August 16th is National Rum Day, another pseudo-holiday created by the spirits industry to drive up sales. But it's a good reason to celebrate rum, which happens to be thriving at the moment. Rum is in fact one of the oldest spirits to be consumed in America, dating back to colonial times. Today, there are many different brands available here, some new and some old, originating in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and even here in the States. Rum distilleries are releasing a variety of expressions that are spiced and aged to various degrees to be used in cocktails or drank on their own. Here are some of our favorites, along with some excellent cocktail recipes, to get you going on National Rum Day.
This Venezuelan distillery releases a wide range of rum expressions, from affordable to premium. The Reserva Exclusiva is a good one to try; it's an easy-sipping, slightly sweet rum that tastes great on its own or in a variety of cocktails.