Rum is distilled from fermented sugar cane by-products like sugar cane juice and most often, molasses. Molasses is the sweet, sticky residue that remains after sugar cane juice is boiled and the crystallized sugar is extracted. Molasses is over 50% sugar, but it also contains significant amounts of minerals and other trace elements, which can contribute to the final flavor of rum. The alcohol content in Rum is usually at least 80 proof.
The majority of the world’s rum production occurs in and around the Caribbean, Central American and South American countries whose climates are ideal for growing sugar cane.
The method of distillation is an important part of determining the character of Rum. Lighter bodied rums are produced similarly to vodka. They are distilled in column or continuous stills and heavily purified, often with charcoal, giving them minimal flavor and aroma. Heavier bodied rums are produced in pot stills in the same way as Scotch whisky and Cognac and retain greater flavor elements from its ingredients.
All Rums come out of the still as clear and colorless. Barrel aging (and the use of added caramel) determines the final color. Aging is commonly performed in used bourbon casks, but may also be performed in stainless steel tanks or other types of wooden casks. Rum that is aged in oak casks becomes dark, whereas Rum that is aged in stainless steel tanks remains virtually colorless.
Rum is often used in cocktails like the Daiquiri, Mojito, and Pina Colada as well as warm drinks like the Rum toddy and Hot Buttered Rum.
Our pick: Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ragged Mountain Rum