If you’re a fan of rum, have you tried British rum? As with other varieties of classic alcoholic drinks, all types of rum are not the same. If you haven’t yet been lucky enough to try all the different types of rum, you might not even know about the wide variety. Let’s set that straight. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular types of rum.
Three basic processes are involved in the production, but the distinctive taste of each rum variety comes from the climate and the ground in which the sugar cane or, more usually, the molasses are grown. If you know your stuff, you can probably tell by the taste of the rum whereabouts in the world your warming and potent drink originates.
British Rum Production
British rum uses molasses. The initial process produces a substance called light molasses. This is then transformed into a dark treacle, and finally, blackstrap molasses is the final product. If the syrup is of lesser quality, it will probably get distilled one more time to refine the taste.
When it comes to fermenting, rum-producers can either just sit around to wait and see what the yeasts and sugars in the mixture create through natural processes in an open vat, or they can add some extra yeast that has the desired qualities for the finished rum. That’s a more predictable outcome, so obviously it’s the preferred option for commercial production. The fermented liquid is fairly low in alcohol, so it needs distilling, either in copper or steel casks. Other processes follow, and sometimes rum is left for decades to achieve the final taste.
White rum is familiar to most drinkers as the basis for umbrella-decked cocktails, such as a mojito. It’s distilled in steel.
Aged rum has a bronze colour that comes from the cask itself, but you can also have gold rum, where the tint is added. Caramel is one example of an additive that gives rum a richer deeper appearance. Sometimes aged rums have their natural colour removed by filtration through charcoal until they run clear. Of these two, gold rum tends to be smooth like white rum, though with more of a depth of colour. Aged rum is richer.
Dark rum comes from a third distillation, which results in a stronger drink with a deeper colour, as the name suggests. Rums can be flavoured with coconut or spices to increase the heat or bring a richer complexity to the taste.
French Caribbean Rum
French Caribbean rum includes a variety called Rhum Agricole, which comes from sugar cane juice. There are official rules determining the making of rum, so it’s a pretty consistent taste. The taste can be described as sweet, but with a distinct flavour that’s a bit grassy.
Cachaça is a rum from Brazil and is made from sugar cane rather than molasses. It’s really sweet and has a percentage of ABV below 54.
And finally, if you like a little fire from your rum, overproof is used strictly for flambéing. This is not a variety for adding to your cooking, or indeed drinking neat, although lower alcohol versions turn up in certain cocktails. Drink with care.
By the way. Did you know that in the early days, the basic ingredient for rum was a waste product from the sugar refining industry? Adding alcohol to the mix brought a whole new meaning to the concept of leftovers!