Jack Sparrow once asked, “Why is the rum always gone?”
But a more difficult question to ask is, “What it is the history of rum?”
The history of rum, though a little muddled, is actually quite interesting.
No one is exactly sure where the history of rum begins. Some sources say that rum has been around since the 1400s. Others suggest that it is even older. While we may never be able to pinpoint exactly when rum came about, we can trace the history of rum’s popularity. It starts with Christopher Columbus, who had a hand in the history of rum by introducing sugar cane to the Americas. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1600s that those on sugar plantations in the Caribbean discovered that their leftover molasses could be distilled and turned into alcohol. The oldest discovered documentation of the word “rum” is dated July 8, 1661.
The history of rum had the potential for being very short–it initially was not well received. Fortunately, the distillation process for rum rapidly improved, therefore prolonging its popularity. By 1664, the word about rum reached the colonists in America and the first rum distillery was built. The rum industry in New England quickly grew from that point.
The following year, when Jamaica was captured by the British Royal Navy, the sailors found rum in such abundance that they soon took up drinking it. The drink’s popularity spread throughout England as well. English privateers began to trade rum.
By the 1700s, American colonists were also in the business of trading rum. It was their most popular export and they quickly gained a reputation for producing high quality rum. The American colonists’ exports were stunted, however, when the 1764 Sugar Act caused a near instant decline in the rum trade.
And of course, no recounting of the history of rum would be complete without mentioning pirates. Everyone knows that pirates and rum are practically a package deal. Many of those English privateers who traded rum ended up turning to piracy. Once they did, they were only too happy to share their fondness for rum with other pirates.
While rum was once a thick, low quality drink, its reputation has changed over the last couple of centuries. We largely owe today’s rum to a man named Don Facundo Bacardi Masso. In the 1840s, he began to experiment with the process of distilling rum. After a bit of trial and error, he was able to create a rum that was much lighter and smoother than the original, and this version is still enjoyed today.
Now that you know the history of rum, are you looking to get ahold of some? At Julio’s Liquors, we offer a wide selection of spirits in our inventory, including rum. Feel free to stop by our storefront on Route 9 in Westborough, MA and we’ll be happy to help you find what you’re looking for.
Who knew there was so much to the history of rum! What part of the history of rum did you find most interesting?