The history of rum

Sylvia Simm | 27. February 2024

When you hear rum, you probably first think of the Caribbean - the sea and pirates.

In the 17th century, the European colonial powers brought sugar cane to the Caribbean and with it the sugar cane plantations. At first, only sugar was extracted until alcohol was soon distilled. Barbados is often mentioned as the place of origin of rum, but it cannot be proven with certainty. Brazil is also discussed. In the Caribbean, as in the entire South American region, sugar cane plantations developed along the coasts.

The first documented mention of rum is in 1650 as 'Rumbullion', which means 'great tumult'. Today, the Spanish term 'Ron' and the French term 'Rhum' exist alongside the term 'rum'.

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From brandy to a popular spirit

Sugar cane production produces large quantities of molasses as a by-product. The slaves on the plantations were the first to realise that this could be fermented and drunk as sugar cane brandy. The plantation owners developed the production process further and the molasses spirit eventually became rum, although not yet with the flavour we know today.

Rum quickly became a popular drink in the Caribbean. However, it was not until the 18th century that it found its way to Europe.

Sea voyage and rum

The English navy contributed significantly to the success of rum. After realising that beer or wine carried on board ships would not keep for long in the high temperatures of the Caribbean, they began to carry rum with them. And this is how the pirates came into the rum story, who were attracted by rum. Since then, many tales have grown up around pirates and rum.

In the beginning, rum was served to the crew straight up to an alcohol content of 75% - later diluted with water. We still know the rum grog today.

When the rum was shipped in barrels, which took several weeks, it was unintentionally aged in barrels - today this is done deliberately. It was discovered that the rum from the barrel had acquired different flavours and made it more palatable.

The British Royal Navy continued to serve a daily rum ration to its crew until 1970. And in the period between 1850 and 1970, rum was also used as a means of payment. Why pay your wages with money when you could use it to buy rum!

 

The modern rum

80% of the world's rum production comes from the Caribbean. The remaining 20% is spread across the southern hemisphere. Rum is also imported to European countries, where it is further matured and stored.

Nowadays, rum in all its facets is drunk neat or in cocktails all over the world.

The many elaborately and colourfully designed bottles, which catch the eye alongside other spirits, are beautiful to look at.

Our rum range

Ron Millonario 15 Reserva Especial
Ron Millonario 15 Reserva Especial
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum (B-Goods)
Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum (B-Goods)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Renegade All-Island Cuvée Nova Rum
Renegade All-Island Cuvée Nova Rum
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
William Hinton Single Whisky Cask Finish Rum 6 Years
William Hinton Single Whisky Cask Finish Rum 6 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Plantation Black Cask Edition - Barbados - Venezuela (B-Ware)
Plantation Black Cask Edition - Barbados - Venezuela (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
1731 Fine & Rare Belize Rum (B-Goods) 12 Years
1731 Fine & Rare Belize Rum (B-Goods) 12 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Don Q Gran Reserva Anejo Rum XO 9 Years
Don Q Gran Reserva Anejo Rum XO 9 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Bumbu The Original Rum
Bumbu The Original Rum
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Rhum J.M VSOP
Rhum J.M VSOP
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Botucal Reserva Exclusiva Rum with glass
Botucal Reserva Exclusiva Rum with glass
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Flor de Caña 130th Anniversary (B-Goods)
Flor de Caña 130th Anniversary (B-Goods)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Botucal Rum - Selección de Familia (B-Goods)
Botucal Rum - Selección de Familia (B-Goods)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
MacNairs Exploration Panama Rum - Unpeated 7 Years
MacNairs Exploration Panama Rum - Unpeated 7 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
El Dorado Rum 12 Years
El Dorado Rum 12 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Savanna Le Must Rhum Traditionnel
Savanna Le Must Rhum Traditionnel
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Bristol Rum Mauritius Labourdonnais Cognac Finish 2010/2022
Bristol Rum Mauritius Labourdonnais Cognac Finish 2010/2022
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Chairman's Reserve White Rum
Chairman's Reserve White Rum
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Cihuatán Rum Tasting Box
Cihuatán Rum Tasting Box
0,2/ l · incl.  VAT
Don Papa Rum Sherry Cask
Don Papa Rum Sherry Cask
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Buckingham Palace Coronation Navy Rum /2023
Buckingham Palace Coronation Navy Rum /2023
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
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Sylvia Simm is an experienced employee of Whisky.de. After more than 20 years in online sales and service, she supports the company with her extensive whisky knowledge in marketing. As online editor and content manager, she is responsible for editing and updating the texts on the knowledge pages.

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