Rum is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks around the world. It can be mixed or taken straight up. The options are endless. There are many interesting facts about rum that most people don’t even know. For instance, in the 1800’s, rum was highly admired as a go-to beauty product for its ability to clean hair and strengthen its roots. This can definitely come in handy for the long haired ladies. Rum has many interesting names besides for what it was originally called; they are demon water, navy neaters, pirate’s drink, Barbados water, grog, rumbullion, kill-devil, and Nelson’s blood. Although the origin of the word rum is widely disputed, some etymologists argue that it was taken from the last syllable for the Latin word for sugar, ‘saccharum.’ If you never knew that there was such a thing as National Rum Month, well now you do; August is the official month for rum, and August 16 is National Rum Day. How exciting!
If you’d ever like to find the largest rum distillery in the world, then look no further than Bacardi house in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The first North American rum distillery was established in 1664 in what is now knows as Staten Island. There is a portion of rum that is lost to distillation over time, and it is called “Angel’s Share,” which literally means ‘the portion given to the angels above.’ Hailing from Barbados, Mount Gay prides itself on being the oldest existing rum company in the world dating back to 1705. The first distillation of rum took place in the 1620’s when Caribbean sugarcane plantation slaves discovered the molasses, a byproduct of sugar refining, could be fermented into alcohol. Now that’s an interesting find. The precursors to rum date all the way back to ancient India and China where fermented drinks were produced from sugarcane.
Years ago, rum was thought to be a protectant against scurvy, and in hopes of preventing this not so fun disease, the British Navy gave rations of rum to its sailors until the 1970’s, but it was actually the addition of lime (vitamin C) that kept the scurvy at bay. Black Tot Day became a thing on July 31, 1970 when the Royal Navy decided to put an end to its daily rum rations for its sailors. Something interesting about rum is that the aging process will determine the color or it; oak cask aged rums become dark whereas stainless steel aged rums remain virtually colorless. Did you know that spiced rums are usually fortified with rosemary, anise, cinnamon, pepper, caramel, and the famous absinthe? It’s quite the interesting blend. Jamaica’s Wray & Nephew currently owns the most expensive rum in the world. There are only 4 remaining bottles from the 1940’s going got $40,000 a pop. Now I’m sure you’d like to taste a glass of this amazing drink.
In the olden days, some people loved their alcohol so much, that they would ask to be buried with it, and sometimes bodies were actually preserved this way. This was in fact something that British legend says Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson’s body was preserved in a cask of rum before being shipped back to England. Later, it was discovered that a hole had been drilled into the bottom of the cask so that all of the sailors could drink the rum before the cask’s arrival.Thus, the name “Nelson’s blood” was born.Eighteenth century sailors were often paid in rum. To test the rum’s authenticity, they allegedly mixed it with gunpowder, and the successful ignition indicated authenticity. President George Washington was also into being a mixologist. He was well known for his Mount Vernon eggnog, which he fortified with dark Jamaican rum. Rum has come a long way, and has been admired by so many throughout the years. Go and have yourself a lovely fresh glass today.