Vatsal is a techie and a coffee junkie. Most often he’s caught watching a film with Guinness for company. Preeti loves everything about the mountains. She always has her head buried in a book sipping tea.
We both love traveling and watching films so we decided to document some of it. Hope you enjoy reading as much as we’ve enjoyed traveling and writing about them 🙂
Rum is synonymous to Cuba and it’s an interesting visit to the Museum of Rum if you’re interested in the history and the process of making rum. The museum is housed in a beautiful colonial building with an open courtyard and light reflecting through the coloured glass windows. We smoked a cigar on the barrel benches while awaiting our group tour in English to begin. There were many tourist around, all taking a breather from the sweltering heat. The tour begins promptly at the given time with an announcement and the ringing of the bell. We follow a group of about 15 people up a flight of stairs which display pictures on the orange wall.
Before they take you in the mini theatre for the screening of a short film about the history, we pass by an open where they exhibit the different types of rum including the best one, Maximum available at 2,000 USD per bottle.
Leading out from the theatre to the balcony with photographs on the left wall of African slaves in the sugarcane fields, sugarcane stalks, the machine which was used to extract the juice (guarapo) from the plant and the huge tumbler where the guarapo was boiled to get the molasses and sugar. There is a huge model of the factories and the railways which were constructed for the transportation of the sugarcane.
The guide here dwells a bit on the history of sugarcane in Cuba. Sugarcane was first bought to the island by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Initially, Spain had regulated trade with Cuba but when they finally opened Cuba’s ports to foreign ships, it resulted in a huge boom in the production of sugar due to the perfect mix of rich soil, rainfall and climate. New technology and the railways allowed the boom further making Cuba one of the leading producer of sugar back in the days.
From this dark room we climb up the staircase to the fermentation and distilling rooms, where the wooden fermentation casks, gleaming copper distillation columns, and pipes that transport the “aguardient” into various tanks are kept. It is then fermented and Molasses is combined with fresh water and yeast. Fermented liquid is then distilled which is aged in white oak barrels. There are many stages of blending until the Maestro Ronero decides if it’s the perfect blend for the specific rum. The choice of oak barrels is curial and is picked by the Maestro as the wood lends its colour and aroma to the blend.
After walking through the dark rooms understanding the complexity of rum, we are finally lead to the bar where we are given 7 year old rum to taste. We are left here to enjoy more drinks and buy rum and cigars at the souvenir shop.
Location: El Museo del Ron Havana Club Avenida del Puerto 262, esq. Sol, Habana Vieja Ciudad de La Habana.
Timings: It is open daily from 9:30.am to 5:30 pm. Entry fee: 7 Cuc for international visitors and free for locals. The entry fee includes a free drink- 7 year old rum.
There are tours in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. You need to get there early to put your name down on a group for English (since most visitors are English-speaking) and pop back in later.
Cuba is the land of cocktails, confused about what to drink in Cuba, read our guide to drinking in Cuba.
Done with rum, now head to the Cigar plantation tour in Vinales.
Which is your favourite museum?
Do you enjoy museum tour?