Guide to Rum
Rum is distilled from sugar cane or molasses, and ranges in taste and character from light, mildly flavored to dark, full -bodied types, with a heavy pungent flavor. The finest rums come from the Caribbean, although rum is produced in any country that cultivates sugar cane. The two main types of rum are light-bodied—generally produced to be dry with a subtle flavor (most Puerto Rican rums)—and full-bodied rums (most Jamaican rums).
The light-bodied rums of Puerto Rico are made in column stills and must be aged for at least one year to produce a light-bodied, dry rum. Amber or golden rums from Puerto Rico are aged for a minimum of three years and have caramel added to enhance the color gained from the casks. Amber rums are slightly mellower and more aromatic than white rums. A third type of light-bodied rum is añejo, aged in wood from four to six years, producing the mellowest and most flavorful of the Puerto Rican rums.
In contrast, full-bodied rums are made using a skimming process in which part of the previous distillation is added to the molasses in the fermentation vats. This process results in a very flavorful, aromatic spirit that, in the case of Jamaican rum, is almost always blended and requires at least five to seven years of barrel aging.
Rum is magical in a myriad of cocktails including the Daiquiri, Mojito, Pina Colada, Rum Punch and Mai Tai and can be mixed with cola. Extra aged rums can be served neat like a brandy or Cognac.
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