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um is a distilled beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses and sugarcane juice by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak and other casks. While there are rum producers in places such as Australia, India, Reunion Island, and elsewhere around the world, the majority of rum production occurs in and around the Caribbean and along the Demerara river in South America. Some major rum brands include Bacardi, Stroh, Mount Gay, Bundaberg, Myers, and Pusser's.
Rum is produced in a variety of styles. Light rums are commonly used in mixed drinks, while golden and dark rums are appropriate for use in cooking as well as cocktails. Premium brands of rum are also available that are made to be consumed neat or on the rocks.
Rum plays a part in the culture of most islands of the West Indies, and has famous associations with the British Royal Navy and piracy. Rum has also served as a popular medium of exchange that helped to promote slavery along with providing economic instigation for Australia's Rum Rebellion and the American Revolution.
The origin of the word rum is unclear. A common claim is that the name was derived from rumbullion meaning "a great tumult or uproar". Another claim is the name is from the large drinking glasses used by Dutch seamen known as rummers, from the Dutch word roemer, a drinking glass. Other options include contractions of the words saccharum, Latin for sugar, or arFrench for aroma. Regardless of the original source, the name had come into common use by May 1657 when the General Court of Massachusetts made illegal the sale of strong liquor "whether knowne by the name of rumme, strong water, wine, brandy, etc., etc."
In current usage, the name used for a rum is often based on the rum's place of origin. For rums from Spanish-speaking locales the word ron is used. A ron aejo indicates a rum that has been significantly aged and is often used for premium products. Rhum is the term used for rums from French-speaking locales, while rhum vieux is an aged French rum that meets several other requirements.
Some of the many other names for rum are Rumbullion, Rumbustion, Barbados water, Rumscullion, Devil's Death, Nelson's Blood, and Rumbo. A version of rum from Newfoundland is referred to by the name Screech, while some low-grade West Indies rums are called tafia.
Besides rum punch, cocktails such as the Cuba Libre and Daiquiri have well-known stories of their invention in the Caribbean. Tiki culture helped expand rum's horizons with inventions such as the Mai Tai and Zombie. Other well-known cocktails containing rum include the Pia Colada, a drink made popular by Rupert Holmes' song "Escape (The Pia Colada Song)", and the Mojito. Cold-weather drinks made with rum include the Rum toddy and Hot buttered rum. In addition to these well-known cocktails, a number of local specialties utilize rum. Examples of these local drinks include Bermuda's Dark and Stormy (dark rum with ginger beer), and the Painkiller from the British Virgin Islands.
Rum may also be used as a base in the manufacture of liqueurs. Spiced Rum is made by infusing rum with a combination of spices. Another combination is jagertee, a mixture of rum and black tea.
Rum may also be used in a number of cooked dishes. It may be used as a flavoring agent in items such as rum balls or rum cakes. Rum is commonly used to macerate fruit used in fruitcakes and is also used in marinades for some Caribbean dishes. Rum is also used in the preparation of Bananas Foster and some hard sauces.
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