National Rum Day is observed annually on August 16. Rum is a distilled clear alcoholic beverage which is a byproduct of molasses production or made directly from sugar cane juice. After the fermentation and distillation process, most rum is aged in wooden oak barrels.
RUM FACT: The Sugar Act of 1764, which was a tax on sugar, molasses and rum by the British on the American colonies, helped start the unrest that finally became the American Revolution.
Followed by the vodka and all the whiskeys combined, rum is the third most popular spirit in the United States. It stirs up images of sandy beaches and brightly colored umbrellas in fruity drinks. And it should. It is a sweet spirit and originated in sunny Papua New Guinea. It made its way to the Caribbean by way of the West Indies.
Rum is a distilled alcohol, specifically distilled from byproducts of sugarcane. Some varieties are made from molasses, others from sugarcane juice but all rum, when its finished being distilled, is clear. The color you see in rum is from additives or seasonings, and are not in any way a bad thing.
Rum first was created in the Caribbean after it was discovered that molasses could be fermented into alcohol. Ironically, it was the slaves who made this discovery, but it was the Colonials who discovered how to distil it into true rum. So important did rum become in the years to follow that it played a major role in the political system of the colonies. How? By being offered as a bribe to those the candidates wished to curry favor with.
The people thus coerced were no fools, however. They would attend multiple hustings to determine which of their patrons might provide them with the largest quantity of rum. Thus it can be fairly said that rum was of such note that it literally decided elections.
- Rum was manufactured, distilled, and made long before any other spirit. It’s history is a vast one filled with stories, and fables. It was the first branded spirit made.
- Rations of rum were given to sailors in the British Army to be mixed with lime juice because it fought off the scurvy.
- When wealthy titles were given to parsons, they were thanked with a glass of rum.
- In Australia, the rum hospital can recognize rum as it as its chief contributor of revenues that were generated via the rum exports they were known for.
- Triangular trade was introduced as slaves were traded for rum, sugars, and other items that were all carrying missionaries- this was known as ‘rum and bible.’
- The infamous Admiral Nelson that died in the Battle of Trafalgar, had his body preserved in a cask of rum before it was laid to rest.
- One of the famous drinks known as a rum sour was created in Barbados and served in a conch shell.
- More than 80 percent of the world’s rum sources originate in Puerto Rico. This is because of the sugar cane that is used in the product that comes from the area as well.
- Extended barrel aging of rum can produce a darker color due to the way it is aged in the wooden casks and barrels.
- Twelve million gallons of rum were consumed annually by the early colonists.
- The ration of rum that was given to the sailors of the Royal Navy was often referred to as a “tot o’ rum.”
- The most expensive rum in the world lacks a specific name but more than makes up for it in price. Bottled in the 1940s by the Jamaican distillers Wray and Nephew, it contains blends that are believed to date as far back as 1915. The bottle was displayed at Europe’s first Rum Festival, and there are only four such bottles remaining in the world, which represent the lost tradition of Wray and Nephew. They are valued at a whopping $40,000 a bottle.