Looking for some fun facts about rum? From the shores of the West Indies to the Royal Navy, find out more about this aged alcohol in our rum facts now!
Whether you add this spirit to your favorite cocktail or drink it neat on the rocks, rum has a very long and diverse history. In fact, empires have been made on transporting and selling rum alone.
Did you know some famous people throughout history have loved this spirit? In particular, George Washington made his Mount Vernon Eggnog with dark Jamaican rum, much to the delight of all his guests.
And thankfully for the health-conscious, it is relatively low in calories. But that doesn’t mean what you mix it with is!
How much do you really know about this spirit? Well, we’ll find out in all our fun facts about rum!
It’s no secret that sailors like to drink. But there was a time in history when the Royal Navy paid their sailors in rum! And this practice led to the term “proof” that is applied to all spirits today.
What is the most you would pay for a bottle of rum? It might shock you how much a well-aged bottle went for in rum fact number 17.
Feel free to make yourself a rum cocktail before you dive into these rum facts. We think you’ll find them interesting (especially with a drink in hand!)
19 Fun Facts About Rum
1. It’s been around a while
It’s no secret that humans have been enjoying alcoholic beverages since the beginning of time. People have been figuring out how to ferment and distill plants for thousands of years.
Rum has been distilled since about 1620 in the Caribbean. This makes rum the oldest spirit in the world. We’ve been enjoying rum for over 400 years now!
2. It can be strong
There is no standard alcohol by volume in liquors. Some are on the weak side while others can knock you on your butt. There are a few that fight for the title of strongest rum. Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum has a whopping 63% ABV, you might want to take it easy with this one.
If you’re up for a challenge, consider a bottle of Sunset Very Strong Rum, which clocks in at 84.5% ABV. The prize goes to Suriname’s Marienburg Rum with 90% ABV. Just go ahead and lock up your car keys now.
3. Put it on the schedule
When sailors in the Royal Navy were on duty, there was an important appointment everyone kept. At 11:00 hours, a tot of rum was poured for each sailor on the ship.
This, believe it or not, continued until July 31, 1970! This was the final day rum was served and is known to this day as Black Tot Day. Sailors wore black armbands and even gave mock funerals to commemorate the tragedy.
4. It’s quite diverse
Rum is famously made in the Caribbean. But each island has its own spin on the spirit, with no two being exactly the same.
Depending on the aging process, type of barrel used, filtration, and additives like caramel, cinnamon, or spices, rum can be translucent, gold, brown, or even black.
5. Some famous people prefer rum
We can all assume the founding fathers enjoyed a drink or two. In fact, the first president of America was pretty well-known for being a lover of drinks.
If you were lucky enough to be invited to a holiday party with the Washingtons, you would have gotten to try his famous Mount Vernon Eggnog. Dark Jamaica rum was responsible for this imbibement. This is definitely one of the cheekier facts about rum that’s for sure!
Here’s the recipe if you feel like trying it out!
6. Check out Mount Gay
Mount Gay is a world-renowned rum distillery in Barbados. It has been making this liquor since 1703, making it the oldest distillery in the world. If you’ve never tried it before, it’s absolutely delicious.
7. You don’t have to drink it
Many people believe that rum can actually help with hair growth! Many men and women who have noticed thinning locks have turned to rum in an attempt to slow down hair loss. Generally, practicers use rum as a shampoo, though, and don’t drink it for this benefit.
8. Count your calories
If you are looking to enjoy a drink but still want to watch how many calories you consume, consider rum. A single shot only has 70 calories. Of course, be careful what you mix it with. Those strawberry daquiris have many more calories than that!
9. Proof of what?
If you’ve ever had a drink, you have heard the term proof. Have you ever wondered where this rum fact came from?
In the 1700s, the Royal Navy paid their sailors in rum sometimes. To check that it wasn’t watered down, sailors would mix some with gunpowder and light it on fire. If it caught fire, that was proof the rum was strong, typically at least 57%.
The term stuck. To this day, Navy Strength means a rum has at least 57% ABV. We told you we’d surprise you in our rum facts!
10. More valuable than gold
In periods of history, rum was actually used as currency. In the 1700s in particular, rum was often part of a benefits package. Would you accept rum as part of your salary? We would!
11. Prohibition didn’t stop rum
When Congress passed the 18th Amendment in 1920, all alcohol became illegal in the country. However, this just encouraged a bit of ingenuity from locals.
Much like pirate predecessors, rum runners became the go-tos to smuggle this spirit into Florida from the Caribbean, then throughout America. This is where the cocktail gets its name from.
12. You should plan a trip to Puerto Rico
If you don’t remember from geography class in school, Puerto Rico is responsible for much of the sugar cane growth in the world. Because of this, nearly 80% of the world’s rum originates on the island.
In fact, the largest rum distillery in the world is there. You might have heard of it, Bacardi. If you ever get the chance to visit, you can get a free tour along with two free cocktails! Sign us up.
13. Call it what you will
Nicknames are fairly common for people. But have you heard any of these nicknames for rum? Kill-Devil, Demon Water, Navy Neaters, Nelson’s Blood, Barbados Water, Grog, Pirates Drink, or Rumbuillion.
It’s probably not hard to figure out how some of these names came to be…
14. Speaking of Nelson’s blood…
We have learned that rum rations were part of the daily life of a sailor. Legend has it that after Admiral Nelson died in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar, his body was placed in a cask of rum to preserve it for the journey home.
However, sailors drilled holes in the cask to get to the rum. Essentially, sailors drank rum mixed with blood, leading to the famous name today.
15. Share with the angels
As rum is aged in casks, a little bit evaporates. This missing amount has come to be known as the angel’s share.
In some parts of the world, like the warm Caribbean, up to 7% can evaporate. In cooler climates, it’s typically only 1-2%.
16. You can enjoy it year-round
Most people think rum is reserved for summer drinks. And while it’s true that daiquiris and mojitos are super refreshing, there are plenty of cocktails you can enjoy in cooler weather, too.
If you have never tried a Hot Buttered Rum, you don’t know what you’re missing. Of course, don’t forget Dark and Stormy, Cuba Libre, Rum-Spiked Hot Chocolate, and Spiked Hot Cider. This fact about rum will keep you warm all winter long.
17. Is 240 years too old for a bottle of rum?
In 2011, employees at Harewood House in Leeds, England, were cleaning and inventorying the wine cellar. Much to their surprise, they found a case of rum hidden under dust and debris.
The case was from 1780, which easily made it the oldest bottled rum in existence. In 2014, the final 16 bottles were auctioned for $175,000, or about £135,000. That’s an expensive drink!
18. You can thank Christopher Columbus
In 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he brought a specific plant with him. Historically, sugar cane only grew in Southeast Asia, where it was mainly animal feed.
Columbus brought some with him to Hispaniola, an island that is now home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Thanks to Mr. Columbus, sugar cane is widely grown in the region, which is essential for rum production.
19. Too sweet to pass up
While it’s no secret rum is made from sugar cane, it isn’t a particularly sweet spirit. However, its origin makes it the perfect complement to sweeter drinks, hence the reason so many tropical favorites have a rum base.
Which of these fun facts about rum did you find the most interesting? If you’ve missed any facts you can let us know in the comments below and we’ll add it to our list!