The 101 on Rum and the next big trend….

There has been a quiet revolution going on in the world of Rum.

While the world has been going crazy for gin, there has been a quiet revolution going on in the world of Rum.

A new generation of distilleries are looking at this classic, but often misunderstood spirit and creating new styles for the times.

Australia’s relationship with rum goes back to the first Sydney colony, and now there are over 30 distilleries in Australia that make a range of styles including spiced, white, dark that are perfect for mixing into exciting cocktails or sipping over ice.

There are distilleries in nearly every State, and some use the molasses they make from the sugar cane on their farms, whilst others are set up in the inner city.

Rum is made in over 80 countries like Barbados, Jamaica and Venezuela and in places you might not expect like Spain, the UK, USA and even Sweden!

Rums today come in a range of styles that reflect the way they are produced and aged, with some getting additional flavours or spices after distillation.

Rums today come in a range of styles:

• Dark: not quite the same as gold, they may be aged longer, or have some additional molasses added for richer flavours.

• Flavoured: as the name suggests, additional sweetness or some other additive has been blended to the rum.

• Gold: as the rum mellows in barrels, it takes on amber or golden hues.

• Navy: the Royal Navy and rum go back a long way, think Pirates of the Caribbean and then some! Once part of the daily ration for sailors, the rums were kept in barrels and hence they are usually dark and can be higher alcohol by volume (ABV) than the others.

• Overproof: Not for the faint hearted! If the average rum is 45%-45%ABV then these bad boys can be way above that for extra heat and punch.

• Premium Aged: these are the best of the best, like a fine single malt or Cognac, these rums can be aged in oak or sherry casks (or other variations) for over 20 years or more.

• Spiced: these rums have been enhanced and aged with fruit extracts, or botanicals, or spices.

• White or Silver: a lighter and milder style than the others.

Note, there is also another style, Rhum Agricole, which is the French term for cane juice rum, which is a style of rum originally distilled in the French Caribbean islands from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice rather than molasses. 

A good rum should be luscious, clean on the finish, not boozy on the nose, and offer some lovely complex spice, with some residual sweetness. The rums today have much more finesse, complexity and smoothness compared to what you have had in the past.

Mixologists love the spirit for its versatility, depth and range of flavour that work in a wide range of cocktails. There are the classics like the Mojito, Daiquiri and the Hurricane, and house creations that you can enjoy in bars near you I hope!