Rum is a drink made from sugar cane or molasses. In both cases, the drink is fermented and distilled at very high temperatures. This alcoholic beverage is highly appreciated all over the world. Unlike others like whisky, rum is best drunk with some kind of carbonated and sweet drink.

Rum has always been the king of cocktails, and we would definitely go for a Cuba Libre if we had to choose one. The blending of rum and Coke is one of the best pairings possible, but let’s not forget the great classic mojito. This drink is indeed found in many cocktails. Read on if you want to know how to find the best rum on the Australian market.

Key Facts

  • Rum is a traditional Caribbean drink that first appeared on the island of Barbados, and its history has been linked to the islands ever since. Cuba, Jamaica and Barbados itself have been major rum producers. Unlike other drinks, it is made from sugar cane and is therefore usually sweet.
  • Rum is found in many cocktails, as it is a drink that mixes very well. Thanks to its mild flavour, rum is easily combined with other beverages. Cuba Libre, mojito, caipirinha, piña colada, Mai Tai or daiquiri: all contain rum.
  • Like many other alcoholic beverages, rum needs an ageing process. You should normally be able to see the age on the bottle. White rum usually ages between 18 and 36 months, while mature rum can spend up to 7 years in oak barrels.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about rum

This drink has a lot of history and tradition. It is a sweet and very light drink, which combines perfectly with others to create cocktails and combinations. In the following section, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about rum, to help you better understand the drink and make the best purchase decision for your needs.

Couple drinking

The first rum distillation happened in the sugar cane plantations of the Caribbean.
(Source: Iakobchuk : 38559452/ 123rf.com)

What is rum exactly?

Rum is a drink made from the remains of sugar cane or molasses from the production of sugar. These residues are fermented, which is then distilled in special copper or stainless steel stills. This creates a product with a high ethanol content.

This is diluted in pure demineralised water to achieve between 30 and 40% ethanol. It has now become rum, although a final step is missing. This is optional, but rum is generally subjected to an ageing process. This process tends to be carried out with oak barrels already used for brandy or whiskey.

Lord ByronEnglish Poet

“There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.”

Where is rum made?

Rum originally appeared on the island of Barbados in 1650. From there, it spread to the colonies of the French Antilles and throughout the Caribbean. Cheap and beneficial to health, the drink became popular amongst sailors. They brought it back to Europe, where Spain was one of the first countries to produce it.

Rum distilleries are found throughout the Caribbean and much of South America. Jamaica, Cuba and Barbados remain large producers, with century-old distilleries. Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Nicaragua and Guyana also produce this beverage. In Europe, only Spain has quality rum distilleries. Although few, Australia also has local distilleries.

How is rum made?

Rum is a liquor made from the juice of pressed sugar cane or molasses. Fermentation and the ingredients used, as well as ageing, are very important in its production. The finest rums are those made with sugar cane juices, as they contain much less impurities.

Natural yeasts are used to ferment the rums, which is what produces alcohol. Fermentation usually lasts one night, although it can take 24 or 36 hours. The result is distilled in copper or stainless steel stills. It is then mixed with demineralised water and placed in oak barrels for ageing.

Mojito

The Cuban mojito is perfect for those hot summer beach days.
(Source: Gojda: 18089896/ 123rf.com)

What is rum made from?

Although it is usually produced from sugar cane, the truth is that it can be made with more ingredients. Traditional rum is made by pressing sugar cane. Concentrated cane juices are also used. In some cases, dark, thick and very sweet liquids called molasses are used. You can also find rums made from both.

In addition to this, natural yeasts cultivated by the distillers themselves are used. These yeasts give a distinctive touch to rum. Spices and fruits are also used in the production of certain rums, which tend to be of higher quality with very unique flavours. Some contain nuts, spices and even fruity twists.

foco

Did you know that, although it was made for the first time in Spain, rum underwent great changes when it was brought to the Americas? Since then, the Caribbean region has become the world’s leading rum producer.

How many types of rum are there?

