Rum This Town: What is Rum Agricole?

Want to taste the purity of cane? Look no further than Martinique’s unique rhum Agricole!

City Style and Living Spring 2023 Rum This Town: What is Rum Agricole? Old House
The Historic Rhum museum in Martinique / Courtesy Rhum Clément

What is It Made From?
Rum production has been synonymous with the Caribbean for centuries, although its core ingredient, sugarcane, a giant grass in the poaceae family, which also includes wheat and bamboo, originally comes from Asia.

City Style and Living Spring 2023 Rum This Town: What is Rum Agricole Sugar Cane Clement Rhum
Sugar Cane growing at Clement Rhum / Courtesy Rhum Clément

How is It Made?
Traditionally, rum is made by fermenting and distilling molasses, and oak ageing, resulting in a sweet alcohol and distinctive caramel colour.

Two other types of rum are made from sugar cane juice: cachaça and rhum agricole. Popular in Brazil, cachaça is made from fermented sugarcane juice. Known mostly in the French West Indies, rhum agricole is made from freshly pressed cane juice that is naturally fermented, without yeast, for less than 120 hours before being distilled and then aged. It only accounts for five per cent of rum production worldwide.

Did you Know?

Martinique’s unique rhum agricole is protected by AOC (Apellation d’Origine Controlee) status which establishes defined rules for production.

To ensure the character of the sugarcane juice is retained in the distilled spirit, Martinique rhum agricole is normally sold with less than 40% alcohol by volume.

AOC Rhum agricole in Martinique accounts for approximately 21% of the island’s agricultural GDP.

According to AOC rules, the fermented juice has to be distilled in column stills.

City Style and Living Spring 2023 Rum This Town: What is Rum Agricole? White rum, aged rum and vsop
/ Courtesy Rhum Clément

What to Drink?
Rhum Clément cuvée Homère

After learning French brandy distillation techniques in France, Homère Clément purchased Domaine de l’Acajou on the island of Martinique in the late 1880s.

A blend of the best vintages from the past fifteen years this special bottle is akin to a Scottish single malt scotch or fine cognac.

Amber in colour with notes of butterscotch and cream, floral with delicate pepper notes and a clean, long finish, sip it neat or on the rocks.

City Style and Living Spring 2023 Rum This Town: What is Rum Agricole?
Rum Ti Punch/ Courtesy Rhum Clément

Ti Punch

1 quarter size lime disk
1/4 oz sugarcane syrup
2 oz Rhum Clément

Squeeze the disk into the glass, add syrup and rhum. Swizzle! Add ice if desired.

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This original article first appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.

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