After Columbus’s introduction of sugarcane to the West Indies in 1493 the first rum was produced in Brazil, Barbados and Jamaica making rum the first spirit of the New World. By the mid 1700’s rum was being made throughout the Caribbean and South America. It soon became popular in New England and was produced there as well. The Rum Sling made of rum, sugar, water and lemon juice is considered the first American cocktail.
While the term is used to define alcohol made from sugarcane or its by-products, rum appears in various incarnations, depending on where it’s made, although it has a rich history in the Spanish- and French-speaking Caribbean islands, Central America, and South America.
Nearly every country in the Western Hemisphere, it seems, manufactures (and reveres) its own unofficial national brand.
Bacardi (Puerto Rico origin CUBA)
Mount Gay (Barbados)
Ron Abuelo (Panama)
Brugal (Dominican Republic)
Appleton Estate (Jamaica)
Don Q (Puerto Rico)
Cruzan (St. Croix)
Flor de Cana (Nicaragua)
10 Cane (Trinidad and Tobago)
Rhum Clement (Martinique)
Light rums, also referred to as “silver” or “white” rums, in general, have very little flavor aside from a general sweetness. Light rums are sometimes filtered after aging to remove any color.
Gold rums, also called “amber” rums, are medium-bodied rums that are generally aged. These gain their dark color from aging in wooden barrels (usually the charred, white oak barrels that are the byproduct of Bourbon whiskey). They have more flavor and are stronger-tasting than light rum, and can be considered midway between light rum and the darker varieties.
Spiced Rum ,usually a gold variety, this grade of rum gets its name and flavor from the added spices and, occasionally, caramel.
Dark rums, also known by their particular color, such as brown, black, or red rums, are classes a grade darker than gold rums. They are usually made from caramelized sugar or molasses. They are generally aged longer, in heavily charred barrels, giving them much stronger flavors than either light or gold rums, and hints of spices can be detected, along with a strong molasses or caramel overtone.