Many, and these can be identified by colour, taste, ageing or origin. Each type of rum has its own colour, aromas and nuances. Dark rums tend to be sweeter and of higher quality, ideal for drinking alone, while white rums mix well. Here are the types of rums:

  • Gold rum: Rum filtered but that doesn’t lose all its colour. It is aged in oak or cherry barrels.
  • Black rum: Unfiltered rum, it keeps all the brown colour of the sugar.
  • Mature rum: It comes from liquors and has been aged for at least one year.
  • Aged rum: It comes from liquors and has been aged for at least three years.
  • Sweet rum: Rum high in sugar. Usually more than 100 grams per liter of sucrose or glucose.
  • Rhum agricole: Naming specific to rums produced in the French overseas departments. Aged in oak or cherry barrels.
  • Amber rum: The sugar inside reaches oversaturation and crystallises. Small plant branches are added inside the bottles to act as support.
  • Light rum: This is a rum distilled in continuous stills, so the consistency of the liquid is more fluid.
  • White rum: Colourless, although it may have slight yellow tones. From distilled or blended liquors.

How should I drink rum?

This alcoholic beverage is ideal for mixing and creating refreshing cocktails. Its sweet and consistent flavour means it mixes very well, standing out in all the layers of the blending. It can also be drunk alone or on the rocks. Rum is an ideal drink for cocktail lovers because of the ease with which it adapts.

Because of its texture and sweet taste, rum experts say it is the best drink for the winter season. In Newfoundland, a special rum called Newfoundland Screech is used in a ceremony of initiation to local traditions for foreigners.

Winston ChurchillBritish Prime Minister

“Don’t talk to me about naval tradition. It’s nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash.”

How can I distinguish a quality rum?

The raw materials used in the distillation process should generally help you. In the French colonies of the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean, the custom of using sugar cane juice without manipulation is maintained to this day. This produces an intense, fruity rum with a complex and persistent flavour. They are usually aged in barrels and are powerful.

The rums that come from the former Spanish colonies of the Caribbean are produced from molasses of sugar cane. It is obtained by reducing the cane juice with heat until forming a thick, dark liquid. These rums are aged in leather skins using the sherry technique. They are softer, younger, sweeter, more gentle and with a higher alcohol content.

Rum Cocktail

White rum is consumed with other cocktail drinks.
(Source: Klenova : 42120361/ 123rf.com)

How many categories of rum are there?

It is difficult to divide rum by type or age, as it is produced in many countries and each has its own legal regulations. There is no agreement on minimum ageing to create a standardised classification. In Argentina, they are divided into white, light and extra light. Barbados, on the other hand, as white, overproof and matured.

Despite these complications, there are three main types of rum, divided by the regions in which they are produced. The following table will give you some information on the existing categories of rum:

Hispanic origin British origin French origin
Production Sugar cane molasses. Sugar cane molasses. Sugar cane juice.
Ageing “Solera” ageing process. “Solera” ageing process. Static ageing in barrels. Static ageing in oak barrels.
Style Light, dry and sweet rums. Caramel and sugar are added. Dark, strong rums. Sweet and spicy. Spices, caramel and sugar are added. Light rums, they stand out for their aroma. Dry and powerful. Caramel is added.
Category and vintage It is labeled with a number that represents the age of the “Solera” process, not that of the rum. They add descriptions on the independent label. Ambré (aged in wood), Vieux (ageing for 3 years)
Regions Peru. Caribbean. Central America. Venezuela. Spain. Barbados. Bermuda. Belize. Guyana. Guadeloupe. Haiti. Martinique.

What other uses does rum have?

Despite the existence of the myth that any alcoholic beverage can be used to disinfect a wound, this is not true. When we use such a drink as an antiseptic, there are a few things to keep in mind. To clean a wound, the drink must contain at least 35% alcohol or it will not disinfect anything.

Rum contains a high concentration of alcohol, almost always exceeding 40% alcohol content. The fermentation process makes it an ideal drink for disinfecting wounds. You can use it as a last resort to clean a wound. It is also a good blood pressure regulator and a good muscle relaxant.

Shopping Criteria

Let’s now have a look at some of the factors to take into account before buying a quality rum. It is important to understand those key points that will make your purchase that much easier. Make sure you take your time, because there are many rums and many qualities on the Australian market. Here are some important criteria to help you choose a quality rum:

  • Designation of origin
  • Types
  • Flavours
  • Health benefits
  • Aroma
  • Ageing
  • Alcohol content

Designation of origin

One of the key factors when choosing the best rum on the market is its designation of origin. Its flavour and quality come in large part from its origin, and each specific rum is produced following certain specific processes. The result will therefore vary in quality and flavours.

For example, the Cuba designation of origin usually produces white rums, which are drier and have a vanilla flavour. They are ideal for cocktails and blending.

