Among Reunion island specialties, the alcohol made from sugar canes may be the most famous: rum.
At the beginning of the 19th cty, France lost its main sugar colonies Santo Domingo and the Isle of France, nowadays Mauritius. Reunion island is then restructured to a sugar economy and start to produce rum that was developed in the west indies (French and english Caribbean islands). Distilleries first appeared in Reunion island around 1815 with the introduction of sugar cane but rum production really increased during sugar crisis from 1865 when beetroot sugar making process was discovered.
Rum making process
Rum called "Agricole" is distilled from fermented freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. Traditional rum results from the distillation of fermented molasses, a biproduct of sugar refining.
Water and yeast are added, and the yeast converts sugar to alcohol. Different strains are used and are chosen for their contribution in the development of flavors. Fermentation time depends on the type of rum we're looking for, and allows the evolution of the taste. When the fermented mash reaches about 10° of alcohol content, it is distilled to take out the alcohol. It produces a pure beverage with an alcohol content of between 72° and 100°. The rum is then cut with water to reach about 50° of alcohol. This rum can be sold after 3 months or maturated in oak tuns for 3 to 10 years: it gets then brown-coloured and is called "Rhum vieux" or old rum.
|Distillerie de Savanna, St André|