Learn About the Different Types of Rum

What do you know about the different styles of rum out there? Find out what makes rum unique from other drinks.

The drink we know today as rum actually originated in the colonial west Indies as a result of the Sugar Trade. Islands colonized by the English tend to produce strong dark rums made from molasses, while islands occupied by France typically produce rum directly from sugarcane juice. Islands colonized by the Spanish, meanwhile, are recognized for their smooth, buttery rums.

Discover the Different Types of Rum

Each rum producing nation choosing its own criteria for what qualifies as ‘rum.’ Nevertheless there are basic categories for different types of rum that are broadly accepted. They include:

Light Rums

Often filtered after aging, light rums can be completely colourless. Fortunately for rum aficionados, experimentation is something to be encouraged – cocktail recipes may need to be adjusted according to the individual brand of light rum being used.

Many medium bodied rums gain their coloring from the bourbon whiskey oak barrels used for the aging process. Extra filtering processes take the edge off the young rum, and lend it a soft golden hue, making it a particularly popular and affordable rum. Often times, these rums are aged for just 1 to 2 years, the rum is then filtered through a charcoal blend to soften it. However many light rums are not quite smooth enough for sipping, and they are best used as a spirit for mixing cocktails.

Dark Rums

Dark rums tend have a stronger, fuller flavor, than other kinds of rums. Part of what gives dark rums their unique flavor profile is a result of longer aging and the use of charred oak barrels. Jamaica is particularly well known for producing dark rums, the best of which are exceptionally smooth. Fine dark rums can also command a larger price, with higher-end bottles costing close to a thousand of dollars per bottle, if not more.

Overproof Rums

If you’re a fan or strong liquors, you’ll be excited to learn that the strongest of rums can be found at 160 proof (or even higher). Overproof rum is often the preferred drink for locals in the Caribbean, who combine the strong spirit with coconut water, water, or soda. Classically based on amber rums, but enhanced with various spices, overproof rums have become wildly popular around the world. They are also excellent in mixed cocktails and delicious when served neat with just an ice cube or two.

Other Types of Rums

While Caribbean islands are recognized sources of rum, there are other sugar-based drinks out there for the rum connoisseur. In Brazil, Cachaça is a popular drink made from fermented sugarcane juice. The liquor is a staple in many tropical drinks and is also called pinga, aguardente, and caninha among others. Flavored rums are also a popular staple drink in many countries.

Find Rum Love with Yolo Rum

If you’re a rum lover, you know that the best rums are aged rums, many of which rival the best whiskeys when it comes to complexity of flavor, smoothness, and drinkability. The culture and history of rum is as varied as that of wine or whiskey, while remaining one of the most versatile beverages in the world. You only live once! Discover rum love with Yolo by browsing through our favorite rum recipes!