Rum is not only the drink of pirates and the British Royal navy but it is also the national drink of the Caribbean. Used as a popular exchange currency during the age of slavery, leading many men astray and even caused a rebellion in Australian called the ‘Rum Rebellion’.
Today the majority of its production takes place in the Caribbean and in certain parts of South America. No wonder the origin of the word apparently comes from the word, 'rumbullion' which means great tumult or uproar. Legend has it that Marco Polo sipped this sugary drink in the 14th century in Iran. However the first distillation of rum took place in the 17th century in the Caribbean, by slaves.
Rum, and its fraternal twin, cane spirit, are made by distilling fermented sugar and water. This sugar comes from the sugar cane and is fermented from cane juice or molasses. Molasses is the sweet, sticky residue that remains after sugar cane juice is boiled and the crystallized sugar extracted.
All Rums come out of the still as clear, colourless spirits. Barrel aging and the use of added caramel determine the final colour. Since caramel is burnt sugar, it can be truthfully said that only natural colouring agents are used.
Lighter Rums are highly purified and blended. It gets produced in column or continuous stills, after which it is charcoal-filtered and sometimes aged in old oak casks for a few months to add a degree of smoothness. Most light Rums have minimal flavours and aroma, and are very similar to Vodka.
White Rums are generally light-bodied (although there are a few heavy-bodied White Rums in the French islands). It is usually clear and have a very subtle flavour.
Golden Rums, also known as Amber Rums, are generally medium-bodied. It can spend up to seven years aging in oak casks, which give them smooth, mellow palates.
Dark Rums are traditionally full-bodied, rich, caramel-dominated Rums. The richest of these Rums are consumed straight up.
Spiced Rums can be white, golden, or dark Rums. They are infused with spices or fruit flavours. Rum punches are blends of Rum and fruit juices that are very popular in the Caribbean.
AÃ±ejo and Age-Dated Rums are aged Rums from different vintages or batches that are mixed together to insure a continuity of flavour in the brands of Rum. Some aged Rums will give age statements stating the youngest Rum in the blend, following in the same tradition as it's slightly more sophisticated cousin whisky.
Here’s some cocktails to knock you for a six as the Cricket World Cup starts.
Papaya and strawberry daiquiri