Sugar producers throughout the world provide many useful and lucrative by-products that realise revenues that far exceed what they get paid for their bags of sugar.
For example in Britain, the production of sugar comes from sugar beet. The earth washed from the beet is sold as topsoil and the leafy tops make rich make garden-centre friendly compost. The sugar beet flesh that’s left after of the sugary juice has been extracted is turned in cattle feed. But probably the best recognised is the black syrup left after processing, known as molasses. Here it is used as a nutritious animal feed or, more rarely, distilled into industrial alcohol. But never rum!
Not so in many of the Caribbean islands, where the high-quality molasses from sugar cane is fermented and distilled into rum. Unlike any other spirit, rum is equally popular in its white form, such as Bacardi, or in its dark form, such as Navy rum. The colour can actually range from purest non-aged white right through to deep black, but drinkers who like to take it neat prefer the light-brown versions that have been coloured as a result of maturation in American oak barrels.
The dark brown colour of some rums is produced by the addition of generous amounts of caramel, which unfortunately tends to smother any flavours derived from distillation or maturation. Only really sweet-toothed drinkers enjoy this type.
Boutique producers like 10 Cane of Trinidad and Bally Rhum of Martinique, use a different method for making their rum/rhum, treating the sugar cane more like a vine and using not the molasses but the valuable sugary juices. Their fermentation and distillation process is more akin to the production of cognac, with French rather than American oak used for its maturation. The resultant spirit is light and elegant, with a taste very similar to premium brandy. A must try for rum and cognac aficionados!
Amber rum made from the juice of sugar cane
10 Cane Rum, Trinidad
Amber rum produced from molasses
Mount Gay Rum, Eclipse, Barbados
Produced by Mount Gay Distillers Limited, A barrel aged amber Rum that presents moreish sugary peel fruit aromas and flavours right through to the swallow.
Competing Brands: Appleton & Bacardi
Dark rum produced from molasses
Lamb’s Navy Rum
Lamb’s Navy is the benchmark dark rum brand. Worth a punt if enjoy the flavours of sugary caramel and peel fruits.
Competing Brands: Captain Morgan, Bacardi, Appleton & Havana Club
White rum produced from molasses
Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum
Wray & Nephew is one of the leading Rum brands found on the supermarket’s shelves. Want a quality white rum for mixing or sipping? If the style, size and price fits – put a bottle in the trolley.
Competing Brands: Mount Gay, Bacardi & Havana Club