The history of Rum is the history of sugar. Sugar is a sweet crystalline carbohydrate found naturally in a variety of plants. One of these is sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum), a tall and large herbaceous plant that has its origins in the islands of present-day Indonesia in the East Indies. Chinese traders extended its cultivation to Asia and India. The Arabs, in turn, brought it to the Middle East and North Africa where it attracted the attention of Europeans during the crusades of the 11th century.

When the Spanish and Portuguese began venturing into the Atlantic Ocean, they planted sugar cane in the Canary Islands and the Azores. In 1493 Christopher Columbus took cane cuttings in the Canary Islands during his second voyage to the Americas and transplanted them to Hispaniola, the Caribbean island now divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Portuguese explorers did the same thing in Brazil.

The Caribbean Basin proved to have the ideal climate for growing sugarcane, and sugar production soon spread to the islands. Europe's insatiable demand for sugar soon led to the creation of hundreds of cane plantations and sugar mills in the various English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Dutch colonies. These sugar mills crushed the harvested canes and extracted the juice. Boiling this juice caused pieces of crystallized sugar to form. The remaining unsolidified juice was called molasses.

MOLASSES is a viscous syrup that still contains a significant amount of sugar. Sugar mill workers soon noticed that when it was mixed with water and left out in the sun, it fermented. From the 1650s this product, which was previously lost, began to be transformed into distillate. In the English colonies it was called Kill Devil (for its tendency to cause unpleasant hangovers or, your choice, for its proven medicinal power) or Rumbullion (a word of uncertain origins) which over the years was shortened to our modern Rum. The French term is Rhum, while the Spanish term is Ron.

Rum was used as a good remedy for all the pains and ailments that afflicted those who lived in the tropics. The owners of cane plantations also sold it at discounted prices to ships mooring in the Caribbean to encourage their presence in local waters and consequently discourage the attentions of pirates. The English fleet adopted a daily ration of half a pint of Rum at 80% vol. starting from the 1730s. This ration was later modified by mixing it with an equal quantity of water to produce a drink called Grog. The grog ration remained a fixed point in the life of the English fleet until 1969.

This relationship between ships and Rum spread this distillate to the rest of the world and starting from the end of the eighteenth century a flourishing export trade developed. The British Isles sent Rum to Britain (where it was mixed into Rum punch and replaced gin as the dominant spirit in the 18th century) and to the English colonies of North America where it became very popular. This export of Rum to North America, in exchange for New England lumber and dried cod (which is still a tradition in Caribbean cuisine), soon changed to the export of molasses for New England distilleries. This happened to avoid the laws of the English Parliament, which protected British distillers by prohibiting the trade of spirits directly between the colonies. This law was not enforced and smuggling soon became uncontrolled. The transportation of molasses to make rum in New England distilleries became part of the infamous "slavery triangle." The first stage was to transport molasses to New England to make Rum. The second stage was the transport of Rum to the ports of West Africa to buy slaves. The last stage was the transport of slaves to the cane plantations of the Caribbean and South America, where many slaves were made to work in the sugar cane fields. The disruption to commerce caused by the American Revolution and the rise of whiskey production in North America resulted in the slow decline of Rum's dominance as America's national alcoholic beverage. Rum production in the United States slowly declined throughout the 19th century, and the last New England rum distilleries closed with the advent of Prohibition in 1920. The famous alcohol smugglers of the Prohibition era were primarily whiskey smugglers into the United States. United.

In Europe the invention of extracting sugar from beets decreased the demand for Caribbean sugar, reducing the amount of molasses produced and the related amount of Rum that was distilled. Many small plantations and their distilleries were dismantled. Rum production was reduced, for the most part, to the countries where sugar cane was grown.

The modern history of Rum owes much to the spread of air conditioning and the growth of tourism. In the second half of the twentieth century, air conditioning made it possible for large numbers of people to emigrate to warm regions where Rum remains the dominant distillate. Furthermore, the explosive increase in the number of North American and European tourists in rum-drinking regions led to a stable growth in the popularity of rum, especially based on cocktails. Nowadays, white rum is a serious competitor to vodka as a component of mixed drinks in a number of certainly non-tropical markets.

Aged Rums are gaining consideration among consumers of Scotch Whisky, Armagnac and the best Bourbons, who have learned to appreciate the subtle complexity of these Rums. Those from Guyana and Jamaica, distilled in discontinuous pot stills, have a particular appeal for Scotch Whiskey drinkers (it is no coincidence that the Scottish whiskey merchant and bottler Cadenhead also ages and bottles Demerara Rum), while the subtle and complex Rhum from Martinique and Guadeloupe reflect the aromatic profile of the best French brandies such as Cognac and Armagnac.


White Rums (White Rum)

They are generally light bodied (although there is some white rum of considerable body in the French Isles). They are usually clear and have a very subtle flavor profile. If they are aged in oak barrels to give them a smooth taste, they are then filtered to remove any colour. White rums are mainly used in mixed drinks, especially fruit ones.

Amber Rums (Golden / Amber Rum)

They are generally medium bodied. Most have spent many years aging in oak barrels, which gives them a smooth, mellow flavor.

Dark Rums

They are traditionally full-bodied, rich, very caramelized. The best are mostly produced with discontinuous stills and often aged in oak barrels for long periods. The richest of these Rums are consumed pure.

