Let’s celebrate International Rum Day by arming you with some facts to take with you to your next gathering (with a bottle of rum, of course). Are all rums the same? Where is it made? Are they always sweet? And what’s the best way to serve it? Get ready to have some myths busted…
Here’s a statement to kick things off: rum is the most diverse spirit of them all. There, we said it. From drinking it neat to enjoying it in cocktails and mixed drinks, no spirit delivers as well as rum. “I’ve been screaming from the rooftops for the past 20 years about diversity in rum!” says Mark Wyatt, owner of the Rum Bar, in Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia’s oldest rum bar.False! You’ll generally find that they’re split into ‘white’ and ‘dark’ varieties. White rum is distilled in white oak barrels and is then filtered so it’s clear, but unlike other types of rum, most of the time it isn’t aged. White rum has faint notes of vanilla and almond, like Matusalem Platino Rum 700mL.
Dark rum is usually aged in charred oak barrels and has more of a smoky taste to it, Rum Co Fiji Bati Dark Rum 700mL is a great example. Spiced rum is very popular when paired with ginger beer. Centuries ago, rum was often spiced to mask its poor quality. Now it’s just a neat way to flavour rum – so much so that you can enjoy a spiced rum with just a bit of ice in a glass, try Rumbullion Spiced Rum 700mL.
Don’t be fooled by that bottle of Malibu – not all rum is super sweet. It’s puzzling that rum often has the reputation for being sickly sweet and sugary, when there are so many varieties that dispute this fact.
Even though rum is made with molasses, after distillation all that remains is alcohol. It’s the addition of elements like coconut or spice that make it taste sweeter
Unfortunately, false. Rum was first discovered in Brazil, Barbados and Jamaica in the early 1600s, which were centres of sugar cane production for European colonisers. During the process of harvesting sugar, farmers would crush the sugar cane, boil it and then leave the remaining syrup to set in clay pots.
As a result, molasses was left behind. It was the slaves on these plantations who found a use for this molasses, mixing it with the cane juice skimmed off the clay pots and fermenting it into alcohol. (The British navy assisted in the proliferation of rum in the mid-1600s, so there was still some sailing involved.)
True! In Australia, rum was the catalyst for the only successful armed takeover of the government. The ‘Rum Rebellion’ in 1808 saw a band of mutineers take over the office of William Bligh, the Governor of New South Wales, when Bligh attempted to ban the use of rum as currency to curb public drunkenness.
A rum and coke is a classic combination, but the sky is the limit when it comes to rum mixers. Rum makes a great foundation for a cocktail, so much so that you only really need a few ingredients to whip them up.
For a classic Dark and Stormy, all you need is dark rum (like 4670 Yellow Dark Rum 700mL), ginger beer, lime juice and a wedge of lime to garnish. If you’re looking for something with a refreshing zing, a Mojito only requires white rum (try Bacardi Superior Rum 700mL), mint leaves, caster sugar, soda water and a bit of lime.
Enjoy however you please or ask a First Choice Liquor Market team member for some suggestions!