National Rum Day, celebrated annually on August 16th, is a perfect occasion for rum connoisseurs to try new and exciting rums. Rum constitutes one of the most widely consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. Today, we’ll highlight the origins of rum, National Rum Day, the greatest places in the United States to enjoy the event, and share some of our favorite rum-based cocktail recipes.
National Rum Day and the Spirit’s Past
Production of rum has been documented in India since the 7th century. It is produced by fermenting sugarcane and has a noticeable sugary finish. By the 16th century, countries like Brazil were producing rum on an industrial scale to meet the growing global demand for the spirit.
The first documented cargo of rum to the American colonies arrived in 1650, and by the end of that decade, rum was widely used as a medium of exchange across the colonies. The Royal British Navy started the practice of serving rum to its sailors at night sometime in the late 1600s.
At about the same period, pirates’ reputation for imbibing large quantities of rum on voyages had begun to spread. Blackbeard, the pirate captain, supposedly used to drink rum spiked with gunpowder and then set it on fire to scare his opponents. The British government raised duties on molasses imports to the American colonies with the passage of The Molasses Act in 1733. As a result, rum production increased dramatically within the colonies themselves.
The Western Industrial Revolution saw the development of more effective distillation techniques, allowing for the mass production of rum of a higher quality than had previously been possible. Rum was a favorite beverage for smugglers during the time of alcohol prohibition in the United States. Rum from the Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Barbados could be smuggled into the United States with relative ease.
Rum’s continued success throughout the years has made it widely available in most liquor stores. Flavored rums were popular in the 1990s and 2000s, and there are numerous high-end artisanal options to choose from. There are many different stories about when National Rum Day first started, but it was not before the turn of the millennium. Rum distilleries and bars throughout the world celebrate the day by releasing limited edition bottles and offering discounts on rum cocktails.
Rum Day 2023: A Festive Occasion
Even though the federal government of the United States does not recognize National Rum Day, many communities nonetheless throw big parties in its honor. Some cities are more well-known for their celebrations, while others are noted for their abundance of beach bars and restaurants offering drink discounts.
National Rum Day is best celebrated in Miami, Florida, which has a long and storied relationship with the spirit. The city is home to a wide variety of rum distilleries, several of which have happy hour promotions. New Orleans, Louisiana, is another world-famous metropolis famous for its massive National Rum Day celebrations. It’s common knowledge that the Big Easy knows how to throw a good party, so it’s no surprise that both Bourbon and Frenchmen streets will feature drink specials on August 16.
The 2024 National Rum Day Celebration
Even if it’s too soon to provide specifics about National Rum Day 2024, we can probably infer that the ideal venues to celebrate will be the cities with the most robust rum cultures. In the mainland United States, your best bets are in Miami and New Orleans, although Puerto Rico’s San Juan also has great annual Rum Day celebrations.
Tips for Celebrating National Rum Day
As you gear up to mark this spirited occasion on August 16th, here is a guide to help you honor the day while indulging responsibly and appreciating the rich history and diversity of rum:
- Educate Yourself and Others – Delve into the history and production methods of rum. Understanding the spirit’s background can enhance your appreciation while tasting different varieties.
- Rum Tasting Party – Host a rum-tasting party at home. Encourage guests to bring a bottle of rum from a different region or brand, promoting a diverse tasting experience.
- Support Local Distilleries – If possible, opt to buy rum from local distilleries. It’s a great way to support small businesses and discover potentially undiscovered gems in the rum industry.
- Rum and Food Pairing – Go beyond cocktails and try pairing rum with food. For instance, a spiced rum can pair wonderfully with chocolate desserts, while white rum might complement lighter dishes like seafood beautifully.
- Responsible Drinking – While it is a day to celebrate, always remember to drink responsibly. Know your limits and ensure you and others have a safe way to get home if celebrating away from home.
- Creative Cocktails – While we have shared the classics, don’t hesitate to get creative with your cocktails. Experiment with different ingredients to create a cocktail that is uniquely yours.
- Share Your Experiences – Document your National Rum Day celebrations on social media to share your enjoyment and potentially inspire others with cocktail recipes or ways to celebrate.
You can now celebrate National Rum Day in a fun and exciting manner but go into it responsibly and well informed. Now, with these tips in hand, let’s look into some classic rum cocktail recipes to get your celebration started right.
Rum Cocktail Recipes
The Mojito and the Piña Colada stand as quintessential choices for both connoisseurs and newcomers alike. The Mojito, typically crafted with light rum, harmoniously combines the refreshing notes of mint leaves and lime juice, offering a brightness that delights the palate. To cater to individual sweetness preferences, the addition of agave nectar or simple syrup is encouraged. On the other hand, the Piña Colada offers a tropical escape in a glass, marrying the flavors of pineapple juice and coconut milk with a carefully selected rum to suit your taste. Here’s how they are made:
- 50 ml light rum
- 10 fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 25 ml fresh lime juice
- Soda water to top up
- In a glass, muddle the mint leaves and sugar to release the mint’s aroma.
- Add the rum and lime juice, and stir to combine.
- Fill the glass with ice and top up with soda water.
- Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve immediately.
Piña Colada Recipe
- 50 ml white or gold rum
- 50 ml coconut milk
- 100 ml pineapple juice
- Pineapple slice and maraschino cherry for garnish
- Add the rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice to a blender with a scoop of ice.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour into a chilled glass, garnishing with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.
- Serve immediately and enjoy a tropical delight right at home.
Popular Questions About Rum, You Need to Know Before National Rum Day
In What Ways Are White and Dark Rum Dissimilar?
When sugarcane is fermented and distilled into a spirit, the resulting liquid is typically described as “light rum” or “white rum.” The tannins in the oak barrels infuse the rum with flavor and color as it ages.
How Long Does an Opened Bottle of Rum Last?
Even though rum’s high alcohol content will keep it from going bad after being opened, the flavor and quality will gradually decline as it is exposed to air. Even while rum can technically stay excellent for up to 2 years after opening, it’s recommended to drink it within a month or two.
Where Can I Find the Finest Rum?
Most of the world’s finest rum comes from the Caribbean. Rum is produced in enormous amounts in Puerto Rico, but the island of Barbados is renowned for producing some of the world’s finest rum.
Every year on August 16th, people who love rum and those who work in the industry get together to toast the spirit and all it has to offer. Many establishments have holiday drink specials, while rum companies often have sales and limited-edition flavors of rum to celebrate the event.