There is no spirit more suited to pirates than rum. Not because it is closely associated with seafaring, nor because it is part of pop culture, but because rum is completely resistant to rules. The different styles of rum vary depending on where the rums come from, how they are distilled, and how they are aged (if at all). The only thing that connects different types of rum is the basic ingredient: sugar cane.

The story of rum

Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane with him on his second trip to America in 1493, which was planted on the island of Hispaniola. The Spanish army subsequently spread the crop to several areas in the Caribbean, such as Jamaica and Cuba. It can therefore be said that Columbus was the father of rum.

When sugar is produced from sugar cane, molasses is a by-product. The plantation owners discovered that instead of throwing the molasses away, they could distill it into rum. Like so many other types of spirits at the time, it was not at all what we know today. At the time, rum was bitter, sharp in taste and unpleasant in smell, but still achieved great popularity with the seafaring colonists and those at home.

However, it was not until the column still came to the Caribbean around 1848 that the production of rum was seriously industrialized. They were now able to mass-produce rum, thus meeting the great demand that was at home in the colonists' lands. Bacardi was founded in 1862 by Don Facundo Bacardi Massó, and the company has had a great influence on the spread of rum in the Western world. The product Bacardi made was smoother and cleaner than so many others, which made it quickly popular globally.

Rum, like tequila, benefited from the Prohibition era, when rum was shipped from the Caribbean and from there entered the illegal market. However, the popularity only lasted until the Great Depression started, when a large part of the distilleries had to close down.
Today, the market looks a little different, as dark rum in particular has gained its footing. The rise of dark rum has meant that small distilleries have been able to emerge, where they exclusively make their own special rum.

The production of rum

Rum is made from fermented sugarcane juice or the surplus product from sugar refining, molasses. Which crop is chosen here has a great impact on the final product.

The fermentation process can take anywhere from half a day to several days, depending on how strong a rum you want to end up with. Typically, the alcohol percentage you end up with is between 5 and 9 percent.

After fermentation, the liquid is distilled in either a pot still or a column still, depending on the type of rum you want. Typically, a dark rum will be distilled with a pot still, to retain as much flavor as possible in the product, and a light rum will be distilled with a column still.

Finally, the rum is poured directly into the bottle if it is a light rum, otherwise it is stored in oak casks to give additional flavor to the rum.

Classifications of rum

No rules, just rum. In contrast to the classifications with e.g. gin, rum doesn't have very many rules. Different countries have their own standards, which means that any spirit that comes from sugar cane can be called rum. Typically, however, rum can be divided into light, golden, spiced and dark.

In addition to the above categories, the different countries also have their own special character, which is expressed in the rums they produce.

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