Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane byproducts such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels.
The grades and variations used to describe rum depend on the location where a rum was produced. Despite these variations, the following terms are frequently used to describe various types of rum:
- Light rums also referred to as silver or white rums, in general, have very little flavor aside from a general sweetness. Consequently, they often serve as bases for cocktails. Light rums are sometimes filtered after aging to remove any color.
- Gold rums, also called amber rums, are medium-bodied rums that are generally aged. These gain their dark color from aging in wooden barrels. They have more flavor and are stronger-tasting than light rum, and can be considered midway between light rum and the darker varieties.
- Dark rums, also known by their particular color, such as brown, black, or red rums, are classes a grade darker than gold rums. They are generally aged longer, in heavily charred barrels, giving them much stronger flavors than either light or gold rums, and hints of spices can be detected, along with a strong molasses or caramel overtone. They commonly provide substance in rum drinks, as well as color.
- Spiced rums obtain their flavors through the addition of spices and, sometimes, caramel. Most are darker in color, and based on gold rums.
- Flavored rums are infused with flavors of fruits, such as banana, mango, orange, citrus, coconut, starfruit or lime.
- Overproof rums are much higher than the standard 40% ABV. Most of these rums bear greater than 60%, in fact, and preparations of 75% to 80% ABV occur commonly.
- Premium rums, as with other sipping spirits, such as Cognac and Scotch, are in a special market category. These are generally from boutique brands that sell carefully produced and aged rums. They have more character and flavor than their "mixing" counterparts, and are generally consumed straight.
Types of Rum: