Spirits fermented from the juice of sugarcane have been consumed throughout history and in all parts of the world. In present day, depending on where it is distilled, this spirit may be called rum, rhume (or rhum agricole), or ron. Another distinction between rum types is the form of sugar used in it’s production. Most styles of rum are made from molasses, but rhum agricole and cachaca are made from fermented sugarcane juice.
Light rum-also called silver or white. This is probably the most common type, and the style that comes to mind for light or tropical drinks like a pina colada, a daquiri, or a mojito. Examples of “silver” or “white” rum include Bacardi Superior, Cane Run Estate Rum, or Flor de Cana.
Gold rum-Medium bodied but still smooth, and relatively light. Gold rums are often aged in oak casks-this aging contributes to the color and the smooth flavor. This style makes a smooth sipper, or may be used in place of silver rum in darker cocktails.
Aged rum-this style of rum has no additives for color or flavor. The unique color and flavor characteristics are achieved by aging in oak barrels. Kirk & Sweeney rums are named for a wooden schooner that smuggled rum into the United States during Prohibition. Kirk & Sweeney rums are distilled in the Dominican Republic and available in 12 yr., 18 yr., and 23 year old Kirk & Sweeney rums are considered “sipping” rums.
Two styles of rum are classified by their alcohol percentage, or proof. Navy strength rum is bottled at 115 proof, and overproof rum is anything greater than 115 proof. Popular overproof style rums are Cruzan 151, and Wray and Nephew.
Other styles of rum are classified by where they are distilled-
Cachaca-This “Brazilian Rum” is, by law, produced only in Brazil. Cachaca is the sweetest rum available, and is best known for being the main ingredient in a Caipirinha, but mixes well in other cocktails. Novo Fogo Cachaca is handcrafted from organic sugarcane.
Rhum Agricole-Rhum Agricole must be produced in the French territories, usually on the island of Martinique. It is distilled from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice using a Creole continuous column still. The cane can only be harvested in the dry season and the juice extracted within three days. Clement is considered by many to be the premier Rhum Agricole. The Clement line includes Rhum Vieux Agricole V.S.O.P., which is aged a minimum of four years in a variety of the world’s finest oak barrels, Select Barrel, aged for a minimum of three years in select oak barrels, resulting in a soft vanilla note and balanced sweetness.
Hailing from Key West, Papa’s Pilar Blonde and dark rums are named after Ernest “Papa” Hemingway, and his yacht “Pilar”.
Within a short drive of Columbus are two distilleries. Award winning Richland rum is distilled in Richland, Georgia. Their current offerings include a limited edition bottle featuring Saint Eom’s Pasaquan Odyssey artwork.
John Emerald distillery in Opelika, AL, offers two rum expressions, a barrel aged rum, and Gene’s spiced rum.
Written by Richard Edwards. Permission to publish by The Local.