Rum is a popular drink that has been enjoyed the world over for centuries. Made from fermented then distilled sugarcane juice, rum is primarily produced in the Caribbean and North America.
After the distillation process rum is clear, and gains its colour and flavour during the age process; when it is placed into oak barrels. Light rums are typically used in cocktails and with mixers, while dark and golden rums are taken neat or on the rocks. Rum was recorded in Brazil as early as the 1620s, and was called kill-divil or rumbullion.
The most popular rums come from the Caribbean islands, with Puerto Rico claiming the title of Rum Captial, and was first produced when plantations slaves found that the molasses produced as a by-product from sugar harvesting could be fermented into alcohol. Today, the US produces almost 80% of all rum.
An exciting association of rum is its history in the Navy, piracy and crime.
Rum became associated with the English Navy in 1655 when the British captured Jamaica. Rum quickly became a popular trading export, and a way to pay many sailors. This was furthered by English privateers, who traded rum on their voyages. Perhaps the most famous instance of rum usage in the Royal Navy comes from grog. Grog is a drink that was given in rations to sailors on boats, diluted with water or beer and sometimes containing lemon juice. Monarch Liqueurs even has its own variety of delicious modern grog that you can buy here!
The drinking of rum was an important part of seafaring life, with the “Musters of Rum” being piped on board many ships twice a day. Grog was often used as a way to encourage good work amongst the men, and additional rations were given during times of celebration. Listen to a sea shanty or two and you’re bound to find a mention of grog. While it was rationed in the navy, pirates were free to drink it as often as they pleased. This is where we get the stereotypical drunk pirate image today.
It's all for me grog, me jolly jolly grog,
It's all for me beer and tobacco.
For I spent all me tin with the lassies drinking gin,
Far across the western ocean I must wander.
Bumbo is a variation of grog, that also contained spices and honey to sweeten the taste. But it wasn’t just pirates and privateers that used rum in a less than savoury way…
Bumbo was used by many powerful people in the 18th and 19th centuries as a means of bribery, for example to persuade the public to vote for them. This technique was even employed by none other than George Washington, who used 160 gallons of rum when campaigning in 1758.
Our Tamar Tipple Salted Caramel Liqueur is a lightly salted Caribbean rum that is perfect in hot chocolate, puddings, coffees and cocktails!
In need of something to spice up your summer cocktails? Try this Coconut and Passionfruit Rum Liqueur. This sweet rum won us Silver at the Taste of the West Awards.
For a real treat, have some Mint Chocolate Liqueur. Smooth, rich, refreshing!