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Rum

Rum is such an evocative spirit. It transforms, transcends and instantly transports the drinker to the sun-washed shores of the West Indies; white sands, palm trees and blue seas. It always has a sense of joviality, in part thanks to its Caribbean origins, and also because of the unabashed decadence surrounding a libation made from sugar.

The kind of sugar used is one of the key differentiating factors in rum production. In the Spanish and British Antilles, for example, rum is traditionally distilled from molasses - a by-product of sugar production.

In the French Caribbean islands, however, sugarcane juice (sometimes called sugarcane honey) is used instead of molasses. Countries like Martinique and Guadeloupe are famed for producing spirit distilled from sugarcane juice, known as rhum agricole - French for 'agricultural rum'. The spirit is often made in a way that more closely resembles the distillation of some of the famous French brandies, such as Cognac or Armagnac, and results in a spirit typically around 40-50% ABV, or higher in the case of overproof rum. Younger varieties often exude a tangy, herbal flavour, whilst the aged varieties (often matured in Cognac casks) will offer up subtlety and complexity, just like any fine aged spirit.

The Caribbean has been cultivated for sugar for centuries, and the various occupiers, be they Spanish, French or English, have their own terms for the spirit; Ron, Rhum and, of course, Rum, respectively.

As far as British involvement with the spirit, there has always been a strong connection with the Royal Navy. Indeed, at one time the Navy afforded their sailors a half pint of rum as part of their daily ration. The rum was traded and export grew in large part because of the export possibilities that sea travel brought about.

Many competing arguments exist as to the origins of the term "rum". The most convincing is that it is a shortened version of "rumbullion" – a word meaning great uproar and noise, and a good reminder of the often violent, dramatic history of rum. Other terms have existed, including "kill devil" which was used to describe spirit distilled from molasses.

Due to the huge geographical territory in which rum is produced, there are many variants in production, the type of still being one of the most obvious. Usually, pot stills are used to distil thick, rich, aged rums (El Dorado 15 and El Pusser's are good examples). Continuous column stills, on the other hand, are used to produce white spirits best associated with cocktails.

Maturation is an interesting aspect too. White rums are either unaged or aged only very briefly. Classics such as Bacardi Superior are crisp and tangy and work brilliantly well in cocktails. Gold rums tend to be a mix of spirit old and new, and also work nicely in cocktails, with an increase in complexity and flavour. For the connoisseurs of sipping spirit, however, dark rums are the preference. These can be tremendously refined and delicious, thanks in no small part to the tropical nature of the climate. The hot weather allows Caribbean rums to mature particularly rapidly - at as much as thrice the rate of Scotch Whisky . In this respect a 15 year old rum is the equivalent of a 45 year old whisky!

Other geographical factors come into play too, and some of the top rum-producing countries have attained their own unique style.

Jamaica is perhaps one of the most prolific rum nations today, with its own unique style. Prior to distillation, the molasses are typically allowed to ferment for a great length of time. This is then followed by distillation in pot stills. The result is intensity and body, often with notes of tropical fruit and banana. Appleton Estate and Wray and Nephew are superlative examples.

Barbados is another prime rum territory. One of the original islands to begin rum distillation, Barbadian rums are often superbly balanced, with deliciously aromatic tendencies. There are three main distilleries on the island (West Indies Rum Distillery, Mount Gay and Foursquare), and each makes use of pot stills. These are easy-drinking rums, with some of the longer-aged variants (Doorly's XO, for example) working brilliantly as sipping spirits.

Guyana is one of our favourite rum nations, thanks in no small part to the heavy, Demerara rums bottled in the El Dorado range. These are full-bodied spirits, traditionally the main constituent in British Navy rum. Made in a mix of pot stills and column stills, there is quite a variety of flavour to be found. Where once there were more than 200 distilleries, today there is only one. We suggest you seek out El Dorado 15 for an example of just how good Guyana rum can be!

