If there is one drink that you have to try when visiting Fuerteventura – It’s Ron Miel or Honey Rum!
Thank You For Your Custom
As a way of saying ‘Thank you for your custom’ many of the more traditional restaurants across the Canaries will offer you a small drink, known as a ‘chupito’ after your meal. This is usually a little shot of an alcoholic liqueur, which will be served in a small glass and placed in front of you as they present you with your bill. This drink is usually ‘on the house’ and given to you as a nice gesture from the restaurant owners as a way of saying ‘Thank You’ or ‘Gracias’. If you have little ones with you, then they will also sometimes add a small non-alcoholic drink too. This is usually something like chocolate milk or a little glass of orange juice, so that the children don’t feel left out.
Spanish Honey Rum
One chupito that is always popular in Fuerteventura and across all of the Canary Islands is a light brown, sweet and sticky local liqueur called Ron Miel or Honey Rum. Technically it is a product of Spain, but for it to be considered ‘real’ ron miel – honey rum, then it should come from the Canary island’s, which are of course owned by Spain, even though geographically they are about a 2-hour flight away and located in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Morocco.
Ron Miel – Honey Rum
‘Ronmiel de Canarias’ literally means ‘Honey Rum from the Canaries’. It is a locally produced drink which contains between 20% and 30% alcohol. As with a lot of speciality food and drinks, in order for it to carry the words ‘Ronmiel de Canarias’ on the bottle, has to be made in the Canary Islands and adhere to strict production guidelines. Around 1.2 million litres are produced across the Canaries every year. About 46,000 of those litres are exported, but the rest stay here in the island’s and on the mainland and are served in all the bars and restaurants on a daily basis.
Canarian Honey Rum
Ron Miel – Honey rum has been produced and enjoyed in the Canary Islands for centuries, but there is very little information regarding how it came about. It is believed that originally it was brewed in peoples home, purely for personal use. But then, as small family run bars opened, Ron Miel was added to the list of drinks on offer and its popularity grew. This then drew the attention of the rum manufacturers and, in time, grew into the mass production that we see today. This explanation makes sense, especially when you look at the amount of time the Canary Islands have been growing sugar cane and producing local rum.
Ron Miel De Canarias
When we think about rum production in general, we automatically assume that it was created in the sugar plantations of the Caribbean and often a by-product of the slave trade. There is of course a lot of evidence to back up these ideas and countless documents and ships manifests which clearly show that rum was considered precious cargo and sadly often considered more valuable than the human lives who shared the same storage space, below decks. But, if you look a little closer into the Canary island’s history, Gran Canaria actually had vast amounts of sugar plantations, and they were in production well over fifty years before the first commercial sugar plantations in the Caribbean and Brazil were even set up! There is also archaeological evidence of slavery in the Canary island’s, which is unsurprising considering their geographic location.
But Did The Canarians Invent Rum?
Again, we need to look at archaeological evidence and historical facts in order to try to work out the answer to this question. What I can tell you is that in 1490, as sugar cane production was so successful, a huge sugar cane press was installed in the Agaete valley in Gran Canaria. Two years later, in 1492, Christopher Columbus set off from the Canaries in order to discover the new world. A year later, on his second Atlantic crossing, he took sugar cane ( and banana seeds ) along with him. A short while after that, the plantation system used in Gran Canaria, Madeira and Portugal was also adopted in the Caribbean. At that time, people understood distillation techniques and they also knew that a by-product of sugar production is molasses, which also happens to be the perfect raw material for making rum. So just how long have the Canarians been making rum and were they the first people to do it? I will leave you to be the judge of that. But what I can tell you, is that they certainly know how to make good rum and that it definitely rivals that from the Caribbean.
Over A Century of Arehucas
Arehucas is a well-known brand name across the Canary Islands. The main brewery is in Gran Canaria and it has been making rum and honey rum for well over a century. It is also one of the largest rum cellars in Europe and produces many different kinds. The honey rum that you enjoy after your meal is actually a liqueur, as it is made by flavouring a spirit with another product, in this case – honey. The ingredients used to produce Ronmiel de Canarias include rum, an aguardiente made from sugarcane molasses, honey, distillates, water, sugars, vegetable extracts and, in order for it to be considered true honey rum and carry the Denominación Geográfica mark from the Canarian government, a minimum of 2% of the volume of bee’s honey.
The Best Honey Rum
‘What is the best honey rum?’ This is a question that I often get asked and to be honest, there is no one answer. There are many honey rum producers in the Canary island’s, all of which adhere to strict production guidelines and use the same traditional production methods, however, they also all have their own secret blends and recipes, which have probably been passed down through generations. Because of this, the taste, texture and appearance of each varies. They can range in colour from a light clear, golden hue to a bright, yet deep mahogany. They also vary in sweetness, flavour, aroma and consistency.
What Does Ron Miel Taste Like?
Okay, so this is obviously subjective as we all have different taste buds, but to me it tastes exactly as it smells – sweet and delicious. It is a very sweet tipple which reminds me personally of honeycomb. Some brands have a stronger rum or alcoholic flavour to them and others are really sickly sweet. All of them will ignite your senses. They have a candy-like smell, a distinct golden colour, are sticky to the touch and quite syrup-like when drank. They will fill you with a sense of warmth and they slip easily down your throat and because of this are often a favourite with anyone nursing a cold or summer flu. For some people they are too syrup-like, so over a few ice cubes is the way to go but for most, a quick chupito, served neat is the perfect end to a great meal.
Where to Buy Honey Rum
Once you have tried this delicious drink for yourself you will undoubtedly want a bottle of your own to enjoy whilst watching the sun go down or as a little reminder of the fun times you had in Fuerteventura. And luckily, it is easy to find. In the resorts, most of the larger supermarkets stock a few different kinds. An average price you can expect to pay for a normal 70cl bottle would be around 10-15 euros, depending on the brand you choose. But if you want more choice, then there are also smaller, specialist drinks shops which stock as many as ten different types, ranging from the cheaper, more well-known brands to more expensive, luxury brands. And, if you want to enjoy some when you are back in the UK or Ireland then you are also in luck, there are a few specialist drinks suppliers which now stock it. It isn’t something you usually find in your local supermarket, but there are suppliers that can deliver it, direct to your door.
Honey Rum Suppliers United Kingdom & Europe
Below are a few products that I have managed to find. Just follow the links and you too could soon be enjoying Ron Miel or Honey Rum at home – like we do in The Canaries.
Ron Miel Guanche is produced by the Arehucas distillery that I mentioned earlier and is probably the closest we will get to expereincing how Ron Miel tasted around 100 years ago!
Ron Miel By Beveland is also a popular choice, especially as it is very resonably priced. This is one of the brands that you will often be served as a chupito in a restaurant across the Canaries. On a personal note, this is the one that we often enjoy at home smothered over ice-cream. It is delicious – especially when served with chocolate chip!
Ron Miel Canario Artemi is one of my favourites. This is a more top-end product and is therefore a little more expensive than some of the other versions, but you can taste the additional quality in every sip. I find this a little denser than many of the other brands and often drink it slowly over a few cubes of ice. This honey rum really coats your mouth with a sweetness which wakes up your tastebuds but without being too overpowering. It is an extremely nice tipple and the one I usually buy and share with my friends at home.
Ron Miel Tabacco is another very popular brand. It is a beautiful dark, rich colour and has a slightly smokey hint to the taste, which adds another level of depth to the flavour.
Have you tried ron miel – honey rum? What did you think of it?
Leave us a comment below and let us know.