Rum: ˈrəm noun
An alcoholic beverage distilled from a fermented cane product such as molasses.
Rum: ˈrəm adjective
Strange, odd. British informal.

Dictionarily speaking, the above is an accurate description of rum. Truthfully, my use of the word “rum” tends to lean more towards the noun than the adjective. Still though, there’s something lacking in the description – flavour.

So, let’s just add a bit more ebv (etymology by volume) to the definition, shall we?

First off, the origin of the name isn’t clear like one year old rum. Let’s pour over a few:

  • Rum comes from “Roemer”, the type of glass Dutch Mariners would drink out of.
  • Rum comes from the 17th century word “rumbustion” which has something to do with the effects of liquid spirits could have a person.
  • Rum comes from the verb “romage”, which itself is derived from the Old French word “arrumage” which meant to store cargo in a ship’s hold like say, rum barrels.
  • Rum comes from the “Ramboozle” and/or “Rumfustian”, drinks popular in the 17th century which, oddly enough, didn’t contain a drop of rum.
  • Rum comes from “saccharum” which is Latin for sugar.

And that’s just the tip of the ice cube. Then there are the other ways rum was referred to.

Depending on when and where you were back in history, you could partake in Barbados Water, Demon Water or Kill Devil. If you sailed the seven seas and flew the Jolly Roger, you’d partake in Pirate’s Drink. If you sailed the seven seas chasing pirates, you’d probably have your daily ration of Navy Neaters, Pusser’s Rum or Nelson’s Blood. This last one was so called because after Admiral Nelson’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar, his body was brought back “pickled” in a spirits cask.

Just because I’m admittedly a whisky fan doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy exploring rum as well. I most certainly do. Fine, most of the time it’s on a beach, by the ocean or just a stone’s throw away from the pool bar. Still though, the next time I’m there and I ask for some rum, I know that my drink will have an added splash of history in it.