Tag Archives: Spanish

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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Captain Henry Morgan Didn’t Drink Rum

In the 1600s the namesake of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum sailed all over the Caribbean pirating & plundering Spanish settlements. Given a mandate from the British crown Captain Henry Morgan was technically a privateer—although he made a living doing very piratey things.

Since the Spanish wine industry convinced the crown to outlaw exports of liquor from its colonies, Spanish settlements in Central & South America never got around to making rum like the British Colonies did. So Captain Morgan & anyone raiding Spanish settlements predominantly consumed what they had on hand: Madeira, Wine, & Brandy.

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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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Dis.Filipino Still

The ancient Aztec civilization started making alcohol over 1,000 years ago. While they came up with a rice wine called pulque on their own, distilled spirits would not arrive until the conquistadors showed up.

The conquering Spanish introduced crude filipino stills to Mexico. They employ an underground fire, a hollwed tree trunk, and a copper pan to distill alcohol.

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