How Is Spiced Rum Made?

If you've tried the SLY DOGs' black bottle of rum, you may have noticed some notes of tropical spices that make up our super secret recipe. That's because you are tasting spiced rum, one of the many types of rum that rule the market these days. So, what exactly is spiced rum, and how is it made? 

Hold on! We are not about to reveal the secrets that make SLY DOG one of the best spiced rum in the UK... Instead, here we'll look into its growing popularity in the UK and give you a brief rundown of the origins of rum as well as a walkthrough on how this stuff is actually made. Sorry, a secret’s a secret.

The popularity of rum in the UK

Rum has had a steady growth in popularity in the UK for many years now and we couldn't be happier as it means more and more people are looking to find and discover new brands, types, and flavours of rum. The UK rum market is now the third largest in the world, particularly in the premium and spiced rum sectors. The growing attraction to cocktail culture has also helped increase people's interest in elaborate spirits, and many whisky lovers are now willing to explore the complex flavours that aged rum can offer. 

Since it's such a versatile spirit, you can use rum in many different cocktails and occasions. Aged rum has particular flavour profiles depending on the ageing process and duration. It's perfect for sipping or making complex drinks.

You don't need to be a skilled bartender to work with rum, which is maybe why it's such a popular choice among partygoers.

The origins and the history of rum - how did this all begin?

The origins of rum is a historic and sugary tale. It all started with Christopher Columbus discovering the Caribbean and planting sugar cane on its territory, which had the perfect climate conditions for the plant to prosper. Some 100 years later, enslaved people on the sugarcane plantations discovered they could distil the molasses, the leftover from sugar production. The distilled molasses turned into rum, which was intense and bitter until they discovered the column distillation method that "cleans up" the spirit. From that point, industrialised rum production began, and the spirit's popularity began to rise.

Rum was the favourite drink of slave traders, pirates and residents of colonial Caribbean islands alike. During the American Prohibition Era, individuals called "rum runners" would smuggle rum into the US from the Caribbean. When the famous Bacardí brand was founded, rum conquered the occidental world.

Now, it was customary for local Caribbean people to blend herbs, spices, and dried fruit like orange peel and tropical fruit inside their rum, creating a prenatal version of spiced rum. However, it wasn't until Captain Morgan launched its version of spiced rum in 1984 that the subcategory became famous in the rest of the world. Today, we can find brands specialising solemnly in spiced rum, each with a particular blend and recipe. 

How spiced rum is made today

Making spiced rum is not as complex as you think it might be, and you don't need an entire rum distillery to craft a good-tasting mix. Of course, companies that make the best spiced rum spend a lot of time coming up with the perfect blend, and that's why they're regarded as having the most unique and harmonical flavours and aromas. 

  • To make rum, the raw materials (either fermented sugarcane or molasses) are first ground into a mash and then added to hot water.
  • This mixture is left to ferment for several days, turning the sugars into alcohol.
  • The fermented mixture is then heated in large column stills, which separates the liquid from the solids.
  • The liquid is then cooled, filtered, and bottled as rum.

This is where normal rum and spiced rum differ;

  • Before being cooled and bottled, spiced rum usually undergoes further ageing in ex-bourbon barrels, affecting its colour and flavour characteristics, similar to dark rum.
  • At the end of the ageing process, a blend of exotic spices is infused into the liquid, making spiced rum. Different spiced rum brands use various mixes of spices, but some classic ones like nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, star anise and cardamom are popular choices.

An oak barrel spiced rum will always taste excellent because it blends secondary flavours from the oak with the spiced added to the spirit.

Sometimes, producers even add the spices to the liquid before ageing it, capturing even more of the aromas and flavours from the elements used. What matters is that the spices must sit with the rum for a while in a closed compartment to release their full potential. And that's about it. 

Are spiced rums actually spicy?

Despite its name, spiced rum doesn't necessarily need to be spicy. You can use different ingredients to give it extra flavour, like herbs, spices, and dried fruit. There are very few standards to what makes spiced rum, and almost any rum infused with additional flavours can be considered part of this subcategory.

Producing spiced rum isn’t as hard as you thought it would be was it? In fact, we’d say that the hardest part of making the best spiced rum is figuring out the perfect blend of spices and ageing time which is why we keep our SLY DOG recipe top secret.

Now that you know all about spiced rum, why not give SLY DOG Rum a try?

We spent one whole year creating our own spiced rum with well regarded rum and flavour experts. Curious to see and taste the delicious outcome?

Our own SLY DOG spiced rum is made using premium Caribbean spiced rum that's infused with our top-secret blend of spices and is aged for 3 years in ex-bourbon barrels. Since we only use natural ingredients, our rum stands out among others, and our flavours are unparalleled. We source from top-notch distilleries in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, creating a blend of smooth and warm characteristics with a complex flavour profile. 

Have a go at our bottle of SLY DOG spiced rum and drink it over ice. Maybe make a spiced mojito or check our website for some of our recipes, like the frozen watermelon daiquiri or SLY-tai. The rich spices in our quality rum will elevate your cocktails, enhancing every sip.

Want to test spiced rum before you commit to the bit? 

Try our small 20CL bottles here. Our rich spiced rum is the perfect example of superior Caribbean craftsmanship. We promise you it'll be the best Caribbean spiced rum you'll ever try.


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