How is rum made you ask? Well, it’s a seriously scientific, complex and fascinating process, so listen up. One of the sweetest, and most delicious, spirits in world, it’s not surprising to know that rum is made from sugar cane, associated with summer nights, cocktails at the beach or bartenderswearing tiki shirts and drinking from pineapples.

Making rum is an intricate process that involved harvesting, fermenting, distilling and maturing. Every spirit has to have a base, and rum’s is sugarcane, to this day still harvested by machete wielding ‘cutters’ at farms usually found in the Caribbean and South America. There are many different varieties of sugar cane and each region where it’s grown affects the flavour profile of the rum. You’ll find Cuban and Puerto Rican rums are lighter bodied, while Jamaican rums are heavier and fuller-flavoured.

Once the cane has been cut, it’s crushed in a machine into a fibrous pulp, extracting the sugar cane juice ready for fermenting and distillation. Now, depending on final product the next step can alter slightly, but in most cases the sugar cane juice is then boiled to form molasses. But no one wants to drink straight molasses, and the next part is where the magic happens – with alcohol created with the addition of yeast and water to themolasses. The next step is distilling, where the fermented liquid is heated and condensed in sealed column stills. At around 80 degrees Celsius the alcohol evaporates off the sugary liquid and is then re-condensed and finally collected to form a raw spirit – a rocket fuel like liquid (around 80 to96%% alcohol by volume) that forms the base of the rum.

The final step – maturation – adds those caramelly, herbal, raisiny notes that we all love, even giving the rum its colour. Some rums will be aged in charred oak barrels, some will be infused with herbs, fruits and spices, andmost being diluted with water at some point before bottling, bringing the liquid down to a quaffable 40%-50%. Dark rums are almost always aged inoak barrels, and there are even oak-aged white rums – filtered after ageing to remove any oaky colouring.

So, know you know how rum is made nothing is stopping you from achieving world domination – or simply impressing your friends at your next BBQ or tiki party.