Created by potrace 1.12, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2015

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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.

Pusser's 'Gunpowder Proof' Black Label

70cl, 54.5%
Pusser's

Pusser's 'Gunpowder Proof' Black Label (previously known as Blue Label) is a higher proof traditional British Naval rum, produced using the blending recipe from the Admiralty. Well loved, it picked…  More info

Pusser's 'Gunpowder Proof' Black Label
41
$37.86

Plantation Pineapple Stiggins' Fancy

70cl, 40%
Plantation

A fantastic treat from the Plantation range originally created by the company's cellar master Alexandre Gabriel and drinks historian David Wondrich for Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2015.…  More info

Plantation Pineapple Stiggins' Fancy
19
$38.66

Chairman's Reserve Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
St. Lucia Distillers

Spiced rum from Saint Lucia. Impressively, it was the only spiced or flavoured rum to receive a Gold Medal at the International Spirits Challenge 2013.  More info

Chairman's Reserve Spiced Rum
17
$24.98

Pull The Pin Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Pull The Pin

Co-founder Tom left the army in pursuit of the perfect spiced rum, and so Pull the Pin was born! To create it, a range of spices is infused as well as butterscotch, making for a warming, sweet and…  More info

Pull The Pin Spiced Rum
12
$36.77

Bumbu Original

70cl, 35%
Bumbu

A spiced rum drink based on 16th and 17th century 'bumbo' recipes, Caribbean spices are added with no artificial flavourings or colours at all.  More info

Bumbu Original
14
$32.55

Cut Overproof Rum

70cl, 75.5%
Cut Rum

An overproof edition of Cut Spiced Rum, sitting at an eye-watering 75.5% ABV. Be sure you dilute this stuff very well - ought to go handsomely with a number of classic mixers...  More info

Cut Overproof Rum
12
$41.38

Blackwell Black Gold Fine Jamaican Rum

70cl, 40%
J Wray and Nephew

Blackwell Black Gold Rum was created by Chris Blackwell, who also happens to be the owner of Island Records. The dark rum itself is distilled and blended by J. Wray & Nephew in Jamaica. It was made…  More info

Blackwell Black Gold Fine Jamaican Rum
20
$23.09

The Duppy Share Spiced Rum

70cl, 37.5%
The Duppy Share

How exciting, it's a Spiced variant of The Duppy Share Caribbean Rum! The blend of Jamaica and Barbados rum has been treated to the addition of pineapple, kola nut and Caribbean spices. Plus, there's…  More info

The Duppy Share Spiced Rum
4
$25.19

Pull The Pin Passion Fruit & Pineapple Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Pull The Pin

A particularly fruit-forward silver rum from Pull The Pin, combining silver rum with the deliciousness of passion fruit and pineapple. This should pair rather well with fruit juices, and perhaps even…  More info

Pull The Pin Passion Fruit & Pineapple Rum
4
$36.77

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
2
$18.35

English Harbour 5 Year Old

70cl, 40%
The Antigua Distillery

English Harbour is a rum from Antigua. This 5 year old was a Double Gold winner at the 2005 San Francisco Competition.  More info

English Harbour 5 Year Old
5
$27.62
Special Offer

Belgrove Hazelnut Rum

70cl, 40%
Belgrove

Well, this is a pretty unique combination right here... Thanks to Belgrove, hazelnut rum is now a thing! The brand is named after William Belgrove, a rum pioneer, and the spirit is a single-origin…  More info

Belgrove Hazelnut Rum
8
$36.29
$32.67

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
8
$25.19

Two Swallows Orange & Ginger Rum

50cl, 38%
Rock Star Spirits

The Two Swallows range gets a third flavour (which I guess adds up to six of the eponymous birds?) with this Orange & Ginger Rum! Combining Guyanese rum with tangy citrus and spicy ginger makes for a…  More info

Two Swallows Orange & Ginger Rum
3
$25.19

El Dorado 3 Year Old White Rum

70cl, 40%
El Dorado

An award winning rum; this took a silver at the 2006 and 2007 International Wine and Spirits Competitions. This also attained a Gold at the International Review of Spirits. A great mixing rum, very…  More info

El Dorado 3 Year Old White Rum
5
$24.15
Try a sample

Rum Ting - Passionfruit, Mango & Elderflower

70cl, 42.5%
Rum Ting

From the folks who brought you Gin Ting comes... Rum Ting! You can see a theme emerging here, can't you? For this terrifically tropical expression, Guyanese rum has been infused with a lip-smacking…  More info

Rum Ting - Passionfruit, Mango & Elderflower
5
$37.82

Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros

70cl, 45%
Havana Club

The new edition of Havana Club's very popular Cuban Barrel Proof, Seleccion de Maestros is a superb rum, bottled at higher strength.  More info

Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros
15
$56.10

Rumbullion! Navy-Strength

70cl, 57%
Ableforth's

Ableforth's took their famous Rumbullion! and bottled it at Navy Strength to create a much much 'bigger' drink. This is a warming concoction that would no doubt give a sailor vim and vigour on a…  More info

Rumbullion! Navy-Strength
16
$51.49
Try a sample

Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry

70cl, 43%
Plantation

This 100% pot still Jamaican rum made with a blend of spirits from Long Pond and Clarendon distilleries, which Maison Ferrand now owns a third of after purchasing the West Indies Rum Distillery in…  More info

Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry
1
$35.58

Diablesse Clementine Spiced Rum

70cl, 40%
Diablesse

From Manchester-based Diablesse comes a Clementine Spiced Rum! It's made with Demerara rum from the Diamond Distillery in Guyana, using native sugar cane molasses and traditional pot and column still…  More info

Diablesse Clementine Spiced Rum
16
$33.49
Special Offer

Diamond (Versailles Still) 14 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

50cl, 55.6%
Diamond Distillery

It's the third batch of rum from the Guyana's Diamond Distillery, produced using the wooden Versailles still. No matter how many times I hear the phrase 'wooden still', there continues to be a moment…  More info

Diamond (Versailles Still) 14 Year Old (That Boutique-y Rum Company)
2
$55.70
$50.14

Pull The Pin Raspberry & Strawberry Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Pull The Pin

The folks from Pull The Pin have created another fruit-forward rum - this time shining a spotlight on the wonderful flavours of British raspberries and strawberries! Juicy and vibrant, this should be…  More info

Pull The Pin Raspberry & Strawberry Rum
1
$36.77

Plantation Rum Experience Gift Pack

60cl, 41%
Plantation

A delicious set of six rums from the Plantation range, all presented in 10cl bottles. This collection includes the Plantation Gran Añejo Rum (42% ABV), the XO 20th Anniversary Rum (40% ABV), the…  More info

Plantation Rum Experience Gift Pack
1
$52.55

Coyaba Spiced Banana Rum

70cl, 37.5%
Coyaba

Cobaya Spiced Banana Rum began its life in the Caribbean, and was then bottled in Cornwall. It's made from a blend of Caribbean rums with the addition of, you guessed it, banana! Sweet, fruity and…  More info

Coyaba Spiced Banana Rum
2
$28.35

Iguana Rum

70cl, 40%
Iguana Rum

Iguana Rum is distilled in Panama, though it is made from a traditional recipe brought over from Cuba. Look, there's even a friendly iguana on the label to keep you company while you sip this…  More info

Iguana Rum
7
$20.99

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