Rum is one of the oldest distilled spirits made from sugar that may be either pure cane sugar, a syrup, or molasses. The underlying flavour profile of rum is a sweet, toasted sugar.
It must be acknowledged that the story of rum production is inextricably linked to slavery. Slaves planted the sugarcane, fertilized it, cut stalks, and transported it to a mill, where the cane was crushed and juice extracted. They strained the juice and placed it in boiling pots until the sugar was crystallized. Slaves also collected the molasses—the syrupy by product from making sugar.
The use of sugar cane distinguishes rum from all other spirits. Many of the early Caribbean rums were produced with molasses and “skimmings” from the production of sugar. The skimmings were obtained from the boiling of the sugar cane and were mixed with molasses and “dunder” (leftover sediment in the still). The molasses-cane juice mixture is then fermented and distilled. Pot stills are used in many of the traditional rums, though most now use continuous column stills.
Many rums are then aged in wooden casks. The type of wood used is often the determining factor in the colour of rum produced in the end. It is important to note that climate plays a significant role in how long any distilled spirit is aged for and rum is no exception. The rums produced in tropical climates will generally be aged for a shorter period of time than those in cooler climates.
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