Pirates had the right idea. Sorta. We don't approve of all that plundering and pillaging, but we can respect their choice of drink. Sipping rum makes us want to hang out near a tropical body of water, too, but all that robbing and violence would really kill the buzz. We recommend hitting the beach with a drink in hand, whether you like rum straight or in one of its many cocktail infusions.
History of Rum
Before the pirates got their hands on it, rum was an accidental byproduct of the sugar craze during Colonial times. Sugar production created huge amounts of molasses. Soon, it was discovered that the sticky, sweet substance could be fermented and distilled. Then rum took off.
It's long been a traditional drink in the Caribbean, but thanks to its popularity among sailors, Navy men and pirates, it quickly spread across the world. Today, rum is enjoyed in nearly every country.
This sweet alcoholic beverage has become the favorite of people in all cultures, many of whom seek out as many varieties as possible to expand their palates. In fact, rum has been so popular over the years that, in some parts of the world, it was used as currency.
In a true testament to its origins, rum isn't subject to regulations like bourbon is. Rum is distilled in numerous ways, so you'll want to try as many varieties as possible to find the ideal complement for your tastes.
Rum Types and Cocktails
In fact, rum preparation is so varied that many rums are actually more dry than sweet. White rums, for instance, are great in cocktails and have a decidedly dry finish that appeals to many drinkers. It's a great mixer if you prefer a cocktail. Mix up a Cuba Libre, Daiquiri, Mojito, Pina Colada or Rum Punch. In most cases, the lighter rums are used to make cocktails, but you can also mix up golden or dark rums if your taste buds prefer them.
Rum famously pairs well with just about any dark mixer. Mix it with Coke, Dr. Pepper or even root beer to improve the fun quotient at your next party. The carbonation gives the drink an extra punch, and the flavor from the mixer can make the rum more drinkable for those with sensitive palates.
How to Drink It
If you're a true connoisseur, try drinking dark rum neat or on the rocks. It's best served in a lowball glass so you can appreciate its aroma before you take a sip. It's not ideal for shooting because you'll want to appreciate the varied notes in the liquor.
As with other types of alcohol, rum has become the subject of much experimentation. Added flavors improve its drinkability for many people. Common infusions include mango, orange, lime and coconut — basically, any fruit you're likely to find on a Caribbean beach.
Purists who don't like the flavored rums can instead garnish their rums neat with a wedge of their favorite citrus fruit. Squeeze a few drops into the drink or enjoy the fruit separately.
Even if you don't drink rum, you should still make a place for it in your liquor cabinet. It's a popular ingredient in many recipes, from the sweet to the savory. If you've never tried rum cake, you haven't lived. It's also found in rum-raisin pie and marinades for kebabs.
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