The Venezuelan rums are darker and more potent, and tend to be more fruity and spicy. Rums from Barbados are dark and spicy, with fruity and sweet touches.

Rum Barrel

Certain brands age their rum in American white oak barrels to obtain the perfect flavour.
(Source: Kish: 43340867/ 123rf.com)

Types

Despite being a sweet liquor, rum has a very powerful taste. It is necessary to know how to differentiate between the different types of rum. The taste will often be marked by its origin and by the raw ingredients with which it has been distilled. Rums made with treated sugar juice are finer because they contain less impurities.

Rum can be categorized into three major classes: white rum, golden or dark rum, and aged rum. White rum is ideal for cocktails because of its mild, dry taste. Gold rum has an amber tone and caramel is added. The aged rum is much darker and usually presents the best quality, with a stronger and more intense flavour. Choose the one you like best.

Flavours

White rum has a sweeter taste. It is a drier, softer liquor. It is the ideal rum for mixtures and cocktails. This is the one used for the famous Cuba Libre, or for mojitos and caipirinhas. It is a rum with light touches of vanilla, very gentle on the palate. It is ideal for those who are not accustomed to drinking.

Darker rums have more intense flavours. French colony rums are usually very intense, with a high concentration of alcohol. They are strong rums. Also intense, the rums from Jamaica and Barbados are more pleasant. They usually have fruity and aromatic notes, with spices and hints of caramel.

Rum & Coke

The Rum & Coke, also called Cuba Libre, is a delicious drink.
(Source: Hofacker: 71349968/ 123rf.com)

Health benefits

According to studies, rum has beneficial properties for health if drunk in small quantities. It can help you stay healthy and live longer. In moderation, this alcoholic beverage helps control and lower stress levels and stabilises blood pressure. This can be incredibly useful in these hectic times.

It has also been shown that rum serves as a stimulant in certain conditions of despondency and low energy levels. It improves your mood and relaxes you. Finally, in certain cultures, rum is used to treat colds and to relieve severe sore throats. As you can see, it is a very healthy drink.

foco

Remember to always drink alcoholic beverages in moderation.

Aroma

One of the great strengths of rum is its aroma. Like good distilled alcoholic beverages, rum can present a large number of different nuances and aromas. Young or poor quality rums will have a stronger smell, much more alcoholic than aged rum. It is important that you pay attention to the aroma of a rum.

White rums have drier smells. Some have citrus and spicy touches, with very sweet final notes. These rums tend to have vanilla-like aromas. Golden and dark rums, on the other hand, have a much more powerful smell. In this case, you will find nuances of cloves, fruits such as figs and spices that give them more consistency.

Ageing

We all want to get good rum at affordable prices. However, the most important is always that it be of good quality. Rums, like other distilled drinks, owe their quality and special taste to the ageing process. Each brand and type of rum has a different ageing process, which will directly affect the flavour of the liquor.

Some are aged in new oak or cherry barrels. Other brands take barrels that have been used previously to age brandy or whisky. Hispanic distilleries often use wineskins and an evaporation process such as the sherry technique. Younger, cheaper rums do not go through this process.

Rum on the rocks

Drinking pure rum is popular in producing countries.
(Source: Fiorentino: 28755714/ 123rf.com)

Alcohol content

The alcohol content of a rum will directly influence its price. The volume of alcohol represents its amount in the entire bottle. Presumably, the higher the alcohol content, the more intense the taste and effect on the blood. This is not actually the case, because they have been distilled to reduce that flavour.

In the case of rum, the most common graduations range from 40 to 47 degrees. Most of these are rums with intense, dry and traditional flavours. They have gone through very rigorous quality processes during distillation. They are combined with other sweet ingredients to reduce the taste of alcohol and make it more pleasant.

Summary

Rum has a long tradition. Although it was first made in Spain, it was the Caribbean distilleries that made it their own and improved it. Rum has been the traditional drink of pirates and has become the king of cocktails. It is a sweet, dry liquor, perfect to accompany your nights.

Choosing the best rum for you is a very personal endeavour. It is a liquor made to be enjoyed, so you should choose the one you like best. Follow our shopping guide and don’t neglect factors like ageing, flavours and aromas. However, don’t forget where they come from either. We’re confident you’ll now make the best possible decision.

If you liked our article, feel free to share it on your social media so that your friends and family can also find the best rum for them. You can also leave us a comment in the section below.

(Source of featured image: Monticello:47231818/ 123rf.com)

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