Rum, the amber-hued spirit that has long been associated with pirates, sailors, and tropical islands, is currently undergoing a renaissance (much like gin has in recent years).
At the epicentre of this revival is spiced rum, a flavoursome variant that infuses rum with a medley of spices, herbs, and other botanicals.
But this isn’t the rough-and-ready spiced rum of yesteryear; these days, the best spiced rum brands are sophisticated, nuanced, and crafted with a discerning palate in mind.
Renaissance Of Spiced Rums
To better understand the reason for the renaissance of spiced rum and modern spiced rum in general, you’re going to need a little history of rum.
Back in ‘ye olden days’, rum was a rough spirit, often harsh and unrefined. To make it more palatable, sailors and pirates (ar, Jim-lad!) would add any spices they had on hand, such as cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.
Thankfully, these spices not only improved the taste, but they helped preserve the rum for long sea voyages plus made each rum producer’s rum offering more unique.
The Modern Rum Revival
As we fast forward to the 21st century, spiced rum is no longer the drink of the high seas. Instead, it’s found its way into upscale bars, restaurants, and the homes of rum lovers worldwide.
Modern spiced rum is a far cry from its historical counterpart. Distillers now use a wider variety of spices, including vanilla, pepper, ginger, and even more exotic ingredients like saffron, orris root and rose petals. The result is a complex, flavourful, and incredibly versatile spirit.
One of the driving forces behind the renaissance of spiced rums is the global craft spirits movement. As consumers become more discerning and seek out unique and authentic experiences such as coffee-infused rum.
Distillers have reacted to this market change by experimenting with different spice combinations, and unusual ageing techniques (such as Goslings Spirited Seas Ocean Aged Rum).
They have even taken base spirit manufacturing back to the drawing board, with some using sugarcane juice rather than traditional molasses.
The Role of Mixology
Another significant factor in the rise of spiced rum is the cocktail culture, especially the ready-made cocktails from brands like Rythmik.
Moreover, spiced rum is now the star of many contemporary cocktails, with bartenders crafting drinks that highlight its unique flavour profile.
Notable (& Niche) Names in the Game
But it’s not just the big players making waves. Small-batch distilleries are producing artisanal spiced rums that are winning awards and gaining fans worldwide.
These rums, such as Griffiths Brothers with their Nine Nails rum collection that me and Ingrid came across as a local food fayre, often focus on local ingredients, sustainable practices, and innovative production techniques.
The Future is Spicy
With the continued interest in craft spirits and unique flavour profiles, I would suggest that the future looks bright for spiced rum. As rum distillers continue to experiment and push the boundaries, we can expect even more exciting and diverse rum offerings in the coming years.
However, it’s not just about the spirit itself. In my opinion, the story, the branding, and the experience all play a role in the modern spiced rum movement.
Let’s face it, consumers are looking for authenticity, and brands such as Ron Zacapa (who I recently reviewed), who continue telling a compelling story while delivering a high-quality rum, will thrive for years to come.
The renaissance of spiced rums is a testament to the spirit’s enduring appeal and ability to adapt and evolve. From its humble beginnings on the high seas to its current status as a modern-day favourite, I feel that spiced rum has come a long way.
As rum overall continues to reinvent itself, one thing is clear: spiced rum is here to stay. So, the next time you’re at a bar or in-store, why not try spiced rum? You might discover your new favourite tipple, even if it is in a simple rum & coke.
|Book: Art of Mixology RUM|
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