Rum is made from molasses, which is a by-product of sugar after it's been refined. In its original form, molasses is gunky, bitter and tastes a bit like liquorice, but it gives rum its unique flavour. The molasses is mixed with water and fermented with yeast, and then distilled and aged to bring out the silky smooth texture and complex flavours. Because Jamaica boasts a year-round toasty climate, the rum ages very quickly – around three times the speed of cognac.
Did you know that Jamaica has the most rum bars per square mile in the world? If you want to drink it like the locals do, you can pair it with ‘Ting’, a fruity, Lilt-like beverage that gives it a refreshing kick. Or, try one of the many rum-infused cocktails at Breathless Montego Bay's rooftop bar – the biggest on the island. If you want to become a bit of a rum expert yourself, you can even get involved in one a rum-tasting class.We took some eager holidaymakers along to a class at the Azul Beach Resort Negril By Karisma to get their verdict. Here’s what happened…
The Appleton Estate’s hotel brand ambassador, Paula Collins, ran our rum-tasting session for the day. She brought along three huge bottles of Appleton rum for the group to try – the Signature Blend, the Reserve Blend and the Rare Blend – plus a little pot of molasses for us to taste. Determined to convert even the most unwilling of rum tasters, she also came armed with some perfectly paired mixers to meet every kind of palette. Like good students, the group learnt how to swirl, smell and taste each rum properly, and recognise the subtle flavours and aromas in each one. And, the tasting techniques changed the flavour of the rum. A few brave members of the group even tried the 126-proof white rum, which is 63 per cent alcohol by volume. Finally, the class ended with Paula’s favourite cocktail – the Signature Blend mixed with ginger ale and lime.
The Appleton Estate is located in Jamaica’s Nassau Valley in St. Elizabeth Parish, and you can visit it on our Appleton Rum, YS Falls & Pelican Bar excursion. The tour not only takes you to the Appleton Estate, but to one of Jamaica's beautiful waterfalls, too. You’ll start with a tour at the estate, where you'll learn about the distillation process and, of course, taste the honey-coloured rum.
After swotting up on the origins of rum, you’ll walk through the factory and distillery to see how it’s made – from the early days of production (which involved a donkey grinding the sugar cane) right through to the modern day. There are plenty of fun photo stops along the way, and keep an eye out for the pretty peacocks and wildlife wandering around the grounds. You’ll see the most expensive rum in the world on display here, too – the Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum 750ml, which is priced at over $4000.
Then you'll head to YS Falls to see the impressive waterfalls cascading over rocks and through the tropical jungle. After a swim, the tour finishes with a trip to the Pelican Bar – a watering hole on stilts. You might even spot dolphins while enjoying a drink.
With multiple restaurants, pools, swim-up bars and room types, the choice is all yours at the Azul Beach Resort Negril By Karisma.
The adults-focussed Riu Reggae comes with a beachfront location and boats swim-up bars.
A beachfront setting, a big swimming pool and plenty of food choices – the Riu Montego Bay proves its worth as a Jamaican retreat.
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