The history of Dominican rum goes back to the times in which Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas and brought with him from Spain a product unknown in the New World: sugar cane. According to the chronicles, around the year 1630, English settlers began to make rum on the island of Barbados and, in 1651, traveler Richard Ligon described the drink as “intoxicating and extremely strong”. “Rumbullion” comes from an old English term that means “tumult”; to shorten the name, the English called it “rum” and the French “rhum”, whereas in Spain it is “ron”.
If you explore the Dominican Republic, you will note that rum is the national drink. You are sure to notice how rum accompanies a group of men playing cards underneath the shade of a tree in a square, or how it is part of a “cleansing” ritual that a witchdoctor performs right at the door of an old church, or how it is used as a welcome cocktail at the party of a young executive… and of course how it is the most consumed drink in bars, cafeterias, distilleries and nightclubs throughout the Dominican Republic. The price is affordable, and a drink of rum with friends is almost a ceremony, which brings Dominicans from all walks of life onto a level footing.
It is true that, to enjoy a good rum, you do not need to go to the Dominican Republic, as the best local rums are sold around the world, but what is equally certain is that a good Dominican rum seems different if drunk in the land where it was born. If you go to the Dominican Republic, in addition to learning to dance bachata and basking in the music of Juan Luis Guerra, do not miss the opportunity to sample a good rum in an idyllic setting. Cup the glass in the palm of your hand to warm the liquid and take in its aromas, tilt it gently and straighten again; by the color of the drops in the glass, you will be able to tell how old it is. Finally, take a small sip, to create a layer of flavor, followed by a second, longer sip to appreciate the properties of its taste. After this you are sure to have fallen in love with this excellent Caribbean drink which, according to experts, is produced better in the Dominican Republic than anywhere else in the world.
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