Rum can confidently lay claim to being the most mixable and enjoyable of all the world’s spirits. It defies all attempts at generalization and can be seen as a drink for everyone and everywhere.
Regardless, the Caribbean is still celebrated as the spiritual centre of the rum world, the noble spirit intertwined with its culture and heritage for nearly four centuries.
Rum evolved with the sugar industry of the Caribbean world. Sugarcane originated in Papua New Guinea, and today grows in all tropical countries or regions.
Caribbean rum is produced from sugar cane molasses, a by-product of sugarcane processing.
Haiti, Martinique and Guadeloupe produce rum using sugar cane juice and distil the fermented liquid at a low level that possesses a distinctly deep flavour, that locals and French enjoy and use to perfume pastries.
England controlled many Caribbean islands, one in Central American territory, and Guyana in South America, and English merchants made rum both sugar and rum commodities traded all over the world.
Even the British navy helped increase consumption by allotting sailors one pint of rum daily. This practice was stopped in 1971.
European rum is produced using sugar beet then blended with sugar cane rum.
Authentic Caribbean rum is unique. No other spirit can boast such a rich and diverse heritage, which relies on terroir, craft, refined over centuries, and spirit of discovery based on meticulous research.
Quality rum is aged in Bourbon barrels. Now a few distilleries are experimenting with finishing the aging process with second hand port wine barrels, which impart a very pleasant and rich flavour.
In tropical countries, spirits age much faster than in cooler whisk(e)y producing countries. Evaporation rate in the tropics is between 6 – 10 per cent, whereas in Scotland, Canada, France and the U S A it ranges from 2 – 3 per cent. Despite the high evaporation rum is still less expensive than all other aged spirits, because distillers have neglected promotion and marketing for a long time, relying on tourists to promote it, once they have tasted their delicious products and after returning home recommending them to their circle of friends and family.
From 2000 to 2010 rum consumption increased by 40 per cent from 915,114 litres to 1,280,619, whereas many other aged spirits lost market share to the tune any where from 3 to 32.
You can enjoy rum either in a tumbler or snifter at room temperature.
You can choose to enjoy rum on the rocks, but be aware, that low temperature lowers flavour. Instead, enjoy rum in very cold glass.
You can blend rum with ginger beer, ginger ale, soda water, or any cola garnishing with a twist of lemon or lime, or possibly a dash of bitters on the rocks.
Similarly you can enjoy rum in a punch as a refreshing drink with friends in a garden party.
You can also pair rum with dark chocolate, and in cocktails such as daiquiri, pina colada, mojito, mai tai or many others. The bartender’s imagination is the limit to recipes.
If you want to enjoy quality rum, try Appleton’s 12 year old from Jamaica, or Barbancourt Special Reserve 8 year old from Haiti, Mount Gay 10 year old from Barbados, Brugal 1888 from the Dominican Republic, El Dorado 15 year old from Guyana, or Angostura 1919 form Trinidad and Tobago.
Rum is the up-and-coming, outstanding spirit and will reward you with its deep flavour captivating your taste buds.