August 16th marks National Rum Day! So get ready to prop your leg up on a stool like Captain Morgan himself—and raise a glass to the third most popular spirit in the U.S. We’re going to help you celebrate #NationalRumDay by covering a few very easy to make rum cocktails.
First, let’s talk a little bit about rum’s fascinating beginnings. After all, we wouldn’t be celebrating National Rum Day if we didn’t learn a little bit about the spirit.
A Brief History of Rum: How Caribbean Trash Was Turned to Treasure
Rum is a distilled spirit developed from sugarcane byproducts (i.e. molasses or honey) by a process of fermentation and distillation. It begins as a clear liquid and is usually aged in oak barrels. In order to know where it all began, we have to go back to 17th century sugar plantations in the Caribbean.
Before rum was a thing, sugar farmers had a serious waste problem during the 17th century. These planters produced sugar by crushing sugar cane, boiling the resulting juices, and then leaving the boiled syrup to cure in clay pots. A thick liquid would seep out of the pots, leaving sugar behind. That liquid was molasses. Today, molasses is a vital ingredient to many foods like gingerbread. But in the 17th century, planters couldn’t even give the stuff away! For the most part, it was a wasteful byproduct of industry—being dumped into the ocean by the gallon (possibly even giving a lot of sea turtles diabetes in the process).
That is until someone figured out a use for the molasses by mixing it with the liquid skimmed from sugar cane during its initial boiling point and fermenting it. This was a decent starting point for fermentation, and though the exact development in the beginning is still a bit murky, the liquor that became of this process was known as rum. Rum went on to become the most popular, and widely consumed, liquor in the Colonial Americas. Not unlike Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow, rum was very much favored by pirates and sailors. Arr!
If learning about history makes you want to drink—then you’re in luck! Now we’re going to give you a few easy rum cocktails.
The classic daiquiri is more like a mojito, and less like the sweet adult slushie that most think of.
2oz Batavia-Arrack Van Oosten Rum
1 oz lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain into serving glass. Garnish with lime wedge if desired.
2 oz Guajiro Blanco rum
3 oz orange juice
1 oz grenadine
Juice of ½ lime
Simply shake all ingredients with ice, pour into a pint glass. Serve and enjoy!
2 oz Rum
½ oz Campari
½ oz simple syrup
½ oz lemon juice
1 oz pineapple juice
In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients. Add ice & shake; pour fresh ice over Campari in a white wine serving glass and slowly strain (& layer) the mix into the serving glass. Be careful not to let the layers combine! Drip 3-5 drops of blue curacao on the inner sides of glass & immediately stir to create a blue top layer. Admire the pretty cocktail you just made for a moment, then enjoy it!
2 oz rum
6 oz cola
8 mint leaves
juice of ½ lime
Muddle mint, lime and rum in a cup. Fill with ice, and pour cola over it all. Garnish with a lime wedge.
The Easy Breezy
1½ oz rum
3 tbsp Nata de Coco (Coconut Jelly)
3 large ice cubes
Dash of Calamansi Juice
Fill glass to top with Guava Juice. It’s ideal to have a swizzle stick, one that either has a sharp end or a spoon, so that one can eat the nata de coco. Serve in a highball and add calamansi on the rim of the glass and mint leaves to serve as a garnish.
We hope you enjoy celebrating National Rum Day! If you’re looking for that new undiscovered gem of a rum brand that could become your new favorite, then ask the helpful staff at your local Spec’s. Cheers!