Like most types of alcohol, rum is produced by distilling specific ingredients. Different types of alcohol require different ingredients and, in some cases, the process may vary depending on what you want to produce and the quality you want to achieve. Learning how to make rum can be fun and useful. It is not only the final result, but the learning process that you can tell all your friends as you let them enjoy a taste.
Rum is usually made from by-products of sugarcane. Molasses is a good example of a popular main ingredient. Commercially, rum is produced largely by Latin America and the Caribbean, but many other countries around the world have followed this popular trend. Not to mention those who enjoy making their own rum at home.
The history of rum
The rum has a long and fascinating history. It is believed that the first drinks similar to rum originated in countries like India and China. In these countries, there is evidence that alcoholic beverages were produced from sugar cane juice. It is also known that the Malays have produced a drink called “Brum” that goes back thousands of years. The first documented cases of distilled rum date back to the 17th century.
This Caribbean rum was made in sugar cane plantations, since the molasses that remained a by-product of sugar refining was (and still is) perfect for making rum. Although several records and historical records indicated slightly different origins of this beverage, it is difficult to ignore rum production records in Brazil in 2016; as well as a bottle of rum found in the Vasa (a Swedish warship) that sank in 1628.
Clearly there is some truth behind the rum that is favored by the sailors! The rum gained, even more, popularity throughout the years in North America, during the colonial period, and the demand for this drink became so great that they created their own distilleries. New England was known for its great production, and this was one of the industries that helped build and shape the nation.
Benefits of drinking rum
When you enjoy your first taste of rum, it is quite easy to understand why this particular beverage has withstood the test of time. Although excessive consumption of alcohol is obviously not recommended, moderate consumption of rum can be very beneficial.
- Rum does not contain fat or carbohydrates. The energy your body gets from this beverage is due to the alcohol content itself.
- According to several studies, moderate and responsible consumption of rum can add 2 to 5 years to your life!
- Rum is known to thin the blood and increases HDL (good) cholesterol. This helps prevent diseases of the peripheral arteries and heart attacks.
- Drinking rum can help increase bone density. This means that it helps with osteoporosis.
- Alcohol contains antimicrobial properties that help you fight an unpleasant cold. It will provide you with a warm and relaxing comfort, and the taste is more attractive than your over-the-counter medication. However, it is important to keep in mind that alcohol should not be consumed along with medications, as this can produce adverse effects.
When you buy a bottle of rum at your local store, it can last indefinitely while it is stored properly. This means that you should keep the bottle in a cool, dry place and should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Storing rum is similar to storing any other type of alcohol and even wine. When you open the bottle, it will expose the contents to the air and, as the alcohol evaporates naturally, you can expect some flavor to escape if you leave the bottle open.
After pouring a glass, be sure to secure the lid in place immediately. If you want to store a bottle that has been opened, you must ensure that the lid or top has been firmly secured before placing it in the proper conditions. If you make your own rum, you will also need to seal each bottle properly before storing it. You can seal the bottle by hand or invest in a sealing device that guarantees a more lasting flavor. Always remember to try your rum before adding something to the mix or cooking with it.
If, for some reason, you notice a strange odor or a slightly unpleasant taste, it is better to discard that bottle. Try another bottle from the same lot if necessary and, if standard, go ahead and enjoy!
Interesting uses for rum.
Rum is most obviously enjoyed as a drink. That said, like many other alcoholic beverages, there are a number of other great uses to consider:
- Rum acts as an antiseptic, which means that you can disinfect your hands if you do not have soap.
- Rum can be used as a type of sleep aid (in moderation, of course).
- Some say that rum acts as an aphrodisiac.
- Rum can help soothe the painful bite of a snakebite. Medical treatment should always be the first priority, of course, but this is a sure way to relieve pain while waiting for help to arrive.
- The rum can be combined with lemon and honey in case of a bad cold.
- Rum is great in many recipes. In addition to being an important ingredient in many cocktails, it can also be used in salty and sweet dishes.
Making rum at home
Before starting, it is important to understand the entire process and what you will need in terms of ingredients, equipment and other supplies.
Preparation is essential when preparing any type of alcohol and rum is no exception.
Gather your ingredients
To make a batch of approximately 0.5 to 0.8 gallons, you will need the following ingredients. If you want to make a larger amount, you only need to multiply the lot keeping the same proportion.
- 5.5 pounds of molasses
- 5.5 pounds of processed sugar
- 5.2 gallons of distilled water
- 1.5 ounces of hydrated yeast
- Extra distilled water to dilute the final solution.
- Spices for extra flavor (optional)
You will also need the following equipment:
- A boiler to process the puree.
- An air bag for the fermentation process.
- Hydrometer to taste the puree.
- A still
- Siphon tubes and a siphon accessory.
- Collection of glass (s)
- Oak barrel (optional) OR oak chips and cheesecloth
- Bottles, caps and bottle cap sealer
Preparing the mash
Begin by placing the 5.2 gallons of distilled water in a clean boiler. The boiler must be perfectly clean and free of impurities. Any kind of pollution can ruin your lot. All your utensils must be sterilized in boiling water to eliminate dangerous germs. Add the sugar and molasses to the water over medium heat. You will notice that the sugar will dissolve first and that the molasses will take a lot longer.
