Experience Mount Gay Rum Cocktail Tour
Last Friday I had the pleasure of taking the Cocktail Tour at Mount Gay Visitors Center. This is situated on the Spring Garden Highway walking distance to the Bridgetown Port. The site is situated on the highway but once you enter this facility it has a very tranquil breezy feeling. They were many visitors sitting on white garden benches under some shady trees just enjoying the ambiance.
The tour starts with our marvelous tour guide Ryan ushering us into a large air-conditioned room offering us a delicious free rum punch cocktail to start off this tour.
Ryan proceeded to entertain us with his very informative stories of the history of Mount Gay Rum. It was a little tongue in cheek that the first owner of this product was a man by the name of John Sober. Sober!
The first rum made by this distillery was an alcohol know as Kill Devil. Renowned for its lethal effects.
We were told the tales of how Mount Gay got its name from the first master blender called John Gay. Today the master blender is Allen Smith.
The antidotes of sailors having to take barrels of rum back to England to prove they had in fact landed in Barbados and through this process it was discovered that aged rum was more palatable than green rum. He also educated us on the value of owning a red Mount Gay Cap. I encourage you to visit to learn more about these stories.
From this room we were escorted upstairs to a room with huge boiler pots which were still in use up to a couple of years ago. Then on to a theater which was decorated to look like a replica of one of the Barbadian Rum Shops. We were then treated to a seven minute movie on the history of Mount Gay and the process of how the rum is made.
The rum is still made in St. Lucy at the same location as it was first made in 1703 over 300 years ago. This rum is still fermented in huge vats in the open air and stored in barrels in warehouses cooled by our tropical breezes. It was interesting to me that our rum is aged in wooden barrels that were originally used to age whisky and bourbon.
Now on to the fun part. After the movie we were treated to taste testing three types of Mount Gay Rum. Mount Gay Eclipse, Mount Gay Black Barrel and Mount Gay Extra Old. The guide explained the different notes each rum exhibited and also taught us how to swirl the rum in the glasses and watch the legs run down. Very entertaining.
Back down the stairs, be warned – hold onto the handrails as by this time we have had four servings of rum. We went down to the bottling center. Here they bottle more than 10,000 bottles of rum a day, most of the bottling and labeling is automated but the signature 1703 rum is actually hand bottled and hand labeled.
Then on to the real Cocktail part of the tour. We were introduced to the resident Mix-ologists. They showed the group how to mix and make a Mojito with muddling the limes and the mint leaves and adding the liquor. They explained the use and importance of all the different compliments that are tools of their trade. We were also offered a taste test of the Mount Gay Silver Rum. This rum is crystal clear.
Then out to the large deck area where 6 tables were set up with all the tools to make unique cocktails. The different rums were available and a table laden with fresh fruits like strawberries, kiwis, bananas etc, and spices like basil, mint, ginger.
The group was broken into 6 teams and the teams were given 30 minutes to create their specialty cocktail. They had to make enough of each concoction to serve 18 persons in the group plus the judges.
Off the teams set with great concentration and imagination. Some muddled strawberries with simple syrups and rum, others grated ginger and added limes. Each team took time to decorate the glasses with fresh fruits and leaves and by the time they were finished they had 6 outstanding looking and tasting cocktails.
The judging is done by all. Each team gives a score out of 10 to each sampled cocktail and then the judges add their score. Prizes where given to the best cocktail, the tidiest table etc…
It was a very informative tour with a fun-filled afternoon where everyone got to be a mix-ologist for a short time.
What I also learnt is that the restaurant, bar and gift shop are open daily for everyone to enjoy. You can just stop by and enjoy one of their creative cocktails like their signature Blood, Sweat and Tears, a Mojito or just rum on the rocks.
The food is delicious, I ordered beef stew which came with a delightful side dish of quinoa, mashed potatoes and salad. I will be going back:-)