For a few years now, I have been woke up with a 3am thought… wouldn’t it be cool if I could make my own rums? Couldn’t you just imagine Rum, distilled in the heart of the Essex with its flavours from the Caribbean?
Unfortunately, some people called “Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs” frown upon the idea of home-distillation. Something about taxes and licenses and the potential to blow up your house or something. I wanted to talk about how unfair this seems, but the law is probably keeping me from killing myself and others, and that just might be a good thing.
After a trip to the Caribbean with the family, I came to the conclusion that a first step to making my own rum was to create my own “spiced infusions”. A rum infusion, is made by taking fruits, vegetables, spices, roots, or whatever you have that might flavour something, and then putting them in the spirit and allowing the rum to draw out the essences of the spice materials, thereby flavouring the liquid. If you have travelled in the Caribbean (and a local Rum shop) or have family who ‘send a message to Inglan’ of Rum with various Bushes steeped in them; those are infusions.
I started with the typical Caribbean spices from Grenada (known as the Isle of Spice); and then moved onto Pineapple, Mangoes and Papaya. The taste sessions in our home kitchen were a raucous affair and stimulated memories of log ago, beaches and travels, but also prompted memories of family recipes, cures and saying and stories passed down through generations.
It was clearly an important part of the ‘rum story’ and something that can’t be separated from the drink and gathering. My task was to capture the spirit of the Rums I was now infusing, and to now infuse the stories into the liquid.