Having never visited a distillery before, I didn’t know what to expect from our tour of Grenada’s Rivers Rum Distillery. If I had an image in my mind, it was certainly nothing like the wonderfully low-tech approach to rum making that greeted us.

Rivers Rum Distillery, Grenada

The distillery is powered purely by water and fire. The mechanical power comes from an eighteenth century water wheel – the oldest in the Caribbean – that drives giant iron gears that pull the sugarcane into the crusher and extract the juice.

It’s a simple process that hasn’t changed in over 200 years, but if it’s not broken, why fix it?

Rivers Rum Distillery, Grenada

After crushing, the waste sugar cane is then burned to heat a succession of large cauldrons where the juice is concentrated over a number of days. The concentrated juice is then transferred to fermentation vats where it comes to life, bubbling away like a living, breathing creature.

Rivers Rum Distillery, Grenada

The final stage is distillation, which produces some of the most amazing rum I’ve ever tasted. Rivers produce a 75% version for the local market (which is too strong to take on the plane!) and a 69% for the tourist market. Needless to say, I preferred the 75%, which coats and burns your mouth like nothing else!

If you prefer something a little more gentle, there’s also a bottled rum punch available, but the strong stuff is really the way to go.

Rivers Rum Distillery, Grenada

Guided tours of the River Antoine Rum Distillery cost US$2 per person and include as much rum as you can drink at the end (although you it’s so strong, you really can’t drink that much)!

River Antoine Rum Distillery
St. Patrick
Tel: +1 473 442 7109

Thanks to the Grenada Tourism Authority for organising our trip to Grenada. You can read more about our trip both here and on Chocablog over the coming weeks.

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