rum, spirituous liquor made from fermented sugarcane products. Prepared by fermentation, distillation, and aging, it is made from the molasses and foam that rise to the top of boiled sugarcane juice. Rum, which is produced in Cuba, Brazil, Jamaica, Trinidad, Madagascar, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, and Barbados, is either light- or dark-bodied. The light-bodied rums are drier and come from Spanish-influenced islands, such as Cuba and Puerto Rico. Jamaica is generally thought of as the best producer of the dark, heavy-bodied rum. Naturally colorless, rum acquires by the addition of caramel a rich brown color deepened by storage in casks. Hot rum drinks like grog, popular in areas with cold, damp climates, such as England, are made with dark rum. Light rum is popular in chilled summer drinks like daiquiris and Bacardi cocktails. Rum has been produced in the United States from colonial times and was an economic factor in perpetuating the slave trade.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.