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The Rum Diaries: A World of Rum

June 26, 2012

A Guide to White Rum


RUM: The word congers up a variety of images for many people. Associating things like Tiki masks, pirate ships, and all things Carribean is not uncommon or incorrect but it doesn’t tell the story of what’s in a bottle of rum.

Defining RumĀ as a category of spirit made from some form of fermented sugar cane is the easiest way to do it, of course, but what Rum really isĀ can be a hard concept to wrap oneā€™s head around.Ā The first, and most confounding reason for this quagmire is that Rum is the most broadly defined of all the global ardent liquors with the only stipulation being that it is made from sugar cane and even that is not always followed to a tee.

From there, things get a bit more complicated, as itā€™s imaginary geographic center The Carribean, is a patchwork of cultures, with major world powers controlling difffernt territories at different points in history since Europe firstĀ made itā€™s way west. This cultural diversity coupled with a lack of restrictions on production methods leaves a seemingly endless number of possibilities for what becomes a bottle of rum.

To add to this complexity there is also a growing tendency to blend rums from different islands to develop even more complex rums with depth of flavor. This is the case in our own Denizen Rum and this particular blend tells its own unique story, as do most individual bottles on the market today.

White rum also known as “Silver”, “Light”, and even “Blanco” in some cases, has been a relatively meek portion of the overall category of the spirit, with aged amber, spiced and dark rums all taking a portion of the market. The Rum Diaries will examine each one of these categories and what they mean to mixing drinks.

But it is summer officially and drinks like Daiquiris, Mojitos, Caipirinhas, and Ti Punch are on the mind of rum lovers all over. And we canā€™t leave out the eponymous rum & coke when talking white rum.

So what to look for in a white rum when mixing? It really is a matter of taste of course and there may be some brands that work differently than others in this or that specific drink.

Simple Classic Rum drinks like the Daiquiri, Mojito, Hemingway Special Daquiri, and Flamingo can showcase the flavor profile of rums in a very different way when they are made with different brands.

Some drinks like the El Presidente and Fair and Warmer take on whole new lives when they are made with rums that have the depth and texture to stand up to their more spirit forward recipes.

There is huge breadth of styles and flavors within the sub-category of white rum spanning the gamet from more international styles of light column still rums, in the Latin American tradition, that tend towards a more clean vodka-like profile to pot still rums from English influenced islands like Jamaica turning out white rums that reek of the floral grassy notes of their base product, sugar cane.

When mixing with white rum a good place to start is by using fresh fruit flavors and keeping it on the lighten shaken drink side of things. Items like limes, coconuts, and pineapple are literally natural fits for rum as they grow up sharing the same soil as the sugar cane grass that later ends up in our bottles in some cases.

As we touched on above, to create even more deep flavors in a white rum, more modern techniques of blending, barrel-aging and charcoal filtering are often used in more globalized environment.

While the process of selecting a white rum to use in your rumĀ drink can often beĀ a daunting taskĀ given the wide number of brand choices availableĀ in the market today, we recommend you start off by referencing the results from theĀ recent Ultimate Cocktail Challenge judged by world famous mixolgists and spirits professionals.Ā You will then be well on your way to freeing the flavor of your rum drink and liberating your palate.

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