Three prominent Rum families vie for their place on the Rum Throne. Armies of bottles are gathering by the thousands, spirits are high and expressions of proud lineage are being raised to the sky while chants of allegiance and the sound of war dRUMs fill the morning air. Everything is poised for battle.
The ArmaggedRUM is nigh. It's time for Game of Rums…
In a Land, Far Away….
The battle for the Rum throne began long ago, in the tropical hotbed known as the Caribbean islands. Back in the 17th century, that’s where plantation slaves devised a way to turn molasses into something useful — gingerbread cookies. Kidding. It was Rum. Definitely Rum. And since then, many countries have vied for the crown with different interpretations, expressions and distilling processes.
Today, we introduce you to three noble houses, each hailing from a different corner of the realm. First up, Don Papa Rum, all the way from Philippines.
Not to be outdone, the Plantation XO 20th Anniversary is a big and bold Caribbean tour de force being led into battle by French Cognac producer Maison Ferrand. Guatemala’s House of Ron Zacapa XO descends upon the battlefield from its plantation high up on the volcanic plains of Retalhuleu — one of the highest ageing facilities in the realm.
But ultimately, it will be up to you to decide who will win the Game of Rums and benevolently rule from the Rum throne.
Trivia & Smartass Corner:
1)Okay, you got us. Wine and ale are the clear-cut winners when it comes to what the Game of Thrones denizens are ordering at the bar. Except for Lady Crane, the Rum-swilling actress in season six, who nearly drank a poisoned cup of her favorite Spirit.
2)The ale produced in the Middle Ages was primarily brewed by women, known as brewsters or alewives. Unsurprisingly, it was a pretty significant boost to their household’s bottom line.
3)Believe it or not, hygiene was a priority in medieval times — it meant that you were civilized. Which also meant, you had to bathe. You could find public baths in most major cities along with fixtures in private homes. Interestingly, bathtubs were crafted using techniques that were not unlike those used to make wine barrels.
4)Back in the 17th century, molasses — a by-product of the sugar production process — was considered a pesky industrial waste of sorts by Caribbean sugar farmers. Until an intrepid soul decided to ferment it with the liquid skimmed off of cane juice. And voila… Rum.
5)Rum has its fair share of aliases, including: Nelson's blood, kill-devil, demon water, pirate's drink, navy neaters, Barbados water, grog and rumbullion. A grog by another other name would taste as sweet.
6)Barbados is the birthplace of Rum. They’ve been distilling the stuff since 1703.
7)Think of the Rum landscape as the Wild West (with fewer dust-ups at the neighborhood corral). There aren’t really any strict global classification systems or regulations that distillers have to abide by like they do for Cognac or Bourbon. Individual countries of origin may have their own standards, but pretty much any Spirit that gets its start with some form of sugarcane can call itself a Rum.
8)Let’s talk about proof. The origins of the term are actually quite, well, explosive. Sailors who were issued Rum by the Royal Navy needed a way to prove that they weren’t getting watered down product. So they’d mix their Rum ration with gunpowder. If it lit, the Rum was higher the 57% alcohol, or, "overproof." No explosion? The Rum was "underproof" — resulting in a highly displeased sailor.
9)The award for most expensive bottle of Rum in the world goes to J. Wray & Nephew. A 1940s bottle of the Spirit clocks in at $54,000 and was a favorite at Trader Vic back in the day.
What's in the box
3 Dark Rums
Dog Dogson'sSmartass corner
A little bit of etymology; nobody really knows where the word Rum comes from. The most popular suggestions are Rum (the Romani word for 'potent'), Rumbullion (an uproar), Saccharum (sugar in Latin), and Rummer (a Dutch drinking glass).
Rum is a sugar cane based spirit, primarily made in the Caribbean and Latin America, but you can really find Rum in many corners of the world.
The Botran family is synonymous with sugarcane (and subsequently Rum) production in Guatemala. They are one of the richest families in the country. As a result, they have fallen victim to abductions and kidnappings on several occasions.
Rum is why we measure alcohol proof. To make sure Rum wasn’t watered down, it had to be ‘proven’ by soaking gunpowder with it. If it was ‘overproof’ (higher than 57.15 % vol.), then the gunpowder would ignite, but if it wouldn’t, it was ‘underproof.’
Next time you have a tipple of Rum you can say that you're tapping the Admiral. This intriguing phrase comes from the great Admiral Nelson who was killed in the battle of Trafalgar off of Spain. The story is that his body was preserved in Rum to be shipped back to England but, when the barrel arrived, some of the Rum was missing and said to have been siphoned off by some desperate or unknowing sailors. It's a great story but most likely false.
Rum used to be accepted as a form of currency in Europe and Australia, a practice we should probably bring back into fashion.