Slowly however absolutely, rum is gaining popularity in the U.S. Final yr, the Distilled Spirits Council’s annual economic briefing confirmed progress within the rum class for the first time since 2013, with 24.1 million 9-liter instances bought in 2019, amounting to $2.Three billion in income for rum distillers. And whereas a majority of gross sales went to flavored and spiced rums (greater than 57 %, in line with the report), and tiki drinks have lengthy claimed the thunder of rum consumption, the most recent premium and super-premium manufacturers in the marketplace are proving the spirit is extra versatile than that.
Within the U.S., rum importers and bartenders are pushing for an easier, extra clear means to purchase and take pleasure in rum, ingesting rum straight up or neat.
“It has undoubtedly grow to be a development prior to now few years,” Michah Anderson, bartender at Portland, Ore.’s Rum Club, says. “Of us wish to develop their palates and attempt new issues, and they’ve heard the thrill round sipping rums — so they’re undoubtedly asking for them extra now.”
Whereas ingesting whiskey neat is comparatively widespread apply within the U.S., historical past reveals that sipping rum is mostly a return to America’s spirited ingesting roots.
“Previous to the popularization of whiskey within the early days of the American Republic, rum was the spirit of alternative,” says Shannon Mustipher, a Brooklyn-based spirits educator, guide, author, and VinePair contributor. In these days, she says, Barbadian rum was held in excessive regard. These days, rum is produced in additional than 100 international locations, utilizing quite a lot of strategies that fluctuate between area and producer.
So, rum taste profiles fluctuate vastly. Mustipher compares rums’ regionality and taste nuances to wine. “Some individuals like Loire Valley reds, some desire spherical and oaky California Chardonnays,” she says. “The hot button is to have an understanding of your private preferences, be taught the fundamentals of the class and which fashion is probably going to provide you what you might be on the lookout for, and take it from there.”
Mustipher recommends beginning with a most well-liked taste profile. For instance, these on the lookout for vegetal or floral flavors may attempt rums from Jamaica, Haiti, and Martinique. “For somebody who prefers sweeter spirits, they’d doubtless desire Venezuelan or Panamanian rums, which generally contain added sugar.” she says. “Die-hard whiskey drinkers would doubtless desire Barbadian or Guyanese (Demerara rums), as they [tend to be] fuller-bodied and straightforward to take pleasure in neat or on the rocks.”
The Skinny on Sugar
Whereas there are many rums to select from at most liquor shops, understanding what data is given on (or is missing from) the bottle is important to creating a range. Kiowa Bryan, model supervisor at Spiribam, a rum (rhum agricole) importer with distilleries in Martinique and Saint Lucia, advises consumers to ask questions and perform a little research earlier than shopping for — beginning with the label.
“Look to see if the bottle says ‘no components’ or ‘no sugar added,’” Bryan says. “Due to the shortage of U.S. restrictions on rum in comparison with different spirits resembling whiskey or tequila, you can’t be certain if something has been added to masks the purity of the product. Because of this many manufacturers who don’t use components or sugar be aware this on the label.”
Whereas some manufacturers are clear about including sugar to emphasise sure flavors within the rum, Bryan says, others aren’t. “Sadly, many manufacturers additionally market rum as being candy naturally as a result of it’s constituted of sugarcane merchandise … That is fully false advertising and marketing and is normally a ploy to mislead shoppers whereas overlaying up flaws in a product,” she says. “So many in style rums on the market take benefit [of this], tricking shoppers into ingesting rum with 40 grams of sugar added per liter or extra. This additionally creates a standard false impression that rum is good or has extra energy as a result of it’s constituted of sugarcane or its byproducts.”
Bryan says this couldn’t be much less true. “The distillation course of removes all sugar from spirits. It’s solely after distillation that many manufacturers are including sugar again into the rum — oftentimes to masks imperfections,” she says.
Bryan recommends in search of out rums from Martinique that say “AOC” on their labels — that means Appellation d’Origine Contrôllée, or managed appellation of origin, which denotes a particular set of standards for the rum market) — indicating they’re legally required to be freed from components together with sugar.
Nonetheless Need a Cocktail? Begin With a Easy Riff
For these trying to dip their toes (er… tongues) into rum, however will not be but able to take pleasure in rum straight, Bryan recommends changing whiskey with rum in a spirit-forward traditional cocktail such because the Old Fashioned, made with sugar, bitters, and garnished with an orange slice or zest. “Aged rum makes a incredible Old Fashioned, and is such a easy and straightforward cocktail to make at house,” she says. “I all the time inform individuals to suppose exterior the field and substitute the sugar for liqueur or a home made syrup — my rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon sugar [equals] 1/Four ounce of straightforward syrup [equals] 1/2 ounce liqueur — and to be inventive with what sort of citrus you employ!”
Mustipher additionally makes an Old Fashioned riff with rum often known as The Bombo. “I’ve been working with rum for numerous years, and I’m consistently shocked by the ever-increasing abundance of number of choices on the market,” says Mustipher. “This can be initially intimidating to somebody desirous to be taught in regards to the class, however I encourage anybody who’s curious to strategy tasting with an open thoughts and the expectation that the class will grow to be extra inviting and rewarding to expertise with every sip and over time.”
5 Sipping Rums to Attempt:
When it comes right down to it, sipping rum is identical as sipping wine or another spirit — you gained’t know what you want till you attempt it. Listed below are 5 sipping rums to attempt.
Rhum agricole is constituted of sugarcane juice, whereas rum is made usually from molasses. This rhum agricole (owned by Spiribaum) is full-bodied, vivid, and pleasant to sip neat. Bryan makes use of this in an Previous Customary variation she calls the “Chunky Monkey,” which mixes 2 ounces Clement VSOP, 1/2 ounce amontillado or oloroso sherry, 1/2 ounce banana liqueur, three dashes Angostura bitters, and a tiny pinch of salt. Common worth: $46
Appleton is the longest-running distiller in Jamaica (relationship again to 1745), and this 12-year bottle is a superb one to attempt by itself, with notes of banana and mango. Common worth: $40
Santa Teresa, a Venezuelan namesake rum, is a favourite of Anderson and many others. It will get its taste from the Spanish “solera” getting older course of, which produces a wealthy and dry rum that has flavors of toffee and some spice. Common worth: $45
4. Don Papa Rum
Made within the Philippines, from a single island on the foothills of the energetic volcano Mt. Kanlao, Don Papa is among the fastest-growing super-premium rum manufacturers — and any of its choices would do nicely over ice or neat. This one, aged 10 years in former American bourbon barrels which were re-charred, is a darker, richer, extra complicated model of its rum, with hints of dried tropical fruit and vanilla. Common worth: $65
Barbados created a rum customary in America, so it is sensible that the island nation continues to have presence within the rum commerce right here. Maybe one of the crucial well-known Barbadian rums is Mount Homosexual, and the XO version is full-bodied and spherical, with notes of caramel, fig, and spice. Common worth: $70