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Rum is a distilled alcoholic drink made from sugarcane byproducts, such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels. Unlike whisky, rum is best drunk with some kind of carbonated and sweet drink.

Rum has always been the king of cocktails, and we would definitely go for a Cuba Libre if we had to choose one! Rum and Coke is a favorite among many, and we cannot forget the classic mojito. This drink is indeed found in many types of drinks. Read on to find the best rum on the U.S market!

Key Facts

  • Rum is a traditional Caribbean drink that first appeared on the island of Barbados, and its history has been linked to the islands ever since. Cuba, Jamaica and Barbados have been major rum producers. Unlike other drinks, it is made from sugar cane and is therefore usually sweet.
  • Rum is found in many cocktails, as it is a drink that mixes very well. Thanks to its mild flavour, rum is easily combined with other beverages. Cuba Libre, mojito, caipirinha, piña colada, Mai Tai or daiquiri: all contain rum.
  • Like many other alcoholic beverages, rum needs an ageing process. You should normally be able to see the age on the bottle. White rum usually ages between 18 and 36 months, while mature rum can spend up to 7 years in oak barrels.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about rum

Rum is a drink with a lot of history and tradition. In this next section, we will tell you everything that you need to know about rum, from its origins to the best brands to choose from. If you’re looking for the perfect drink to serve at your next party, or just want to learn more about this tasty drink, you have come to the right place!

The first rum distillation happened in the sugar cane plantations of the Caribbean.
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What is rum exactly?

Rums are produced in various grades. Light rums are commonly used in cocktails, whereas “golden” and “dark” rums were typically consumed straight or neat, on the rocks, or used for cooking, but are now commonly consumed with mixers. Premium rums are also available, made to be consumed either straight or iced.

This is diluted in pure demineralised water to achieve between 30 and 40% ethanol. It has now become rum, although a final step is missing. This is optional, but rum is generally subjected to an ageing process. This process tends to be carried out with oak barrels already used for brandy or whiskey.

Lord ByronEnglish Poet
“There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.”

Where is rum made?

If you’re after something truly vintage and steeped in history then rum is your answer. The first distillation took place during the 1620s in the Caribbean, and rum boasts being the first spirit to be manufactured and distilled. It was also the first spirit to be produced for entertainment purposes, as opposed to medicinal.

The majority of the world’s rum production now occurs in the Caribbean and Latin America. Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Nicaragua and Guyana also produce this beverage. In Europe, only Spain has quality rum distilleries. The United States also has a few notable local distilleries.

How is rum made?

Starting with the basics, all rums are made from sugar cane and may be a by-product of sugar production. This can be from molasses, sugar cane juice, or sugar cane syrup. The most common method for making rum is through a process of prolonged fermentation usually using molasses, and distillation using a copper pot that creates a heavier body and complex flavor. Rum is influenced by the base materials used during fermentation.

The Cuban mojito is perfect for those hot summer beach days.
(Source: Gojda: 18089896/

What is rum made from?

Basically, rum is made from sugar. To get a little more specific, rum is made from either cane sugar, or the byproducts of cane sugar, such as molasses. It’s then fermented, distilled, and aged in oak barrels. Other ingredients are sometimes added to create a wider variety of flavors, including caramelized sugar, fruit extracts, and spices.

Adding spices to rum wasn’t an idea initiated in one place. In England the combination of alcohol, fruit juice, water and spices was introduced by sailors who had been in India. This evolved into rum punch when rum entered the English market around the mid-17th century. Meanwhile, in Barbados, rum was combined with sugar and spices.

Did you know that, although it was made for the first time in Spain, rum underwent great changes when it was brought to the Americas? Since then, the Caribbean region has become the world’s leading rum producer.

How many types of rum are there?

