The ever-popular spirit, rum, is one of the oldest distilled spirits. By the 1700s, rum was being produced in the Caribbean and South America due to the abundant resources required to make rum. With a history as rich as the spirit itself, there’s been plenty of time to create cocktails and to perfect different versions of rum. But what exactly is rum (other than a delicious spirit)? Continue reading if you’re curious about the fundamentals of rum. How is rum made? Rum is made by fermenting sugar cane by-products such as syrup or molasses. Once fermented, the result is a clear liquid that is then transferred into oak barrels or stainless steel vats to age. The process of making rum is like other spirits when it comes to aging, as that is where it gets its flavor—no matter what type of rum, that is usually the foundation of how it’s made. Although different varieties of rum have the same distillation process, they all have something about them that separates them from the rest. The aging period and geography are things to consider when differentiating rums. Different types of rum White/Clear White or clear rum is typically aged in stainless steel vats rather than oak barrels so that the rum doesn’t turn dark. The typical aging period for white rum can range anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the climate. Because white rum has a relatively short aging period, the tasting notes are not as bold as darker rum, making it perfect for cocktails such as mojitos and piña coladas. Gold At a glance, gold rum can be identified by its gold hue. Obviously! But what makes it different from white rum? Again, it goes back to the aging process. Gold rum is aged in oak barrels for about two years, adding color and a more intense flavor. Typical tasting notes you can find in gold rum include vanilla, caramel, toffee and even honey. Dark Depending on who you ask, the term “dark rum” is meaningless. This is because people often refer to any rum that has color as dark. But actual dark rum is aged longer than any other rum. Much longer. The aging process for dark rum can range from three to five years and, in some instances, even 10! Because of the exhaustive aging process in oak barrels, dark rum will have much bolder, smoky-sweet tasting notes.
Spiced There is no universal spice that makes rum spiced. The spices that go into their rum are a closely guarded secret for some distilleries. But it’s common to find spices and aromatics like cinnamon, clove, anise, peppercorn and nutmeg to name a few. The product of adding spices will give the rum a much more layered and complex finish. Notes include molasses, cinnamon, golden syrup, nutmeg, charred oak and even heat! Geography of Rum Most rum is produced in—but not exclusive to—the Caribbean and in Jamaica and Cuba. While rum is a spirit that is universally loved and can be made nearly anywhere, specific rums have designated locations where they must be produced. Rhum Agricole, for example, can only be produced in Martinique, Guadeloupe; Demerara can only be produced in Guyana; Cachaça can only come from Brazil; Puerto Rican Rum can only come from, you guessed it, Puerto Rico. Now that you understand the building blocks of rum, it’s time to enjoy some! Mix yourself an amazing cocktail recipe provided by our Beverage Marketing team below. As always, you can find all the ingredients you need on eRNDC. Rum responsibly and enjoy.
2 oz Spiced Rum
2 oz Orange Juice
1.5 oz Real Cream of Coconut
1 oz Pineapple Juice
.5 oz Vanilla Extract
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake over ice. Strain into a Tiki glass over fresh ice. Garnish with toasted coconut and pineapple fronds.
2 oz Silver Rum
.75 oz Peychaud’s Aperitivo
.75 oz Real Passion Fruit Puree
.75 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Coconut Milk
Muddle. Shake over ice. Strain into a Tiki glass over fresh ice. Garnish with toasted coconut.