Rum is one of the six base spirits (the other five being whiskey, brandy, gin, vodka and tequila), yet if you ask people what they’re favorite booze is, it hardly ever registers on anyone’s radar. We, for the life of us, can’t understand why.
To us, rum is about as close to the nectar of the gods as anything we’ve ever tasted, and it goes well anywhere — from neat in a rocks glass, to blended or shaken into a daiquiri. It’s an incredibly versatile spirit that’s affordable, approachable and adaptable to most any situation.
And yet, you probably can’t remember the last time you had it anywhere other than begrudgingly at the tiki bar happy hour your colleagues dragged you to after work that one time, or as a last resort at your friend’s wedding after the bar was stripped clean of everything else.
Frankly, that’s a damn shame, and you’re definitely missing out on one of the world’s most versatile and complex spirits.
Here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Drink More Rum
It Goes Well Anywhere
Rum is one of the most well-rounded booze out there, and it seems that for as many people as you’ll find who love a good sipping rum — and yes, there are plenty of us out there — you’ll also find people who can’t resist a good rum cocktail.
Have you ever had a Piña Colada? How about a Dark & Stormy? What about a daiquiri, a Hurricane, a Mai Tai, a Mojito or even just a standard rum and Coke? If you said yes to any of those cocktails (and we’re sure you did), you were drinking rum. And you probably had a deliciously good time while you were doing it, too.
That’s the point here. Rum is the kind of alcohol you suspect you don’t like, but don’t realize some of your favorite drinks comprise it.
And to its credit, rum is also one of those spirits we love drinking straight, because it offers what we humbly believe is one of the tastiest and most complex flavor profiles out there.
You won’t get the peat or smokiness of a scotch, but you’ll taste the sugar cane, as well as — and depending on the brand you’re drinking — vanilla, espresso, almond, butterscotch and all the other delicious and silky flavors people dream of in a good bourbon.
For the scotch drinkers out there, there’re also a few rums that don’t filter out esters that lend to peaty and roastier notes, too. If that’s what you’re looking for, there are rums out there that’ll oblige.
Rum is a malleable spirit that can be molded to fit peoples’ particular tastes.
It Pairs Particularly Well with Cigars
We’re cigar guys through and through, and if we’re smoking, chances are we’re also having a dram of some of the good stuff. Rum is our preferred drink when partaking of a cigar because the two go together like peas and carrots.
Of course, before we get into our preferred pairing, we should probably first speak on why people enjoy a good booze and cigar to begin with. The key here is what a cigar does to your taste buds. The smoke from a cigar gently “scorches” your palate. This light scorching makes your taste receptors very sensitive, which allows you to pick up on more subtle flavors you’d ordinarily have to stretch yourself to sense.
So, if you’re drinking a bourbon whose mashbill is sweeter, and you really want to taste the subtle char of the barrel and the vanilla and honey flavor notes you read about on the back of the bottle, nothing will help bring those flavors out like a good cigar.
For us, rum is perfect because it’s a naturally sweeter — but not overpoweringly sweet — spirit. Generally speaking, an aged rum is very complex, and will give you notes of citrus, vanilla, spice, apples, etc. And a good cigar really brings all of that out.
We prefer it to, say, a single malt scotch, as they tend to be oakier, smokier, peaty, etc. A cigar could very well make those flavor notes a little overbearing. But a good rum? That’s just right.
It’s Very Approachable
If you’re drinking with people who don’t necessarily drink hard liquor, or don’t really drink darker liquors, rum is an exceptionally approachable spirit. Every rum differs, but generally speaking, it’s softer and a little more even-keeled to the inexperienced and experienced palate alike.
If you’re a vodka guy who can’t really bang on some scotch or tequila, rum is a good alternative because it sips slowly and evenly. And if you’re a bourbon guy who wants to try new things, most aged rums are going to taste a little familiar, but a little exotic. And if you’re a brandy guy then, well, enjoy drinking something that’s not brandy, you fucking weirdo.
Rum is a great middle ground booze for even the most sensitive palates, and will also hold its own with the seasoned scotch and whiskey guys. And if you absolutely positively refuse to drink the stuff out of a glass, you can always get it in a nice cocktail.
Part of what we love so much about booze is all the history behind it. For rum, that story spans centuries and countries, and each branch of its family tree is more interesting than the one before it. Are you drinking some Bacardi? Did you know it was first manufactured in Cuba, but then made its way to Puerto Rico after the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950’s? Or perhaps you’re sipping on some Flor de Cana 18-year? Did you know it’s produced at the base of one of Nicaragua’s most active volcanoes (San Cristóbal) and was originally founded by an Italian?
Or did you know that rum is a highly regional spirit because even though it’s all mainly distilled from sugar cane, different sugar cane from different places results in completely different tasting rum? Or that because rum is traditionally matured in hotter, more humid and more tropical environments, a rum aged 10 years is far more “mature” than a scotch or brandy of the same year?
We enjoy learning about rum’s nuances just as much as we enjoy drinking the stuff, and if you’re a history nerd like us, you know what we’re talking about.
It’s Healthier Than You Think
“Healthier” is probably a bit of an exaggeration here, but rum certainly isn’t as unhealthy as most people assume. When people think rum, they think sugar. And when they think sugar, they think calories, obesity, diabetes and all that other fun stuff.
Only, that’s not true at all. In most rums (especially ones with no sugar added), there are zero grams of sugar per serving. You can definitely pick up a little bit of the sugar cane characteristics of rum, but a lot of its flavor comes from being aged in oak (and sometimes Sherry) casks. All of that vanilla and butterscotch flavor you pick up? The hints of citrus and apple? That’s mostly thanks to the maturation process.
Believe it or not, rum is perfectly on par with all the other base spirits, coming in at about 97 calories per 1.5-ounce serving, on average. For comparison’s sake, the average for vodka is roughly the same, as it is for cognac, tequila, brandy, whiskey, and scotch. The heaviest hitter is bourbon, which comes in somewhere in the 100-calorie mark, depending on the brand you’re drinking.
So, there ya have it. Grab yourself a glass of your favorite rum and head on over to the hims blog to read more boozing tips from the pros you know.