Three-letter legend

Rum, in Spanish, “ron”. For centuries it was the rugged drink of adventurers, pirates, and outlaws that had very little to do with the fine bouquet and pedigree of today’s Caribbean distillates.

photo: archiv

A sip of this liquor, made from fermented sugar cane juice, could close up your throat, so it was imbibed almost exclusively with lemon, sugar, and cinnamon. Rum was used to prepare grog. Then along came pioneers like Don Facundo Bacardi, who tried to civilize this poor man’s drink using targeted experiments and their knowledge of wine production. Wherever they were in the Caribbean, they came to a common understanding. If the rum is filtered through charcoal its impurities and some of its unpleasantness, that “rummy” aftertaste, are removed, and it also loses its color. And then, if it’s aged in charred oak barrels, its bouquet becomes rounder with time. Thus was born a crystal-clear, white spirit that was surprisingly light and pleasant tasting.

photo: archiv

But its greatest fame and long-term nearly exclusive association with Cuba have yet to come. Although in the mid-1800s this largest Caribbean island hosted the development of the art of bartending, which brought to perfection cocktails like the “Mojito” – originally called “Draque”, “Cuba Libre”, and frozen “Daiquiris”, rum enjoyed its greatest boom thanks to the American prohibition, which didn’t cover the island. Cocktails flowed in streams, and famous personalities of the day, like Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, and Ernest Hemingway had to take care not to drown in their hangovers. After Castro’s arrival and the expropriation of family distilleries, famous rum brands associated with other islands appeared – Bacardi, now made in Puerto Rico, Cruzan Rum from the US Virgin Islands, Metusalem from the Dominican Republic, or Captain Morgan or Myer’s Rum from Jamaica.
Today mixed drinks are making a comeback, so it’s no wonder that there are many “guaranteed” original sugar cane rums on the market, including secondary spirits that are made by adding extracts to potato alcohol and that fortunately can no longer be called rum.
The most refined Caribbean rums are eight years old or more and are imbibed straight, on the rocks. You’ll recognize them by their golden-brown color and more for their well balanced flavor and aroma, thanks to which they are closer to cognacs and whiskies than spirits. But even the “crudest” rums for cocktails must age at least two years in barrels in which bourbon or sherry have been aged. That’s also where they get their color like golden sun beams and the inimitable flavor of the Caribbean.

The author is the deputy editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine.


  Photo: Věroslav Sixt

Cuba at home! The Caipirinha Muddler by Ad Hoc will help you make the perfect Cuban cocktail every time. The nylon and stainless steel components are also dishwasher safe, for easy clean-up. CZK 390

Available at: Naoko, Revoluční 24, Praha 1



Did you know that the word “cocktail” is a truncated form of “peacock tail”?

Mix 5 cl of white rum, 2 cl of fresh lime juice, and a teaspoon of sugar syrup. Pour into a shaker filled with ice, shake, and serve in a Champagne glass filled with shaved ice that looks like fresh snow. Garnish with a piece of lemon and drink with a straw.

Photographed in cooperation with hotel Radisson SAS Alcron


Great as a basis for cocktails, but straight, it tastes best over ice, which makes its already fine bouquet even finer.
Price for bottle: cca 500 Kč

A pleasant, fruity rum from St. Croix, where it’s been made since 1760. Mixed from two- to four-year-old rums, its carbon filtration leaves it colorless – so it’s good for cocktails, and stays pure. There’s also a dark version.
Price for bottle: cca 280 Kč


The favorite ingredient for popular cocktails like Bacardi & Coke, Mojito, Strawberry Daiquiri, and Mary Pickford. Its fine taste and high quality are due to double filtration through charcoal before and after aging.
Price for bottle: cca 400 Kč

This famous Cuban rum is made by the so-called “solera” method, whereby the youngest rum rises to the top of the barrel. The result is fine as velvet, with a hint of caramel and an outstanding bouquet.
Price for bottle: cca 760 Kč.

One of the few Czech brands that can still be called rum, as it is distilled from sugar cane grown in Jamaica, Barbados, and Guyana. White and caramel-colored golden variants are available.
Price for bottle: cca 150 Kč.






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