Bush Rum

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Bushy

Bush Rum, commonly known as Bushy, is a traditional beverage originating from the islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina. It was clandestinely produced in the dense tropical dry forest of the territory during the prohibition years from 1920 to 1933. Originally crafted from fermented sugarcane, Bush Rum holds significant cultural importance for the Raizal ethnic community of Providencia and the Santa Catalina Islands.

Presently, efforts are underway to revive sugarcane cultivation, considering its historical significance in the landscape of these islands dating back to the time of slavery. Sugarcane played a vital role in preserving food (such as fruit candy), sweetening, and exporting to Jamaica. The crop is harvested once a year, sown during the rainy season in May and June, and reaped in the dry season from March to April.

In the past, Bush Rum had a place in mourning rituals during the announcement of bad news. The messenger of unpleasant news would mount a horse, carrying a bottle of Bush Rum. Simultaneously, in the backyard of the deceased, the carpenters were building the coffin while they remembered happy moments with the deceased. Additionally, the beverage is a social staple in celebrations and festivities.

The production process involves grinding sugarcane to extract its juice, which is then boiled in 200-liter cauldrons until it transforms into cane honey. This honey initiates the fermentation process, followed by distillation to produce Bush Rum with alcohol volumes ranging from 30 to 50. Beyond its traditional form, Bush Rum is utilized to impart an aromatic touch and alcohol content to various traditional recipes, including black fruit cake, Jamaican flower and ginger infusion, eggnog, and fruit punch.

Despite its cultural and historical significance, Bush Rum faces challenges in contemporary times. Its production is limited due to the lack of government support for sugarcane cultivation and agricultural development on the islands. Consequently, newer generations show less interest in the preservation and development of this unique cultural product.

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Distilled and fermented beverages

Nominated by:Katiusca Gamez Sjogreen