Rum is a spirit made by distilling byproducts of sugar refining, such as Molasses, or straight from pure sugarcane juice.
It may be known as Rum, Ron or Rhum, with different styles being produced everywhere from the Caribbean to Australia, South America to Japan. But it is most associated with the West Indies and plays a large role in their culture. It has a rich, if occasionally unsavoury, history.
In the era of privateers and pirates, rum was used as currency for trading and buying slaves, and given daily to naval sailors as part of their pay. This has created terms like 'alcohol proof', where gunpowder was soaked in rum and ignited as proof of its strength. It also created 'grog', a drink of water, rum and lime juice, partly to combat scurvy, but mostly to stop the problem of drunken sailors!
The general grades of rum are a good starting point to cut through the confusion of so many different sets of guidelines for terms and age statements. White rums are generally cocktail rums, while dark or gold rums are more flavourful and are usually aged longer. Spiced and flavoured rums do exactly what they suggest and can be great for mixing. Almost all commercial rums are blended from different distilleries and island regions for a unique and balanced profile, but we are really enjoy the increased availability of single distillery or even single still rums.
Cachaça (from Brazil), and Rhum Agricole (from the French-speaking island producers), are both variants on rum, very similar in style but made exclusively using unrefined sugarcane juice. They carry more flavour from the original sugarcane and Cachaça especially is used in a lot of tropical style cocktails.
Demerara Distillers have been making rum for 300 years, and were closely intertwined with the British Navy's requirement for rum during that time. Some of the oldest recipes, most traditional equipmen...
An old RMW favourite from Antigua. English Harbour use one of the only remaining copper column stills in the Caribbean to distill their spirit from molasses which are fermented in open top vessels for...