This winter we are warmed by the spirit of rum. The rarely sipped, often mixed, sometimes under-represented fermented sugarcane juice that can leave you with a hankering for more. The good stuff will rarely, if consumed in moderation, leave you with a hangover. However, chances of feeling the down side of the drink increase with the popular mixed cocktails that range from the creamy deliciousness of the Pina Colada to the Daiquiri.These tasty beverages, along with the famed Mojito, the simply delicious Dark ’N Stormy, and the effervescent Cuba Libré, rum has been a staple on cocktail menus for well over a century…assuming cocktail menus weren’t part of the parley of pirates.The stuff originates in the West Indies and is first mentioned in records that originated in Barbados, back in the 1600’s.
The evolution of rum having once been called Kill-devil, upgraded to rumbullion, was elevated to being regularly rationed to British sailors for centuries, all the way up to the late 20th century. Then the difference between rum and rhum delves even deeper into the rich history and distillation, aging, and casking of fermented cane juice and molasses.I’ll be far briefer than this distinction deserves: Rhum is a very specific term. The word is an abbreviation of the term rhum agricole, which is a type of rum that can only come from Martinique. In short– while most rums are distilled from fermented molasses, rhum is made from fresh pressed sugarcane juice. Think of this like the term champagne. Only sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France can actually be called Champagne. I really hope that made sense. Back to theallure of rum/rhum.Even the less romanticised notion of where the word rum comes from are quite intriguing. History has also said that it comes from the Latin word for sugarcane, saccharum officinarum.
Wherever it came from, we have found the perfect spot to sample the best of the elixir. On the island of Anguilla there is a special place called the Rhum Room. This space of dark walls, flanked by velvet turquoise curtains and cozy couches to match is a siren song beckoning all those who dream of an elegant evening tucked away from the rest of the world, surrounded by the faint scent of cigar smoke and the service of a barman who knows his way around more than 100 small-batch, single-estate rums.
Sinking softly into place, you’ll be asked what strikes your fancy that evening. What flavors are you drawn to? What sort of wine you typically drink. These questions may seem random or off-key to the setting of what can be easily likened to a very upscale speakeasy with a twist. Within minutes of answering, one can be assured that a fitting rum cocktail or simple sipping rhum will be in your grasp and on its way to your lips. There’s no rushing to be done within these walls, only stories to be told, tales of the estate upon which your chosen rhum was casked. There’s plenty of room for almost everything on the cocktail menu should your taste buds yearn for features found within its pages. There’s an old pirate’s chest atop the bar and if you enquire with the barman, he may just be inclined to treat you to what comes from within. Trust that it is a treasure that embodies the age of the chosen rum and adds even more depth once he embarks upon a mission to unleash the chest’s smoky side.
With over 100 small-batch and single-estate rums, which can be sampled with an on-site rhummelier to guide you through the ultra-premium Caribbean selections and showcase the unique flavors and profiles. You’ll spend hours here and luckily for you, it’s located at Zemi Beach House, so there’s plenty of room for a sleepover. Find some time to get to this spot and taste Caribbean rums like never before. Explore the history of the region without ever leaving the turquoise seats that adorn this room like the sought after gems of those who roamed the High Seas.
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