• Introduction
  • Defining Rum
  • Types of rum
  • Producing rum
  • Popular Brands
  • How to drink it
  • Dark Rum Cocktails
  • Light Rum Cocktails


Millions of people around the world celebrate Columbus Day on the 12th of October. When Columbus set sail for Asia in 1493, he landed on a Caribbean island with a fleet of 17 ships with 1500 people, with few cutting of Sugarcane plants from Canary Island (an autonomous region of Spain). It was Columbus who first planted the samples of samples in an island in the West Indies, which he named as “Hispaniola” (currently Haiti and the Dominican Republic).

The hot tropical climate of the Caribbean with alternate wet and dry spells suited the growth of sugar cane ideally. In the 16th century with the colonization of the Caribbean the art of producing sugar from sugarcane spread rapidly. Production of alcohol with molasses, a byproduct of sugarcane juice followed thereafter.

rumThe French, Dutch and the British fought many wars to lay claim over the Caribbean Islands and its reserves of rum!

It is now produced in countries like Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Philippines, Brazil, Antigua, Canary Islands and India.

Defining Rum

Rum is an alcoholic beverage made from fermenting the byproducts of sugarcane. It’s a distilled drink that has to go through processes of fermentation and distillation to mature. After distillation, the liquid is put in oak barrels to age. The drink comes in many brands, types and labels to satisfy its various lovers in the market.

Types of rum

Rum gets classified into two basic types:

  • Rum Agricole: This is made entirely from sugarcane juice.
  • Rum Industrielle: This is made from sugarcane molasses.

Difference between Agricole and Industrielle –

Source Primarily by –  French Colonies
Raw material – Sugarcane Juice
Storage Casks – of French Oak

Source Primarily by – All over the world
Raw material –  Molasses
Storage Casks – In highly toasted Bourbon casks

Rum can also be classified on the following basis:

  • Light Rum – also known as white or silver rum, and has nearly no color and a light flavor. It is filtered multiple times to remove any impurities and is not aged very long. This is the most common rum in a Mojito.
  • Gold Rum – also known as amber rum. This rum has been aged in wooden casks for some period of time, which gives the spirit its signature color and sweeter, richer flavor.
  • Black Rum – also known as dark rum and has been aged the longest of any of these types of rum. The extended time it spends in wooden casks gives it a dark color and deep, smoky-sweet flavors.
  • Spiced Rum – typically is aged for the same length of time as black rum but spices and caramel colorings are added to give it a signature sweet spice taste.

Production Process of Rum

Key Ingredients

  • Sugarcane – Juice, Molasses, or any by product of sugarcane
  • Water
  • Yeast
  1. Harvesting, Cutting and Cleaning: of Sugarcane, a member of the grass family.
  2. Pressing: The sugarcane is now pressed and crushed through heavy mechanical rollers that extract the juice. The juice thus extracted is then filtered to remove any sediments or residue.
  3. Boiling: The juice is then boiled to evaporate the excess moisture and to concentrate the juice to a thick syrup like consistency.
  4. Centrifugal Process: The thick residue is now put inside a centrifugal machine and rotated at high speeds. This separates the sugar crystals from the molasses that collect in the middle of the machine.
  5. Molasses: Molasses is the dark thick residue that is left back at the end of the sugar centrifuging process. This is a sweet liquid that is used to produce most of the rums that are made. Also known as Black Strap.
  6. Fermentation: Fermentation in case of dark rums takes place for up to 12 days and is carried out by the addition of ‘Dunder’ to the fresh batch of molasses / sugarcane juice.
  7. Dunder is the residue that is left back after the fermentation.
  8. White rums need lesser time for fermentation.
  9. Distillation: White rums are patent still products. Dark rums are made through the pot still process and distilled about 2-3 times up to 90% alcohol by volume.
  10. Maturation: Rums are matured for anywhere between 1-2 years for white rums and 5-7 years for dark rums. Aging in case of white rums happens in glass or stainless steel tanks or wax lined oak barrels whereas for dark rums charred oak casks (which have a substance called Tannin which gives the rum its Aroma) are used. Certain rums might opt for a charcoal filtration to remove colour that might have formed during the oak aging. For example, Bacardi Superior (White Rum) is aged in oak casks for up to 1 year to allow the rum to develop more complex aromas; it is then filtered through charcoal in order to take out the colour before it is bottled.

    Angels Share – Rums that are matured in the Caribbean have a higher oxidation rate, which is almost 7 – 10% in comparison to 2% in Scotch whisky. Companies based in the West Indies also ship the casks of rum to different continents to save on the angels share.

    Anon – “It’s quite clear that the angel’s prefer rum”

  11. Addition of Caramel: Sometimes caramelized sugar is added in dark rums to provide colour and taste.
  12. Blending: Like most other dark spirits, some dark rums too, are blended before bottling. Rums of different ages are blended together to arrive at a final blend, and then bottled.

Popular Brands

Some of the most popular/best selling rums in the world are:

  • Bacardi – Puerto Rico
  • Tanduay – Philippines
  • Havana Club – Cuba
  • Ron Zacapa – Guatemala
  • Mount Gay Rum – Barbados
  • Appleton Estate – Jamaica
  • Brugal – Dominican Republic
  • Cacique – Venezuela
  • Montilla – Brazil
  • Cruzan – USA
  • Gosling’s – Bermuda
  • El Dorado – Guyana
  • Caña Brava – Panama
  • Santa Teresa – Venezuela
  • Diplomatico – Venezuela
  • Myer’s – Jamaica
  • J Wrey & Nephew – Jamaica



Imported Rum Brands Available in India
India has a large number of importers who bring in some of the best rums from across the world. Given below is a list of imported rum brands available in India (not all parts)

  • Mount Gay Rum – Barbados
  • Pyrat – Anguilla
  • Angostura – Trinidad & Tobago
  • Clement – Martinique
  • Ron Zacapa – Guatemala

Indian Rum Brands
Most of the rum producing nations are situated in Latin America or around the Caribbean Islands, explaining its connection with sailors and also with pirates. India is not far behind in rum consumption, in fact apart from high volume of domestic consumption, India is also a notable exporter of rum to the world.

Here’s a list of Top rum brands that are made in India

  • Old Monk
  •  McDowell’s
  •  Jolly Roger
  •  Old Port
  •  Contessa
  •  Two Indies
  •  Hercules
  •  Khodays
  •  Raffles
  •  Old Smuggler

How to drink it

  • In Cocktails – white and gold rums make the best mix. See the Cocktails Section.
  • Neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of water – for dark rums, and select gold rums
  • With a mixer like cola, tonic, soda – with light or gold rums
  • With juices like pineapple or orange – with light rums