A Quick Guide to Rums

August 16, 2012 – National Rum Day

A Quick Guide to Rums

Did you know that there are over 900 different rum drink recipes listed on Google??

The grades and variations used to describe rum depend on the location where a rum was produced.


            Light rums, also referred to as silver or white rums, in general, have very little flavor aside from a general sweetness.  They often serve as bases for cocktails.  Light rums are sometimes filtered after aging to remove any color.  The majority of light rums come from Puerto Rico.  Their milder flavors make them popular for use in mixed drinks, as opposed to drinking them straight.


            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). They have more flavor and are stronger-tasting than light rum, and can be considered midway between light rum and the darker varieties.


            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 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.  They commonly provide substance in rum drinks, as well as the drink color.  In addition, dark rum is the type most commonly used in cooking. Most dark rums come from areas such as Jamaica, Haiti, and Martinique, though two Central American countries, Nicaragua and Guatemala, produced two of the most award-winning dark rums in the world: Flor de Caña and Ron Zacapa Centenario.


            Spiced rums obtain their flavors through the addition of spices and, sometimes, caramel.  Some are significantly darker, while many cheaper brands are made from inexpensive white rums and darkened with caramel color.  Among the spices added are cinnamon, rosemary, absinthe/aniseed, or pepper.


            Flavored rums are infused with flavors of fruits, such as banana, mango, orange, citrus, coconut, or lime.  These are generally less than 40% ABV, serve to flavor similarly themed tropical drinks, and are also often drunk neat or on the rocks.


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