The rum is produced by distilling fermented sugar cane. Of all the spirits it is the one which preserves the most the taste of the distilled product. The brandies derived of starch, such as whiskey from cereals should be baked or malted. In the case of rum, made from sugar, it is unnecessary to convert the starch into sugar. The distillation of rum does not need to be very thorough like gin or vodka. It is the alcohol which undergo the least chemical operations. It can be put for aging in barrels previously used, because it does not need the tannin than oak gives to other alcohols such as Cognac, for example. We can add more components to the rum to change its taste, but it is not essential. The rum can be as colorless as water, but can also have a hue which ranges from amber to mahogany.
Raw materialThe vast majority of rum is made with molasses: uncrystallizable residue which remains after the formation of sugar, sometimes it is done directly with the juice of sugar cane, or molasses of second class and other residues. The latter type is usually called tafia, rather than rum and is seldom bottled. The finest rums are made with molasses, with few exceptions, agricultural rums and the French Antilles and Haiti are made directly from cane juice, which is called the vesou.
Fast or slow fermentationFermenting a type of light rum can be completed in twelve hours. It usually lasts between 24 and 36h. Puerto Rico and Cuba are the main producers of light rum, followed by Jamaica. After slow fermentation, which can last up to 12 days, we can also get an rum heavier by the addition of dunder (deposit remained at the bottom of the still after distillation). Rums types like Wedderburn and Plummer, which are traditional products of Jamaica, result from the slow fermentation. Those from Martinique, so-called "great flavor", are also heavy beverages obtained by slow fermentation.
Finally rums of high ester content are made in the same way as the Wedderburn pushing further research of these substances.
Types of yeastThe yeast used for fermentation of rum are cultured or natural. The recipe for yeast cultivation is kept secret for preserving the whole individuality, as it is said.
alembic distillation columns apparatusLike the whiskey, rum can be distilled either in alembic or in continuous distillation apparatus. The latter is more appropriate for light rums while rum distilled in alembic is heavier and preserves more elements of the raw material.
Note that the old Jamaica rum is the type of full-bodied alcohol made from alembic distillation.