Making Rum- A Pictorial
"Start with Sugar Cane"
For a trip back in time, to see how Rum was made 200 years ago (and still!), the River Antoine Rum Distillary is a must see in Grenada. History just ekes out of all the crevaces in the old buildings, and the water wheel is the only functioning water wheel working in the Eastern Caribbean.
The first step in the process is to collect the sugar cane on wagons pulled by trackors, and loaded into the cane crusher.
"Crush the Cane, Save the Bagesse!"
As the cane is crushed, the juice flows to the factory, and the remaining cane (bagesse) is loaded on a short railway to be dumped and dried. The bagesse is used for fertilizer and to fire the boilers for the cane juice boiling process.
The bagesse is dumped in piles to dry out before being used for fuel and fertilizer.
"First Sugar Cane Extract"
The crushed sugar cane yields a steady flow of raw juice- doesn't look very appetizing, but it will go thru several more processes before being bottled.
"Boil and Filter"
The raw juice is filtered and ladled from copper vat to the next, with each one being hotter-the final pot actually boils the juice. White lime is added to increase the acidity. Bagesse is be used for fuel for this boiling process.
"Cool It Off and Let It Ferment Before Distilling"
The juice is then moved into cooling tanks, where it cools and ferments for two days, before being pumped into concrete tanks where it bubbles and ferments for 8 days.
"Boil & Distill"
At Last- Ready to make rum. The fermented juice is boiled one last time, this time using firewood for fuel (the bagesse doesn't burn hot enough for this boiling process). The vapor is condensed into the final product, River Rum- a concoction for local consumption that not too many visitors can tolerate. Although it is touted to be 150 proof, it is not uncommon for the final product to end up being 80% to 90% alcohol.
"Testing the Final Product"
The government does require its' stamp on the final product, using a hydrometer-thermometer contraption that insures a product that can't be shipped on airlines. Advice- Take one small sip for man, and skip the one giant step for mankind.