History of Rum

Rum and Coffee - Caribbean style.Rum dates back to ancient times.
It is believed to have first been distilled in ancient India or ancient China. One such early drink is called brum, produced by the Malay people. Marco Polo mentions a rum-like drink originating out of Iran in the 14th century. The first production of rum occurred in the Caribbean sugar plantations in 17th century.

Traditionally, it’s been believed that the first rum was produced on the island of Barbados.

The drink’s popularity spread to Colonial America and the first rum distillery was set up in 1664 in what is now Staten Island. Boston had its own distillery three years later. In fact, the manufacture of rum became the largest and most prosperous industry in early Colonial New England.

The rum from these distilleries was, during the 18th century, considered the best in the world. In fact, rum from Rhode Island was considered currency in Europe for a period of time. It was estimated that the average consumption of rum prior to the revolutionary war in the colonies was 13.5 liters per year.

Slaves were used as a labor force to make enough rum to keep up with the demand. The popularity of rum was continued after the war, with rum being used at Washington’s inauguration. Eventually, the restrictions on rum from the British Islands in the Caribbean along with the creation of American whiskey led to the decline in the popularity of rum.

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