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by Robert Giles


Rum is a spirit that most everyone has some familiarity with—even if it isn’t something that we commonly drink. Pina coladas, mojitos, Cuba libres and daiquiris are just some of the familiar drinks that are based on rum. But what exactly is it that makes rum so special? That’s what we’ll look at here.


The basis of any rum is sugar cane. Depending on the region and producer, it will either be sugar cane molasses or sugar cane juice. This base ingredient is fermented with yeast, distilled, aged, and then blended. That may sound very sparse on the details because it is. The best thing about rum is that its production is based around tradition more than rules. This leads to each region having its own variation of basic rum and we have some great ones that should be on your radar.

Clear Rum

Most rum cocktails are going to call for a clear rum but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor or quality. Bacoo 3 year is a fantastic clear rum that will find a place in any cocktail. This light silvery rum has notes of coconut and spices with hints of lime that will make your cocktail a hit. Made in the Dominican Republic, this Caribbean style rum hits all the right notes.

Dark Rum

Dark rums can come in all different types but two of the most known varieties are Demerara and Jamaican. Demarara rums tend have dark, round, and earthy flavors while Jaimaican rums can come across as “funky” with their big, strong flavors. Both of these rums work for darker mixed drinks, but they really shine when sipped on ice. Appleton Estate 8 year is representative of the Jamaican style, with notes of spice, vanilla and orange peel. A good example of Demerara rum is El Dorado 12 year with its fruit and spice notes rounded out by the flavors of honey and dark sugar.

Sipping Rums

Then there are the rums that break all of the traditions. Sol Tarasco Charanda is one such rum and it is definitely a new experience. This rum starts with a pure sugar cane juice distillation that’s aged with local mushrooms from Mexico. The result is something that gives the expected vanilla and spice notes backed by a light umami note from the mushrooms. This one is definitely a rum to be sipped.

No matter which rum region you decide to sample, there’s something for everyone in these bottles. Rum may have garnered a reputation as just another mixing spirit, but if you step just a little farther in you’ll find plenty of history and flavor to celebrate. Cheers!