A History on Rum in Mauritius

Published Date: 05 Jan 2018

Mauritius is famous for many things. Sun, sea, sand... and incredibly smooth and flavoursome rum! Read on to find out exactly what makes Mauritian rum so tantalizing.

Hey, Sugar
Surprisingly, despite Mauritius’ long-running history with rum, the island is still a relative newcomer to global markets; the reason being that in the past, colonial governments saw more value in refined sugar than in rum thanks to how much profit refined sugar is able to generate. This was the case until as recently as 2006 when the ban on distilling rum from sugarcane juice was lifted. Twelve kinds of sugarcane are grown in Mauritius, but only two (yellow and red) are used in the process of making rum.

Before anyone was using either molasses or sugarcane juice for rum, the earliest settlers drank a clear, alcoholic spirit that was just one step away from becoming rum. It was made from coconut and palm and known as arrack. After settlers started to exhaust the coconuts and palms needed to make their arrack, they turned their attention to sugarcane growth, and so one of Mauritius’ most profitable industries was born and the opportunity to distil rum was realised.

Agricole Rum
Until 2006 when the ban was lifted, rum in Mauritius was produced from molasses and in very small quantities. As of 2006, rum has been produced using sugarcane juice, this is known as Agricole Rum. This brought an exciting diversity to the rums available in Mauritius as older distilleries were able to make rum from both molasses and sugarcane juice, offering some variety and an opportunity for artisanal distilleries to crop up.

Fruity Flavours and Incredible Infusions
Mauritius’ truly exceptional rums can be linked to the island’s tropical flavours. In fact, it’s the infusions of Mauritian rum that make it stand out from its competitors. Mauritius is also a producer of vanilla beans, coconuts and passion fruit—all of which make great infusions to white rums. The fresh addition of these fruits, rather than syrups, produces a flavoursome, fruity infusion that is smooth and palatable.

Rhumerie de Chamarel
One of our favourite suggestions for an incredible excursion while in Mauritius is a visit to Rhumerie de Chamarel. A distillery proudly nestled away in the mountains which has been specifically designed to showcase the entire process of making rum. After watching the process unfold, guests can enjoy a sample of all the production and then enjoy a crepe on the terrace or a full meal in the restaurant.

The Rums

  • New Grove
  • Pink Pigeon
  • Chamarel
  • La Bourdonnais
  • St Aubin
  • Green Island
  • Blue Mauritius

All of our resorts in Mauritius offer great local Rum Cocktail recipes! Even if you’re not a rum drinker, step outside of your comfort zone and try one of the bartender’s recommendations (you’ll thank us later). Impress your friends and family with the little nuggets of history you’ve enjoyed from this article as you enjoy every refreshing sip of your rum (whether it’s neat or mixed up in a lovely cocktail).

You can find out more about our resorts in Mauritius here.