The History of Rum
The early Beginnings
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'.
From Alcohol Brandy to Popular Spirit
Large quantities of molasses are produced as a by-product of sugar cane production. The slaves on the plantations were the first to discover that this could be fermented and drunk as sugar cane brandy. The plantation owners developed the production process further and the molasses brandy eventually became rum, although not yet in the taste we know today.
Rum quickly became a popular drink in the Caribbean. However, it took until the 18th century before it found its way to Europe.
Maritime and Rum
The English navy made a significant contribution to the success of rum. After it was discovered that beer or even wine carried on the ship would not keep for long in the high temperatures of the Caribbean, rum was started to be carried. And so the pirates came into play in 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. Even today we know the rum grog.
When the rum was shipped in barrels, which took weeks, the barrel aftertaste arose unintentionally because it was noticed that the rum from the barrel had acquired other aromas.
Until 1970, the British Royal Navy still served a daily rum ration to its crew.
The modern Rum
The Caribbean accounts for 80% of the world's rum production. The remaining 20% is spread across the southern globe. In addition, rum is imported to European countries, which then mature and store it further.
Nowadays, rum in all its facets is drunk pure or in cocktails all over the world.
The many elaborately and colourfully designed bottles that catch the eye alongside other spirits are beautiful to look at.