Monday, May 06, 2013

Rum Roots - Part Two

We ended Friday's blog speaking of Rum's Caribbean roots. It is true that Distilled Rum was first successfully launched in the Caribbean. Fermented versions had been created and drunk for much longer times in China and India. The distillation process made a much more robust and flavorful drink that was nearly an instant hit.

Rum was first commercially made in the tropical areas where sugar cane was grown, in fact, it is also produced in Australia, Fiji and India and other places around the world. It became a way to grow the industrial and economic sectors of the American Colonies. In a very real way it became a big part of the colonies' development. In 1664, rum began its production in what would become the United States. 

My recounting of this is for a couple of reasons. While run was distilled in Caribbean islands first and has deep, historical roots there, it was done in the British colonies to the North as well. The fact that a lot of rum was made in the areas where sugar was grown, is opposite of the act that molasses and sugar was loaded onto boats shipped to Staten Island. This shows that Rum was popular in the Colonies, and it was an economic boon for Briton to make sure it was supplied where it was needed. It also was sent over to England for its consumption there and, as we all know, by it's Navy men.

So while beginning in (traditionally accepted) Barbados, in the early 1600's, Distillation was happening in Brazil by 1621 and in the Northern Colonies in 1664. No one can deny that much of the lure and tradition of rum, its manufacturing - it's part in the history of the world really, is strongly embedded in the Islands of the Caribbean Ocean, a large part of that history is part of and from what we now call the United States of America. It only disappeared in the States when the Volstead Act was enacted in 1920. It has taken a long time to begin again from its American roots. What we see are wonderful, flavorful, sturdy, aromatic rums and a diverse choice that includes more delicate, sweet, some even floral recipes that thrill the taste-buds and satisfy the want of a full, sense awakening experience. 

So for many rums - Hail to those from the birthplaces of the tropics and islands of our dream, but also hail to those who grew in the countries around the world and for me, those here in the US.

Why United States Rums?

I have been asked why I picked only Rums made in the USA. It was simple. I began drinking rum more than 40 years ago and was later exposed to rums beyond the shelves of my local liquor store (which is vast, as Chicago's reputation of having some of the largest liquor distribution in the world!). When I decided to blog about this love, I found THOUSANDS of blogs about Rums, Rum Drinks, Rum Places, Rum Distilleries, Rum Parties etc.... I found some about newer, limited, small batch Rums, that intrigued me. Sill, the market was crowded. So I cut a new niche, just for this Rum Runner - American Made Rum. Now, in no way to I dismiss or in any way denigrate all the rums from all over the world. My goodness, there are some really, really great Rums out there that demand your attention and your tastings. I just wanted to cut off a small potion, that I could easily follow. 

I figured when I started I'd find a few Distillers that made rum in the US. I did...... Then I found more, and more and some found me, and the list grows so fast I can no longer keep track of it! I know it tops 100 and is still growing! There is now way I can visit every Distillery and perhaps no way I can sample every Rum made in the United States (Unless you are willing so ship me a mini-tasting!). It has turned from a muse for a blog to an adventure packed journey. I hope to pass some information, introduce you to some rums you may have never heard from but deserve your attention and even entertain a bit. It's all I want. I have nothing to sell, but my stilted writing; and that I give freely to you here.

Rums Roots? Planted in the Islands of dream vacations, transplanted to the US, Growing world wide gaining popularity all over. While Rum may never escape all of its Bad-Boy reputation, it has grown into a sophisticated member of drinking society!
That. from my mouth.... To you, I am

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