What’s the Best Caribbean Rum? Our Top 5 Choices
While the undisputed origin of the word “rum” is not clear, an English etymologist, Samuel Morewood, attributed the reason to the fact that rum in the Queen’s language also means “the best.” In English, “having a ‘rum’ time” translates to having great and fabulous time.
He, therefore, found it fitting that the alcoholic beverage extracted from molasses (which cannot be called brandy, whisky or arrack) should be called rum owing to its very superior and rather unique qualities of flavor, texture and aroma. An extremely popular and accepted history of the Carribean rum goes as follows:
History of the Caribbean Rum
Sugarcane has been grown in the Caribbean islands since when Christopher Columbus introduced the crop way back in the late 15th century.
Molasses, the sticky, sweet by-product of sugar production, was available in large volumes for free and probably was treated as “garbage” to be discarded till the magical discover of rum happened.
Either an accidental discovery or through the ingenuity of one or more African-American slaves working on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean islands, rum was supposedly first fermented around the 17th century.
Today, the island’s coveted spirit made from the molasses of sugarcane is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages whose sheen and power has not dulled even a wee bit after all these centuries since its discovery.
The fact that rum was originally invented in the Caribbean islands make Caribbean rum the undisputed and foremost leader among rums of the world. However, today Caribbean rums are brewed in other places too especially Latin America.
Types of Caribbean Rum
- White Rum – made undeservedly infamous owing to its earlier harsh and seemingly cheap palate, the white rum today is a liquor of choice for direct drinking or for mixing in cocktails especially in the classic mojito. The “white” in the name is owed to the fact that this rum is distilled in white oak. White rums are normally not aged and have a summery and fruity heady kick in their flavors.
- Golden Rum – the “golden” in the name indicates that this rum has been aged in amber oak barrels. While the resultant flavor is highly dependent on the distillers, usually golden rum has distinctive toffee and caramel notes
- Dark or Black Rum – is aged in charred oak barrels for a longer period as compared to the lighter ones. Flavors are normally intense and smoky intertwined with caramel and vanilla overtones
- Spiced Rum – earlier spicing up rum was a means of camouflaging unpleasant and badly brewed flavors with overpowering spices. However, today, the spice spikes are well-deserved and have become very popular among rum lovers.
Malibu Original Coconut Rum
Malibu, in addition to being an original, is a leading global brand of Caribbean Rum. This coconut-flavored rum will give you the taste of Malibu sunshine from a bottle.
It has a smooth coconut-tinged flavor and a sweet finish – like the feeling of being in the sunkissed island of Malibu while you sip your drink in your own home!
Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
The initial flavors of cane, grass and fruit is followed by amazing crispness and smoothness. With a moderate sweetness combined with an overtone of bittersweet, the Mount Gay Eclipse Rum offers an excellently balanced palate.
It’s medium-bodied texture and the mid-palate tones along with the cinnamon spices in the background make this liqueur sweet, delicious and caney.
The rum displays a long finish while it’s golden amber luminous glow and the perfectly harmonizing taste and aroma never fail to delight even the most difficult-to-please connoisseur.
Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Year
Ranked No.1 by the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago, the Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Year Rum delivers awesome flavor and texture.
The rum is aged for 6-23 years and are blended in a solera. While it is a great drink if you want to drink it straight, the Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 Year blends very well in cocktails too enhancing their worth and value a few notches.
Don Q Rum Cristal
The process used to brew this clear rum uses multiple distillation systems producing a thing of beauty with enhanced clarity, refinement and flavor profile as compared to other clear rums.
The smoothness of this rum can easily match up to the vodka in any cocktail so well that if substituted you may not be able to tell the difference. It is aged in American white oak barrels in the range of 1.5 to 6 years to achieve that extra smoothness.
Appleton Estate V/X Rum
The Appleton Estate V/X rum is a perfectly balanced blend of 15 different rums. All of them are aged for 5-10 years in Jack Daniel oak barrels.
After the aging process of the 15 different rums is completed, they are blended and filled into new casks and aged again for many months allowing the various flavours, aromas and textures to marry fully and comprehensively before the bottling process.
Whether drunk straight or blended in a cocktail or simply with coke, rum never fails to deliver what it promises – amazing flavor and smoothness that have the power to alter your perception of the world.
Rum combines a beautiful long history and a sweet flavor to remain a timeless and unique liqueur that drinkers and connoisseurs will never tire of.
This drink deserves every bit of tribute that was, is and will be showered upon it till man walks the surface of this planet!
Do share with me your thoughts on rum and which one of my favorites is yours too!