Do not let the water boil, but let it warm up slowly. When you notice that small bubbles begin to form, turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool to approximately 82 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the hydrated yeast. To facilitate this part of the process, remove a few cups of the mixture and place a large bowl or jar. Dissolve the yeast in this smaller amount and wait for it to foam before adding it to the main mix.
The fermentation process.
The solution should be maintained at a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Watch the pot carefully to see when the lock stops bubbling. Yeast requires heat to convert sugar to alcohol. If necessary, place a heater in the fermentation room to maintain a moderate temperature. The air damper in your pot will allow carbon dioxide to escape without letting in oxygen. The fermentation process should take approximately 24 to 48 hours.
Once the bubbling stops, you should let the mixture stand for 3 to 7 days. Use a hydrometer to test the puree regularly. This useful equipment allows you to measure the density ratio of a liquid to that of water. Measure daily until you reach the desired ratio. To do this, you will need to remove some of the mixture and place it in a cylinder. Place the hydrometer on the cylinder and rotate it gently. Keep a record of each reading and, when you notice that the reading remains unchanged for three consecutive days, it is time for the next step in the process.
At this point, it is important to lower the mash temperature so that the yeast does not remain active. If you do not do this, it’s likely that your rum ends up smelling and even tastes really bad. The ideal temperature to reach at this point is between 50 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Suction the liquid from the pot and place it in the still for the next step.
Place your collection container under the distillate valve before doing anything else. You should always make sure that your system is prepared and that all connections are secure to avoid spills or accidents. You must connect the coolant inlet to a water source as this helps to cool the alcohol vapors. As the vapors cool, they will condense and form liquid ethanol. This liquid then drips down into the collection container. Once everything is connected and ready to begin, it’s time to siphon the mixture into the still.
Do it very carefully from the top of the mix. The remaining yeast and other solid particles will stay closer to the bottom of the boiler and you will want to avoid the siphon of anything except the liquid itself. To make rum, you must bring the mixture to a slow boil and, once the liquid reaches approximately 122 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to run the cold water for the cooling process. You will notice that the clear drops begin to come out and enter the collection boat.
It is important to discard the first 3.38 ounces. This is for safety reasons because it is generally higher in methanol, which means that it can be extremely harmful or even fatal if consumed. Discard the first ounces and proceed to collect the rest in a larger collection container. Continue the distillation process until the temperature reaches approximately 204.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn off the heat followed by cold water. Make sure that the lid is opened in a way that still does not create a vacuum inside the still.
Completing the process
An optional part of the process is to age your rum in oak barrels. Professional commercial producers usually age rum in oak or toasted casks for about 10 years or more. This helps give the rum a deeper color and flavor. If you do not want to wait 10 years to enjoy the fruits of your work, but you still want that aroma and flavor of oak, you can add pieces of toasted oak to your rum. Allow them to soak for three weeks before filtering the mixture using something thin like a cotton sheet or gauze.
Depending on your still, your rum could initially be 95% alcohol. This is extremely strong for any type of consumption, and it is important to dilute the alcohol with distilled water. Depending on the alcohol content, you must add enough water to finish with a reading of approximately 45% alcohol.
Nothing stronger is quite dangerous, and if you soften it too much, flavor will be sacrificed. Your rum is basically ready at this point but, if you wish, you can add some additional flavors to spice it up.
Good examples of ingredients that you can add include cinnamon, cloves and ginger. You should allow the spices to soak in the rum for about 1 or 2 weeks before removing them. Avoid using the powder form! Use whole cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and large pieces of ginger. Some even like to add small amounts of caramelized sugar to the mixture to improve the flavor and give it a richer and deeper look.
Bottling and storage
No matter how much rum you make, it’s always a good idea to store smaller quantities in individual bottles. Pour the batch you have made into several bottles and seal each one properly with a sealing machine. This is much more effective than simply securing the bottle cap with your hand. Now, when you want to open and enjoy your rum, you only need to open one bottle at a time!
If you store your rum in a large container, you will be exposed to oxygen several times and the seal may not be as perfect as it should maintain a high level of quality.
Before starting to distill your own rum, it is important to make sure you comply with local laws. Different countries and states are governed by different regulations, and it is important to comply with them. Always use quality equipment and do not settle for the second best. By buying the right tools, you will get much more use of them and a better and safer product. Distill your rum outdoors.
Due to the flammable nature of any alcohol, fire is always a possible risk. This is the reason why you should not distill in your home and you should always have a fire extinguisher at hand. Inspecting your equipment on a regular basis is crucial. Even the smallest leak can cause loss and damage if a fire occurs.
Remember to always be near your still when it is working. If an accident or malfunction occurs, you must be there to solve the problem immediately before it escalates. When collecting the finished product, you should always allow it to flow in a glass bottle or container of sorts. This ensures that the taste is not affected, and it is also the safest for storage purposes.
Drink and cook with rum.
Now that you have made your first batch of rum, it is time to put it to good use! The rum can be enjoyed in various cocktails such as daiquiris, Dark and Stormy, El Presidente and Pina Coladas. Of course, many rum drinkers enjoy a simple mix of rum and cola or rum.
As for cooking, rum can be used to flavor a series of cakes and desserts, as well as salty dishes that include chicken as a featured ingredient. Some delicious examples include bananas cooked in rum and served with vanilla ice cream, chicken and pineapple kebabs (they use rum in the marinade), and even biscotti raisins soaked in rum.
DO IT YOURSELF