Rum

The spirit of the Caribbean and a key ingredient in many of the world's best-loved cocktails, it is hard to think of rum as anything other than a luxurious, evocative, almost-decadent drink - it is, after all, distilled from sugar!

Just like any spirit, however, rum's production, flavours and even the manner in which it is enjoyed can vary greatly.

The first stage, of course, is the sugar itself.

The traditional spirits of the Spanish and British Antilles are made using molasses - a by-product from sugar production. This differs greatly from the French Caribbean's legendary Rhum Agricole. French for 'agricultural rum', this closely mimics the production of French brandies. The raw ingredient is sugarcane juice (also known as sugarcane honey). Produced in countries like Guadeloupe and Martinique, unaged varieties of rhum agricole are tangy and often herbal in flavour. However, with a little maturation (usually in ex-Cognac casks), these French-style rums can exhibit all the complexity and refinement of some of France's best Cognacs and Armagnacs.

The distillation used for typical molasses-based rums involves pot stills or column stills (and sometimes both). Pot stills will typically make a richer, heavier rum which ages very well. Continuous column stills, on the other hand, are often used to make white rums for cocktails.

Due to the range of production techniques and terroir (the climactical and geographical effects), rum styles differ across countries.

Jamaica is one of the most popular rum-producing nations these days, and its intense, heavy rum style is created by a long fermentation time, followed by distillation in pot stills. The typical notes of tropical fruit and banana are found in abundance in rums such as Wray and Nephew and Appleton Estate.

Moving southeast to Barbados, you'll find some of the oldest rum distilleries in the world. It was, in fact, one of the first nations to start producing rum. The three distilleries on the island (Mount Gay, Foursquare and West Indies Rum Distillery) all use pot stills to make aromatic, well-balanced spirits with an easy-drinking nature. Younger expressions work beautifully in cocktails, whereas the longer-aged examples such as Doorly’s XO are delicious when served neat.

One of our favourite rum nations, Guyana is home to Demerara Rums, with El Dorado being a prime example. These are full-bodied rums made in a mix of pot stills and column stills. There were once as many as 200 distilleries on the island, though now just one remains. However, its large array of stills allow it to make quite a variety of rums. The heavier Guyana rums were traditionally the main ingredient in British Navy rum. These are like the peated whiskies of the rum world, and are well worth a look.

In Latin America, countries including Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Venezuela will typically produce a lighter, fresher, crisper rum which works particularly well in cocktails. The popularity and the region's prolific production rate are thanks in no small part to the recent burgeoning interest in classic cocktails. It all started with Cuba, and Bacardi. After the nationalisation of factories in the country, Bacardi moved its production to Puerto Rico, but its famous Bacardi Superior remains one of the most widely consumed spirits worldwide.

Finally, it is worth mentioning Cachaça. Brazil's best-loved spirit, this is more like a rhum agricole in production, and is almost exclusively enjoyed in a Caipirinha cocktail. Cachaça is distilled from fermented cane juice, and is then sold either aged or unaged. The aged varieties attain a great deal of complexity thanks to maturation in wooden barrels, whilst the unaged styles are best served in the aforementioned cocktail. It's made very simply with a couple of shots of spirit, a few lime segments, and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. It's refreshing and rather delicious!

For hundreds of years, the Caribbean has been cultivated for sugar, and the spirit's name will vary depending on what nationality the original colonisers were. Rum, ron and rhum are names given to the spirit by the English, the Spanish, and the French, respectively. The spirit's original popularity has close links with the British Royal Navy. In fact, up until the 1970s, sailors were given a daily tot of rum as part of their ration!

The word "rum" itself could have various etymological origins, though the most convincing argument is that it comes from the term "rumbullion", meaning uproar and noise - appropriate given the violent, dramatic history the spirit is associated with.

Rum continues to gain popularity, thanks to the surge in interest in fine, classic cocktails. Drinks such as the Mojito and the Daiquiri remain ever-present on bar menus the world over. However, connoisseurs are also able to seek out complex spirits intended for neat-sipping. These rums are best enjoyed in a stemmed, tulip glass.

Rum

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Rumbullion!
(70cl, 42.60%)
Rumbullion! is a delicious spiced rum from Professor Cornelius Ampleforth. It is based on rich, hearty high proof Caribbean rum and it's flavoured with orange peel, Madagascan vanilla, cardamom...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£33.95
This is a relic from the 1930s - a very rare bottle of Bacardi Superior, produced over 70 years ago, around the time when Bacardi opened a distillery in San Feliu. While the label and lid has been...  More info
£960.00
A 1960s bottling of Ron Arecha Extra de Jose Arechabala, very collectible indeed among rum fans.

