August 16:August 16, 2012
August 16: National Rum Day
“There’s naught no doubt so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.” – Lord Byron
Rum history can be traced back to the 17th century when sugar plantations were flourishing in the British West Indies. Rum is a beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses and sugarcane juice by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak and other casks. While there are rum producers in places such as Australia, India, Reunion Island, and elsewhere around the world, the majority of rum production occurs in and around the Caribbean and along the Demerara River in South America.
Light rums are commonly used in mixed drinks, while golden and dark rums are appropriate for use in cooking as well as cocktails. Premium brands of rum are also available that are made to be consumed neat or on the rocks.
Rum plays a part in the culture of most islands of the West Indies, and has famous associations with the British Royal Navy and piracy. Rum has also served as a popular medium of exchange that helped to promote slavery along with providing economic instigation for Australia’s Rum Rebellion and the American Revolution.
The origin of the word rum is unclear. A common claim is that the name was derived from rumbullion meaning “a great tumult or uproar”. Another claim is the name is from the large drinking glasses used by Dutch seamen known as rummers, from the Dutch word roemer, a drinking glass. Other options include contractions of the words saccharum, Latin for sugar, or arôme, French for aroma.
Regardless of the original source, the name had come into common use by May 1657 when the General Court of Massachusetts made illegal the sale of strong liquor “whether knowne by the name of rumme, strong water, wine, brandy, etc., etc.”
Some facts and trivia about rum can be found at http://www.rumwisdom.com/rumfacts.html
The Andrew Sisters singing Rum and Coca Cola: