Buying Rum in Cuba: A Guide for Travelers
If you are planning to visit Cuba, you might be wondering how to buy rum in this Caribbean island. Rum is one of the most popular and iconic products of Cuba, and it is also a great souvenir to bring back home. However, buying rum in Cuba can be tricky if you don’t know where to look and what to avoid. Here are some tips and advice to help you enjoy the best rum in Cuba.
What is Cuban Rum?
Cuban rum is a type of rum that is made from sugarcane juice or molasses, fermented and distilled in Cuba. Cuban rum has a distinctive flavor and aroma that is influenced by the climate, soil, water, and aging process of the island. Cuban rum is usually aged in oak barrels for at least two years, and some of the finest rums can be aged for up to 30 years or more.
Cuban rum is classified into three categories: light, gold, and dark. Light rums are clear and have a mild taste, gold rums are amber-colored and have a richer flavor, and dark rums are brown or black and have a strong and complex taste. Some of the most famous brands of Cuban rum are Havana Club, Santiago de Cuba, Ron Legendario, Ron Varadero, and Ron Caney.
Where to Buy Rum in Cuba?
There are many places where you can buy rum in Cuba, but not all of them offer the same quality and price. Here are some of the best options to consider:
- Duty-free shops: If you want to buy rum at the airport or at the port, duty-free shops are a good choice. They usually have a wide selection of brands and types of rum, and they offer competitive prices. However, they might not have the rarest or oldest rums available.
- State-owned stores: If you want to buy rum in the city or in the countryside, state-owned stores are another option. They are easy to find and they sell authentic Cuban rum at fixed prices. However, they might have limited stock or variety of rum, and they might not accept foreign currency or credit cards.
- Private sellers: If you want to buy rum from local people or street vendors, private sellers are an alternative. They might offer you cheaper prices or rare rums that are not available elsewhere. However, they might also sell you fake or adulterated rum that can be harmful or disappointing.
How to Choose the Best Rum in Cuba?
When buying rum in Cuba, there are some factors that you should consider to ensure that you get the best quality and value for your money. Here are some of them:
- Label: Always check the label of the bottle before buying it. The label should indicate the brand, type, age, alcohol content, origin, and certification of the rum. If the label is missing, damaged, or suspicious, avoid buying it.
- Seal: Always check the seal of the bottle before buying it. The seal should be intact and secure, and it should match the brand and type of the rum. If the seal is broken, tampered with, or mismatched, avoid buying it.
- Color: Always check the color of the rum before buying it. The color should be consistent and clear, and it should match the type and age of the rum. If the color is cloudy, murky, or unnatural, avoid buying it.
- Aroma: Always check the aroma of the rum before buying it. The aroma should be pleasant and distinctive, and it should match the type and age of the rum. If the aroma is unpleasant, weak, or artificial, avoid buying it.
- Taste: Always check the taste of the rum before buying it. The taste should be smooth and balanced, and it should match the type and age of the rum. If the taste is harsh, bitter, or chemical-like avoid buying it.
How to Enjoy Rum in Cuba?
Once you have bought your rum in Cuba, you can enjoy it in different ways. Here are some