Please be aware that we have a number of these bottles, all in varying condition similar to the one...  More info
£216.00
This is the Navy Strength version of Professor Cornelius Ampleforth's Rumbullion! bottled at 57% abv. A Caribbean rum is the base for this tasty spiced concoction which boasts notes of cardamom and...  More info
£46.95
Rumbullion! XO 15 Years Old is a well-aged expression of one of Professor Cornelius Ampleforth's most beloved creations, Rumbullion! The stunning Caribbean rum was matured for at least 15 years, which...  More info
£59.95
The Rum Advent Calendar from Drinks by the Dram is the perfect way to brighten up the rainy month of December. During the countdown to Christmas, enjoy 24 different 3cl sample drams of alluring...  More info
£149.95
Ron de Jeremy
(70cl, 40%)
A 7 year old Panama rum, Ron de Jeremy is a delicious "celebrity"-endorsed spirit created by Don Pancho Fernandez who ages it in bourbon barrels. The rum was selected and bottled for Ron Jeremy. If...  More info
£29.65
Reserva Exclusiva is a delicious whiskey barrel-matured Venezuelan rum from Diplomático. It is so good, it even took home a gold from the International Sugar Cane Spirits Tasting Competition.  More info
£37.11
This is a superbly packaged 10 year old dark rum distilled by R.L. Seale in Barbados. Very rich and complex…  More info
£32.62
Mount Gay 1703
(70cl, 43%)
Mount Gay's superb 1703 is a Bajan rum which was launched to commemorate the distillery's foundation. It was made by Mount Gay's Allen Smith who used rums aged for 10 to 30 years.  More info
£103.45
Pusser's Blue Label
(70cl, 54.50%)
A high proof rum based on the traditional style of the thick rums from the days of the British Navy's daily tot. In fact, this is even made to the blending recipe from the Navy's Admiralty, and it's...  More info
£32.80
One of our all-time favourite rums, El Dorado 15 year old is a delicious Guyana rum which was rated best in the world at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in four consecutive years!  More info
£41.57
The XO Centenario Gran Reserva from Ron Zacapa is a superb dark rum distilled in Guatemala. It has picked up a host of prizes, including both Gold and Platinum awards at the International Rum...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£89.55
One of the most astonishing rums we've ever tasted, Ron Zacapa's superb Centenario 23 is distilled in Guatemala and aged in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks for 23 years in the Spanish solera method...  More info
£48.04
Packaged in a smart glass decanter, this is a delicious XO Barbados rum which was matured in bourbon barrels. It was shipped to France for a finish in Ferrand Cognac casks. The Chicago Beverage...  More info
£43.31
Kraken is a lovely spiced rum which was released in 2010. It's named after the infamous Kraken sea monster, and is made from Caribbean rums and spices.  More info
£20.85
El Dorado 12 Year Old
(70cl, 40%)
El Dorado 12 year old is a superb Demerara rum from Guyana. It is made in both Coffey and pot stills and it's taken numerous awards!  More info
£31.67
Bundaberg Overproof
(70cl, 57.70%)
A high strength version of Bundaberg - an Australian rum, this has loads of flavour and is very spicy.  More info
£26.73
El Dorado's superb 21 year old is a fabulous Guyanese dark rum which has been lauded by the critics. It was awarded a Gold at the International Rum Festival, and it also attained the highest-ever...  More info
£72.22
RedLeg Spiced Rum
(70cl, 37.50%)
Produced using fine Caribbean rum, RedLeg is infused with Jamaican vanilla and ginger before maturation in old oak. The result is a rich, warming spiced rum with loads of flavour.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
£19.72
Gosling's Black Seal
(70cl, 40%)
This fine dark rum was awarded a whopping 96 points at the World Spirits Championship, and not without good reason. Gosling's Black Seal is a tasty Bermuda rum named for the black sealing wax around...  More info
£20.37
Captain Bligh XO is a well-aged rum from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, distilled in column stills from molasses and aged in first fill Kentucky bourbon barrels for around 10 years before bottling...  More info
£27.97
A beautiful dark rum from Cuba, created by Havana Club's 'Primer Maestro Ronero', Don José Navarro. He describes this 15 year old as "Cuban rum's great classic". We agree!  More info
£115.84
Foursquare Spiced Rum
(70cl, 37.50%)
Foursquare is an absolutely delicious spiced rum distilled at St Nichols Abbey in Barbados.  More info
£20.51
Gosling's excellent Family Reserve is a flagship for the brand made with the very best aged rums from Bermuda. It was awarded a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and each...  More info
£48.31
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