Spiced Rum

They can be white, amber or dark. They are infused with spices or fruit flavours. Rum Punches (such as Planter's Punch) are mixtures of rum and fruit juices, very popular in the Caribbean.

Añejo Rums and Age-Dated Rums

They are Rums of different vintages or batches that are mixed together to ensure continuity of taste to the Rum brands from year to year. Some aged Rums report as the vintage of the youngest Rum present in the blend (for example a "10 years old" Rum contains a blend of Rums which have been aged for at least 10 years). A small number of Rums from the French Islands report the precise year of production.


The Caribbean

they are the epicenter of Rum production in the world. Practically every large island or archipelago produces its own characteristic type of Rum.


they produce light and sweet Rums both with discontinuous stills and with column distillers. Rum distillation began here and the Mount Gay Distillery, which dates back to 1663, is probably the oldest active rum distillery in the world.


produces light-bodied, lively, clear Rums with column stills. The Dominican Republic is notable for its aged, full-bodied Rums, produced with column stills.


is rightly famous for its rich and complex Demerara Rums, named after a local river and produced with both pot stills and column stills. Demerara Rums can be aged for long periods (there are 25 year aged types on the market) and are often used to be blended with lighter Rums from other regions. Surinam and neighboring French Guiana produce similar full-bodied rums.


follows the French tradition of complex Rums, distilled twice in a discontinuous still and aged in oak barrels for three years or more to produce very fragrant Rums with an exceptionally harmonious taste. Haiti still has extensive illegal and clandestine production, which supplies the trade linked to the religious rituals of voodoo.


is well known for its rich and aromatic Rums, most of which are produced in pot stills. Jamaica has an official classification of Rums, which starts from the lightest to reach the very complex ones. Jamaican Rums are widely used in blending.


is a French island with the largest number of distilleries in the Eastern Caribbean. Both the discontinuous still and the column distiller are used. As in the other French island of Guadeloupe, both agricultural rum (Rhumagricoltura, from sugar cane juice) and industrial rum (Rhumindustrial, from molasses) are produced. These Rums are often aged in barrels used for Cognac or Armagnac for a minimum period of three years. Aged Rum (Rhum vieux) is often compared to high-quality French brandies. The Dominican Republic is notable for its aged, full-bodied Rums, produced with column stills.

Puerto Rico

it is best known for light and very dry rums made with column distillers. All white Puerto Rican Rums must by law be aged for a minimum of one year, while dark Rums must be aged three years.


It mainly produces light rums with column distillers and has an extensive export trade.

The Virgin Islands

are divided between the American Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, they produce light rums, by mixing with column distillers. These Rums and those from nearby Grenada also serve as the base for Bay Rum, a classic aftershave lotion.

Guatemala and Nicaragua

are noteworthy in Central America for a variety especially of medium-bodied Rums from column stills, which lend themselves well to aging. Recently they have begun to gain international recognition.


produces a large quantity especially of light Rums from column distillers, of which the best known example is a cane distillate, called Cachaca.


produces a certain quantity of very respectable amber and dark barrel-aged rums.

The United States

they have a few distilleries in the South that produce a range of light and medium bodied Rums, which are generally marketed with names reminiscent of the Caribbean.

The tradition of Canada

of trading Rum for dried cod, 300 years old, continues in the Atlantic-facing provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, as amber Rums from Antigua, Barbados and Jamaica are imported and aged for five years. The resulting generous Rum is locally known as Schreech.


especially imported Rum blend. Both the United Kingdom and France import Rum from their old Caribbean colonies for aging and bottling. Dark, complex Jamaican rums are imported into Germany and mixed with neutral distillate in the proportion of 1:19 to produce "Rum verschnitt". A similar product in Austria is called "Inlander Rum".


produces a substantial quantity of white and amber Rums with double distillation, a method used both with column distillers and discontinuous stills. Rum is the second most popular alcoholic beverage in the country after beer. Light rums are also produced in some of the South Pacific islands, such as Tahiti.


The F.I.S.A.R. – Italian Federation of Sommeliers, Hoteliers, Restaurateurs was established in Pisa in 1972.

The Association obtained recognition of legal personality with D.P. of Pisa n. 1070/01 Sept. I of 9 May 2001.

It is non-profit and its main purpose is to spread and enhance the wine culture through the promotion of professional qualification activities of the figure of the Sommelier in the field of traditional gastronomy and food and wine tourism at a national and international level.

To achieve the association's purpose, it carries out all cultural, educational and editorial activities aimed at disseminating knowledge of wine both in Italy and abroad through:

a.    the promotion and organization of courses for the professional training of Sommeliers and teaching staff;

b.    the promotion of recreational and cultural clubs in oenological and gastronomical matters;

c.    collaboration with producers, operators and the specialized press in the sector;

d.    the promotion of investigations, research and studies in food and wine matters;

e.    the organization and participation in conferences, events and initiatives, both national and international, which have as their object the dissemination and valorisation of food and wine products;

f.     the promotion of all initiatives deemed useful to achieve the association's objectives, both directly and in collaboration with other public and/or private entities.

The Association is independent from political parties and trade union bodies without depriving itself of the right to formulate proposals at any level for the greater professional protection of its members.