Little gives rum to the sea

Rum connoisseurs take note – there is a sacred chalice of coconut and spice infused rum bobbing and swaying in the Caribbean Sea at an undisclosed location in Little Cayman. It will remain below the surface with the rum gods for a year until November 2012 when the liquid gold will be reclaimed for the Thanksgiving feast at the Southern Cross Club.

With great ceremony and appropriate reverence the rum was mixed in the ceremonial gallon chalice by the resort’s head chef Anu Christopher on Saturday, 26 November, as they closed off the Thanksgiving holiday. Christopher combined assorted rums with a coconut infusion and a blend of secret ceremonial spices in a Turkey Rum Ceremony while approximately 25 people looked on, including long-time patrons of the Southern Cross Club and a significant percentage of the Island’s small population.

Ceremonial carriage

After the rum mixture was completed and the chalice sealed, it was ceremonially carried to the end of the dive dock with a drum procession and Caribbean chants, as has been traditional through the ages in the Caribbean. The chalice was then deposited on the ocean floor at one fathom (six feet) by Peter Hillenbrand, the head mascot at the Southern Cross Club and a companion, both using a single breath. For the next 12 months the rum will remain at one fathom, bobbing and marinating with the sway of the sea. Hillenbrand says this rum is the Caribbean’s best kept secret and refuses to name the spot where it is aging.

You could say it’s the closest thing to dock rum – rum aged in barrels at sea in the holds of ships, or in wharf warehouses in the old days. Once abundant in the rum trade, dock rum is now rare.

After the rum was safely placed on the sea bottom, there was much merriment and dancing and everyone enjoyed a sampling of last year’s decompression fluid. Next November the chalice will be retrieved and “dock rum” will be used to prepare the Grand Turkey for the resort’s 2012 Thanksgivings Feast. It is said the perfect rum is really a matter of taste and for those who plan to be at the Southern Cross Club next Thanksgiving to sample the sea-aired and aged rum – it will be perfect.

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