What do The Pirates of the Caribbean, Hunter S. Thompson, tiki bars, and the shores of Havana have in common? No, not Johnny Depp, the answer we're looking for is rum. Here’s 5 things you should know about the iconic drink.
1) The Basics
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane juice or molasses through fermentation and distillation. The distillate is traditionally aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year but sometimes less.
2) The Rumdown
Rums can be classified by different grades. Light or white rums have milder flavors, which make them popular for use in mixed drinks. Gold rums, also called amber rums, are medium-bodied and have more flavor. Dark rums are generally aged longer, giving them much stronger flavors and typically consumed straight. Rums also come in spiced and flavor varieties.
3) Did You Know?
While the majority of the world’s rum is produced in the Caribbean and Latin America, rum production began in America in 1664 and soon became early Colonial New England’s largest and most prosperous industry. However, restrictions on rum from the British islands of the Caribbean combined with the rise in whiskey led to a decline in the drinks popularity in the states in the 1800s.
With rum consumption back on the rise, Texas has gotten in on the action and is home to a batch of locally produced rums including White Hat out of Austin (pictured above).
4) Rum Isn’t Just for Pirates!
The Royal Navy changed the daily ration of liquor given to seamen from brandy to rum in 1655 with the capture of the island of Jamaica. The daily rum ration, which was oftentimes watered down and referred to as “grog,” was traditionally distributed between 11 a.m. and noon, called “Up Spirits.” The Royal Navy subsequently abolished the practice in 1970. The last naval force to formally partake in Up Spirits was The Royal New Zealand Navy up until 1990 when the tradition was ended.
5) Summer Rumance
A simple Google search will reveal a plethora of rum-based mixed drinks from the mojito to the daiquiri and many more to choose from when cooling down this summer. Victor Alfaro over at Twin Liquors on San Pedro suggests keeping it simple and taking your Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and mixing with some iced tea for a refreshing beverage. If you’re into piña coladas but can't find that poolside cabana boy, Bacardi makes a pineapple fusion flavored rum that is sure to please. Take this with you down to the river and drink straight or with a splash of club soda. If you prefer your rum straight, Victor recommends going with either Mount Gay Rum or Zaya Rum, which has been aged a minimum of 12 years. Cheers!