Visit Rhumshack Facebook Visit Rhumshack Twitter Visit Rhumshack Instagram

HISTORY OF RUM

Rum is also known in the French colonies as Rhum, in Spanish speaking regions as Ron.
An early alcoholic drink, rum has been around since ancient times. Though it wasn’t first distilled in plantations until the 17th century, rum is believed to have existed thousands of years prior in the form of ‘brum’ – a drink made by the Malay people.
In the 14th century, Marco Polo wrote about a wine made of sugar supporting the train of thought that rum was around before 1600’s.

When the first distillation of rum began, it begun in the Caribbean when plantation slaves realized that molasses left over from sugar refinement could be turned into alcohol. Because it was a discovery made by ‘slaves’ it was instantly rejected as being a terrible tasting liquor.

This delayed the progress in the development and discovery of rums.
Once the Caribbean set the production of rum in motion, it quickly spread to the American colonies. In 1664 the first distillery for rum was set up in Staten Island, a distillery in Boston followed soon after.

New Englanders had a special penchant for making rum – not only was the rum industry their most profitable industry but the rum they produced was considered to be of higher quality than all others.

The refinement of rum began in the place it all started – The Caribbean.

Prior to the late 1800’s rums were dark and heavy. The Spanish Development Board set out to make rum more appealing to the general public and offered a reward for anyone who could improve its quality. Don Facundo Bacardi Masso won the accolade. After moving from Cuba to Spain in 1843, Masso began to refine his rum making techniques. He improved distillation, filtering and began ageing in casks made of American Oak. This all worked to produce a rum that was light and smooth and used today in its present form. CLOSE X

CLASSIFICATIONS OF RUM

White Rums are generally light-bodied (although there are a few heavy-bodied White Rums in the French islands). They are usually clear and have a very subtle flavour profile. If they are aged in oak casks to create a smooth palate they are then usually filtered to remove any colour. White Rums are primarily used as mixers and blend particularly well with fruit flavours.

CLOSE X

Golden Rums also known as Amber Rums are generally medium-bodied. Most have spent several years aging in oak casks, which give them smooth, mellow palates.

CLOSE X

Dark Rums are traditionally full-bodied, rich, caramel-dominated Rums. The best are produced mostly from pot stills and frequently aged in oak casks for extended periods. The richest of these Rums are consumed straight up.

CLOSE X

Spiced Rums can be white, golden, or dark Rums. They are infused with spices or fruit flavours. Rum punches (such as planter's punch) are blends of Rum and fruit juices that are very popular in the Caribbean.

CLOSE X

Anejo & Age-Dated Rums are aged from different vintages or batches that are mixed together to insure a continuity of flavour in brands of Rum from year to year. Some aged Rums will give age statements stating the youngest Rum in the blend (e.g., 10-year-old Rum contains a blend of Rums that are at least 10 years old). A small number of French island Rums are Vintage Date.

CLOSE X

REGIONS OF RUM

Barbados produces light, sweetish Rums from both pot and column stills. Rum distillation began here and the Mount Gay Distillery, dating from 1663, is probably the oldest operating Rum producer in the world.

CLOSE X

Cuba produces light-bodied, crisp, clean Rums from column stills.

CLOSE X

The Dominican Republic is notable for its full-bodied, aged Rums from column stills.

CLOSE X

Guyana is justly famous for its rich, heavy Demerara Rums, named for a local river, which are produced from both pot and column stills. Demerara Rums can be aged for extended periods (30-year-old varieties are on the market) and are frequently used for blending with lighter Rums from other regions. Neighbouring Surinam and French Guyana produce similar full-bodied Rums.

CLOSE X

Haiti follows the French tradition of heavier Rums that are double distilled in pot stills and aged in oak casks for three or more years to produce full-flavoured, exceptionally smooth- tasting Rums. Haiti also still has an extensive underground moonshine industry that supplies the voodoo religious ritual trade.

CLOSE X

Jamaica is well known for its rich, aromatic Rums, most of which are produced in pot stills. Jamaica has official classifications of Rum, ranging from light to very full-flavoured. Jamaican Rums are extensively used for blending.

CLOSE X

Martinique is a French island with the largest number of distilleries in the Eastern Caribbean. Both pot and column stills are used. As on other French islands such as Guadeloupe, both rhum agricole (made from sugar cane juice) and rhum industriel (made from molasses) are produced. These Rums are frequently aged in used French brandy casks for a minimum of three years. Rhum vieux (aged Rum) is frequently compared to high-quality French brandies.

CLOSE X

Puerto Rico is known primarily for light, very dry Rums from column stills. All white Puerto Rican Rums must, by law, be aged a minimum of one year while dark Rums must be aged three years.

CLOSE X

Trinidad produces mainly light Rums from column stills and has an extensive export trade.

CLOSE X

The Virgin Islands, which are divided between the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, both produce light, mixing Rums from column stills. These Rums, and those of nearby Grenada, also serve as the base for bay Rum, a classic aftershave lotion.

