Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, St. Croix was then introduced to the European world. Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, the Knights of Malta, Denmark, and the United States have all had their influence on this little paradise. This biggest island of the U.S. Virgin Islands-roughly twenty-eight miles long by seven miles wide-is home to the Cruzan Rum distillery.
Cruzan (pronounced kru-shun), is named after the native St. Croix islanders, who are called “Crucians.” Cruzan started making rum in 1760. In the early days, the rum was made using pot stills; now a five-column distillation process is employed, which removes the impurities and creates a clean, smooth, rich and mellow rum. The distillery is owned by Beam Global Wine and Spirits and has been managed by the Nelthropp family for eight generations.
Making one of the world’s best rums has a distinct path and process. All rum starts with sugar cane. Molasses is then extracted, which is a fairly complicated process. Cruzan puts a lot of energy into obtaining only the best, very high-quality molasses. The molasses is then added to the fermentation tanks where pure St. Croix rainwater and yeast are added to convert the sugar from the molasses into alcohol. The fermented mash is then put in the first column of the five-column still, which is the stripping column, designed to remove all the alcohol. It then continues throughout the five-column process to be distilled under 190 proof, as required by law. During the distillation, the fusil oils and “heads” are stripped away to produce a very clean ethyl alcohol, ready for aging. The aging sets Cruzan Rum apart from other rums as the distillery utilizes once-used bourbon barrels for the ultimate quality. Once the rum is aged and ready, it is cut to 80 proof and bottled.
Aged Light & Dark Rum – The rums are aged in one-time-used bourbon barrels a minimum of 14 months for light rum and 2 years for dark rum and up to 4.
Single Barrel – Bottled with individual numbers, this is a blend of vintage rums aged for up to 12 years. The term “single barrel” means the blend of rums is aged in new oak casks for about one more year and then bottled, one cask at a time.
Aged Rum 151° – Aged and crafted as its little brother, aged rum – just with more kick!
Black Strap Rum – Full-bodied and rich in flavor, this cleaner and less heavy Navy rum is perfect for recipes that call for it, such as Mai-Tais.
Flavored Rums – Cruzan’s famous flavored rums include: strawberry (introduced this month), banana, black cherry, citrus, coconut, guava, mango, pineapple, raspberry, rum cream and vanilla.