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Rum, a spirit made from fermented and distilled molasses, or sugarcane, is most associated with the Caribbean islands since it provides the ideal climate for growing sugarcane. Distillers typically age rum in wood barrels, which imparts characteristic flavors of vanilla, caramel and oak. The length of aging also contributes to the final flavor profile; longer aged rums taste smoother and more complex. Rum production varies greatly from one country to another. Rum comes in many different variations: light rums, dark rums, aged rums, and spiced rums. Some rum producers utilize pot stills while others produce their rum in column stills. Occasionally, distillers will base their product on a blend of the two. Rum, one of the most diverse categories of alcohol on the planet, can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Regardless of whether you prefer your rum neat or mixed in a cocktail, there's a rum out there for you to enjoy.

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Rum, one of the earliest known spirits due to its simple production process, derives from sugarcane. Sugarcane was first known to be fermented as early as 350 BC in India. At this time, medical practitioners used the fermented spirit for medicinal purposes. The production of sugarcane increased as explorers discovered islands with the perfect growing climate. The first mention of rum in 1650 from Barbados labeled it as “kill-devil” or "rumbullion". By 1763, distillers produced many variations on the original recipe. Modern rum came to fruition when plantation slaves discovered that the by-product of the sugarcane refining process could be fermented into alcohol. While most producers distill rum in tropical locations such as Jamaica and Puerto Rico, it remains a popular spirit around the world thanks to its unique flavor and storied history.

How Rum is Made

The most important step when making rum comes from properly harvesting the sugar with a cane cut close to ground level. While this process retains high levels of purity and sweetness, it must be milled quickly before boiling the sugar until it dissolves. Then, distillers pour it in cold water while agitating it regularly. Once it cools to the desired level, you put in the yeast and let that sit for 3-7 days if you used a juice or syrup, but if it’s made from molasses, this process takes around 12-14 days. After fermenting the sugar and yeast, distillers strain out the solid material left over. Once filtered properly, the distillation process begins to remove unwanted contaminants and dangerous alcohols not fit for consumption. Using a clean and properly set up still, rum producers then distill the solution twice. They heat the alcohol to produce distillate until it is 20% alcohol by volume the first time, dilute that with water, and run it again. They isolate dangerous alcohols produced during the distillation, and isolate the good stuff, which they then age in barrels.

Types of

  • White or Clear Rum - Cocktail mixers most commonly use white and clear rums for mixing cocktails. White and clear rums taste lighter than their golden or dark counterparts, which are usually sold at 80 proof (or 40% ABV). Most white rums also go through aging in stainless steel barrels, but can be found with wood added to them during the production process; this brings out more flavors. Classic drinks made from these include mojitos, daiquiris, Cuba libras, and piña coladas.
  • Gold or Pale Rum - Aged for several years in wood barrels, gold rum’s color ranges from gold to amber, depending on how long it has been aging. Gold rums often do not need any additional mixers or flavors because they have such rich flavors themselves, making them perfect candidates as drinks served “on the rocks”.’
  • Dark Rum - Made from dark brown sugar, molasses or black strap coffee beans mixed with water and fermented, distillers typically age dark rum in oak barrels for several years before releasing it to the public. Dark rums taste stronger than lighter colored rums, but still vary dramatically depending on where they were crafted as well how long the distillation process took and the temperatures utilized during the process.
  • Black Rum - The darkest flavored rum available may look intimidating, but has a light to medium body. Made from molasses, it embodies rich flavors due in part to the added burnt caramel colorant that darkens it. Black rums mix excellently into cocktails like an old fashioned and equally well into regular mixed drinks.
  • Premium Aged Rum - The finest aged rums mature for a long time, usually 3+ years. They take on the color and flavors of their surroundings, which includes tastes all the way from wood to leather! Premium liquors should be enjoyed neat or with ice cubes, much like fine whiskeys and Scotches.
  • Flavored and Spiced Rum - Frequently made from gold rums, the addition of flavor and spices often sets it apart from other alcoholic beverages. The most common addictions come from seeds, fruit or roots like cinnamon or allspice.


Rum’s simple distillation process means that the drink's taste reflects its ingredients. On one hand, it has a dryness to match what you would expect from such a process, but it still offers up an unforgettable nectar flavor due to the boiling techniques used during distillation.

