Friday, May 27, 2011

Cane Garden Bay and Callwood's Rum Distillery

Having set sail from Anegada bright and early this morning, we arrived at Cane Garden Bay by lunchtime. A spacious anchorage, Cane Garden Bay is also home to Callwood's Rum Distillery, one of two distilleries in the BVIs — the second being at Foxy's Bar on Jost Van Dyke. The Callwood Distillery dates back to the 1700s when the Arundel Estate was first purchased, and has been in the Callwood family since the late 1800s, and today is run by Michael Callwood and his family. It's the oldest continuously operated pot still in the world, having been in operation for more that 200 years!

The Callwood Rum Distillery, Cane Garden Bay

Traditional, if somewhat old-world methods are employed to brew and distill the rum, which is made from pure sugar cane rather than molasses which is the typical method. According to Michael, using sugar juice in its pure form and without adding any preservatives, is a preemptive strike against hangovers! 

The Callwood Rum Still

Raw canes of sugar are processed through a press mill where the sugar juice is squeezed out into copper pots and boiled. Once the brew has been boiled down sufficiently, water is added and fermented in oak barrels for about ten days. The fermented liquid is then boiled again, producing alcohol. The brew is slowly cooled in coiled, copper tubing and then stored for about 4 years. Large glass bottles are used for storing the white rum, while oak barrels are used for Callwood's amber elixir. The rum is only sold locally and at the Callwood Distillery shop, so we had to pick up a $5 bottle for our rum punch recipe that we make onboard the Alegria Del Mar! Many claims are made about the medicinal effects Callwood's Rum can produce too, but as there aren't any scientific studies offered as proof, we'll just have to take Michael's word for it!