Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane byproducts such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels. Rum can be referred to in Spanish by descriptors such as ron viejo (“old rum”) and ron añejo (“aged rum”).
The majority of the world’s rum production occurs in the Caribbean and Latin America (including the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Belize, Martinique, Guatemala,Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Guadeloupe, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica, St.Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Brazil, Haiti, Guyana, Peru, and Cuba). Rum is also produced in Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico, Hawaii, the Philippines, India, Reunion Island, Mauritius, South Africa, Taiwan, Japan, United States and Canada.
Light rums are commonly used in cocktails, whereas “golden” and “dark” rums were typically consumed individually (i.e., “straight” or “neat”) or used for cooking, but are now commonly consumed with mixers. Premium rums are also available, made to be consumed either straight or iced.
Rum plays a part in the culture of most islands of the West Indies as well as in the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland. This beverage has famous associations with the Royal Navy (where it was mixed with water or beer to make grog) and piracy (where it was consumed as bumbo). Rum has also served as a popular medium of economic exchange, used to help fund enterprises such as slavery, organized crime, and military insurgencies (e.g., the American Revolution and Australia’s Rum Rebellion). SeeTriangular trade.