It was a good thing that I read the article in The New York Times just that very day about Caribbean rum: I was able to get a handle on things before the drinking and merriment commenced at the very first Rum Bahamas Fest! They had many rum distillers from across the Caribbean, as well as native foods, crafts and music. It was held at historic Ft. Charlotte in Nassau.
I learned about a term with which I was unfamiliar: Rhum Agricole. It is the French term for sugar-cane juice rum, opposed to molasses rum. Then, I came upon the Rhum Clément booth. Not only are they a rhum agricole, but they are also an appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), meaning their location of origin is controlled, just like champagne and certain cheeses.
Clément has been a family-run business in Martinique since 1887. They make a full range of rums, from the mixable to the sippable. I got to sip a 4 year old rum: smooth, with light almond and bittersweet cocoa flavors.
One of their signature cocktails that I got to try is the 'Ti Punch. It's a distinct cultural tradition of the French Caribbean and the unofficial drink of Martinique. It's made with 2 parts Clément Premiere Canne, 2 bar spoons Clément Sirop de Canne (yes, they make syrup, too!) and 2 muddled lime disks.
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