Latin America is home to the lighter, fresher cocktail rums. The popularity of such spirit (with the advent of the recent cocktail revolution) has transformed the place into the most prolific region of all. It all started, however, with Bacardi, originally produced in Cuba before the country's factories were nationalised. Today, Bacardi is made in Puerto Rico, and the classic Carta Blanca remains a mainstay for many cocktails including the Daiquiri. Countries such as the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Venezuela and Trinidad play hosts to some of the world's top distilleries. Brands such as Ron Zacapa, Brugal and Pampero - among many others - are well worth a look.

Whilst not always thought of as a true rum, this introduction would not be complete without a mention of Cachaça. The famous spirit, made almost exclusively in Brazil, is traditionally enjoyed as part of a Caipirinha cocktail, and its production closely resembles Rhum Agricole. It is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice, and is bottled at between 38% and 54%ABV. One interesting aspect is the legally permissible addition of up to six grams of sugar per litre, giving the spirit additional sweetness. Varieties are sold both aged and unaged, with the former being a more premium style thanks to the extra complexity imbued by the use of wooden barrels. To sample some fine Cachaça, look for the superb distilleries Germana and Abelha. We recommend you enjoy the aged varieties neat, whilst the tangier white Cachaça is best drunk in the aforementioned Caipirinha - a cocktail made simply with two shots of Cachaça, half a lime and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Delicious!

Recently, rum has surged in popularity. Its regard as a fine cocktail mixer is good and widespread and a number of the world's most popular drinks are rum-based - the Daiquiri and the Mojito being two prime examples. It is only recently, though, that our beloved rum has really been enjoyed en masse as a standalone beverage of true merit, and this new direction is excellent, for rum is as much a connoisseur's libation as any other dark spirit. Like all dark spirits, a stemmed tulip glass is best for optimum palate entry and for focusing the aroma.

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum (50ml)

5cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

This is a 50ml bottling of Bacardi Carta Blanca, a well-loved Puerto Rican rum that is known the world over. If you're looking for a tasty little gift for someone who loves fab spirits, this ought to…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum (50ml)
1
$6.56

Fallen Angel Spiced Rum Miniature (50ml)

5cl, 41.3%
Fallen Angel

A 5cl miniature of Fallen Angel Spiced Rum, boasting plenty of toasty spice and mellow vanilla notes, with a smidge of chocolatey sweetness hiding in there too. Of course, the miniature also features…  More info

Fallen Angel Spiced Rum Miniature (50ml)
$9.10

Ron Calados Dark Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Calados

Made from Caribbean rum, Ron Calados dark rum is a value for money mixing product.  More info

Ron Calados Dark Rum
1
$16.32

Ron Calados White Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Ron Calados

A white rum from the Caribbean, Ron Calados is a cheap and cheerful white rum which is intended for mixing with strongly flavoured drinks like finest cola…  More info

Ron Calados White Rum
1
$16.54

SangSom

70cl, 40%
SangSom

SangSom is a Thai rum that gained great popularity in the 1980s, thankfully it is once again beginning to get a lot more attention internationally. SangSom is made from sugar cane molasses and is…  More info

SangSom
8
$19.33

Watson's Trawler Rum

70cl, 40%
Watson's

In case you couldn’t tell from the name or rather nautical packaging, Watson’s Trawler Rum is a Navy style dark rum, marrying spirits from Barbados and Guyana. The rums have been aged in their…  More info

Watson's Trawler Rum
8
$19.49

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum (35cl)

35cl, 40%
Kraken

This here is a half bottle of The Kraken Black Spiced Rum! It looks exactly the same as the original bottle, but at 35cl, it's just half the size - though it still manages to fit in its massive…  More info

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum (35cl)
$20.42

Cockspur Platinum White Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Cockspur

Cockspur Rum comes to us all the way from Barbados, matured briefly in oak before being filtered to remove its colour. This means that it'll add some aged rum richness to your cocktail, while not…  More info

Cockspur Platinum White Rum
$20.66

Rum Sixty Six Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Rum Sixty Six

Rum Sixty Six has bottled up this fabulous rum, which has been double distilled – once in the Caribbean and again in the UK at the Bristol and Bath Distillery! Infused with an array of tropical…  More info

Rum Sixty Six Spiced Rum
$20.66

Rum Sixty Six Dark Rum

70cl, 40%
Rum Sixty Six

This dark rum from the folks at Rum Sixty Six was re-distilled at the Bristol and Bath Distillery, in Bristol, UK. A fascinating process, which has achieved a bold, punchy rum with plenty of sweet…  More info

