Rum is starting to become one of the most popular liquors of the moment and it is now used in some of our favourite cocktails.
Rum has come a long way over the past 500 years. The distilled alcoholic beverage is made from sugar cane by-products such as molasses or sometimes directly from sugar cane juice by a process of fermentation and distillation.
Speaking to Pernod Ricard brand manager for Havana Club, Grant Hendricks, and brand ambassador for Havana Club 7, Kresan Naidu, about the comeback of rum, Hendricks said the rum renaissance is not just about the global volumes, but it reflects the elevation of Cuban character.
“It is a dynamic and exciting category which is growing annually, mainly spurred by consumers who haven’t previously considered rum as a high-quality craft spirit,” he said.
Premiumisation has been a driving force in the beverage world for many years. Hendricks revealed that rum has been found to be the second-fastest growing spirits category next to gin, with volumes up 7.8% year-on-year.
“In Cape Town we have seen a dedicated rum bar opening earlier this year and word on the street is that a favourite gin spot has recently closed its doors, making way for another rum bar. The craft spirits movement has inspired the rum category and, unlike whisky and cognac, the rules around producing rum are more relaxed, giving rum makers the freedom of flexibility for innovation,” he said.
Although rum distillers have been speaking about the “Rum Revolution” for decades, consumers are starting to embrace aged sipping rums with a passion. Premium rum is more affordable than comparable aged whisky, as well as more accessible and inclusive and often demonstrates a spirit of togetherness.
“It is a complex spirit worth sipping neat, on the rocks or with a twist. But as one of the world’s most versatile and under-appreciated spirits, rum is trending up,” said Hendricks.
On what to look for in rum in the year 2018, how to drink it and what to pair it with, Naidu added: “Aged rum can be especially complex and can either be sipped (slowly) or used in cocktails, Mai Tais or old-fashioned rum for example, where the ageing process won’t be lost on the taste buds. To start off, you need great tasting premium rum.”