There’s a lot to be said about a man by the drink in his hand. Straightforward all-business Don Drapers drink their G & Ts or their straight scotch, secretive men drink martinis, and girly men drink appletinis . However, historically there is no drink of choice more versatile than rum. Rum, as we all know, is the preferred drink of pirates, who are always cool, but rum is one of the few drinks that should be on hand for any situation. You can mix rum with coke or juice for any college pool party, or be classy and distinguished sipping on it while discussing Hemingway and world travel. Hailing from dozens of countries, every type of rum has its own distinct flavor and use, making it just as versatile and flexible as you are.
Unlike most alcohols, there’s no set “way” to make rum. Most rum is traditionally made from molasses and sugar cane but every distillery in every region has their own technique and style. The rum is then aged in barrels, traditionally used bourbon ones, but sometimes it’s stainless steel, which gives the rum its variety of colors, from clear to dark chocolatey brown. Rum is usually aged for at least a year, but my personal favorite, Flor de Caña’s Grand Reserve, is aged in Nicaraguan oak barrels for no less than seven years, making it the perfect blend of color and spicy, smokey flavor. It’s smooth, but plenty strong, so you don’t feel like a sorority girl drinking it.
Of course, you don’t need to take my word for it. For those who care to see for themselves, Flor de Caña just opened a visitor center in Nicaragua where you can see how rum is made firsthand. It starts with an introduction to rum’s roots (literally), and from there moves throughout the city, starting at a movie theater where you see the company’s century-long history. Next is the good part, seeing the underground cellar with one of the largest stocks of rum in the world. (Don’t worry, there’s tasting. Tasting of 18-year-old rum!) Finally, you’ll meet Flor de Caña’s coopers. A Cooper is someone who makes barrels, and you should remember that for your next bar trivia game. Then you can watch the coopers build barrels and fill them with what will later become delicious, delicious rum.
Because every rum has its own style, just like every man, there’s a rum out there for everyone. Heck, there’s even a bar near me that boasts over 150 kinds on its shelves. I’ve definitely found my rum of choice, though, and if you start your adventure into the world of rum-dom with Flor de Caña, you may never need to wander anywhere else. Investigate and explore, my friends. For centuries, it’s been the drink of choice for men on their road from Unfinished Man to Undefinable Man.