Rum is one of the finest, most well-rounded spirits to ever exist. It's basically a combination of sugarcane juice and caramelized molasses aged in wooden barrels for up to 30 years and distilled until it reaches a warm amber color that goes down as smoothly as silk. Rum is often associated with pirates, beachside bars, and tiki drinks, but there's so much more to it than that!
Rum is a fermented alcoholic drink created from the byproducts of sugarcane, such as molasses or sugarcane juice. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually fermented in oak or similar wood barrels to give it that strong aged flavor.
Accounts about rum's origins are conflicting, but it was initially popularized in the Caribbean and is produced all over the world today. The name "rum" comes from rumbullion or rumbustion (a commotion), a drink made with rum that British sailors on ships used to mix with water and other spices to create something akin to a grog. This drink was said to give them energy during long voyages at sea.
Rum has come a long way since then. Today, there exist many ways to enjoy it from sipping it neat or on the rocks, mixed into cocktails, or even baked into desserts.
The Glass Matters
Any rum-drinking aficionado knows the importance of quality glassware. If you don't, let us be the first to tell you: it's essential!
Nowadays, many different kinds of glassware are available on the market, and choosing the right type can make all the difference between a good drink and an exceptional one. Below is a list of factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding which type of glass to use for your next rum experience:
Rum glasses come in many sizes, from tiny shot glasses to large tumblers. If you're serving rum neat, you don't want to use an oversized glass. Conversely, you wouldn't want to cramp cocktail ingredients in a tiny one.
It also pays to consider how much space drinkers like between them and their drink. Some people want to sip slowly over long periods of time, while others prefer to down their beverages as quickly as possible. This can influence your choice of glass size: if they want something small and elegant, choose one with thin walls; if they want something large enough to last through an entire evening, go for one with thicker walls.
The shape of your rum glass can also affect your rum drinking experience. There are three main types of shapes: straight-sided (like a traditional tumbler), tapered (like a pint glass), and rounded (like those used by bars). Each has its pros and cons: straight-sided glasses tend not to tip over easily; tapered ones will allow you to sip more quickly; rounded ones are great if they have ice in them.
Glass is always the best option for serving your rum. The flavor of the rum will shine through and be preserved better than with plastic or metal. Plus, it looks pretty on your shelf!
Plastic is fine if you're just drinking the rum straight out of the bottle, but if you wish to serve it at a party or event and want to keep it cold, plastic isn't going to cut it. It's not very durable and won't hold temperature well over time.
Ceramic is another excellent option because it's easy to clean. However, it's not the most durable of materials. It may chip or crack if you drop your ceramic cup on hardwood floors.
Metal is great for storing rum because it will cool quickly and keep its temperature well as long as it's not exposed to direct sunlight or heat sources (like an oven).
11 Notable Glasses for Your Rum
Many types of glasses can be used for rum, depending on what type you're serving. The following are some of the most popular glasses used by baristas and casual home drinkers alike.
1. Sculpted Rum Glass
With sculpted glasses, you can get really imaginative with your rum drinking! Because of their distinctive design, which makes them convenient to carry and visually pleasing to look at, these glasses make sipping rum a lot of fun.
2. Rocking Rum Glass
The rocking rum glass is one of the most iconic glasses for drinking and serving rum. It has a bulbous bell-shaped bottom and a wide bowl. This type of glass is typically used for sipping aged rums in the Caribbean. The design helps to aerate the rum, bringing out its flavor and complexity.
3. Crystal Cut Glass
Crystal cut glasses are some of the most aesthetic ones on this list, making them perfect if you have a bar or simply want to wow your guests on the next backyard barbecue. The intricate design pattern on the surface of the glass is created with a diamond-tipped saw, giving it an elegant style while ensuring a perfect grip for whoever's holding it.
4. Twisted Glass
The twisted design does have minimal impact on the rum itself, but this glass is popular because it's simply beautiful and sophisticated. The squared base makes it more stable, so it doesn't tip over in crowded get-togethers.
