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August 16: celebrate National Rum Day!

6 min read

Originally written on August 16, 2022 – Updated 2023

Yo ho ho! Find your inner pirate and let loose with a bottle of rum and a good Pirates movies marathon…or just the rum. That’s the important part!

The only way that we could figure to improve a Coca-Cola, one of life’s most delightful drink and which studies prove will heal the sick and occasionally raise the dead, is to put rum in it.
Rum is a fantastic drink, one that has served as the stuff of legends for pirates of every walk of life.
It also appears in everything from dinners to desserts.

So we all know that pirates like rum and that it is a delicious alcoholic beverage…but many of us are less than clear on what, exactly, makes rum RUM.
Let’s start with the basics.
Rum is a distilled alcohol from byproducts of sugarcane. Some varieties are made from molasses, others from sugarcane juice but all rum, when its finished being distilled, is clear and color you see in it is from its additives or seasonings.
After the fermentation and distillation process, most rum ages in wooden oak barrels.
Rum first was created in the Caribbean after it was discovered that molasses could be fermented into alcohol. Ironically, it was the slaves who made this discovery, but it was the Colonials who discovered how to distil it into true rum.
So important did rum become in the years to follow that it played a major role in the political system of the colonies.
How? By being offered as a bribe to those the candidates wished to curry favor with!
The people thus coerced were no fools, however, as they would attend multiple hustings to determine which of their patrons might provide them with the largest quantity of rum.
Thus it can be fairly said that rum was of such note that it literally decided elections!
Another interesting Rum Fact?
In 1764, the British Crown placed a tax on sugar, molasses and rum on the American colonies. This tax was called The Sugar Act of 1764. It was instrumental in the unrest that finally became the American Revolution.

And how to celebrate?
The best way, of course, is to indulge in this drink. National Rum Day is your opportunity to sample as many varieties as you like and decide which one will be coming aboard your vessel for the next pillage….

And, if you are like the team here at Random-Times, the chances are you just can’t get enough of this delectable liquor.
We love rum, and even consider ourselves experts!
This is why we are sharing some fun facts about rum that most people probably don’t know in honor of what we think is one of the best spirits of them all!

First, did you know that Rum is the oldest spirit in the world? An original through and through rum has a really interesting history if you dive in!
The first rum distillation took place in the Caribbean in the 1620s, this led to rum being the first alcohol to be manufactured and distilled. It was also the first spirit that was drank for pleasure and that was not used for medical purposes!
Today, the largest rum distillery is still in the Caribbean: Bacardi, that has a massive distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which produces 100,000 liters every day!

El Draque is the first mixed cane beverage.
In the late 16th-century, some pirates and explorers like the famous Sir Francis Drake, landed in Havana to sack the city of its gold. It was one of the bands of privateers sponsored by England’s Queen Elizabeth I.
Historians say that he used to mix aguardiente de caña (a crude cane spirit that was the forerunner of rum) with sugar, lemon, and mint. It is unknown if the drink was invented once he was in Cuba or onboard his ship in which there were those ingredients to make a medicinal beverage to relieve fever and colds.
Eventually, this blend was named “El Draque”, and it is said it might be the predecessor of Mojito, consumed up until the beginning of the 18th-century.

However, the etymological origin of “rum” is still uncertain. There are several hypotheses about it and none of them seems to provide enough evidence for it. One comes from the British etymologist Samuel Morewood, who suggested that the term “rum” might be a shortened version of the Latin word for sugar cane “Saccharum Officinarum.”
Secondly, it could also come from the word “brum,” used in the 14th-century by Malay people to name a sugar-based spirit. Still, some others claim that the term is inspired by the Dutch term “rummers”, which refers to the oversized drinking glasses used by sailors from the Netherlands during a time when Dutch settlers farmed sugar cane in Barbados.
Either way, the most accepted theory is that the word could be a shorthand for the British slang “rumbullion,” used to describe a “great tumult” and liquors from sugar cane stalks. This makes more sense since early rum was considered as a hot and strong drink, and the slang is a combination of the adjective “rum” (“strong” or “potent” in Romani) and “boullion” (“hot drink” in French).

Among its several nicknames is also “Nelson’s Blood.” In 1805, Admiral Horatio Nelson was killed as he led the Royal Navy to victory against a French and Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. After his death, historians say that Nelson’s body was stored in a cask of rum, and thirsty sailors drilled holes into the cask and drained away from the rum, which would have been mixed with his blood.

Rum used to be really, really valuable!
So valuable in the 18th century that it used to be used as a type of currency. In fact, sailors would receive rum as a form of payment as part of their benefits package.
Around 1790, rum was a real currency in Australia. The first two decades as a British colony were very challenging, especially because of the shortage of any sort of money and the difficulties to establish an acceptable currency. That was the moment when rum began to be used as means to purchase goods and services.
The problem with rum as a currency was that many people drank it rather than use it to buy the things they needed. Still, over the years, the trade in this spirit grew more and more until it became the most popular form of currency for a while.
And we are sure Captain Jack Sparrow (and not only) would have loved this extra perk!

In fact, also President George Washington loved to make Rum cocktails! He was quite the mixologist back in his day, well known for his famous Mount Vernon Eggnog. The main ingredient? Dark Jamaica rum!

As if you needed another reason to drink rum, there are some suggestions that this liquor can actually help prevent hair loss. And that’s not a joke, as many people today believe in this home remedy to keep their hair in place. In fact, in the 1800s, rum was used by many as a type of shampoo to clean the hair and most people believed that it actually helped make their hair thicker.

If you are really looking to have a good time, give Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum a try, as It is the highest proof rum in the world. It hails from Jamaica, and It is 63% alcohol!
However, the world’s strongest rum is Suriname’s Mariënburg rum, bottled at 90%. Its closest rival is a product of Saint Vincent, Sunset Very Strong Rum, bottled at 84.5%.
After all, it is a national holiday!

Images from web – Google Research

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