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On the Rum
From all over the Caribbean, South America and beyond, discover the very best White, Dark, Golden and Spiced Rums.
Light Rums remain ever-popular in the world's most iconic cocktails but darker Rums are making a come back, especially drunk neat.
From the Caribbean With Love
It may have first been enjoyed more than seven centuries ago, but the enduring appeal of rum ensures it is still one of the most widely drunk spirits in the UK and beyond. Its origins are still largely unclear, although as early as the mid-14th century intrepid explorer Marco Polo had his first taste of the spirit, and subsequently wrote in his journal that it tasted like ͚a very good wine made from sugar͛. The name rum is said to originate from the word ͚rumbullion͛, which was a way of describing a great tumult or uproar.
Carnival of Flavour
Rum has become synonymous as the drink of choice in the Caribbean, although it was actually the Italian Christopher Columbus who introduced its key ingredient to the islanders – sugar cane. They used the sugar cane to make alcohol from its fermented skimmings and molasses, and the British Navy were so taken with the drink that they stayed and fought off pirates in order to get their daily tot.
In 1655, the British fleet captured Jamaica from the Spanish, and authorised this new rum drink to replace the standard beer ration. Half a pint of rum was issued neat (at 80% volume) in 20 equal measures daily. Alas, in years to come Admiral Vernon claimed that too many people were drunk on their ration, and ordered this to be reduced. He was nicknamed ͚Old Grog͛; and this is where the term grog, to describe sub-par liquor, came from. Incredibly, the rum ration remained in place until 1970!
The production of rum is not all that different to the crude methods used all those centuries ago, although contemporary techniques result in a much smoother tasting end product. The juice is extracted from sugar cane and then fermented and distilled (to around 70-95% abv), while some distilleries will cook down the liquid yet further to create a syrup or process it into molasses. The resulting mix is usually kept in oak barrels to mature, and when it is ready it is bottled up and shipped out, ready for drinking.
While it may be pushing it a bit to suggest that rum can cure all that ails you, it was thought until a matter of decades ago to help stave off the threat of scurvy at sea among the British Army. That was true, up to a point: it was actually the dash of lime juice that they added to their rum which helped fight off the deadly disease. According to Foot to Fitness, rum – which weighs in at around 230 calories per 100g – is carb and fat free and can help to prolong life by up to five years, reduce the threat of heart attacks and help to combat muscle strains AND the common cold! And while the famous liquor might not have been able to prolong the life of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, so taken with rum was he that his body was preserved in a vat of rum prior to him being laid to rest.
How to Enjoy Rum At Home
Rum can be enjoyed neat, in a mixer or as the foundation for a delicious cocktail. For a neat rum on the rocks in an evening, try Ron Zacapa XO, with its chocolate and cinnamon notes, or something from the Kraken collection. White rums taste great as a cuba libre or for spiced cocktails, old favourites like Captain Morgan and Sailor Jerry, with their distinctive caramel, cinnamon and vanilla notes, make a great choice.