CLOSE X

THE RUM PROCESS

Distilling fermented sugar and water makes rum, and its fraternal twin, cane spirit. This sugar comes from the sugar cane and is fermented from cane juice, concentrated cane juice, or molasses. Molasses is the sweet, sticky residue that remains after sugar cane juice is boiled and the crystallized sugar is extracted. Most Rum is made from molasses. Molasses is over fifty percent sugar, but it also contains significant amounts of minerals and other trace elements, which can contribute to the final flavour. Rums made from cane juice, primarily on Haiti and Martinique, have a naturally smooth palate.

Depending on the recipe, the "wash" (the cane juice, or molasses and water) is fermented, using either cultured yeast or airborne wild yeasts, for a period ranging from 24 hours for light Rums up to several weeks for heavy, full varieties. Rum is distilled in the manner described above. The choice of stills does, however, have a profound effect on the final character of Rum. All Rums come out of the still as clear, colourless spirits. Barrel aging and the use of added caramel determine their final colour. Since caramel is burnt sugar, it can be truthfully said that only natural colouring agents are used.

Lighter Rums are highly rectified (purified and blended) and are produced in column or continuous stills, after which they are usually charcoal-filtered and sometimes aged in old oak casks for a few months to add a degree of smoothness. Most light Rums have minimal flavours and aroma, and are very similar to Vodka, particularly those brands that have been charcoal-filtered. Heavier Rums are usually distilled in pot stills; similar to those used to produce Cognacs and Scotch whiskies. Pot stills are less "efficient" than column stills and some congeners (fusel oils and other flavour elements) are carried over with the alcohol. There are a number of brands of Rum that are made by blending pot and column distilled Rums in a manner similar to Armagnac production. CLOSE X

THE FOOD

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats are dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning is traditionally applied to pork and chicken. Modern recipes also apply jerk spice mixes to fish, shrimp, shellfish, beef, sausage, and tofu. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (called "pimento" in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers (among the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale). Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Jerk chicken, pork, or fish originally was smoked over aromatic wood charcoal. Most jerk in Jamaica is no longer cooked in the traditional method and is grilled over hardwood charcoal in a steel drum jerk pan. The wood ("pimento wood"), berries, and leaves of the allspice plant among the coals contribute to jerk's distinctive flavor.

CLOSE X

Ackee & Saltfish is a traditional Jamaican dish, internationally known as Jamaica's national dish. It spread to other countries with the Jamaican diaspora. The Saltfish is salt cod, preserved by salting and drying. The Ackee fruit was imported to Jamaica from West Africa (probably on a slave ship) before 1778. It is also known as blighia sapida. The scientific name honours Captain William Bligh who took the fruit from Jamaica to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England in 1793 and introduced it to science.

In the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, "Ackee and Saltfish" is eaten widely, although canned Ackee is more often used than fresh in some foreign countries. However, people from countries where the fruit is indigenous prefer to eat fresh Ackee from the pod as opposed to Ackee from a tin. When cooked, Ackee has a soft texture, somewhat akin to scrambled egg.

CLOSE X

Curry Goat is a dish originating in Indo-Jamaican cuisine that has become so popular it is now regarded as being typical of Jamaica. This dish has spread throughout the English-speaking Caribbean and also the Caribbean diaspora in North America and Great Britain.

Curry goat is a popular party dish in Jamaica and at a 'big dance' a local expert or 'specialist' is often brought in to cook it. It is considerably milder than the equivalent dishes from the Indian subcontinent and is flavoured with a spice mix that is typical of Indo-Jamican cooking and Scotch Bonnet Peppers; it is almost always served with rice and, in restaurants in North America and Great Britain, other typically Caribbean side dishes such as fried plantain may be served as an accompaniment. There are many variations on the dish that include using mutton when goat is not available or bulking it out with potatoes.

CLOSE X

Rice & Peas is the mainstay of the Jamaican diet and is traditionally, but not exclusively, eaten with the Sunday meal. The dish is made with rice and any available legume, such as red kidney beans, pigeon peas (known as gungo peas), or cowpeas, the combination of grain and a legume forming a complete protein; compare rice and beans. Gungo peas are particularly associated with Christmas. The peas are boiled with pimento seeds (allspice) and garlic until tender. Salt, scotch bonnet (pepper), thyme, scallion (spring onion) and coconut milk are then added along with the rice and left to simmer until cooked. Variations of the recipe include the use of salt pork or beef instead of regular salt. This flavors the dish well and reduces the need for additional protein. Rice and peas the classic Sunday lunch dish is usually served with fried or baked chicken.

CLOSE X

Plantain is a green to yellow boat-shaped fruit (shade of color depends on stage of ripening) of a large shrub called Musa paradisiacal. It is a close relative of banana, looks like banana, but bigger, longer, has thicker skin and often needs to be cooked before eaten. It is sometimes called plantain banana and contains a low GI starch, excellent for weight control, slow energy release and good for diabetics, with surpassing nutritional value. It is eaten all over Africa and Southern and Central America. Plantain can be eaten boiled, roasted, grilled, or fried.

CLOSE X