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Haitian barbancourt rhum | by DGH Chocolatier
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Haitian barbancourt rhum

Rum in Haiti is most often drunk either straight, or mixed with energy drinks (Ragman being the popular local brand), or coke. Hotel bars tend to serve only the Barbancourt 5 Star, and can give it to you straight, in a rum sour, or in a rum punch. Every bar uses freshly squeezed juices. The rum sours are generally good, but the rum punches are a bit heavily diluted and sweetened long drinks.

The history of rhum

Sugar cane (saccharum officinarum) was introduced to the Americas by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage of discovery in 1493. Imported from the Canary Islands, it was first cultivated on Hispaniola island. Its history begins somewhere around 1640 when cane spirits made their first appearance on Barbados.


The first official mention of the word 'rum' appears on an Order from the Governor General of Jamaica dated July 8, 1661. Later, after the distillation process was improved by Father Jean Baptiste Labat, the Rum distilled on St Dominique began to gain a reputation in France where it compared well to the finest French Brandy. And so the French begin using the word 'rhum' to designate sugar cane spirits.


Today, rum has become the spirit of Haitian life, infused with Island warmth and a carrier of dreams, it is a fine, noble drink. From full bodied and aged flavours, to light refreshing white rums, it is a drink that is demanded the world over.


In 1862, Dupré Barbancourt, a native of the Charente region in France, put the finishing touches to a recipe for rum that still bears his name today. Using a double distillation method usually reserved for the very finest cognacs, he discovered a rum of incomparable quality that has always received the highest international distinctions.


Dupré Barbancourt left no heir and when he died the company passed to his wife Nathalie Gardère who managed it with the help of her nephew, Paul Gardère. When she died, Paul then directed the company’s destiny until 1946. At this time Rhum Barbancourt’s distillery was still located on le Chemin des Dalles in Port au Prince and only produced a limited quantity of rum. The older aged rums being exclusively reserved for family and friends.


Paul then died in 1946 and his son Jean Gardère took up the baton, furthering the family tradition until 1990. An entrepreneur and a visionary, Jean Gardère was the instigator of Rhum Barbancourt’s modernization. In 1949, he relocated the distillery at the heart of the sugar cane fields of the Domaine Barbancourt.

And by 1952 the plant began to produce rum from the sugar cane grown on its own plantation: the Domaine Barbancourt. This allowed the company to grow from a small cottage industry to a proud international exporter, and by the middle of the 1960’s Rhum Barbancourt’s finest product, the 15 year old Reserve du Domaine was on public sale for the first time.


When Jean passed, Thierry Gardère took over and today, this fourth generation man of the Gardère family leads the company with his commitment to quality, fine natural ingredients, craftsmanship and the unique cognac-based production process that has ensured la Societe du Rhum Barbancourt has grown to become Haiti’s leading brand of rum. La Société du Rhum Barbancourt’s now sells its products in 20 countries and employs 250 people. Its wide reaching activities are responsible for the livelihood of 20,000 people. La Société du Rhum Barbancourt, is one the oldest of Haitian companies, and today they continue to produce the finest rum for connoisseurs in the purest tradition in line with every point of Dupré Barbancourt’s original recipe




A few leaves of fresh garden-mint

A coffee spoon of white sugar

A measure of 3-Star Rhum Barbancourt

A the juice of a green lemon

Club soda

2 or 3 drops of Angostura Bitter


Crush the mint-leaves with the sugar into a glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the lemon juice and the 3-Star Rhum Barbancourt. Complete with the Club Soda and add a few drops of Angostura Bitter.





Pour directly into the glass the cane syrup and the white Barbancourt Rhum.

Add the juice of a quarter of the green lemon with its zest.

Stir with a spoon.



1 ounce of sugar-cane syrup

3 ounces of white Barbancourt Rhum

1 quarter of green lemon GLASS TYPE

Serve as it is and add some small pieces of ice.




4 oz. of 3-Star Rhum Barbancourt

1 oz of Triple Sec (Triple dry)

1 oz of lemon juice

1 teaspoons of orgeat sirup

1 teaspoons of grenadine sirup


Pour all the ingredients mixed in a long glass with ice and it’s ready to drink!

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Taken on January 28, 2011