Rum Recipes for Every Occasion
By Ashley Stevenson
For all those who have their favorite rum recipe and love to sip quietly on a rum cocktail, you may not often sit and ponder the history of this wonderfully versatile spirit. Today there are literally thousands of rum recipes for cocktails, punches and shooters of all varieties. It was not always thus however.
Rum is one of the earliest alcoholic drinks, believed to have been around since ancient times. Though it wasn't first distilled in plantations until the 17th century, rum is believed to have been the drink of choice of the Malay people thousands of years before that. Historians believe that they knew the drink as brum. In the 14th century, Marco Polo recorded in his journals tales of a wine made with extracts from sugar, thereby lending credibility to the belief that rum was around before the 1600s.
The earliest recorded distillation of rum occurred in the Caribbean when slaves working on plantations worked out that a by product of sugar, known as molasses, could be made into a form of alcohol. This alcohol, however, was not well received, at least not at first. The early history of rum was not a raging success story and the spirit was thought at first to be a quite vile tasting liquor.
Production of rum quickly spread to the new American colonies. In 1664, the first distillery was established in what is now known as Staten Island and others soon followed. New Englander's had a passion for the production of rum. The rum industry was by far the biggest industry in the region and the end product was widely considered to be the best in the land, better even than that imported from the Caribbean!
Rum was a spirit destined to have a prominent place in history - even the dark parts of history. Rum was central to the evolution of the slave trade in the new colony as slaves, molasses and rum formed part of what was known as a triangle of trade. Production of rum carried on in enormous quantities until the passing into law of the Sugar Act in 1764. Such is the place of rum in American history that some believe it to be a pivotal part in the American Revolution.
More than any other alcoholic drink rum was romantically associated with pirates on the high seas. This initially started when English privateers began trading it. A number of privateers became pirates and rum was their drink of choice. Works of literature that coupled rum and piracy perpetuated this belief that rum was the drink of choice for pirates.
Rum also has a long association with the Royal Navy, beginning with the capture of Jamaica by the British in 1655. Rum was available in such plentiful supplies that sailors began to drink it in preference to the brandy and beer which had until then been their staple diet. It is fitting therefore that the refining of rum began where the story started, in the Caribbean.
Prior to the late 1800s, most rum was dark and heavy. The Spanish determined to try to make rum more palatable and of greater general appeal to the public and offered a reward for anyone who could improve its quality. History shows that it was at this time that Don Facundo Bacardi Masso came to prominence.
Moving from Cuba to Spain in about 1843, Masso is credited with refining the techniques for rum production. He improved distillation, filtering, and aging in casks made of American oak. The end result was rum which was much lighter and smoother, a spirit that today we have come to love, to drink, and one which comes in many forms from dark to light, from white to spiced and which is the drink of choice for millions the world over.
Ashley Stevenson is a journalist who supplements his income with a home based internet marketing business selling information products. For information about the product which is the subject of this article click through one of these links.
Ashley Stevenson is a freelance writer and internet marketer.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.