Rum is a liquor distilled from sugarcane and molasses. Rum is naturally clear, but it takes on a darker color (and bolder flavor) if it is aged in oak barrels. Most rum comes from the Caribbean and the West Indies, with slight differences in flavor depending on where it is produced, and it gained popularity among sailors because it was given as a ration after being infused with lemon or lime juice to prevent scurvy. Although they seem similar, rum is different from the Brazilian Cachaça, which is made from sugarcane, but not molasses.
Kinds of Rum
Light Rum, also known as silver or white rum, is clear with mild flavors. It is usually used to mix cocktails.
Spiced Rum is dark in color and usually has added fruits, color, or spice. Spiced rums can be either light or dark in color.
Dark Rum is the darkest because it is aged longest in oak barrels. If the barrels are charred, their burnt flavors are absorbed into the rum, which then becomes full-bodied and rich. These are the types of rums you want to look at if you’re looking for something to drink straight or on the rocks, without anything else mixed in. Darker rums are also used frequently in cooking to make desserts like Bananas Foster and fruitcakes. If you’re looking at drinking a dark rum, try adding in just a bit of ice or water! If you add just enough to mellow it out but not enough to dilute it, the more subtle flavors in your rum hidden by the overbearing alcohol may open up and surprise you with a richer and more flavorful treat than you’d get ordinarily!
Flavored Rum has fruits infused in it. These rums are great for tropical cocktails. While they can be swigged on their own, they’re a wonderful way to add flavor and strength to your favorite mixed drink!
Overproof Rum has a higher level of alcohol/volume than usual, sometimes as high as 60%. It is often used as a mixer to bring up the alcohol content in drinks that would otherwise be low, and is generally not for drinking straight.
Generally, rum from Jamaica is aromatic and rich, while rum from Puerto Rico is light and dry.