The SOMM Journal

October / November 2015

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Page 101 of 132

{ }  101 In the 1830s, when the Serrallés fam- ily began refining sugarcane along the southern shore of Puerto Rico, the island belonged to the Spanish empire. Spain still ruled over the territory 30 years later when Don Juan Serrallés distilled the first batch of rum at Hacienda Mercedita in 1865. Now a century and a half has passed and a different country's flag flies alongside that of the Commonwealth, but the distillery continues crafting world-class rums, including eight expressions of its flagship Don Q brand, contemporary- style Caliche Rum (made in cooperation with nightlife impresario Rande Gerber), the value-driven Palo Viejo label and popular BlackBeard Spiced Rums. In fact, Destilería Serrallés produces more than 65 percent of the rum consumed on this rum-centric island. Tasting these rums and learning about this history through sales reps and bar- tenders might impart a fair amount of knowledge, but there is no greater educa- tion than taking a trip out to see where the magic happens. So, off I flew to the Island of Enchantment to delve taste buds first into the rums of Destilería Serrallés, as well as celebrate Serrallés's big 1–5–0. { in search of spirits } Built in the 1930s, Castillo Serrallés, which sits above downtown Ponce and now functions as a museum, was chosen as the picturesque setting for the 150th anniversary party for Destilería Serrallés. Rumchantment The Island of DESTILERÍA SERRALLÉS CELEBRATES 150 YEARS OF RUM PRODUCTION IN PUERTO RICO by Emily Coleman PHOTO: JOE COLON

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