How to Navigate the Wide World of Rum

May 9, 2019

Rum header


We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: rum is on the rise!


In 2018, rum showed gains in case and dollar growth in the ultra-premium and premium segments.* Innovative bartenders are starting to approach aged rums with the same enthusiasm and respect for tradition as they did with bourbon and rye.


As a result, bartenders are treating rums like any other brown spirit and swapping them into classic cocktails in place of whiskey in drinks like Old Fashioneds, Boulevardiers and Hot Toddy’s.


For more on the various styles of rum and how to incorporate different styles of rum into your menu, we turn to our own Beverage Development Manager Michael Page who has provided the below detailed breakdown of all-things rum.


Types of Rum/Rhum and Their Uses

Industrial/Molasses Rum

  • Most commonly produced Rum, distilled from fermented Molasses, as a byproduct of sugar refining industry
  • Flavor profile of Industrial Rum: heavier mouthfeel, sweeter, spice, caramel
  • Aged and unaged varieties


Industrial White Rum

  • The most recognizable style of rum
  • Commonly paired with heavier, sweeter cocktails, stands up to bolder flavors well
  • Clean flavor, typically column-still, charcoal mellowing
  • Rested three months
  • Classic application examples: Mojito, Cuba Libre (Rum and Cola), Daiquiri


Rhum Agricole

  • Produced from the fermentation of cane juice pressed directly from the cane.
  • Origin: French Caribbean colonies
  • Flavor possibilities of Rhum Agricole Blanc: grassy, vegetal, tropical/exotic fruit, tea, pepper, anise
  • Lighter, typically dryer on the palate
  • Aged and unaged varieties.


Rhum Agricole Blanc

  • I like to create Rhum Agricole blanc cocktails using ingredients such as coconut water, kiwi, guava, and lychee
  • Unaged rums lend themselves to cocktails very easily, less frequently consumed straight
  • Pairs well in spirit-forward rum drinks
  • More popular amongst consumers with advanced spirit knowledge/refined palate
  • Upscale account/cocktail application.
  • Seasonality in warmer months


Lightly Aged Rums

  • Typically, rums aged up to four years, but more commonly less, color can vary from dark bronze to straw blonde
  • Barrel aging in USED barrels exclusively, with bourbon barrels being the most common for finishing
  • Rapid aging yields complex flavors at younger, more affordable, age statement offerings
  • The variety of cocktails utilizing this category is broad: Mai Tai, Jet Pilot, Dark & Stormy, Piña Colada, and The Zombie to name a few


Aged Rums/Premium Rum/Sipping Rum

  • Some expressions can range to 20 years and beyond
  • Extended aging yields flavors of toffee, caramel, vanilla, honey, anise, cinnamon, spice, pepper, coffee, nuts, dried fruit, smoke, petrol, as well as many other flavors in the terpene, maillard, and fruit flavor categories
  • Can be used in cocktails such as the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and other stirred cocktails
  • Extremely approachable for typical non-aged spirit drinkers
  • Aged rum can be treated just as a fine whiskey or cognac, enjoyed neat or on the rocks




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