Some might say we’re jumping the gun by talking about a spirit that’s traditionally used in summer drinks. To that, we say “There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion” (Lord Byron). And “drink up” (Cap n’ Cork). Rum is fun! Let’s learn more:
Rum is made from the juice or syrup of sugar cane, the grass used to produce refined sugar; or molasses, the thick black liquid that is the byproduct of sugar production. It’s fermented and distilled, then aged for as long as 30 years, typically in seasoned oak barrels. There are several styles associated with several special sunny places.
White/Light/Silver: Bright and with little flavor of its own, light rum blends well with tropical flavors. It’s typically aged for a few years in oak barrels. Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Virgin Islands are known for their light rums; Bacardi is a familiar brand.
Gold/Oro/Ambre/Amber: As you might guess, these rums have a little more color, thanks to the addition of caramel, and a little more flavor. They’re aged a little longer in oak barrels as well. They still go nicely with fruity flavors. Haiti and Martinique produce medium rums.
Demerara Rum: This rum is slightly darker, but not as pungent as Jamaican rum. It’s distilled from sugarcane molasses grown along the Demerara River in Guyana (in South America).
Gosling’sDark/Black: Full-bodied, with a buttery molasses aroma and flavor, dark or black rum is typically aged at least five to seven years. Fermentation may include molasses and the burnt ale skimmed from previous distillations. It gets its color from a generous addition of caramel. Jamaican rum is traditionally black rum; Gosling’s is a famous example of a dark rum.
Rhum agricole is rhum made from fresh cane juice, while rhum industriel is made from molasses. And rhum is simply rum from the French West Indies vs. the products of the English-speaking islands.
There is a guy who has sailed the seas for more than 19 years tasting and writing about rum. Edward Hamilton has developed The Ministry of Rum, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and love for the spirit. This is a career choice that we could get behind.
That funny-looking pirate in the Captain Morgan ads? He’s based on a real person–Sir Henry Morgan, an admiral in the English Navy in the 1600s. A privateer (like a pirate, but legal), Morgan was most famous for ruthlessly raiding and conquering Spanish settlements. After he finished a successful career of pillaging and plundering, he retired a rich man in Jamaica, serving as lieutenant governor and developing massive sugar plantations.
What to Serve at Easter
Not quite white, not quite red, rose’ (ro-SAY) wines leave many consumers confused. And it’s true that they don’t fit into any one category; instead, they claim a lovely space all their own. Easter is the perfect time to sample these fresh, bright wines, and they pair beautifully with ham. Our short guide to rose wines will help you choose your style. If you’d like to have some variety, include a sparkling wine at the table. Our bubbly buying guide will lead you through the language on the label that indicates what’s inside.