Types Of Rum 101

Types of rumTo be a true expert on the different types of rum available, you need to understand the history of the drink.  Rum is simply a type of alcohol made by distilling molasses or sugarcane juice.  True rum originated in the Caribbean and dates from the 17th century.  While sugarcane juice was a popular drink in several Asian cultures before this time, it was not until slaves on Caribbean plantations began distilling the juice that true rum made its first appearance.

Rum became the Caribbean’s most popular drink by the mid 1600s.  It soon found its way to North America and then to Europe and the rest of the world.  As the drink migrated from its birthplace, different types of rum began to appear.

For a time, rum was actually used as currency in colonial America.  It was also in the colonies that molasses became popular as mash.  At the time, domestic production of sugarcane was limited, and molasses was easier to obtain.

Types of Rum

Currently, many types of rum are widely available; they vary with regard to age, method of production and added ingredients.  In this way, types of rum are like types of cookies.  There is one available to suit nearly every palate and mood.

The three main types of rum are light, amber and dark.  Can you imagine how those names came to be?  If you said that the names refer to color, you win.  Prizes will be distributed later.

Light rum is virtually colorless and has a mild flavor.  It is a good choice for those who like simple, tasty drinks.  Of all the types of rum produced, this one is aged the least and distilled the most.

Amber rum is approximately the same color as weak coffee.  Its flavor is sometimes considered less than inspired by connoisseurs.  The color of amber rum varies from pale gold to a true rich amber, and both the color and flavor are derived from the casks of wood in which the rum ages.

Dark rum is only for those drinkers who like strong tastes and pungent aromas. Of all types of rum, this is aged the longest, and it appears almost black.  For a true mixologist, dark rum is the best choice for inclusion in tasty rum-based cocktails.

Additional Types of Rum

Within the three main types of rum, some specialty types exist, and these include spiced, flavored, overproof and premium rums.  To learn more about these types, have a look at Rum Wisdom.  Right now, we are going to focus on overproof rum.

Overproof rum is definitely not for lightweights.  Most types of rum are about 40% alcohol while overproof is 75% alcohol or more.  Drinking this type of rum will definitely knock you for a loop.  This is the kind of rum that makes your eyes water, your head spin and your throat feel like you have just swallowed a bucket full of hot coals.  Overproof rum is definitely not a drink for shrinking violets or those with no head for liquor.

Sugarcane Rum

Listed among the special rums on the Rum Club’s website is something called cachaca.  Unlike most other popular types of rum, this rum is made from sugarcane juice instead of molasses.  To qualify as legitimate rums, rum products made from sugarcane must be distilled in countries where sugarcane grows.

Legitimacy requirements mean that you cannot use imported sugarcane to make rum in Russia and honestly call it cachaca.  As soon as the sugarcane crosses the border of the country where it was grown, it can no longer be used in cachaca production.  There are, however, no official regulations governing the process.  This means that distilleries can make false claims on the subject without risking serious consequences.

This concludes our whirlwind tour of the different types of rum available.  It is easy to see why this tasty liquor is popular with connoisseurs and casual drinkers the world over.  You don’t even need your own pirate ship to appreciate it.  Talking parrots do help though.