5. Highball Glass
The highball glass is a classic choice for drinking and serving rum. It's tall and narrow, with a wide base that lets you hold the glass securely in your hand. The bulbous bottom allows you to make room for ice.
This glass is best used for serving cocktails or mixed drinks made with spirits such as gin or vodka. Its wider mouth makes it easy to mix ingredients and pour them onto the glass without spilling any.
6. The Hurricane Glass
The hurricane glass is another classic glass perfect for serving and drinking rum. It has an inward-sloping top that helps keep your drink chilled without watering it down or diluting it. And most importantly, it also looks great on display!
7. The Collins Glass
If you're looking for something even more contemporary than hurricane glass, consider using a Collins glass instead. Its tall shape makes it easy to sip from without spilling any liquid onto yourself, but its narrow rim keeps things from getting too messy when mixing your drink up with ice cubes or other mixers.
8. Rum Tasting Glass
This one is relatively reserved for the most professional of rum drinkers. As the name suggests, this glass is intended for tasting and evaluating different types of aged rums.
It's got a tall stem and a wide bowl, which means that you can hold it easily in one hand while swirling the rum around, releasing the aromas and allowing them to mingle with your senses. Most importantly, a rum-tasting glass has a carved outward peak at the bottom, allowing for better swirling motion.
A snifter is a choice glass for sipping any spirit. It offers an elegant presentation and concentrates the aromas of your drink at the top of the glass where your nose is located. Because of this, it's ideal for rum as there are many flavors to be had from vanilla to citrus and these are best experienced when smelled first before being drunk. The narrow neck also allows you to swirl the liquid around to release more of its aroma and flavor into the air. The wide opening makes it easy to sip from while still allowing you to smell what's happening throughout the process.
10. Cocktail Glass
Because rum is one of the most commonly used spirits for cocktails, it's no surprise that cocktail glasses are some of the most reliable picks on this list. Cocktail glasses can be used instead of snifters if you're serving cocktails or mixed drinks at home, as they offer a larger surface area to build layers of flavor by layering different ingredients with varying viscosities.
11. Silver Glass
Silver glass is a great choice for when you're serving or drinking rum. It's elegant but not overly ornate, so it will look great on your table. The glass is also very thin and light, which makes holding it more manageable. This is a great choice if you're serving rum on the rocks because it will keep the drink cold longer than most other glasses.
So How Does One Drink Rum?
Truth be told, there are many acceptable ways to drink rum. This spirit has been marketed for decades as a drink best consumed in the summer near the beach. Although this is accurate, it undermines the lovely and diverse flavors that rum may contain on its own.
Serving Rum Neat
- The most traditional and arguably best way to serve rum is neat. That means straight out of the bottle without ice or other flavorings. Here are some tips for enjoying your rum neat:
- The guidelines for drinking rum neat are identical to those for drinking whisky: start by inspecting the rum, giving it a swirl, and take note of any haziness in the liquor as an indicator. Like vodka, white rum should be fully transparent, whereas premium dark rum should have a distinct amber color.
- The rum should then be smelled. This enables you to detect the initial scent and could provide a point of comparison when you finally take that eagerly anticipated first taste.
- Use a snifter or balloon glass that is wide at the top and coned at the bottom. This helps aerate and release aromas in the spirit while allowing you to swirl it around in your glass when ready.
- Choose a bottle of rum with an ABV between 40 and 50% anything lower can be too mellow; anything higher will likely overwhelm any subtle flavors in your drink.
- Last but not least, you shouldn't base your judgment on the first sip of rum. To acclimate your taste buds, take a modest initial sip. Then, take a larger mouthful.
How to serve rum on the rocks
Another popular way to drink rum is on the rocks, which is simply pouring ice into a glass and then adding your favorite rum. There are several reasons why people prefer this method of consumption.
First, it's quick and easy to prepare, so it's an excellent option for those who want to get their drink quickly. Second, the ice helps tone down some of the harsher flavors in a spirit like rum, making it more palatable to folks who don't like intense flavors. Lastly, combining cold liquor with cold water creates a refreshing texture that makes drinking enjoyable, especially during warm weather.