There are three main types of rum: white rum, dark rum, and spiced rum. Depending on the style, the alcohol content of rum can range from 20 percent to 75.5 percent alcohol by volume. Most of the well known rum brands like Captain Morgan and Bacardi make their own versions of each type of rum. . Here are the types of rums:

  • Gold rum: Rum filtered but that doesn’t lose all its color. It is aged in oak or cherry barrels.
  • Black rum: Unfiltered rum, it keeps all the brown color of the sugar.
  • Mature rum:It comes from liquors and has been aged for at least one year.
  • Aged rum:It comes from liquors and has been aged for at least three years.
  • Sweet rum: Rum high in sugar. Usually more than 100 grams per liter of sucrose or glucose.
  • Rhum agricoleNaming specific to rums produced in the French overseas departments. Aged in oak or cherry barrels.
  • Amber rum: The sugar inside reaches over-saturation and crystallizes. Small plant branches are added inside the bottles to act as support.
  • Light rum: This is a rum distilled in continuous stills, so the consistency of the liquid is more fluid.
  • White rum: Colorless, although it may have slight yellow tones. From distilled or blended liquors.

How should I drink rum?

One way to drink it is to pour the rum into a small glass, warm it between your hands, and sip at it slowly so you can enjoy its full flavor. To make a simple mixed drink, start with 2 ounces of light or dark rum and add Coke (or another sweet carbonated drink) to taste. Pour it over ice and serve.

Because of its texture and sweet taste, rum experts say it is the best drink for the winter season. In Newfoundland, a special rum called Newfoundland Screech is used in a ceremony of initiation to local traditions for foreigners.

Winston ChurchillBritish Prime Minister
“Don’t talk to me about naval tradition. It’s nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash.”

How can I distinguish a quality rum?

The raw materials used in the distillation process should generally help you. In the French colonies of the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean, the custom of using sugar cane juice without manipulation is maintained to this day. This produces an intense, fruity rum with a complex and persistent flavor. They are usually aged in barrels and are powerful.

With distillation, how you do it, what you take out, and what you leave in will affect the flavor. There will  be subtle differences from region to region, from country to country, but generally speaking molasses-based rums will have a certain caramel and vanilla character, and a certain sweetness. However, sugarcane juice-based rums tend to be grassier, a lot more pungent, and with heavy alcohol aromas.

White rum is consumed with other cocktail drinks.
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How many categories of rum are there?

White — also known as light or silver — rums are the lightest in flavor and are typically aged three to six months in tropical climates, or up to one year in colder climates. An aged rum will have a golden or amber hue naturally cultivated from the casks it was made in. There are also a few aged dark rums available. Most dark rums are the result of a double distillation and they tend to have the most in common with Scotch or brandy.

The following table will give you some information on the existing categories of rum:

Hispanic origin British origin French origin
Production Sugar cane molasses. Molasses. Sugar cane juice.
Ageing “Solera” ageing process. “Solera” ageing process. Static ageing in barrels. Static ageing in oak barrels.
Style Light, dry and sweet rums. Caramel and sugar are added. Dark, strong rums. Sweet and spicy. Spices, caramel and sugar are added. Light rums, they stand out for their aroma. Dry and powerful. Caramel is added.
Category and vintage It is labeled with a number that represents the age of the “Solera” process, not that of the rum. They add descriptions on the independent label. Ambré(aged in wood), Vieux(ageing for 3 years)
Regions Peru. Caribbean. Central America. Venezuela. Spain. Barbados. Bermuda. Belize. Guyana. Guadeloupe. Haiti. Martinique.

What other uses does rum have?

Rum can be used in many ways in our daily life, both as alcohol and an ingredient in culinary preparations. The sweet flavor of this alcohol makes it a popular addition to many cooking dishes, such as pulled pork, to give it an added element of flavor.

According to Wide Open Eats, rum’s medicinal properties were a lifesaver for armies and soldiers at war until a few decades ago. During the World War I, a ‘tot o rum’ was used to help soldiers stay healthy. Before hitting the front lines, soldiers were given about a tablespoon of rum. Similarly, the British Army gave rations of rum to its sailors to keep the risk of scurvy at bay, especially those in ports off the coast of India.

Shopping Criteria

There are several different brands that create and produce rum. Each has its own characteristics and suits different types of drinkers. Among the many different brands, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you. To help you, we have created a shopping guide to make the decision easier for you. Here are some important criteria to help you choose a quality rum:

Designation of origin

After rum’s development in the Caribbean, the drink’s popularity spread to Colonial America. To support the demand for the drink, the first rum distillery in the colonies was set up in 1664 on current day Staten Island. Boston, Massachusetts had a distillery three years later.

