On The Road: Rum packs a punch in idyllic Grenada
Saturday 27 June 2009
The sunset is reflecting gold across the bay, twinkling lights flicker on the lapping water. Yachts in the nearby marina announce their presence with a distinctive twang, as rigging pings against masts.
The atmosphere is hazy. Warm and sultry, festive... but still hazy. I contemplate my rum punch and realise it's me. "What's this thing been spiked with?" I ask my Grenadian waiter. He holds up a bottle of local rum and I squint at the label. It says it's 138 degrees proof, so I decide it's time to put the glass down. Tomorrow will be soon enough to investigate whether that's true or whether I've completely lost focus.
The next morning I head off to explore Grenada's natural charms. I've only been here a few days but have quickly come to realise that the heady descriptions I'd read about Grenada are justified: this small speck of land is a complete assault on the senses. This is not a place that does things by halves.
My driver circumnavigates the island but we don't get far very fast, as he brakes every few minutes to point out a spice tree (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves – scents permeating the air) or a flower (bougainvillaea and helliconias in saturated hot colours). Later, I climb steep-sided hills and look back to the sea, then walk to a chattering waterfall that lies deep in the cool, soothing green of the rainforest.
We stop at a spice plantation that operates from near-derelict buildings dating back to the 1700s. The spices are processed in exactly the same way as they were back then. At the rum distillery it's the same: methods haven't changed there either and my guide is at great pains to point out that the rum is distilled to the purest standards. And it is 69 per cent alcohol by volume, which corresponds to 138 degrees proof. I have a taste of the product before it's been bottled. It's just like last night's cocktail, but without the juice it has twice the punch.
Grenada is certainly not a place that does things by halves.
Seafocus, a resource for scuba divers run by Shaun and Beth Tierney, is at seafocus.com . Footprint's 'Caribbean Islands Handbook' is out now (£14.99).
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...