First time i saw rhum arrangè being made by suspending the fruits above the rhum in large jars was when i saw a video from La Rèunion and i got quite curious. There were all kinds of fruits hanging there with all kinds of things (spices) sticking out of the fruits. I had known about rhum arrangè before but not being made that way. So i decided to try some day and now it´s the time.
The style is called in french – “ananas qui pleure” (the crying pineapple) since the pineapple is suspended in the jar above the rhum agricole as to not touch the rhum and thus avoiding any flavors from the skin to get into the rhum. This is typically done with citrus fruits which carries bitter flavors in their skin.
But also this kind of maceration above the rhum can be done with any fruits and in the French islands only the imagination is the limit, you see ALL kinds of things in intriguing jars…some you have NO idea what they are…
And there´s for example rhum arrangè with shrimp and snake…i`m actually wondering how it would taste with a crawfish rhum?
The one i`m experimenting with here has New Orleans community coffee pecan-praline coffee beans stuck into one side of the fruit and Tahitian vanilla beans in the other and the beans are cut in the ends so the juice from the pineapple can pass through like a “funnel” through the vanilla bean bringing some of the tiny vanilla seeds along down into the rhum.
And all the pineapple, vanilla-coffee goodness will slowly drop down to flavor the rhum…thus the name “ananas qui pleure…The whole thing will sit like that in the closed jar until the fall, at least 4 months.
I wrote a post about rhum arrangè before and i that post i included that video from the island of la Rèunion where there is a restaurant called Le Saint-Bernard that contains ONLY rhum arrangès (about 400 rhums) of all kinds of flavors made with fruits, roots, spices and God knows what…and many are suspended this way.
Unfortunately (very) the video i first saw is not there anymore but the article (in french) is. The place looks like a veritable laboratory of rhum arrangè, absolutely amazing and a place i`d love to visit.
In my earlier post i wrote about this method of hanging the fruit above the alcohol explaining it:
There´s two different ways of macerating, one is the traditional common way of submerging the fruits and spices into the rum. Then there´s another where you hang the fruits (usually citrus fruits) as they are or with things inserted into the fruits – like coffee beans and hung above the liquid.
The idea is that the aromatics and oils are derived from the citrus and spices without any bitterness from the pith and that´s the reason this method is usually used for citrus fruits.
Here`s a link to a case study with limoncello.
This method is called D.S.M – or Delicious Scientific Magic!!
DSM – or diffusion – The alcohol, exerting a vapor pressure, will diffuse into the lemons saturating the lemon, thus the loss of alcohol in a closed system.
In turn, the lemon oil will also exert a vapor pressure; the lemon smell you get when you cut the skin. It will diffuse out of the lemon and saturate the alcohol.
In the Limoncello post they are talking about high proof or overproof spirits but the traditional rhum arrangè isn`t necessarily done with especially high proof rhums, i think the common proof is between 45-55%
Here´s one of the videos about the rhums arrangès at Le Saint-Bernard:
Here`s also a link to some pictures of the rhums.
As you can see there´s absolutely no limit of what you can do with rhum arrangè…but what you need is a lot of patience because this ain`t no quick fix!
So here`s what i did to make this variation with pineapple, vanilla and coffee:
1 – Prepare everything you need, jar, rhum or rum, fruit (not too ripe), spices, a string to tie the fruit with. Cut the vanilla beans in half pieces and cut off the top ends. Make sure the jar and the string is clean and the fruit washed.
2 - Cut up the fruit to a size that fits the jar and discard the leaves, then cut small holes in the fruit and stick the coffee beans in one side and the vanilla beans in the other (the skin side) I had to cut up this pineapple because it was too big for the jar but one can also use whole fruits with this method.
3 – Add the rhum to the jar, then the sugarcane syrup (i took one bottle (75 cl rhum) and add 2-3 tsp of sugarcane syrup. (or 15 cl/o.5 oz)
4 – Suspend the fruit to the cover of the jar with strings so that the fruit do not touch the rum and close the jar good and SEAL it hermetically with tape and leave to macerate for a minimum of 4 months ( it can go 6 months without problem or longer, there are rhum arrangès that have been sitting 3-4 years…)
But i think 4-6 month is good for this one. I`m planning to open the jar in the fall and see what i got – exciting…
And that is all!