Why you should try Indian Ocean rum

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Indian Ocean Rum

Why You Should Dive into Indian Ocean Rum

This enticing journey into the world of Indian Ocean rum takes us on a tantalizing voyage through the rich history and diverse flavors that this region has to offer. Sugarcane, the magical ingredient that powers these fiery elixirs, has been cultivated for millennia in India, laying the foundation for the creation of exceptional rums. Réunion and Mauritius, two captivating islands in the Indian Ocean, have been distilling this spirit for centuries, leaving an indelible mark on the world of rum.

Today, the local rum industry is a hidden gem, still relatively small but steadily gaining recognition for its quality. Numerous producers from this tropical paradise are beginning to draw the attention of rum enthusiasts worldwide, and for good reason.

Mauritius: Grays Distillery – A True Terroir Experience

In the heart of Mauritius, Grays Distillery stands as a testament to craftsmanship and authenticity. Not only does it grow its own sugarcane, but it also produces its own molasses, a rare practice in an industry that often relies on imports. By doing so, Grays Distillery offers a true reflection of the Mauritian terroir, capturing the essence of the island in every drop of its rum.

Réunion: Isautier’s Agricole Elegance

Réunion, on the other hand, specializes in agricole rum, a unique style crafted from sugarcane juice rather than molasses. Producers like Isautier have mastered this art, resulting in rums celebrated for their grassy and herbal qualities. Cane juice is carefully fermented and distilled, creating a fresher and more vibrant taste that sets agricole rum apart.

Seychelles: Takamaka’s Modern Twist

In the picturesque Seychelles, a new rum scene is emerging. Bernard and Richard d’Offay launched Takamaka, the first modern distillery in the country, in 2002. They are pioneers in using heritage sugarcane varieties and former bourbon barrels for aging, attracting not only the best bartenders but also rum collectors worldwide.

These are just a few examples of the Indian Ocean’s rum renaissance, where tradition meets innovation, and every sip tells a story. Now, let’s explore four of the best Indian Ocean rums that deserve a place in your collection.

1. Takamaka Rum Blanc, Seychelles: A Creamy Delight

Takamaka Rum Blanc, hailing from the Seychelles, is a light and creamy white rum that oozes character. Made from molasses distilled in both column and pot stills, it’s a versatile spirit that effortlessly complements classic white rum cocktails like the piña colada or mojito.

2. Rhum Blanc Agricole, Réunion: The Essence of Réunion

Isautier, with its 1845 establishment date, is not only the oldest distillery on Réunion but also the longest-running island business. Their Rhum Blanc Agricole showcases the full spectrum of cane-to-glass magic, boasting fresh vanilla, almond, and citrus aromas that capture the essence of this unique island.

3. New Grove Old Tradition 5 Years, Mauritius: A True Mauritian Classic

From Grays in Mauritius comes the New Grove Old Tradition 5 Years, a rum made from its own molasses and aged to perfection in new French oak and ex-cognac casks. This full-bodied elixir is opulent, aromatic, and richly flavored, offering complexity without any additives, extra sugar, or artificial colorings.

4. Rockland Dark Red Rum, Sri Lanka: A Burst of Flavor

Rockland Distillery in Sri Lanka, a family-owned establishment since 1924, produces a velvety rum bursting with notes of dried fruit and dark chocolate. While their primary focus has been arrack, a coconut flower sap-based spirit, this dark red rum is a delightful departure.

Now that we’ve taken a journey through the world of Indian Ocean rum, it’s time to enjoy a taste of paradise with a special cocktail recipe inspired by Mauritius.

How to Make a Mau Tai – A Tropical Delight

While the Indian Ocean may not have a globally renowned rum cocktail like Cuba’s daiquiri or Puerto Rico’s piña colada, it offers a unique experience with rums infused with fruit and spices, mixed with fresh juices. Here’s a delightful recipe from Mauritius’s Grays Distillery to transport your taste buds to paradise:


  • 30ml New Grove Old Tradition 5 Years
  • 30ml unaged sugarcane juice rum (agricole)
  • 30ml pineapple juice (preferably fresh)
  • 20ml fresh lime juice
  • 15ml mango juice
  • 15ml fresh passion fruit
  • Pineapple wedge
  • Pineapple leaves
  • Sprinkle of toasted coconut chips to garnish


  1. Shake the rums, juices, and passion fruit with ice for 20 seconds.
  2. Pour the concoction into a highball glass filled with cracked ice.
  3. Garnish with a pineapple wedge, pineapple leaves, and a sprinkle of toasted coconut chips.

Now, you have all the ingredients and knowledge to embark on a flavorful journey through the Indian Ocean’s rich rum culture. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor these exceptional rums and indulge in the tropical delights they inspire. Cheers to your next adventure in a glass! _xD83C__xDF79_

[Published in the Indian Ocean supplement, distributed with the September 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Indian Ocean Rum

Q: What makes Indian Ocean rum unique?

A: Indian Ocean rum is unique due to its rich history and diverse flavors. Sugarcane, cultivated for thousands of years in India, forms the backbone of these rums. Each region, such as Mauritius, Réunion, and Seychelles, offers its own distinct terroir and production techniques, resulting in a wide array of flavor profiles. Whether it’s the terroir-rich Mauritian distilleries or Seychellois innovation, Indian Ocean rum is a journey through island paradise in a glass.

Q: Can you recommend some Indian Ocean rums to try?

A: Certainly! Four exceptional Indian Ocean rums to explore are:

  1. Takamaka Rum Blanc, Seychelles: A creamy white rum, perfect for classic cocktails.
  2. Rhum Blanc Agricole, Réunion: A showcase of fresh vanilla, almond, and citrus aromas.
  3. New Grove Old Tradition 5 Years, Mauritius: A full-bodied, opulent rum aged in French oak and ex-cognac casks.
  4. Rockland Dark Red Rum, Sri Lanka: A velvety rum bursting with dried fruit and dark chocolate notes.

Q: What is the history of Indian Ocean rum production?

A: Indian Ocean rum production has a long and storied history. Sugarcane cultivation for rum dates back thousands of years in India. Réunion and Mauritius have been distilling rum for centuries, with Réunion specializing in agricole rum made from sugarcane juice. The Seychelles also boasts a modern rum scene, with distilleries like Takamaka leading the way since 2002.

Q: Are there any signature rum cocktails from the Indian Ocean region?

A: While there isn’t a globally renowned Indian Ocean rum cocktail like the daiquiri or piña colada, the region offers unique experiences with rums infused with fruit and spices, mixed with fresh juices. One delightful example is the “Mau Tai,” a tropical delight featuring New Grove Old Tradition 5 Years rum from Mauritius.

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IslandExplorer123 September 7, 2023 - 4:12 pm

These rums sound legit, gonna add them to my bucket list of drinks to try.

RumCollector September 7, 2023 - 10:56 pm

Love the details on the different rums, gonna hunt down that New Grove Old Tradition 5 Years for sure!

RumLover17 September 8, 2023 - 12:01 am

wow, I didnt kno there waz so much history behind rum in the Indian Ocean, its cool to learn abt it!

MaiTaiMaster September 8, 2023 - 3:06 am

yum! I want to try that mau tai recipe, soundz delish!

BeachBumBob September 8, 2023 - 3:42 am

Great article, now I’m dreaming of sipping rum on a tropical beach. Cheers!


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