Discovering Rum: History, Types & Recipes

In 1620, the very first distillation of rum took place in the Caribbean after sugarcane was introduced to them by Christopher Columbus. Sugarcane was fermented earlier in history than this, but it wasn’t until 1620 that rum became an alcoholic drink.

In the 18th century, rum was used as a currency, especially for sailors, and it is one of the most celebrated spirits in the world. It has a dark past that is rooted in slavery and revolution, but today it has become a well-loved spirit.

How is Rum Made?

First, the sugarcane is harvested. It is fast growing and quickly starts to regrow after harvest. It’s cut down with machetes close to the stem, as that is the area with the highest concentration of sugar. Sugarcane is about 75% water and 25% sugar and fiber, so the cane is washed, chopped, and then pressed. This extracts water and sugar juice.

This extraction produces molasses, which is what most types of rum are made from. Later down the line, molasses is fermented and then distilled to be rum. During the fermentation process, yeast converts the sugars in the molasses into alcohol. Water is boiled, and the sugar and molasses are dissolved in the boiling water. Once the mixture has been cooled to a set temperature, hydrated yeast is added.

The mixture then ferments at a specified temperature, but there must always be the presence of heat; this is how the yeast converts the sugar to alcohol. The fermentation process can range from 24 hours to 3 weeks; the time frame depends on the style of rum that is being produced and the strain of yeast that is used.

After fermentation, the rum is distilled and aged.

Types of Rum

Rum is created and produced across the world in various different countries, each using a different variation of fermentation, aging, blending, and distillation. This results in different types of rum.

White Rum

White rum has the mildest flavor out of all of the rum options, as well as a lighter body. They are generally aged for a year or more and then filtered to remove any color. White rum mixes well with other ingredients.

Gold Rum

Also aged in barrels, Gold rum has more flavor than white or clear rum.

Dark Rum

Dark rum tends to have a fuller flavor profile, and it is aged in barrels for long periods of time.

Black Rum

Out of all of the rum types, black rum is the richest, darkest, and most heavy body. It contains rich molasses and caramel flavoring, with dark hues. It has a high alcohol content compared to other types of rum.

Navy Rum

A full-bodied rum that is associated with the British royal navy.

Overproof Rum

Overproof means that it has a higher concentration of alcohol, so this type of rum has a higher proof than other options available. In the Caribbean, stronger drinks are preferred, which makes overproof rum a popular choice.

Rhum Agricole

Distilled from the French Caribbean islands, this type of rum is made from freshly squeezed sugar cane instead of molasses, which is the traditional method.

Cachaça

This form of rum is made from Brazilian sugarcane, and it is one of the few popular categories of spirits worldwide. It has not undergone any aging in barrels and is crafted from fresh sugarcane juice.

Flavored and Spiced Rum

Many different flavors and spices are infused into rum, and some of the more common ones are ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and buds of clove.

Recipes with Rum

There are several ways to enjoy rum in recipes.

Cinnamon Rum Glazed Meatballs

Rum isn’t just for drinking; it adds to the flavor profiles of different foods, like these meatballs. 

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup butter OR margarine
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 apples finely diced
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Meatballs

  • 1 lb lean ground pork
  • 3 strips of uncooked bacon, finely minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup finely ground soda cracker crumbs

After preheating your oven to 350°, combine all of the meatball ingredients into a bowl and form one-inch meatballs. Place on a pan that is greased and bake for 30 minutes. 

 

Start your cinnamon rum glaze; first, melt the butter into a large skillet using medium heat. Add in your apples and cook for a few minutes, and then add in the rum. Cook until the sauce is reduced by half, and then add in the green bell pepper, cinnamon, red pepper, and mustard, and boil. Add in your cooked meatballs and stir.

Strawberry Daiquiri

Rum is well-known for its place within cocktails; delicious, refreshing drinks like the Strawberry Daiquiri are sweet and easy to make. There are other ready-to-drink rum cocktails for you to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 5 ounces of simple syrup
  • 4 ounces of light rum
  • 1 juiced lime
  • Strawberries for garnish, optional

Add all of the ingredients into a blender until smooth.

Rum has a very rich history, and there are various different ways you can enjoy its rich taste.

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