Aug 15, 2015

Four Rum Myths Dispelled

Rum is not always sweet, all rum is made from sugar. No, that does not mean it is sweet. Yeast converts sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide before it goes into the still. A white rum can be as dry as any liquor. And aging in oak adds tannins and other wood flavorings that can produce dark rum as flavorful as Scotch.

Rum is not only best mixed with fruit juices. Rum has traditionally been a cheap spirit, and so was often mixed with cheap juices for frat parties. A good rum holds its own in classic cocktails like a rum Manhattan or a rum Old Fashioned. The finest aged rums are best appreciated neat.

Rum is not just a Caribbean/West Indian spirit. Rum’s commercial birthplace may have been the sugar cane fields of the islands and the tropics, but prior to the American Revolution, dozens of rum distilleries existed in New England. Today, rum is a North American product, with craft distillers making distinctive rums from Boston to Hawaii.

Pirates did not always drink rum. Pirates drank whatever they could plunder, and in the early days, that was chiefly Spanish wine. Contemporary accounts of the dreaded Captain Morgan do not even mention rum. It was not until the late 17th and early 18th centuries that pirates started to drink rum, concurrent with the rise of the West Indian rum trade.