Rum


Rum -

A spirit made by fermenting and distilling the juice of the sugar-cane or the sweet residue that accrues in making sugar - the skimmings from the sugar-pan, the spent water from the stills, molasses, etc. When first distilled it looks like water, but it is usually colored with burnt sugar (caramel). Its quality is greatly improved by age, and as much as sixteen dollars has been paid for a pint bottle of fine old stock.

Rum is produced in all sugar-producing countries and also to a considerable extent in the United States and England, but that from Jamaica, Cuba, Santa Cruz (St. Croix) and Porto Rico is generally considered the choicest. Its flavor depends mainly upon the soil and climate, and is not good when canes grow rankly. Its strong odor and frequent adulteration for a long time checked its consumption in this country, but of late more attention has been given to importing and advertising high-class brands, with the result that there has been an increase in demand.

The term "pineapple rum" is derived from a custom in the West Indies of putting sliced pineapples in some of the casks to flavor the spirit. Guavas are also occasionally added with a similar object.

In the United States the rum industry is almost exclusively confined to New England - and has been so for generations, New England rum having been well known as far back as 1687. It is of somewhat curious interest that during the year 1687 it sold for 1 shilling 6 pence a gallon, which is practically to-day's wholesale price for new rum (exclusive of the internal revenue tax).

It is also worthy of note that the merit of the finer grades of New England rum is better appreciated in other countries than in the United States. In spite of the competition of that manufactured in many other parts of the world, New England rum averages about two-thirds of the entire exportation from the United States of all kinds of distilled spirits. On the other hand, though in the past thirty years there has been an increase of more than 125% in the total production of distilled spirits in the United States, there has been practically no increase in the production of rum.

The largest distilleries now in operation are located within the Boston metropolitan district, and one of them has a capacity of more than a million and a half gallons a year.

A large percentage of the molasses from which New England rum is made is brought here in tank steamers from Cuba, Porto Rico and others of the West Indies.


Arround Rum in The Grocer's Encyclopedia


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