Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
Rum began in the Caribbean when the inhabitants of Barbados took the by-products of sugarcane and turned them into alcohol. The name is said to have originated from the word 'rumballion,' which in the slang of the time meant clamour or noise.
Rum is made by distilling fermented sugar (usually molasses but sometimes pure sugarcane). It is mixed in equal parts with water, fermented and then distilled. While traditionally a clear drink, many producers age or colour their rum giving it a dark or golden tint. Most aging takes place in barrels that once held whiskey or bourbon.
Types of Rum
White rum – also called light rum is clear, light-bodied and usually unaged (although it can be briefly aged and then charcoal-filtered for clarity). It is relatively neutral in flavour and usually used in cocktails.
Gold rum – medium-bodied and aged in wooden barrels.
Dark rum – aged for longer periods in charred barrels giving a darker, fuller flavour. Good for sipping neat.
Spiced rum – rum flavoured with spices
Overproof/naval rum – is much higher proof than standard rum. Usually used in cocktails or as a float on top of a drink that is ignited.