Types of Rum – Learn about the many styles and variations

types of rum

Rum is a global spirit with many options to choose from, and they are different depending on where and how they are brewed. Different countries apply different rules while producing rum spirits, explaining why there are many types of rum. 

Some countries have regulations that must be followed while others make rum. As a result of these guidelines, the production of rum dictates that the base ingredient be sugarcane juice or molasses, with minimal alcohol percentage, and fermenting agents. 

For instance, in Venezuela, rum must age for two years, while eight months is sufficient for rum to mature in Mexico. Also, the naming of rum varies and gets confusing. A straightforward way to classify rum is by the history and those who colonized the country where the rum is made. 

Rum can make many cocktails, unlike other spirits. But, it also depends on the base ingredient, Molasses, or sugarcane. Many classic cocktails served in bars are made from sugarcane rum. For example, the Daiquiri, Mojito, the famous Piña Colada, and all those creative names you hear.

Variations in the Types of Rum

Rum comes in three main types – White rum, Dark rum, and Black rum. They are named after the style, and alcohol content, which can range from 20 – 75.5%. Rum versions like Captain Morgan and Barcadi are unique rum brands. The post today discusses the types of rum to buy.

Rum is a typical liquor produced all over the world in over 80 countries. It is made in many different methods, sufficient supply and fermentation, distinct blending and distillation methods, and many aging techniques.

#1: Light Rum

They are less complicated in style and are also known as white or silver rum and are useful for making cocktails thanks to their light and new flavors. Many people think that white rum spirits don’t age, but light rum is exempted from this assumption. 

Some light rums are bottled from the still and others age in oak barrels for a short period like a year and the other four. Once the aging process is complete, they pass through charcoal filtering to rid them of any color. 

The various aging periods smooth the rum to the extent of qualifying them for straight sipping and their role in cocktail making. White rum has fruit flavors like banana, coconut, or vanilla, making them sippable. 

#2: Gold Rum

The rules for aging rum are not very strict, and most gold rums age longer than white rums. Gold rum is also known as oro or amber rum because they mature in oak barrels, and its color is left there. Majority of gold rums age longer, which makes them more complicated. 

For instance, depending on how long the aging process took, the rum can turn out light and fragrant or heavy and intense. Also, they can be used to make cocktails or for different functions. The familiar flavors in gold rum are Oak, banana, and hints of butterscotch.

#3: Black Rum

Black rum is the darkest, most rich, most heavy-bodied rum, and it offers a bold, tropical essence and recipes. The black rum-type ingredients are popular in balancing other rum flavors against gold, white and spiced rums.

Molasses is the main base ingredient in most rums. It is a thick, dark sweet liquid left behind after the manufacture of crystal sugar. The black rums get the dark color from the rich molasses, and they are at times colored with burnt caramel to make the dark hues consistent.

Also, black rums play an essential role in baking by adding bold, sweet, spicy flavors to cakes, and in candy-making industries, the same is critical for candies, desserts, and sauces. Barrels used to mature dark rum are fired heavily, which adds the wood’s intense flavors to the drink. They are most common in British territories.

Types of black rum

Styles in Types of Rum

#1: English Style Rum

Popular in: Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda, St Lucia, Guyana, Trinidad, and Tobago

Main ingredient: Molasses

Method of production: Pot and Column distillation

Primary Characteristic: Dark rums, spicy and rich in the molasses flavor

#2: French Rum Style

Stock in: Martinique, Mauritius, Guadeloupe

Base Ingredients: Fresh sugar cane juice

Production method: Column distillation

Chief Characteristic: Grassy, earthy, and floral flavor

#3: Spanish Style Rum

Popular in: Cuba*, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela

Main ingredient: molasses-based

Production method: column distilled and charcoaled filter

Major Characteristic: Light, smooth and oily

Cuban rum is protected with a DOP (Protected Designation of Origin), a dictate of rules in the spirit’s production, like the fact that all Cuban rums should be made from molasses from Cuban-grown sugar and it must age for at least two aging stages.

Rum Variations from the Three Main Types

Navy Rum: The Royal British army has dark traditional full-bodied rum, provided to sailors daily from 1655 when they captured the Jamaican Island. Rum traveled in the Navy ships, and during extreme heat in the tropics, grape-based spirits like wine and Brandy went terrible, but rum only got better. 

#1: Premium Aged Rum

The most exceptional rums age in oak barrels to achieve their superior flavor. The interaction of spirit and wood brings out positive effects on smoothness, richness, and rum flavors. The more rum ages, the more exquisite the taste is and how mature rums are blended to achieve their sophisticated and distinctive characteristics. 

Although extended aging periods improve the quality of rum, it also increases the cost of production, and a reasonable amount of the rum is lost through evaporation. In Spain, the more mature rum is known as Anejo. It can be enjoyed on the rocks or neat. Besides, adding these flavorful rums to cocktail recipes, makes them better in taste. 

Premium Aged rum

#2: Vintage Rum

In the U.S., the blending of rum happens in several sources before they are bottled. Others are picked from particular vintage years and then bottled. The rums are mostly found in French islands, and their growing and processing time is short. Some rum brands are privately labeled after aging. These brand owners purchase rum in bulk from a particular year, preserve it to age then bottle it once it is ready.

#3: Overproof Rum

The types of rum that contain higher alcohol content are known as overproof. In the U.S., most rums in the market are 80 to 100 proof meaning their alcohol content is between 40 to 50%. Most rums produced for frequent consumption go through distillation to rid them of non-alcohol components. 

Modern distillation in spirits produces 160 – 190 alcohol proof, and once the rum ages, the rum is diluted with water to bring down the alcohol concentration to 80, the proof standard.

#4: Flavored and Spiced Rum

Adding flavors and spices to rums produce a wide range of variation in proof in liqueurs and creams. The spices flavor rum to make it unique in cocktails and libations, bringing out tropical flavors.

Spices can be seeds, dried fruit, or edible bark. The aroma and pungent add sweetness to the rum. Many spiced concoctions were distilled for medicinal treatments in many generations. The most common rum spices are ginger roots, vanilla seeds, cinnamon, and cloves. Also, fruit extracts make perfect flavors. 

Rum creams have dairy textures added to make them ideal for after-dinner. U.S. laws demand that any product labeled as rum be at least 40% rich in alcohol volume.


Any spirits with a sugar base can be classified as rum, and they can be dark, gold, or white. Also, note that rum may become in many variations depending on the country it is produced. 

The world of rum is fascinating, and hopefully, the above guide has now shed some light on it. When you go buy your rum, you can confidently pick a bottle with confidence. If cocktails interest you, then use the different types of rum to make them in different flavors.

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Andrew is a professional writer with 7+ Years of experience. His style and uniqueness inspire and educate readers throughout the world.

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