Rum Sixty Six Dark Rum
$20.66

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Bacardi

A white rum which needs very little introduction, Bacardi's Carta Blanca is incredible popular indeed, seen on backbars around the world. The Bacardi brand originated in Cuba, and the first…  More info

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum
3
$20.84

Glen's White Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Glen Catrine Distillers

This is a white rum from the West Indies, perfect for mixing in cocktails or serving over ice with a slice of lime.  More info

Glen's White Rum
$21.17

Glen's Dark Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Glen Catrine Distillers

Glen's Dark Rum. Yep. All the way from the West Indies.  More info

Glen's Dark Rum
$21.39

Rum Sixty Six English White Rum

70cl, 38%
Rum Sixty Six

An intriguing one here from Rum Sixty Six. While many of the expressions from Rum Sixty Six come from the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, this one is an English white rum! It was originally…  More info

Rum Sixty Six English White Rum
$21.62

Ron Cortez Blanco (Silver)

70cl, 40%
Varela Hermanos

A classic white rum from Varela Hermanos, a distiller in Panama. Light, simple and well suited to mixing and cocktails.  More info

Ron Cortez Blanco (Silver)
$22.76
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Project #173 Black Cherry Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The Project #173 range brings together the tastiness of rum and the tastiness of... Well, all sorts of tastiness! Specifically for this expression, the quality core of rum has teamed up with black…  More info

Project #173 Black Cherry Rum
6
$22.83

Project #173 Butterscotch Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Butterscotch is one of those flavours that you find all over the shop in terms of aged spirits, but it's not very often that you see a spirit that really leans into it. This expression from the…  More info

Project #173 Butterscotch Rum
8
$22.83

Project #173 Gingerbread Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Gingerbread and rum go better together than you might first assume, with the both of them boasting brilliant spicy and sweet characteristics. The folks behind Project #173 have twigged this and…  More info

Project #173 Gingerbread Rum
5
$22.83

Project #173 Pineapple Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Pineapple is a particularly powerful flavour, but somehow it manages to go well with all sorts of foods and drinks, which is probably why it's seen as a symbol of hospitality (that's not the reason,…  More info

Project #173 Pineapple Rum
1
$22.83

Project #173 Coconut Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The Project #173 selection is all about bringing together good quality rum and natural flavours to create lip-smacking expressions - like this one right here! Project #173 Coconut Rum builds on the…  More info

Project #173 Coconut Rum
4
$22.83

Rumbullion! (35cl)

35cl, 42.6%
Ableforth's

No matter how small the vessel, Rumbullion! retains its exclamation mark. This here is a 35cl bottle of Rumbullion!, the cockle-warming spiced rum from Ableforth's stable of spectacular spirits. This…  More info

Rumbullion! (35cl)
3
$22.83

Hawkshead Rum

70cl, 40%
Hawkshead Distillery

In the heart of the Lake District, Hawkshead Brewery not only produces beer but also a range of spirits! Matured in its own Hawkshead Brewery Windermere Pale Ale barrels, this is a most enjoyable rum…  More info

Hawkshead Rum
$22.83
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Two Swallows Citrus & Salted Caramel Rum

50cl, 38%
Rock Star Spirits

From Two Swallows comes a spiced rum, produced by the Diamond Distillery in Guyana which was then infused with candied citrus and salted caramel! It's not an every day combination, but darn does it…  More info

Two Swallows Citrus & Salted Caramel Rum
18
$27.40
$22.83

The Real Rum Company Pineapple Rum

50cl, 40%
The Real Rum Company

Pineapple and rum is a marvellous combination, so The Real Rum Company went ahead and put the two together to create its very own Pineapple Rum! A suitable sipper for summer evenings, this one.  More info

The Real Rum Company Pineapple Rum
1
$22.83

Bayou Pink

70cl, 37.5%
Bayou Rum

For this Pink expression, Bayou has taken a base of its White Rum, produced in Louisiana, and blended it with mayhaw berries, a local small, tart berry that looks rather like a cranberry. Some lovely…  More info

Bayou Pink
1
$22.83

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