Since it was raining we decided to spend a day exploring the island. The mud is amazing and after you slide down a hill with 5 lbs of it on each foot a waterfall is a refreshing pit stop.
We arrived at Mt. Carmel Waterfall on the East coast of Grenada a few miles south of the town of Grenville. Who can resist standing under a waterfall and being pounded by thousands of gallons of cool water.
After a refreshing shower and some time cleaning our shoes we headed off to Grenville and toured the fish market. The Japanese have built a number of these on the islands in the Caribbean and they are very well done. The fish are kept in proper cold rooms and ice is readily available to keep them fresh in the hot weather.
Next we headed north the Rivers Rum Distillery. Rivers has been in business since 1785 and they claim that they have never stopped production.
Not much has changed in the last 200 odd years. They still raise their own cane and everything is done by hand.
The only machine is the Juicer which consists of an old steel water wheel connected to a crushing machine.
All the juice (I suspect that the gear lube also would be considered a juice in this heat) from the cane is drained under the machine and is transferred by a pipe to the cooking room.
In the cooking room the cane juice is reduced by boiling from one kettle to the next until it is concentrated enough to cook in its own juices and start fermentation.
The fermentation takes place in these large concrete walled tanks. I was expecting stainless or copper but I guess it would spoil the end product.
The Rivers Rum Distillery is proud of its history and the fact that it hasn't modernized it's process. When asked if they aged any of the rum in barrels they said that the demand was much too great to be bothered with aging it. They simply distill it in these grand old kettles and condensers and transfer it to underground tanks where it is ladled out and bottled by hand using funnels.
The next part of the tour was the moment we had all been waiting for, tasting. They had three versions of their rum to choose from. A spice rum made with allspice, a regular 70 proof white and the best of all; the over proof, 150 proof rum. The spice rum was actually kind of good and Sunny decided to purchase one.
I tried the over proof and to be honest I think I would have rather drunk brake fluid. Like the oak barrels that Jack Daniels is aged in you can really taste the subtle hints of aggregate and fly ash in the concrete of the tanks. Something grabbed my larynx on the way down and tied it in a knot.
If you ever find yourself in Grenada and want to try something a bit different, this is the place to go. Despite the harsh taste of the rum it is interesting to watch people make rum as it was made hundreds of years ago and to see a real water wheel in action.
There is something so special about the place that despite the fact your throat may stop working your smile won't.