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A twenty second guide to rum

By Lia Sanders on 4/03/15 11:00 AM

In order to help consumers understand rum better (and thus encourage “premiumisation” of the rum trade), a flavour map showing rums segmented into different areas has been launched.

It divides into French, Spanish and English style rums, advising what combinations and cocktails they work best in (see above).

With this knowledge gap exposed, we thought it was time to put together a rookie’s guide to rum.

What is it? All rum is made from sugar cane, either from sugar cane juice or from by-products of refining the sugar cane, such as molasses.

Dark, light or gold? Contrary to popular belief, white rums are not necessarily unaged. They may be aged for a shorter period of time and then filtered with charcoal to remove the colour. They are generally good mixers since they are not as strong in flavour.

The more flavoursome gold and dark rums take their colour and flavour from being aged in old oak bourbon barrels (bourbon itself always has to be aged in new barrels).

Anything else? Further variations include Rhum Agricole, made from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, and naval rum, a dark rum traditionally served to the sailors.