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by Peter Barradine January 12, 2021 2 min read

A Brief Introduction To Rum

You may have seen that on the 29th January we have an online tasting with local artisan rum producer Burning Barn. To get me even more excited, and gain a bit more knowledge about this interesting drink I'm exploring the history in this week’s blog.

The History

Rum has a long history and it is stated that Alexander the Great enjoyed some fermented cane juice all the way back in the 4th century BC! I am going to take a large leap forward and concentrate on relatively modern history. The drink really saw its growth due to the sugar cane trade and the countries linked to it such as the Portuguese, Dutch, French, Spanish and the British in the Caribbean islands leading to its growth around the world.

From this you can see the obvious links to the navy and sailors, it even became part of the British Navy’s wages. And as my seafaring colleague Tom told me, to ensure the quality of the rum they would pour it over gunpowder and if it lit that was proof it was over 57%, hence the proof ratings.

How It Is Made

Rum begins its life as sugar cane and the byproduct of the sugar production, molasses, accounts for 97% of the rums produced. The molasses undergoes alcoholic fermentation in the same way beer does with the sugar being turned into alcohol with the use of yeast. This is then distilled in either a pot or column still to produce rum. 

This can then be sold as unaged white rum or can be aged giving it that distinctive golden hue. It can also be flavoured or spiced which makes it a very versatile spirit.

White Rum

This rum is often unaged but is sometimes aged in oak barrels and then carbon filtered to remove the colour. It usually has lovely crisp flavours and works really well when mixed or used in a daiquiri or mojito. A great example of this is Totti Famous Five White Rum with vanilla and caramel elements.

Aged Rum

This can be divided into two separate categories but with rum laws it is pretty relaxed so there isn’t a true definition. Golden has spent time in oak which gives it colour and smoother caramel elements like English Spirits Old Salt Rum. Dark rums spend even more time in oak and are often rich and spicy, if you prefer this style try Toti Reserve Dark Rum.

Spiced and Flavoured Rum

Here at SplitsDrinks we love our spiced and flavoured rum and with there being no regulations producers have the freedom to experiment and try new styles. We have a wide selection so click here to explore.

I hope that gives you a better understanding of rums and helps you when finding your preferred style. If you would like to join myself and Harry from Burning Barn in our online tasting (29th January, 7pm) click here to buy your ticket. It’ll be a fascinating evening where you will get to try three of their great rums. 


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