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Popular Brandy Cocktails

The Mount Gay Rum Tropical Passion Winner of 1st place in the Drinks International Cocktail Challenge Brown Spirits Heat

2oz Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
. 1oz Passoã passion fruit liqueur
. 1oz Bols Crème de Banane
. 2oz pineapple juice

Combine all ingredients in a Highball glass and shake with ice. Serve with a garnish of pineapple and a cherry

Rum is not made from a grain but from a grass. Sugar cane is essentially a tall, coarse grained grass that grows particularly well in black mud and tropical heat. It is most at home in the Caribbean where Columbus first brought it from the Canary Islands on his second voyage.

Like so many other spirits, rum is made from the leftovers. When sugar cane is refined into the white sugar we use in our coffee, fresh cane is brought to the sugar mills where it is crushed and the juice collected. The juice is then boiled to concentrate the sugar by evaporating the water. The result, a thick, heavy syrup, is pumped into a centrifugal apparatus where the sugar in the syrup is crystallized and separated from the other solids. What is left behind is a thick, black residue called molasses. Put back into solution, this molasses can be quickly fermented and distilled into what we know of as rum.


As was noted earlier, thanks to the Moors in Malaga, rum was probably the first spirit drink ever produced. Molasses itself being very sticky will attract and hold any airborne yeast that comes near it. It can and will ferment almost entirely on its own, and become a very sweet "wine" if you will. Oddly perhaps, it wasn't until the 17th century that colonists in the Caribbean started to distil this product. It quickly became so popular that a number of them forgot that they were supposed to be making sugar in the first place.

In the middle of the 17th century, the Royal Navy took over Jamaica and as a reward the sailors were all given a ration of the rum that they had confiscated. At about the same time, Puerto Rican rum became popular throughout the Spanish colonies. In the middle of the 19th century, Puerto Rico became the first country to produce rum on a commercial basis. It is now the largest producer of rum in the world.

rum NOTE

Rums are traditionally mixed into punches, or with fruit juices. Mixed with cola, it is still the most popular mixed drink. Rum has often been used in baking, especially cakes and Christmas puddings, but the darker versions being generally richer and sweeter work well in sauces and gravies.


Rum generally falls into three classes.

Light bodied rums

, those from former Spanish colonies such as Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Virgin Islands are made primarily in a column still, and get little if any barrel aging.

Medium bodied rums

The former French colonies of Haiti and Martinique produce medium bodied rums

, quite often in a pot still, many of them aged in oak barrels. The volcanic soils in both of these locations give their rums an

extra dimension of flavor and a fruitiness that other rums just don't have.

Full bodied rums

The older style of Full bodied rums s normally come from the former British colonies of Jamaica, Trinidad, and the Demerara River in Guyana. With the exception of Demerara, they are almost all made in a pot still, and generally get extensive barrel aging.

Because sugar cane is harvested at a specific time of every year, roughly speaking late autumn, it is possible to get what are "vintage" dated rums. Some, especially those from Martinique, can be procured from as far back as the 1950s, but their price is in the range of the XO Cognacs.