Tag Archives: Spain

How Much Rum Would You Have Drank in 1655?

Through the 17th century Rum became a big enough product that it influenced the function and politics of many countries.

This might seem a bold claim for a spirit that today ranks about 3rd on peoples’ list of favorites spirits. However, by 1655 the island of Barbados alone was producing 900,000 gallons (3.4 million liters) annually.

Each English colony in the Caribbean made an obscene amount of money making Rum. However, the Spanish colonies were forbidden to export rum, so they never made any. Out of fear of Rum taking over, the Spanish wine industry convinced the king to adopt this law, and this is why the real Captain Morgan did not drink Rum!

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Some Yeasts Make More Booze Than Others

Each of the hundreds of different yeast strains used to make booze impart different characteristics on the final product. For instance, the two yeasts predominantly used in making Hefeweizen-style beers give the brew with either Banana or Bubble Gum flavors.

All yeast do share a common trait that they end up dying of alcohol-poisoning once they produce too much of it—although the lethal concentration again varies from strain to strain.

Spanish wine makers add Brandy to a white wine to create Sherry. This higher ABV spirit kills off some yeast so that the Flor and Velum strains (tolerant of higher alcohol levels) will thrive and impart their characteristics alone.

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