Rum is one of the most diverse and flavourful spirits, and a key ingredient in many classic cocktails. With its origins in the Caribbean but popularity across the world, rum has a rich history and an even more promising future. This guide will explore the types of rum, how it’s made, tasting notes, and delicious rum cocktail recipes perfect for any occasion.
Types of Rum
There are several broad categories that divide the rum world:
Light or white rums are crisp and subtle. They are filtered after ageing to remove colour. Popular for cocktails needing a clean, light spirit.
Dark or aged rums are caramel in colour and rich in flavour from ageing in oak barrels. Notes of spice, vanilla and caramel come through.
Spanish-style rums like those from Cuba and Puerto Rico are lighter, crisp and clean. They showcase the pure sugarcane flavour.
English-style rums like those from Jamaica and Barbados are darker, funkier and have more texture.
Funky hogo-heavy Jamaican rums contrast sharply with the smooth mellow rums of Barbados.
Rhum agricole from Martinique is made from fresh sugarcane juice, adding grassy, vegetal notes.
How Rum is Made
Rum is made from sugarcane – either molasses as a by-product of sugar production or directly from fresh sugarcane juice. After fermentation converts the sugar to alcohol, the result is distilled to concentrate the alcohol and flavours.
Barrel ageing also imparts deeper colour and flavour. Smooth sipping rums can be aged for decades, while white mixing rums skip the ageing process. The climate, stills, oak barrels and ageing time all influence the final rum profile.
Tasting Notes and Profiles
When tasting rum, you can pick out subtle flavours ranging from light and grassy in a white rum to rich and intense in an aged rum. Light-bodied rums offer delicate notes of vanilla, citrus and almond. Full-bodied dark rums reveal bold flavours of spice, caramel, chocolate and coffee.
Some rums like Jamaican overproof styles have an alcohol content over 60% ABV but still maintain incredible aromatic intensity in addition to the high-proof burn.
Now onto the best part – rum cocktails! Here are some all-time favourites:
Mojitos highlight rum’s refreshing qualities, especially with lime juice, mint and sugar.
Piña Coladas combine rum’s sweetness with pineapple and coconut cream.
Mai Tais feature rum with orange liqueur and almond-flavoured orgeat syrup.
The Dark ‘n Stormy simply pairs dark rum with spicy ginger beer.
Daiquiris are creative 3-ingredient cocktails with rum, citrus juice and sugar.
Rum Cocktail Ideas and Experiments
Don’t stop there! Rum can elegantly stand in for whiskey in classics like:
A Rum Old Fashioned with bitters, sugar and orange
A Rum Negroni with Campari and vermouth
A Rum Manhattan using sweet vermouth and bitters
It also shines in creative sours like a Rum Mango Sour or Rum Apple Sour. The possibilities are endless!
In conclusion, Rum is as versatile as it is flavourful. White rums mix cleanly in refreshing cocktails, while dark rums pack bolder punches. Spanish-style rums deliver pure sugarcane essence, and English-style rums bring funky flavours. Aged rums sip smoothly neat. Whatever your taste, rum provides the perfect spirit base for creative cocktails. Cheers to rum!
Tight on time but craving cocktail culture? Get your fix on the go and keep the vibe alive by tuning into our audio editions – perfect for sips of histories, flavours, and backstories as you shake through your day!