RUM Nearly every country in and near the Caribbean makes its own rum. In all cases, a sugarcane derivative serves as the base, be it fresh cane juice, cane syrup, or molasses. This base is fermented and then distilled, in either a pot or column still and often involves blending distillates from a combination of the two. The amount of time the rum spends in oak barrels after distilling (or, in many cases, the addition of caramel coloring) determines its color and flavor, while geography tends to define the style.
WHITE RUM Clear and dry, aged in neutral oak or steel barrels for a short amount of time, this is the go-to for a Daiquiri and a Mojito.
GOLDEN RUM The pale yellow or gold color is due to time spent in toasted oak barrels, or even the addition of caramel coloring. Barrel-aged examples will have more depth of flavor and a perceived sweetness, and often vanilla or spice notes.
DARK RUM This is much deeper in color than golden rum thanks to extended time in barrels and/or even more caramel coloring. The best barrel-aged dark rums develop concentrated spice, vanilla, and brown sugar notes and can be sipped on their own, like bourbon. The longer they're aged, the more expensive they'll be.
BLACK STRAP RUM Very dark almost black in color, this rum gives a very sweet, rich flavor to drinks. Its color comes from the addition of caramel or molasses after fermentation.
RHUM AGRICOLE Grassy and aromatic, Rhum Agricole is made with fresh sugarcane juice that's pressed in the fields where it's harvested and then fermented. Agricole is made in unaged white versions as well as darker aged ones.