More than Vino Tinto and Sangria in Spain
Visitors to Spain may come hoping to visit a winery or get a taste of Sangria.
Rum isn’t the first drink that comes to mind when you think of Spain.
And not much wonder, the main ingredient—sugar cane, or rather the molasses from the cane—is no longer grown anywhere in Europe.
Tucked away in the province of Granada along the coast is a small family-run distillery, called Ron Montero, that prides itself in its unique quality and taste of rum.
Travellingaroundspain.com stopped for a tour on a recent visit to Granada. The guide, Blanca, was friendly and informative helping us to come away with a new appreciation for rum.
Ron Montero was founded by Francisco Montero Martin who worked at his family’s sugar distillery from a young age. (back when Spain did have sugar cane crops—more on that part of the story later)
However, before the last of the canes disappeared this curious innovated man affectionately known as “Tio Paco” started experimenting with how to make rum from the molasses that was produced in the area. He didn’t want to produce just any kind of rum, but a craft rum of superior quality made from a combination of traditional methods and the highest quality of raw products.
Jump ahead 50 years and even though the last of the sugar cane has been replaced by other crops that are easier to care for or by tourism, the legacy provided by Tio Paco lives on in his rum. Ron Montero (Ron being the Spanish word for rum) produces a rum that is biological; it does not add extra sugar or other products during the process making a pure rum that even diabetics and celiacs can drink.
Most rum distilleries will buy barrels that have been previously used to make whisky, sherry, wine or other products. By doing this, flavours other than natural ingredients and the oak taste from the barrels are introduced into the rum.
The philosophy of Ron Montero is that it wants the truest, purest flavours. To achieve this pure taste Ron Montero doesn’t put rum in pre-used barrels—instead they buy new “virgin” American oak barrels. However, by using new barrels they have to go through a process to purify them as the 1st batches of rum in the new barrels will be so strong that “not even a pirate would drink it,” said Blanca.
This process takes longer than other distilleries and therefore the rum produced by Montero’s is only available in limited stock. You can purchase a bottle, or crate after your tour but this is not a rum that you will find on the shelves of your local liquor store back home.
If you would like to learn about the history of the sugar crop in Spain—including Spain’s role in introducing sugar to the Americas—as well as learn the process of making an exceptional quality of rum (oh, and get a taste test of the fabulous Montero rum) you can take a tour of the Distillery. English tours are offered from Tuesday through Sunday at 1:00 p.m.