Rum is an alcoholic beverage, mostly Caribbeans and Latin Americans. This great drink has majorly two grades i.e Light and Dark. The gift of both the grades is given to the world by one plant; SugarCane. This distilled alcoholic beverage is produced by fermenting and distilling sugarcane molasses or juice. Besides, Caribbeans and American countries, Rums are also produced in other countries like India and Philippines who produce sugar. Nearly 100 countries are producing the mentioned spirit today.
In ancient times, alike many other alcoholic beverages such as brandy and wines, rum too was a popular exchange for economic trades and fund slavery, crime, revolts etc. In the 17th century for the triangle trade, rum became the preferred choice for exchange alcohol and completely replaced brandy. African guards and canoe-men were now being paid in rum instead of the usual payments i.e brandy.
There have been numerous theories as trace the origin of the name of the spirit; Rum but none has enough conclusive evidence to make a claim for it. Despite the unclear origins of the name, the name has been around since 1654 and was in common use.
Though the origin of the name remains unclear, but the origin of the beverage can be traced back to 7th century in India. An Indian Ayurvedic physician, Vagbhata‘s name comes up if the you scratch up the history. It is believed that he once advised a man to drink the mentioned unvitiated beverage mixed with mango juice. The drink is even mentioned in the old Sanskrit texts by the name of “Shidhu“.
It is safe to say that Rum has its origins from India.Having the mentions of the drink in ancient Sanskrit texts too.
Grades of Rum:
Though there are two major grades, Dark and Light, but it not ends there. There are several grades with significance of their own.
They are a grade darker than gold rums, and are produced particularly in darker colours i.e black, red or brown. The production of such rum happens from caramelised sugar or molasses. These are aged in heavy charred barrels, usually longer than any other aged rum. The ageing gives them flavours stronger than light and gold rum. In flavours, spiced tinch, caramel or molasses are palatable. They also provide color and substance to the drink. These can also be used in cooking.
These are usually infused with fruity flavours; such as mango, orange, pineapple, banana, lime, coconut, starfruit, strawberry etc. The alcohol by volume is usually less than 40% in them. Mostly these rums are used for cocktails purposes but can be consumed straight or on the rocks. To imitate the characters of flavours in the beverage, several chemicals are added. The flavours are added after the fermentation and distillation process.
Also known as ‘Amber Rum’ are usually the aged ones. Just like Dark Rums, they obtain their color from ageing in the wooden barrels. These wooden barrels are mostly charred, white oak barrels which were previously used to age bourbon whiskey. These are strong and more flavourful than light rums but lesser than the darker ones.
Also referred as white or silver rum. These generally are note very rich in flavours apart from the usual sweeteners. To remove the color from them, they are sometimes required to be filtered after ageing. Puerto Rico is considered to be the major hub of light rum. Due to their lighter taste, these are not appreciated to consume straight but like flavoured ones, these too are used in cocktails such as Mojito or Daiquiri.
The alcohol by volume in these is very high than the standards i.e 40%. These are available in market with up to 80% ABV. Such alcohol content makes the drink too strong to consume straight and thus is required to be mixed with other beverages to consume or as cocktails.
These are available in special market category to purchase as the likes of cognac and scotch is. Usually people pour it to consume straight as the it contains more substance and one enjoys more flavour this way than in cocktails. People pour it just to hold and enjoy the drink in small sips. Such spirits are sold by premium brands who takes extra measure to carefully produce and age the spirit.
The flavours in such spirits evolve by addition of certain spices and caramels (in rare cases). These are usually darker in color and are basic gold rums, while some can be significantly darker in tone. Cheaper brands in this type choose adding caramel color to white rums in order to produce pocket range bottled spirit. Spices used to flavour these are cinnamon, rosemary, absinthe/aniseed, pepper, cloves, and cardamom.
Many different regions have divided the spirit in to their own standards and categories. But still, the above categorisation remains nautical.