10 best rums: here’s the pick of the carnival-worthy bottles to try this summer!
‘Rum, once the poor relation of the spirit world, has undergone a revival and is no longer seen simply as the rough booze used to warm the cockles of salty seafarers. With a wide range of styles and hues to choose from, introducing yourself to the drink can seem a bit daunting, but there are a few basics that should set you on your way with confidence.
As with whisky, the variation in flavour comes from not only the raw ingredients used but also the way it’s produced and aged, with methods varying throughout the world. Most rum is distilled from molasses, a by-product of sugar production, but other sugary bases include Demerara and juice squeezed directly from sugar cane. Ageing in oak helps develop each rum’s unique characteristics besides deepening the hue.
You can choose to use your rum for cocktails (mixing rum) – the likes of daiquiris, mojitos and the refreshing dark and stormy with ginger beer – or drinking neat (sipping rum). White and golden rums lend themselves perfectly to cocktail making, while the darker, more aged bottles are usually reserved for sipping – although there are no strict rules. Again like whisky, there are plenty of exclusive rums that will set you back more than a few pieces of silver but there’s no need to re-mortgage the pirate ship just yet: this selection is geared towards the more affordable end of the range.
Pyrat XO Reserve: ‘You’ll be pleased you plundered some of this great value booze, with its bottle based on those used by 19th century pirates containing a finely honed blend of rums from its Guyanese home and elsewhere in the Caribbean. There are pronounced orange notes in both aroma and taste, complimented by some molasses sweetness, with the initial stab of alcohol easing to clean finish. Swashbuckling stuff, best drank neat. ‘