| It is thought that the name "rum" was first coined in Barbados, although no one really knows how or when it originated. Rum is made from the natural by-products of sugar production and it could be said that the Caribbean rum industry was established, albeit indirectly, by Christopher Columbus. After his initial voyage across the Atlantic, Columbus was back again in the West Indies in 1493 and this time he took with him sugar cane cuttings from the Canary Islands and planted them in Hispaniola, the island Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. |
Sugar making quickly spread around the Caribbean islands but it generated enormous amounts of molasses syrup for which no good use could be found to begin with. In the production of sugar, the cane is crushed to extract the juice, which crystallizes into blocks of sugar when heated. A substantial part of the liquid remains unsolidified and this waste material was called 'melazas' due to its hone-like sweetness (in Spanish, 'miel' means honey); in English, this became molasses. It was eventually noticed that this sticky syrup fermented when left in the sun and by the 1650s this former waste product was being distilled into a spirit.
The modern history of Rum owes a lot to the spread of air conditioning and the growth of tourism. In the second half of the 20th century, modern air conditioning made it possible for large numbers of people to migrate to warm-weather regions where Rum remained the dominant spirit. Additionally, the explosive increase in the number of North American and European tourists into Rum-drinking regions lead to a steady rise in the popularity of Rum-based mixed drinks. Nowadays White Rum gives Vodka serious competition as the mixer of choice in a number of distinctively nontropical markets.
What exactly is rum you ask? Rum distinguishes itself from other spirits by the plant from which it is made. Thesugar cane provides a sweet juice that can be extracted thru milling. Most Rum is made from molasses. Molasses is over 50% sugar, but it also contains significant amounts of minerals and other trace elements, which can contribute to the final flavor. Rums made from cane juice, primarily on Haiti and Martinique, have a naturally smooth palate.
Here are our top rum picks:
|·||Bacardi Light||·||Bacardi 151|
|·||Bacardi Limon||·||Malibu Coconut|
|·||Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay||·||Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum|
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