Rum: All You Need To Know About Jamaica’s National Drink

August 30, 2019

by Joharah Galvez

Rum, National drink, Jamaica
Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

When you hear about rum, you instantly think of the beach, hearing the waves and sipping on awesome cocktails. But do you know that this drink is Jamaica’s national drink? Read on to know more about this liquor’s history and how Jamaica became the hot spot for the best rum. 

 

The origins trace back to the 1600s in Carribbean islands, where records suggest that slaves made alcohol by fermenting molasses. Molasses is a byproduct of refining sugarcane into sugar. Before this, sugarcane planters considered molasses a huge industrial waste.

 

The history of this drink is, unfortunately, tightly intertwined with slave trades in colonial America and Europe. Because of the growing demand of rum in America and sugar in Europe, this made a chain of trades between Africa, the Caribbean, and British colonies.

 

Rum has spread more when the British navy adopted it as their official drink in 1655. They conquered Jamaica from Spain at the time. They seized sugarcane plantations and rum distilleries. Through this, they eliminated brandy, which is from France, a frequent enemy of the Brits.

 

This long, convoluted history enabled rum to be distributed all over the world. It made rum one of most widely-known and consumed drinks in many different countries around the world.

 

Why Is It The National Drink Of Jamaica?

Columbus was the first European to find sugarcane on the Caribbean Islands. He only started to move the sugarcane to Europe instead of looking into the products made of it. After the British took control of Jamaica, they introduced Rum production in the country. That drink became popular in North America as well as Europe. Slaves, soldiers, diplomats were carrying this drink outside Jamaica.

 

Well, it is said that slaves contributed a lot to the popularity of rum. But soon as the anti-slave movements began, the business of this spirit began to decline. Another impact was caused by the war between the British and the French, which nearly collapsed the Rum industry in Jamaica. Half a century later the industry went further into the shambles. But this drink was still famous among the Jamaicans. Soon as the Jamaicans realized the potential of this drink, they resumed the work. In a way, they resumed the international trade of this drink to North America and Europe. It became so famous that presently Jamaica exports the liquor to over 70 countries in the world.

 

Taste Of Rum

bottles, rum

Photo from Pixabay

 

There are three basic types produced in Jamaica and those differ in taste. The foremost is the White Rum. It has been done for the last four hundred years. This variant tastes sweet and is light and dry. This is the least flavoured of all four types because of the short distillation period. This variety of rum is preferred for cocktails and other mixed drinks.

 

The Amber or Jamaican Golden Rum is the next variation from this country. This is the original flavour of Rum. After distilling for long, this drink tastes rich, smooth and sweet. The Amber Rum is distilled in oak barrels.

 

Last, but not the least, the Premium Jamaican Rum. This is actually the Amber Rum which is distilled for even longer. The longer it is distilled, the better it tastes. It has rich and premium quality taste and even it is the most expensive among all. The best way to take this type is to take it with ice.

 

How Much Does Rum Cost?

There is a lot of variation in the prices of this drink. The cheapest ones come from Italy, and they are priced at $11.19. The Japanese brands are next to the Italians and are worth around $17.50. The Jamaican Rum is the most expensive among the common labels. That is priced for at least $36.38.

 

As mentioned earlier, the Premium Jamaican Rums are the most expensive. The cheapest label among those is available for $50. But the best ones are even priced at $117 for a .75-litre bottle.

 

How To Drink Rum

You can drink the liquor as it is, or with water or some ice.  It may also be mixed with other drinks or flavourings. That totally depends that how would you like to take it. It also depends on what type you have. Adding White Rum to a cocktail enriches its taste. Similarly, you can mix Amber Rum with some other flavours, like caramel. However, it’s best to drink Premium Rum as it is to retain its strong taste.

 

Cocktails You Can Make

cocktail, rum

Photo from Pixabay

 

Jamaican Rum is exported throughout the world. As a result, it’s likely that every country has its own cocktail invented using this drink. You have the usual suspects such as daiquiri, pina colada, and mojito. Other cocktail you can make are mai tai, hot buttered rum, and zombie.

 

Mai tai has both dark rum and white rum, along with triple sec, grenadine, almond syrup, and lime juice.  Mix all these together in a shaker. Pour in a tumbler with ice, and top with a cherry.

 

Hot buttered rum is perfect if you want a warm, boozy drink. It has dark rum, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and butter. Mix those with water, brown sugar, and salt and bring to a high boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

 

Don’t be afraid of this zombie too much. This has both dark and white rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine. Pour the liquors and fruit juices into a shaker filled with ice. Shake until the shaker feels cold. Pour in a tall glass and add the grenadine for extra colour. Garnish with fruits and mint leaves.

 

Where To Buy The Liquor In The US

Rum, National drink, Jamaica

 

This liquor is widely available in the US. Some of the best sellers include Wine-Searcher and TotalWine. These online stores have different brands of Jamaican rum.

 

Final Thoughts

This liquor has a long history and played a particular part in some major events in the world. While now that has a rosier view, it’s still special, especially to Jamaicans. So why not take a sip of Jamaican rum in Jamaica itself? Plan your trip soon!

 

*This article was contributed by Akshay Sharma.