Artisanal Rums

Posted by Alayne Gardner-Carimi on

Quintessential Party Animal

What do Pina Coladas, Mai-Tais, Mojitos, Daiquiris, Hurricanes, Cuba Libres, and Zombies all have in common? Yep, RUM and FUN! Designed to be light and refreshing, these cocktails are perfect for hot weather. Often associated with tropical regions and sunny beach vacations, rum-based cocktails evoke a sense of relaxation and escapism, adding a festive touch to parties and BBQs. The innate sweetness, caramel notes and tropical flavors in rum complement the refreshing, fruity and citrusy elements of summer cocktails. This synergy results in delicious and well-balanced libations. 

While rum has a reputation for being the tropical ‘party animal’, in recent years it has really leaned into its sophisticated side, too. Rum is one of the basic six distilled spirits of the world (the others being vodka, whiskey, gin, brandy, and tequila) and the only one, by definition, which must be made from sugar cane extracts. Fermented cane juice, molasses, syrup, or cane sugar can be distilled into rum. While mass-produced rums may rely on filtering and additives (such as caramel and flavorings) to improve their products, craft-distilled rums produce their unique tastes through traditional distillation and aging practices.

Test your Rum Trivia

Where can Rum be made...?
Anywhere sugarcane is grown or shipped. About 200 countries grow the crop to produce 1,324 million tons of sugar. As there is no geographic limiter, rum is distilled anywhere it is legal to distill alcohol and receive shipments of sugarcane products—even Wisconsin!

How many different kinds of sugar cane are there...?
Sugar cane is a genus of approximately 36 species. Sugarcane cultivation requires a tropical or subtropical climate. It is one of the most efficient photosynthesizers in the plant kingdom and is able to convert up to 1% of incident solar energy into biomass.

What's the daily production rate of the worlds largest rum distillery...?
Bacardi's mass-distillation plant in San Juan, Puerto Rico produces 100,000 liters of rum per day. (That's a lot of daiquiris!)

How strong is the strongest overproof rum on the market...?
In the simplest terms, an overproof rum is any rum that contains more than 50 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), which is also called 100 proof. Like any spirit over 100 proof, it’s flammable—which can make for some show-stopping cocktails! While we found several 151 proof rums, we  found one higher, at 160 proof. In full disclosure, we did not taste it.

What makes very dark rums very dark...?
While aging rum in wooden barrels or charred wooden barrels will impart color and flavor to rum over time, spirit caramel (burnt sugar) is added to relatively young rums for color and visual uniformity.

Artisanal Allure

Artisanal distilleries focus on producing high-quality rums with a strong emphasis on traditional methods, unique flavors, and attention to detail. These craft distillers often prioritize quality over quantity, and their rums tend to showcase a greater depth of character and complexity compared to mass-produced alternatives. Unique flavor profiles are produced by using local sugar cane varieties, types of barrels, and the local terroir. Tasting notes might include descriptors like caramel, vanilla, tropical fruits, and spices.

Craft distilleries produce rums in smaller quantities compared to larger commercial operations. Craft distillers often opt for traditional pot stills rather than column stills commonly used in mass production. Pot stills tend to retain more of the original flavors and aromas from the base ingredients and produce a more complex product.

Often, craft rums age longer in barrels. While the barrels are usually oak, they can vary depending on locale and producer; tropical notes from local hardwoods and caramel from charred barrels are all fair game. The aging process allows the rum to interact with the wood, absorbing flavors from the barrel and developing a rich character and more complexity over time. Aged rums are often considered the most sophisticated due to their nuanced flavors and profiles.

Craft Distilled Rums

At vomFASS Madison, we are fortunate to carry four very different specialty rums. All are craft distilled—this means that each batch is separate from the last and only the best part of each batch becomes the rum we drink. These premium rums are made to be consumed either straight or iced so their nuances are not hidden in mixers. Complimentary tastings are available every day.*

Barbados Rum
This rum comes from a modern distillery, located on the site of a historic plantation that dates back to the early 1600’s. Aged 8 years in a port barrel, strong overtones of vanilla and sweet port wine give way to subtle notes of toasted almonds, black pepper, and caramelized sugar.
Asian-Pacific Rum 
With its “Special Reserve X.O.” designation, this unique spirit is a blend of rums from Indonesia and Fiji that were carefully aged for 6-10 years in barrels made from select local woods. This process creates an exotic spirit with primary notes of bananas, honey, caramel and spiced wood with a pleasant, smooth finish.
Jamaican Rum
Situated along the rocky, sun-kissed shoreline of St. Catherine, Jamaica, this refreshing rum takes on fine notes of citrus from the surrounding Caribbean environment, and exudes overtones of salted caramel and vanilla. Made from 100% sugar cane and barrel aged for 3 years.
Aged Molasses Rum
This is a classic rum. Its warm full flavor stands on its own and also blends well for the perfect cocktail. Aged for almost 3 years in new American white oak in Madison, Wisconsin.
*Must be 21 or over to participate in sampling or purchase of products containing alcohol. Proof of age required.

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