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One Nickname For Rum Is “Angels Share.” Do You Know How It Gets That Name?

Join National Rum Day on August 16th as blended beverages and cocktails create a delicious celebration. Rum is a distilled clear alcoholic beverage that is a byproduct of sugar production. It can also be made directly from sugar cane juice. After the fermentation and distillation process, most rum ages in wooden oak barrels.

  • In 1764, the British Crown placed a tax on sugar, molasses, and rum on the American colonies. This tax was called The Sugar Act of 1764. It was instrumental in the unrest that finally became the American Revolution.
  • Rum is the third most popular spirit in the United States. Only vodka and all the whiskeys combined beat it for first and second rankings.
  • The spirit finds its way into citrusy mixed drinks and cool blended summer cocktails. So much so, that rum stirs up images of sandy beaches and brightly colored umbrellas in fruity drinks.
  • However, rum also conjures up sailors and pirates. The reason for that is how rum came to be.
  • In the West Indies during the 1600s, large plantations grew sugar cane. When they extracted the sugar, they created a by-product called molasses. For years, molasses was a waste product until it was discovered it could be distilled – into rum.
  • Even in the modern Royal Navy, British sailors received an allotment of rum until 1970.
  • The Gosling family of rum makers have been supplying the world with this storied beverage since 1806, aging and blending every drop on their home island of Bermuda.
  • Their Black Seal rum — which they’ve been producing since the 1850s — is the gold standard for dark rums having been awarded the Gold Award three straight years at the International Rum Festival.
  • Initially called “kill devil” for its high alcohol content and less than savory taste, the process of fermenting and distilling molasses became steadily more sophisticated and the spirit significantly more enjoyable.
  • The etymology of the word “rum” is still open for debate but among the most agreed upon theories is that it is derived from the terms rumbuillion or rumbustion — both meaning an upheaval — but eventually shortened to rum.
  • 1620s – Molasses, a byproduct of sugar production, was distilled in a spirit that would eventually be called rum.
  • 1655 – When the British navy captured Jamaica in 1655, it had access to domestically produced rum, leading to the daily liquor ration of sailors of rum over the more expensive brandy.
  • 1864 – The first distillery in what would become the continental U.S. is founded on Staten Island
  • 1764 – The 1764 tax on Sugar and molasses created significant tension between British colonists and the home country.
  • 1806 – Gosling, a wine and spirits merchant on his way to America from England, is forced into port at St. George’s, Bermuda where he decides to remain and set up shop.
  • 1850s – The Gosling family released their first barrels of what they called “old rum,” a secret blend of three rums aged in “once used” bourbon barrels.
  • 1914 – Many years later a play on words and images gave birth to the little, barrel-juggling “Black Seal” logo and a change of name to Goslings Black Seal Rum.
  • The difference between the shades of rum depends entirely on the aging process. Light rums are aged very little, if at all. Dark rums are aged from 5-10 years depending on the climate. Golden rum is aged longer than light rum but not nearly as long as dark rum.
  • George Washington made his Mount Vernon Eggnog with dark Jamaican rum, much to the delight of all his guests.
  • Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum has a whopping 63% ABV, you might want to take it easy with this one.
  • If you’re up for a challenge, consider a bottle of Sunset Very Strong Rum, which clocks in at 84.5% ABV. The prize goes to Suriname’s Marienburg Rum with 90% ABV. Just go ahead and lock up your car keys now.
  • Mount Gay is a world-renowned rum distillery in Barbados. It has been making this liquor since 1703, making it the oldest distillery in the world.
  • Many people believe that rum can actually help with hair growth! Many men and women who have noticed thinning locks have turned to rum in an attempt to slow down hair loss. Generally, practitioners use rum as a shampoo, though, and don’t drink it for this benefit.
  • Nicknames are fairly common for people. But have you heard any of these nicknames for rum? Kill-Devil, Demon Water, Navy Neaters, Nelson’s Blood, Barbados Water, Grog, Pirates Drink, or Rumbuillion.
  • Nelson’s Blood: Legend has it that after Admiral Nelson died in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar, his body was placed in a cask of rum to preserve it for the journey home.  However, sailors drilled holes in the cask to get to the rum. Essentially, sailors drank rum mixed with blood, leading to the famous name today.
  • As rum is aged in casks, a little bit evaporates. This missing amount has come to be known as the angel’s share.


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