It’s tiki time! Rum, a distilled liquor made from sugar cane, is having its moment in the limelight. Sales are increasing and people are eager to learn about and explore this versatile spirit.
While rum is often associated with the Caribbean, countries in Asia, South America, Europe, and North America all make rum as well. With expressions ranging from white rum and dark rum to spiced or flavored rums and rhum agricole (which is distilled directly from pressed cane sugar instead of fermented juice or cane byproducts), there is much to learn about this unique and diverse spirit.
One of the biggest misconceptions about rum is that it is too sweet and will give you a terrible feeling in the morning, explains Ben. “Rum comes in many flavors and styles. I’d argue that there is a bottle of rum out there for 90% of any fine spirit drinker,” he continues. “I’m confident in saying this because I also believe 90% of American consumers have not been exposed to a very wide variety of quality rums.”
The recent pandemic has inspired people to move out of their comfort zones and try new things, and rum, which is often associated with a warm beach vacation, is a treat that can transport you during difficult times. In fact, the major growth we are seeing in rum sales is mostly attributed to premium, top-shelf rums, meaning people are willing to spend more money on a quality product.
Ben Jones, the managing director of Spiribam, has a theory. “Spirit drinkers are becoming fatigued by American whiskey and are searching for the same features and stories they enjoy about their typical favorite spirit,” he explains.”[They are] finding these experiences in rum and with a far more reasonable price tag.”
The North American managing director of Don Papa Rum, Chris Rigby, expands, telling us that “the different styles and production techniques increase the opportunity for discovery. There are many rums to explore.”
Each and every country that produces rum has its own set of rules and regulations, which results in a huge variety in the spirit. Rum is the base of many of the world’s most popular cocktails—the daiquiri (Hemingway’s favorite), mojito, dark and stormy, and the piña colada are just some of our favorites.
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