Rum is one of the most popular liquors out there, and it is used to create many of our favorite cocktails including the popular mojito and daiquiri. The sweet taste of rum makes it a very versatile mixer, and it is essential for any well-stocked bar if the producer aims at delivering the best. It can be used in combination with anything from the great tropical drinks with the likes of the tiki scene and down to the warm drinks that keep us toasty all winter long. Let’s look at the main definition of rum and its constituents.
What Is Rum?
In a simple definition, rum is simply liquor distilled from sugar. The sugar may vary it could be a syrup, molasses, or pure cane sugar. However, no matter the base, the underlying flavor profile of rum is still a sweet, toasted sugar.
That is just the basic description and, as one begins to explore the world of rum, you will surely find that there are distinctive differences maybe in production or taste, but generally, that great sugar taste will still be felt. Rum is produced throughout the globe, and each region and countries have different laws and traditions that are used to regulate its production. Each of these is responsible for individual rum distinctive characteristics.
The History of Rum
History has it that rum has its roots from the Caribbean. Also, there is evidence that dates back thousands of years of fermented drinks made from sugarcane in China and India, and the sugar cane plant comes from the Far East. In other words, rum as we know it was first distilled in the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 17th century, and lasted because sugar cane cuttings were brought there from Europe. There are records of “kill-devil,” as rum was popularly called, though the early versions were quite fiery and crude; they were produced in Barbados around 1647. In the mid-nineteenth century, the first commercial rum distillery was created in Puerto Rico, Mexico.
Rum production then spread to Colonial North America, having its first distillery established in 1664 (on present-day Staten Island) with another in Boston three years later. Before the Americans took over power, rum was New England’s most prosperous industry. The need for sugar cane and molasses became a major factor during the slave trade, and this led to an increase in taxation from the British via the Sugar Act (which helped lead to the American Revolution.) Eventually, later restrictions on sugar imports from the Caribbean and the sudden rise of American whiskey led to a decline in production in North America.
Traditional rum is made with molasses, a dark, thick, syrupy by-product of the sugar industry. It is then mixed with water in equal parts, fermented and distilled; high-quality rums that are meant to be aged are typically produced in a pot still, while the white, un-aged rums are made in a column still. When done with distillation, rums may either be immediately rested briefly, bottled or aged in oak for a fixed number of years. Aging helps in color retaining, lends caramel and mellows the spirit; maturing rum in a humid and hot climate (like the Caribbean) aggravates and speeds up the aging process. After maturation, the aged rum is usually blended to provide consistency from bottle to bottle.
STYLES OF RUM PRODUCTION
Rum is produced in sugar cane producing countries; such countries are the South American, India, Caribbean, United States, Australia and the Philippines. Rum is made in a variety of styles, but it all depends on whether it’s produced from molasses or sugarcane juice, and whether it is bottled right after distillation or aged. A rum must be produced either from any of this style below.
- White rum
This is also called “silver” or “light” rum; it may be filtered after aging to remove its color (that’s if it is aged at all.) It is generally light-bodied, relatively neutral, and used mostly in cocktails.
- Gold rum
Another name for gold rum is “amber” rum; it is aged in wooden barrels and is mid-way in style between dark and light rums. Caramel can later be added for color purposes.
- Dark or aged rum
This is made from molasses which have been caramelized. It is generally matured longer in charred barrels, leading to strong flavors of spices and caramel. It is mostly produced in Martinique, Jamaica and Haiti.
- Over-proof rum
It is usually used afloat on top of a drink that’s ignited or as a component in cocktails.
- Spiced rum
This is induced with spices, e.g. cinnamon, rosemary, pepper, and aniseed and may also at-times include caramel.
- Blackstrap rum
This is distilled from blackstrap molasses, the dark, viscous molasses that are left over after the third boiling of sugar cane juice. This is used mostly in tiki’s cocktail.
- Rhum Agricole
This is made in the French West Indies from the freshly pressed juice of the sugar cane. It is usually un-aged.
Best Rums In The World
The rum recognition has been massive, especially over the last few years, after much deliberation, below are the world’s best rums according to travelers.
1940s bottle of J. Wray & Nephew: this is the world’s most expensive rum; it’s over 70 years old and has only four bottles left of it. This is produced in Jamaica, and it’s valued at $54,000
Legacy by Angostura: this is produced in Trinidad, and it was made by angostura. It has only 20 bottles produced for global distribution. It is valued at $25,000
Barbados Private Estate 1780: this is valued at $10,000, and it was produced by Harewood House in Leeds. He had a tie to Barbados plantation.
50-year-old Appleton Estate, Jamaica Independence Reserve: this was kept aside for the celebration of Jamaican independence from England. In 2012 Jamaica celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence, and many Jamaicans celebrated with this ultra-smooth oldest barrel-aged rum ever in Jamaica. It is valued at $6,630
British Royal Navy Imperial: this is 49 years old; it was first served to the British English sailors. It is valued at $3000
Ron Bacardí de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII: it has only 1000 of it produced for global consumption. It is valued at $2000
Havana Club Máximo Extra: the brand was first established in 1878 by José Arechabala, and the family kept it until 1959 before it was taken over by the government. It is valued at $1,700
Rhum Clement 1952: this is priced at $1,200 it was produced in 1952, it stands to be the oldest clement ever produced.
8-year-old Bacardi, Millennium Edition: this was produced to celebrate the millennium; each was numbered and came with a certificate of authenticity which was signed by the then president of Bacardi. It is valued at $700.
Pyrat Cask 1623: this is valued at $200; it has been described as an elegantly refined spirit with caramel, delicate notes of honey, sweet spice and citrus fruit.
In conclusion, although they may be hidden or unknown rum, so far the above mentioned is the prominent world’s best rum according to bartenders and speculations. Many might still be kept or are in the process of aging, but until they are released and tried we cannot vouch for them despite any speculative price they might be tagged if released.