National Rum Day in The Villages FL
August 16th is National Rum Day.
Rum has been a staple of the economy of the Americas from nearly its founding and remains one of the most versatile liquors available today.
Traditionally found in light or dark varieties, rum has found its way into many alluring and inventive cocktails, punches, and mixed drinks.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL RUM DAY
Rum’s early history runs parallel with that of the Americas and some would say few liquors have had a bigger impact on the new world. While some form of rum has been distilled since the third century BCE, it wasn’t until 17th century colonizers began growing sugarcane in the Caribbean that rum’s popularity exploded. Molasses is a byproduct of sugar production and rather than let this excess go to waste they distilled it into booze (good call).
Initially called “kill devil” for its high alcohol content and less than savory taste, the process of fermenting and distilling molasses became steadily more sophisticated and the spirit significantly more enjoyable. The etymology of the word “rum” is still open for debate but among the most agreed upon theories is that it is derived from the terms rumbuillion or rumbustion — both meaning an upheaval — but eventually shortened to rum.
Rum production quickly spread throughout the Caribbean and beyond, to islands such as Bermuda, Nevis, and Jamaica, becoming one of the most popular spirits and even being used as currency. Rum became so popular in colonial America that it eventually contributed to 80% of the exports from New England and a tax on sugar in the 1760s led directly to the American Revolution.
However, not all of rum’s history is so rosy. Like many of the labor-intensive industries of the early American economies, the sugarcane and thus the rum trade was based on slave labor and the spirit’s popularity contributed to the slave trade that existed in America until the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.
NATIONAL RUM DAY ACTIVITIES
- Have a Cocktail, Obviously
Whether it’s iced in a glass, neat in a tumbler, or frozen with little umbrellas in it, rum is the spirit of summer in every possible way. Branch out and try a new concoction and keep summer in your heart.
- Channel Your Inner Privateer
Rum is known as the drink of choice for sailors, particularly those frequenting island ports like Jamaica, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. But it is also a part of pirate lore. Make a nod to your favorite privateer through a period accurate cocktail (eye patch not required).
- Go on a Rum-based Culinary Excursion
Take the rum out of the glass and into the pan for an interesting and fiery cooking and baking experience. Classic desserts like rum raisin pie, spiced rum cake, and the combustive bananas foster all put the sweet taste of rum front and center.
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL RUM DAY
- It’s One of the Most Versatile Spirits
Over the centuries, rum has proven itself to be a versatile and useful spirit that can be mixed into punches or cocktails in a myriad of ways, enjoyed neat, or even on the rocks.
- It has a flavor complexity that can’t be rivaled
Whiskey often gets the nod for the most over-analyzed liquor by gourmands, but aged rum, with its smoky, earthy, aroma and notes of vanilla and caramel, offers some serious fodder for foodies to gush about.
- Its History Mirrors the Americas
The history of rum runs parallel to the history of the Americas. It’s impact can be felt from the sugarcane trade, slavery, the American revolution, and the growth of nearby island economies, particularly Bermuda.
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