Rum at the Alto Vista Winery

It’s the 18th of March and its only appropriate to talk about locally grown and produced products, from Aruba Dushi Tera.

On the tour of the Alto Vista Winery, you also confront great fields of green with tall corn-like stalks standing tall and defiant against the wind.

Sugar Cane.

I think the sugar cane rum idea came to David Kock as an after-thought, while he was cultivating wine grape. He is by nature an idea-machine, and has in the past tested a few of them, not always successfully. Beer for example. There was once a local beer brewery in Santa Cruz, I think it was called Red Star, and not wanting to waste such a good name, Red Star Rum, was an idea whose time has come.

According to a dimpled, most charming bartender/guide at the Red Star Rum distillery, rum is divided into two main categories: Rum made of molasses, an after-thought of the sugar industry, which tastes like jet fuel and burns all the way, and noble rum made with the sugar cane juice pressed on location, then fermented, distilled and aged, to become a fragrant, tasty, elixir, the main component of the delicious house Caipirinha.

After pressing the cane and extracting all juice, the discarded reeds are used as fuel for the furnace that boils the cane juice at 90 degrees, so nothing is lost.

I bought a bottle of Red Star Rum for $28, at the winery, and I intend to share it with friends. The first one to throw a dinner party, and invite me, wins!

Sugarcane wrote a chapter in Aruba’s history when many men, opted to work in the Cuban sugar cane fields, for lack of work here. Sugarcane remains an important part of the economy of Cuba, Guyana, Belize, Barbados and Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, and other subtropical islands. It requires a lot of water which the winery gets from a nearby water reservoir, a natural dam. The winery also processes gray water for irrigation, and relies on Santa Rosa to supply some too.

Interesting fact: With the abolition of slavery, 1836, sugar cane plantation needed to import new workers and looked east for cheap labor in China & India, hence the great immigration waves from these countries to this part of the world.


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March 18, 2023
Rona Coster