The Realm of Rums is in turmoil!
Three prominent Rum families vie for their place on the Rum Throne. Armies of bottles are gathering by the thousands, spirits are high and expressions of proud lineage are being raised to the sky while chants of allegiance and the sound of war dRUMs fill the morning air. Everything is poised for battle.
The ArmaggedRUM is nigh. It's time for Game of Rums…
In a Land, Far Away….
The battle for the Rum throne began long ago, in the tropical hotbed known as the Caribbean islands. Back in the 17th century, that’s where plantation slaves devised a way to turn molasses into something useful — gingerbread cookies. Kidding. It was Rum. Definitely Rum. And since then, many countries have vied for the crown with different interpretations, expressions and distilling processes.
Today, we introduce you to three noble houses, each hailing from a different corner of the realm. First up, Don Papa Rum, all the way from Philippines.
Not to be outdone, the Plantation XO 20th Anniversary is a big and bold Caribbean tour de force being led into battle by French Cognac producer Maison Ferrand. Guatemala’s House of Ron Zacapa XO descends upon the battlefield from its plantation high up on the volcanic plains of Retalhuleu — one of the highest ageing facilities in the realm.
But ultimately, it will be up to you to decide who will win the Game of Rums and benevolently rule from the Rum throne.
Trivia & Smartass Corner:
1) Okay, you got us. Wine and ale are the clear-cut winners when it comes to what the Game of Thrones denizens are ordering at the bar. Except for Lady Crane, the Rum-swilling actress in season six, who nearly drank a poisoned cup of her favorite Spirit.
2) The ale produced in the Middle Ages was primarily brewed by women, known as brewsters or alewives. Unsurprisingly, it was a pretty significant boost to their household’s bottom line.
3) Believe it or not, hygiene was a priority in medieval times — it meant that you were civilized. Which also meant, you had to bathe. You could find public baths in most major cities along with fixtures in private homes. Interestingly, bathtubs were crafted using techniques that were not unlike those used to make wine barrels.
4) Back in the 17th century, molasses — a by-product of the sugar production process — was considered a pesky industrial waste of sorts by Caribbean sugar farmers. Until an intrepid soul decided to ferment it with the liquid skimmed off of cane juice. And voila… Rum.
5) Rum has its fair share of aliases, including: Nelson's blood, kill-devil, demon water, pirate's drink, navy neaters, Barbados water, grog and rumbullion. A grog by another other name would taste as sweet.
6) Barbados is the birthplace of Rum. They’ve been distilling the stuff since 1703.
7) Think of the Rum landscape as the Wild West (with fewer dust-ups at the neighborhood corral). There aren’t really any strict global classification systems or regulations that distillers have to abide by like they do for Cognac or Bourbon. Individual countries of origin may have their own standards, but pretty much any Spirit that gets its start with some form of sugarcane can call itself a Rum.
8) Let’s talk about proof. The origins of the term are actually quite, well, explosive. Sailors who were issued Rum by the Royal Navy needed a way to prove that they weren’t getting watered down product. So they’d mix their Rum ration with gunpowder. If it lit, the Rum was higher the 57% alcohol, or, "overproof." No explosion? The Rum was "underproof" — resulting in a highly displeased sailor.
9) The award for most expensive bottle of Rum in the world goes to J. Wray & Nephew. A 1940s bottle of the Spirit clocks in at $54,000 and was a favorite at Trader Vic back in the day.