Everything that contains sugar ferments and, of course, sugar-cane as well. In the north east of La Palma, close to where the San Andrés sugar mills once stood, this elementary chemical principle has been preserved intact for, unlike many of its Caribbean relatives, rum from La Palma is made from the first distillation of sugar-cane juice.
In San Andrés y Sauces, the exploitation of sugar-cane plantations has a long history. They already occupied the area at the beginning of the 16th century, first for sugar production, and later for rum. As a matter of fact, the Canary Islands were an obligatory stop for the first shipments of sugar cane, which left the eastern shores of the Indian Ocean for the Caribbean countries. This forged the rum tradition in the Canary archipelago, where nowadays extraordinary liquors can be enjoyed, resulting from the fermentation and distillation of sugar cane juice or molasses, and which have an alcohol content of between 40º and 70º.
As regards local production, the Destilería del Valle, founded in 1883, survived until the mid-1990s. Another old distillery, which made Ron del Puerto, molasses for rapaduras (sweets), and sopas de miel for Carnival (made with bread, cane molasses and almonds), changed its brand name from 1950 onwards to Ron Aldea (coming from the town of Aldea de San Nicolás de Tolentino on the island of Gran Canaria). At present it maintains its production, which, added to that of Ron Espíndola, serves to represent rums made on La Palma. The raw material, sugar cane, is still largely cultivated in San Andrés y Sauces, with smaller amounts from the municipality of Tijarafe.