Discover the history of Barbados rum with a Caribbean cruise

Wednesday, 30 November 2013 3:46 PM

What could be more luxurious than Caribbean cruises sailing around some of the beautiful islands to be found in this part of the world? If such a trip appeals to you, a stop-off in Barbados is certain to be a highlight, as here you can learn all about rum.

Arguably the island's most famous export, the beverage is found in some particularly tasty and sophisticated cocktails, such as daiquiri, Long Island ice tea and the classic rum punch.

It is also famed for being the favourite tipple of pirates - and you are sure to agree with their taste in drinks when you sup it on the deck of your cruise ship.

Barbados is the perfect place to get to grips with rum's history. The drink is believed to have been invented after the slaves working on sugar plantations realised that molasses could be fermented to create alcohol.

While the earliest versions of the drink were said to be strong and hot, a chance discovery by a Dutch sea captain on his voyage home helped pave the way for the beverage we know today. He noted that following the long journey in which the rum was carried in barrels, it took on a golden hue and the taste became smoother.

Indeed, the popularity of the spirit grew so great that US president George Washington insisted on having a barrel of Barbados' aged rum at his inauguration celebrations in 1789.

Today, almost every glass of the tipple you enjoy will have been aged in an oak barrel over a period of as long as 30 years. It is after this extended resting period that the magic really begins, when the drink is blended - which is what gives each brand its own distinct flavour.

While many of the Caribbean islands produce their own rum, such as Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica, Barbados is generally agreed to be the place the spirit originated from, which is why you are sure to want to sample some while you are here.

Barbadian rum is typically sweet and light in taste and texture. The Mount Gay distillery - which produces the oldest brand of rum in the world - can be found here, so you may wish to pop in during your time on dry land.

However, there is plenty more to do on the island, such as visiting the historic capital of Bridgetown.

You can also travel to some of the old plantation houses - which may be similar to those standing when the rum-making process was first discovered - or take a stroll through the island's national park, admiring the beautiful flowers as you do so.

The best thing about visiting Barbados as part of a luxury holiday cruise is that you will be able to stop off at some of the other isles in the area as well.

There are so many fascinating places to visit in the Caribbean, including Saint Lucia, the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago - or the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and Jamaica, which are a little further afield.

Plus, you will have the joy of travelling on a beautiful ship where you will be spoilt with comfortable accommodation, sumptuous cuisine and more than your fair share of rum cocktails.

Why not start planning your getaway today? Before you know it you could be sipping a glass of the spirit in the country where it was born.

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