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How to Drink Rum

Drinking rum is a unique experience that can be enjoyed in many different ways. The first step is to choose the right glass for your rum. A classic rocks glass or a snifter are popular choices. Next, pour a small amount of rum, about 1-2 ounces, into the glass. You can drink rum neat, but many people prefer to add a mixer or ice to create a refreshing cocktail. Consider adding cola or ginger ale for a classic rum and coke or a splash of lime juice for a refreshing daiquiri. When it comes to sipping rum, take your time and enjoy the flavors. Allow the rum to rest on your palate for a few seconds before swallowing. Rum is a versatile spirit that pairs well with a variety of foods, including spicy dishes and desserts like chocolate and caramel. Experiment with pairing your rum with different foods to discover new flavor combinations. Remember, the key to enjoying rum is to find what works best for you. Whether you prefer a classic rum cocktail or a neat pour, take your time and savor the unique flavors of this beloved spirit.

Popular Rum Brands

LiquorSplit has a wide variety of rum to choose from. Below are a few of the most popular options nationwide:
  • Captain Morgan - A popular brand of rum named after the infamous 17th century privateer, Sir Henry Morgan, known for its smoothness, sweetness, and notes of vanilla and spices, and often enjoyed in cocktails such as the classic rum and coke or a piña colada.
  • Flor De Cana - This premium rum from Nicaragua is known for its smoothness, rich flavor profile, and unique aging process, where the rum is aged in oak barrels for several years and distilled using 100% renewable energy, resulting in a high quality spirit with notes of caramel, vanilla, and tropical fruits.
  • BACARDÍ Gold Rum - Bacardi Gold is a popular brand of rum known for its smoothness, lightness, and versatility in cocktails, made from a blend of aged rums and characterized by its subtle notes of vanilla and oak, and often used in classic cocktails such as the Cuba Libre or the Daiquiri.
  • Brugal - Originating from the Dominican Republic, this brand is known for its high quality, smooth and refined taste, and unique aging process that involves the use of American white oak casks for a minimum of five years, resulting in a rum with notes of vanilla, toffee, and caramel.
  • Malibu - A coconut flavored rum from the Caribbean, known for its smoothness, sweetness, and tropical flavor, and often used in cocktails such as the Malibu Sunset or the classic Piña Colada.
  • Ron Barcelo - A premium rum brand from the Dominican Republic, known for its smoothness, complexity, and rich flavor profile, resulting from the use of high quality sugarcane and the unique aging process that involves the use of American oak barrels for a minimum of three years, resulting in a rum with notes of vanilla, caramel, and tropical fruits.
  • Ron Zacapa - High end rum brand from Guatemala, known for its complex and luxurious taste, and unique aging process that involves the use of a solera system, where rums of different ages are blended and aged in a sequence of casks, resulting in a rum with notes of caramel, vanilla, and dark chocolate.

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Dark and Stormy

The Dark and Stormy packs a punch of flavor. This refreshing drink is made with dark rum, ginger beer, and a squeeze of lime juice, served over ice in a tall glass. The combination of the spicy ginger beer and the rich, smooth rum creates a unique and unforgettable taste. The Dark and Stormy is a great drink for an introduction to rum and is a refreshing accompaniment to a meal. Its name perfectly captures the essence of its flavor, and is perfect for sipping on rainy days, or any day that you need a little bit of extra warmth in your life.


Pain Killer

The Painkiller is a tropical cocktail that lives up to its name. This delicious drink is made with dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut, and nutmeg, all blended together with ice for a creamy and refreshing beverage. The Painkiller is known for its ability to soothe and relax, making it the perfect drink to enjoy on a hot summer day or while lounging on a tropical beach. Its creamy texture and sweet, fruity flavors make it a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts. Sip on a Painkiller and let its tropical flavors transport you to a state of blissful relaxation.



Add a handful of fresh mint leaves and 1 tsp sugar to a highball glass. Use a muddler or back of a spoon to muddle the mint and sugar together until the leaves are bruised and fragrant. Add 1.5 oz of white rum and 1 oz of lime juice to the glass. Fill glass with ice, then top with club soda. Stir gently to combine ingredients. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and a lime wedge, and serve! This refreshing and simple cocktail is perfect on a hot summer day!


Hemingway Daiquiri

Add 2 oz of white rum, ¾ oz of lime juice, ½ oz of grapefruit juice, and ¼ oz of maraschino liqueur to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously to chill ingredients and create a frothy texture. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lime wheel or grapefruit twist. Also known as the Papa Doble, this variation of the classic Daiquiri was named after Ernest Hemingway, who enjoyed this cocktail during his time in Cuba. This tangy and slightly bitter drink is perfect on a warm evening!

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