kind of grass, albeit very large in size. Sugar cane juice, after being pressed to obtain sugar, leaves the so-called molasses, a very thick and aromatic substance. Molasses is the most popular raw material for producing rum. If you add water, it starts fermenting by itself. If fermentation starts naturally, the process takes about ten days, when yeast is added the time is reduced to forty-eight hours.
From a historical point of view, rum may be considered the most "cruel" drink in the world. Sugar cane was grown by black slaves brought from Africa to Latin America, where they were exchanged for sugar or rum and sold to other owners. In one day a slave could cut down a ton of sugar cane which yielded about one hundred liters of rum. One male slave could be bought for eight hundred liters of rum. It meant that a slave almost completely paid for himself in just one week. The price of a female slave was lower - seven hundred liters.
Ethyl alcohol is produced from sugar exposed to yeast. Distillation is the concentration of alcohol under high temperature. During slow heating of wash alcohol is the first to evaporate, its vapor condenses, cools down, and a pure distilled overproof product is obtained. In mid XIX century, a better distillation method was invented called continuous distillation column. In 1862, don Facundo Bacardi, the founder of rum factory in Santiago de Cuba, was the first in Cuba to use the continuous distillation column to produce rum. It was akin to a revolution, as due to peculiarities of raw materials rum was a hard beverage; it contained a lot of different admixtures. As the quality of purification improved, rum grew in popularity. Don Bacardi also suggested carbon filtration which improved the beverage quality and boosted sales. Today, the rum Santiago de Cuba is manufactured at the factory that belonged to Don Facundo Bacardi before the revolution.
The city of Santiago de Cuba got its name to honor Saint Iago - the patron saint of Cuba and sugar cane growers. The best cane plantations are found in the part of Cuba closest to Europe. This is where Santiago de Cuba is located. The city was founded in 1514 and is one of the oldest cities of the Island.
Rum doesn't take long to mature. One may even call this process "resting". Rums over three years old are usually considered mature. The rum which matured for seven years is considered a Cuban standard. The main product of Santiago de Cuba is also the seven-year-old rum.
Rum is matured in barrels where oxidation-reduction processes take place. During this period, different aromatic compounds are formed, over eight hundred of which are currently known. The barrels "breathe" letting in air through the pores of wood provoking chemical reactions. Alcohol evaporates through the barrel's walls ("angels' share"). The intensity of evaporation depends on the climate and it is quite high on Cuba, that's why aged rums are very rare and valuable.
Santiago de Cuba product line offers 3-year-old, 7-year-old and 11-year-old beverages. 20-year-old rum is produced once in five years in limited batches of only two thousand bottles. Recently 25-year-old rum Santiago de Cuba has been manufactured. It is certainly well worth a try with a Cohiba Siglo VI!
Aficionados all over the world enjoy combining rum with cigars. Some recommendations are Montecristo Joyitas - with white rums, Saint Luis Rey Regios and Quintero Panatela perfectly combine with aged rums. And finally any rum will be a great companion to a Cuaba Salomones or Fonseca Cadetes.
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