While sugar is usually thought of as the sweet ingredient in most desserts, the plant it’s derived from, sugar cane, actually has a variety of other uses.
In this blog, let’s talk about sugar and how it is used to make rum.
An essential ingredient in making rum alcohol is molasses. Molasses is a dark, sticky liquid created during the sugar production process and was first used to create rum in the West Indies during the 17th century.
Like most alcoholic beverages, rum is made using fermentation, distillation and the natural aging process. The taste of rum will differ based on where it’s made. The colour and strength of rum will also vary from one to the next.
During the fermentation process, water and yeast are added to the molasses to break down the sugars. It is the yeast that changes the aroma and taste of various rums. Following the distillation process, rum must be aged for at least one year in a wooden cask to obtain its colour. Some commercial companies that produce colourless rum tend to use stainless steel tanks for aging.
Rums are characterised by different variations and grades, including:
Light Rum is clear or light in colour, is often referred to as white rum. Its flavour is usually very light and is frequently used for mixing other drinks.
Dark Rum is dark in colour, including red, brown, or black has been aged for long periods of time in charred wooden barrels. It has a stronger and sweeter taste compared to other rum varieties.
Gold Rum is aged in barrels made of white oak. It has a stronger flavour than light rum and appears amber in colour.
Spiced Rum is dark in colour and has added flavouring, including spices like cinnamon, aniseed, and pepper.
Flavoured Rum is infused with flavours like citrus fruit, banana, or coconut.
Premium Rum has been carefully aged and is made of the highest-quality raw materials. It is usually sold at a higher price point and is thought to have more flavour and aroma than other rum varieties.
Light rums are commonly used in cocktails, whereas “golden” and “dark” rums were typically consumed straight or neat, iced (“on the rocks”), or used for cooking, but are now commonly consumed with mixers. Premium rums are made to be consumed either straight or iced.
Rum has famous associations with the Royal Navy (where it was mixed with water or beer to make grog) and piracy (where it was consumed as bumbo). Rum has also served as a popular medium of economic exchange, used to help fund enterprises such as organized crime and military insurgencies such as Australia’s Rum Rebellion in 1808.