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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.

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
$19.35
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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
$19.66
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Havana Club Añejo Especial

70cl, 40%
Havana Club

Havana Club Añejo Especial is a blended Cuban rum which has been aged in white oak barrels, imparting both colour and flavour. Cuban rums are generally lighter in style, and this particular spirit…  More info

Havana Club Añejo Especial
20
$19.66

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
11
$19.76

Kingston 62 Gold Rum

70cl, 40%
Kingston 62

Here we have an aged Jamaican rum, Kingston 62 Gold! Previously known as Appleton Estate Special, the blend of pot and column still rums, aged on the Appleton Estate itself. A top mixer with ginger…  More info

Kingston 62 Gold Rum
7
$20.12

Havana Club Añejo 3 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Havana Club

This Havana Club has been aged for three years in bourbon casks and then filtered, hence its colour. A classic rum and a key component of good, refreshing Daiquiri (or just about any rum cocktail),…  More info

Havana Club Añejo 3 Year Old
16
$20.17

Bayou White Rum

70cl, 40%
Bayou Rum

Louisiana may not be the first place that pops into your head when you think of rum, but Bayou Rum is here to change all that! This white rum is distilled from Louisiana-grown sugar cane. A…  More info

Bayou White Rum
$20.17

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
$20.17

Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum

70cl, 40%
Wild Tiger

The uniquely presented Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum comes to us from India, and is aged in American oak barrels before being bottled at 40% ABV. It'll certainly stand out on your back-bar.  More info

Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum
11
$20.20

Brugal Blanco Supremo

70cl, 40%
Brugal

Classic white rum from Dominican producers, Brugal, which is aged for at least one year to mellow out some of the overly intense qualities of rum straight from the still. This tasty rum is no…  More info

Brugal Blanco Supremo
1
$20.44

Rebellion Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Rebellion

A beautiful Trinidadian rum from a distillery founded in 1824. The producers recommend Rebellion Spiced be served long with cola and ice (and a squeeze of fresh lime juice).  More info

Rebellion Spiced Rum
19
$20.64

Dead Man's Fingers Tequila Raspberry Rum

50cl, 37.5%
Dead Man’s Fingers

If you happen to be a fan of Tequila, raspberries, rum, and skulls, then this limited release from the gang at Dead Man's Fingers will have your eyes popping out of their sockets! This blend of Dead…  More info

Dead Man's Fingers Tequila Raspberry Rum
$20.64

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
23
$20.65

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
11
$20.65
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Project #173 Chocolate Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

If you fancy introducing the deliciousness of chocolate to your cocktails and mixed drinks, but don't quite fancy sticking a chocolate bar in your glass (or something like that), the Project #173…  More info

Project #173 Chocolate Rum
16
$20.65

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
14
$20.65

Project #173 Salted Caramel Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The pairing of sweet things with a touch of salt is a clever trick to have up your sleeve when it comes to culinary creativity. Salted caramel is a sweet example of that, geddit? Sweet? The addition…  More info

Project #173 Salted Caramel Rum
2
$20.65

Project #173 Smoked Chilli Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Now, hear us out, this just works. The folks behind Project #173 are always pushing the boat out when it comes to pairing rum with all manner of deliciousness, and their Smoked Chilli Rum is no…  More info

Project #173 Smoked Chilli Rum
2
$20.65

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
5
$20.65
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Project #173 Coffee Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

We don't know about you, but we find it incredibly interesting that a flavour as powerful and distinctive as coffee manages to pair so well with all kinds of spirits. Whisky, vodka, Tequila, even…  More info

Project #173 Coffee Rum
3
$20.65

Project #173 Pumpkin Spice Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

In case you were wondering what the ultimate autumn flavour is, it is of course pumpkin spice. As such, the team behind Project #173 has got its cosy wool jumpers and snazzy knit hats on to make its…  More info

Project #173 Pumpkin Spice Rum
$20.65

Project #173 Hazelnut Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

The folks behind Project #173 have been squirreling away some fantastic flavour combinations while they worked on their upcoming releases. But it's time to reveal the latest line-up of gold flecked…  More info

Project #173 Hazelnut Rum
$20.65

Project #173 Candy Floss Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

Roll up, roll up and add all the fanfare of the funfair to your serves with this delicious offering, waltzing in from the folks at Project #173! A quality core of rum collides with a cushion of…  More info

Project #173 Candy Floss Rum
$20.65

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
6
$20.65

Project #173 Lime Rum

50cl, 42%
Project #173

It's an inarguable fact that rum and lime make a great pairing, and this splendid addition to the Project #173 range of naturally flavoured rums proves that fact masterfully! A hearty base of good…  More info

Project #173 Lime Rum
$20.65

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