For example, the Cuba designation of origin usually produces white rums, which are drier and have a vanilla flavor. They are ideal for cocktails and blending.

The Venezuelan rums are darker and more potent, and tend to be more fruity and spicy. Rums from Barbados are dark and spicy, with fruity and sweet touches.

Certain brands age their rum in American white oak barrels to obtain the perfect flavour.
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Despite being a sweet liquor, rum has a very powerful taste. It is necessary to know how to differentiate between the different types of rum. The taste will often be marked by its origin and by the raw ingredients with which it has been distilled. Rums made with treated sugar juice are finer because they contain less impurities.

Rum can be categorized into three major classes: white rum, golden or dark rum, and aged rum. White rum is ideal for cocktails because of its mild, dry taste. Gold rum has an amber tone and caramel is added. The aged rum is much darker and usually presents the best quality, with a stronger and more intense flavor. Choose the one you like best.


Darker rums have more intense flavors. French colony rums are usually very intense, with a high concentration of alcohol. They are strong rums. Also intense, the rums from Jamaica and Barbados are more pleasant. They usually have fruity and aromatic notes, with spices and hints of caramel.

Every drinker has their own idea of which is the best rum. Light rum will be your first choice for mixing the majority of rum cocktails, including favorites like the mojito. It has a sweet, neutral flavor that pairs well with almost any flavor and its clear color doesn’t affect the appearance of the drink.

The Rum & Coke, also called Cuba Libre, is a delicious drink.
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Health benefits

According to studies, rum has beneficial properties for health if drunk in small quantities. It can help you stay healthy and live longer. In moderation, it can help fight and prevent muscle pain. This can be incredibly useful in these hectic times.

In addition to it’s warming and calming qualities, the antimicrobial properties of rum can help prevent a common cold. Finally, certain cultures use rum to treat colds and to relieve severe sore throats. As you can see, it is a very healthy drink.

Remember to always drink alcoholic beverages in moderation.


One of the great strengths of rum is its aroma. Like good distilled alcoholic beverages, rum can present a large number of different nuances and aromas. Young or poor quality rums will have a stronger smell, much more alcoholic than aged rum. It is important that you pay attention to the aroma of a rum.

The smell of rum stems from its syrupy sugary heart of molasses, but its true aroma develops from the process of aging. White rums are colorless and their flavor is subtle and discrete. Golden rums have spent a couple of years in oak barrels, which gives them smooth savory flavor.


The rum is aged in casks, and the type of cask is a key factor in how the final product is colored. Climate also plays an important part in deciding how long any distilled spirit is aged; for rum, which tends to be produced in tropical climates, the casks can be aged for just three to five years while other styles of rum that are aged in cooler climates can be aged for as much as 10 years.

Since old bourbon barrels cannot be reused after aging whiskey, some rum distillers might use them for aging their rum.

Drinking pure rum is popular in producing countries.
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Alcohol content

Alcohol comes in dozens of different sizes, shapes, and alcohol by volume content, the basic measurement of how much ethanol is in a given volume of the beverage. This last characteristic is what separates wines and beers from the so-called hard liquors of the world: vodka, whiskey, rum, scotch, and many more.

Most rum is bottled at 40 percent alcohol by volume, which equates to 80 proof, although overproof rums (containing a greater proportion of alcohol than proof spirit) can be as high as 151 proof, or 75 percent ABV. Without adequate dilution, these rums can be quite dangerous, both inside the body and out; they are highly flammable.


Rum has a long tradition, and a very interesting history. From being used for soldiers in battle, to being served in our favorite cocktails, rum has been a very versatile drink. It is a favorite for all types of mixers, as well as classic cocktails like the mojito. Among the different varieties of rum, you are sure to find one that suits your tastes.

Because there are so many different types of rum, it is important to make your decision carefully. The one you choose will be dependent on a few different factors such as age, flavor, aroma, and others. We know that if you use our guide, you will find the best rum for you.

If you liked our article, feel free to share it on your social media so that your friends and family can also find the best rum for them. You can also leave us a comment in the section below!

(Source of featured image: The Vision Of Dream: 102272718/

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