Tips to enjoy your rum on the rocks:
- First, choose the right glass. If you're using a rocks glass, it should be at least 4 ounces and have enough room for plenty of ice to chill it down before drinking.
- If possible, chill the rum in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before serving it.
- Ensure your glass is also cooled by filling it with ice cubes or running it under cold water for a few seconds before pouring in the rum.
- Use a high-quality ice cube tray to create small cubes that melt slowly, so the liquor doesn't get watered down by excess melting water.
- Pour the chilled rum into a rocks glass and add a few ice cubes.
How to serve rum with mixers
Rum is a classic cocktail ingredient, and it's easy to see why. It's light, a little sweet, and has a slight edge that makes you come back for more. Drinking rum with a mixer gives you the opportunity to enjoy a variety of flavors and textures, and it also allows you to adjust the strength of your drink. Here are some tips on how to make the most of rum's versatility:
- Use ice. Adding ice cubes helps dilute the alcohol content in your drink and adds more flavor by releasing more aromatic compounds from the ingredients as they melt.
- Use soda water instead of plain water if you want to increase its effervescence and don't forget that carbonation will help release more aromas from the other ingredients as well!
- Don't forget about fruit juice! While lemon or lime juice and orange juice are classic options, dozens of more fruits out there make delicious mixers for rum. Try pineapple juice, cranberry juice, or grapefruit juice for something different!
- Try adding some simple syrup or honey for sweetness, but don't add too much sugar at once; this will give you more room for adjusting how sweet your drink tastes when you're done mixing it up!
Notable Rum Mixers
If you're craving a new way to enjoy your rum, these mixers are sure to please. Many of them have been widely popular for decades, and for a good reason! You'll never go wrong with them if you're trying rum for the first time or you're looking to make a party drink that won't disappoint.
Rum and soda
For this classic combination, the ratio of rum to soda should be roughly equal. You can use any kind of cola or soft drink you want; Coke will always taste great, but some people prefer other brands that have more depth in their flavor profile (such as Dr. Pepper). You may also try experimenting with other sodas like Sprite or 7Up.
Rum and juice
The most common type of juice used in rum drinks is orange juice but don't let that limit your options! Try mixing together freshly squeezed grapefruit juice with some dark Jamaican rums like Appleton Estate Reserve for an incredible new take on the classic Cuba Libre cocktail. Or try using cranberry juice instead; this works particularly well when pairing it with aged rums like Matusalem Mezcal Joven Especial Reserva from Nicaragua has a robust smoky undercurrent to them.
Rum and Ginger Ale
This classic drink is easy to make and goes great with spicy food or as an after-dinner drink. The sweetness of the ginger ale balances out the bite of the rum, creating an easy-drinking cocktail that's perfect for any occasion.
This classic Caribbean cocktail uses lime juice, mint leaves, simple syrup, and soda water as its base ingredients. It's a refreshing summer drink that's perfect when served in a tall glass over ice cubes or crushed ice with fresh mint leaves sprinkled on top for garnish.
This drink has made its way into the hearts of many people over the years because of its simplicity. It's just rum, lime juice, sugar syrup, and ice. You may infuse any fruit or spice into this drink as desired the sky is the limit!
The classic cocktail that has remained popular for decades, the Pina Colada is a drink that all ages and preferences can enjoy. It's effortless, too: just mix together coconut cream with pineapple juice and rum. Proceed to top it off with more crushed ice and a pineapple slice for garnish.
As you can see, rum is a truly remarkable spirit capable of elegance and subtlety as well as celebration. Although rum may not yet have reached the heights of brandy or whiskey, it is a worthy addition to the list of classic spirits. Not only are there hundreds of distilleries throughout the world, but rum actually has more depth and variety than many others.
We hope this humble guide has given you plenty of inspiration as to how to enjoy your next rum bottle.