Ships ahoy! The Story of Barbados sugar, rum and molasses
Meet King Sugar
Ships Ahoy! That was the haunting call of the centuries-old movement to action, as the vessels bearing tons of sugar grown in Barbados, along with its by-products of molasses and rum, were loaded bound for Europe. In the 1640s Barbados became the major British sugar producing nation and was referred to as ‘the jewel in the British crown,’ as a result of the inordinate amount of wealth generated for Great Britain due to the trade in Barbados sugar.
The remnants of sugar cane production continue to dot the landscape of the island – old plantation buildings, large fields left fallow, and mill-walls that once supported the structure used for grinding the canes, all now relics, ghosts of our colonial past.
Sugar and Food
This sweeping, tropical, sugar producing space has retained cultural food practices around sugar and its byproducts. The use of these sweet crystals are added to any drink from hot to cold beverages. Fruit juices and drinks like mauby, as well as hot drinks like tea, are all enjoyed with added sugar. It is also the main ingredient in our cakes, sweet breads, pastry and some cooking, as well as confectionary like sugar cakes, nut cakes, glassie, and tamarind balls. Oh yes, snow cones, they would not do well without that sugar-based syrup added to the ice.
The Home of Rum
Molasses is a by-product of sugar production and is noted for its use in the manufacture of rum, which is said to have been discovered right here in our capital city of Bridgetown in 1645 by Tavern Keeper Captain Rumball. By 1703 Barbados had perfected the art of rum refining and is now renowned for having the oldest rum in the world. Looking for a thrilling experience to add to your things to do list? – Try a visit to one of our rum refineries, see how the product is made and enjoy the samples that are served.
With the Crop Over festival fast approaching and looming large on our yearly calendar of festivals, rum is sure to be on the menu of celebration. If you are visiting Barbados in this festive month of July, Lickrish Food Tours wishes you an exciting and enjoyable time! Hurray … It is Crop Over time!
Photo credit: https://sasmabv.com/products/sugarcane-alcohol/