The Wheel of Spirits: Episode Rum

At The Wheel of Spirits it is all about the topic rum this February. Rum always conjures up visions of summer, sunshine – and pirates. Actually, the name Rum is supposed to come from the English slang rumbullion – an old word for public turmoil.

Now we’re going to take a look at when and where Rum originated, how it originated, what kinds of Rum there are and some of the drinks you can mix with it.

Rum was first produced in the Caribbean in the 17th century, and is still made from sugar cane, a plant that grows particularly well in the climate there. Sugar syrup, known as molasses, is extracted from sugar cane. Molasses is boiled together with sugar cane juice and water to create the so-called mash. Just like with beer and wine, yeast is added to create alcohol, the ‘sugar cane wine’, which is then distilled to make Rum. To ensure a finely balanced flavour, the Rum is kept for several months in stainless steel casks. When drawn from the casks, the product is what we know as White Rum. Brown Rum is Rum matured in wooden casks, just like Whisky. For Spiced Rums, spices like vanilla, cloves and ginger will be mixed in.

Instead of making a mash, freshly pressed sugar cane juice can also be used, as in the case of Cachaça, a speciality from southern Brazil. It is also the source of Rhum Agricole, a Rum distilled primarily in the former French colonies.

Rum was never drunk exclusively by sailors and pirates: It very quickly became an important commodity and thousands of barrels were shipped back to the Old World every year. Today, Rum is distilled all over the world. Even here in Germany. Nevertheless, the great classic Rums still come from the Caribbean.

And after this much rum theory, here are three recipes:

Rum Collins, a bar classicwith Thomas Henry Soda Water, a version of the Bright & Stormy with White Rum and Thomas Henry Spicy Ginger, and a Tears & Sour with Spiced Rum and Thomas Henry Ultimate Grapefruit (new product since 2020: Thomas Henry Pink Grapefruit).

Now know a little more about how it’s made, what varieties there are – and that Coke is not the only thing you can mix with it. Ahoy and Cheers!


Texted by Philipp Mogwitz.