National Run Day falls on August 16 every year—that's right, a whole day dedicated to the celebration of rum. After whiskey and the vodkas, rum is the third most popular spirit in America. With that in mind, there are plenty of people out there to enjoy this holiday to the fullest.
No one quite knows just who started National Rum Day, but they do understand the slogan. "Make every day rum day" is the name of the game. If you're not quite feeling up to that, though, you should at least spend August 16 with an appreciative drink in hand.
Spotlight: When and How to
Celebrate National Rum Day
A Brief History of Rum
The recipe for rum includes any manner of sugarcane byproducts, such as molasses and honey. You can even use pure sugarcane juice to make it. Whatever ingredients you start with, rum will come about after fermenting and distilling sugarcane byproducts. Most often, rum makers will let the distillate age in oak barrels.
Just as mysterious as the origin of National Rum Day is the complete origin of rum itself. Historical records show that a drink called "rum" appeared in the middle ages during the Congress of Kraków, a gathering of royal dignitaries.
Another early drink like rum was brum—Marco Polo recorded accounts of receiving brum from the Malay people, which dates back for thousands of years. There's evidence of distilled sugarcane-based liquor in India and China, as well.
Despite the fuzziness of the first occurrence of rum in human history, more detailed records of what we consider as rum started to appear in Barbados during the seventeenth century. Plantation owners had such an excess of molasses from producing sugar that they resorted to throwing the molasses away and into the ocean no less.
Over time, slaves figured out how to ferment and distill the leftover molasses, leading to an early version of rum. The recipe spread throughout the Caribbean, then further along the routes of the sugar trade. The drink made its way into what would become America, as well as turned into a favorite of the British Navy, serving as part as of soldier's daily pay. This practice continued until 1970.
Though rum production shifted into New England for a time, Americans found themselves ultimately drawn to making bourbon instead. The Caribbean once again became the center of rum production, where it primarily still rests today. During Prohibition, many Americans would travel to Cuba for the chance to consume rum.
Rum will have different recipes and tastes depending on where it came from—each type has its unique history, giving rum an array of flavors as vast as its origins. No matter which rum you pick up to celebrate National Rum Day, know that you'll be rejoicing the enormous history of this drink in the process.
How to Celebrate National Rum Day
There could be no more appropriate way to celebrate this holiday than by enjoying one of the hundreds of rums on the market. You can drink some rums straight, while others require mixed drinks to appreciate the full flavor possibilities. So long as you're of legal drinking age, let yourself indulge responsibly.
Consider some of these ways to enjoy National Rum Day:
- Share a drink with your friends: Life's more enjoyable when you share the fun with others.
- Look up rum trivia: Rum has a vast history. What trivia can you dig up?
- Find a dedicated rum bar: Yes, a bar of just rum. You'd be hard pressed to find somewhere with the best range of drinks for this holiday.
- Let out your inner Hemingway: This American author traveled the world and was a hard drinker to boot. Pick up one of his books and enjoy Papa's Pilar, a rum dedicated to the man himself.
- Look for Rum Day special events: Even if you don't have a rum bar near you, chances are you can find somewhere with some great specials to serve as the perfect place to gather.
- Make rum balls: Alcoholic deserts are an option for those who aren't quite feeling straight up drinks. Dig up some recipes and make your own!
- Play Rum & Pirates: You likely already associate these two things thanks to Pirates of the Caribbean. Pick up this board game and add it to your festivities!
- Watch Pirates of the Caribbean: While you're at it, watch the movie! You may not be as charismatic as Jack Sparrow when you're drunk, but you're sure to have fun enjoying this film. If you're feeling extra adventurous, make up some drinking game rules and see who lasts until the end.
If you have your celebrations at home, make sure you have all the right supplies. You National Rum Day survival kit should include:
- Rum (obviously)
- Stir Stick
To make your ice crushing experience easier, keep a hammer and towel handy. The cloth goes over the ice, and the tool makes quick work of the smashing. Ice with minimal hassle, we've uncovered your secrets. Don't forget to mix in fresh herbs and simple syrups to your drinks to give them a fantastic flavor everyone will appreciate
Rum Recipe Recommendations
Most drinks with rum are simple to make, which means you don't have an excuse not to try out making some yourself. Since this holiday is in August, go all out and pick out cool and summery flavor combinations while the season's still around.
While expert mixologists put a lot of thought and effort into what makes a good drink, you don't have to think nearly as hard. Consider prepping up some of these recipes for your celebration.
- 2 oz dark rum
- 6 oz of ginger beer
Combine and stir with ice. Classic!
- Strawberry daiquiri mix
- 3/4 cup of pineapple rum
- 1 cup of water
- 4 cups of ice
Put daiquiri mix, rum, and water in a blender, and blend until dissolved. Afterward, add ice, and blend until smooth. Put rimmer on the edge of glasses, then pour drinks inside. Makes six servings, so it's perfect to share with everyone.
- 1 1/2 parts Bacardi Mango
- 1/2 part simple syrup
- 1/4 part mango syrup
- 1 part fresh lime juice
Place all ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Shake for 10 seconds, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Add a lime wheel for some extra garnish. If mango doesn't scream tropic festivities to you, then we don't know what does.
- 2 oz of rum
- 2 oz of coconut cream
- 1 cup of frozen pineapple
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Perfect for when you get caught in the rain.
- 1 oz Malibu coconut rum
- 1 1/2 oz white rum
- 1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz blue curacao
- 1 oz Sprite (or coconut water)
- Marciano cherries
Combine both rums, pineapple juice, and Curacao in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Strain into two glasses with ice, and top with a half shot of sprite. Use cherries for garnish. Despite its color, you won't be feeling blue when you enjoy this drink!
- 2 oz of El Dorado Eight-Year Rum
- Dash of orange juice
- Dash of lemon juice
- Dash of cinnamon powder
- 1/2 oz of simple syrup
Shake ingredients with ice, and then strain over fresh ice. Add candied ginger on a skewer for garnish. Set sail for the island of Tortuga!
- 2 parts orange juice
- 1 part dark rum
- 1/2 part lime juice
- 1 part pineapple juice
- 1/2 part coconut rum
- Splash grenadine
- Pineapple wedges
- Maraschino cherries
Fill glass with ice, and pour in ingredients. Stir, then garnish with pineapple and cherries. This drink will have you saying "Yeah, mama!"
- 1 1/2 oz of Blanc Rum Agricole
- 1 oz of fresh lime juice
- 1 oz of fresh pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz of mango brandy
- 1/2 oz petite cane syrup
- 1/2 peeled kiwi
In a tall glass, muddle kiwi, then add all liquid ingredients. Pit in a swizzle stick, add crushed ice, then swizzle. Garnish with pineapple and fronds, lime wheel, kiwi slice, and orchid. Tastes (and looks) like the tropics to me!
- 6 cups of lemonade
- 1 cup of rum
- 1/2 cup of blue curacao
- 3 cups of pineapple juice
- 1 cup of vodka
- Lemon slices
Add ice to a fishbowl, then add all liquid ingredients. Stir and garnish with lemon slices. Yields eight servings Use fish-shaped candies for an extra fun treat!
Making the Most of the Holiday
With its rich history, numerous types, and hundreds of readily available drink options, we needed National Rum Day to appreciate this alcohol fully. So long as you enjoy a drink, you're celebrating this day right.
Just make sure to drink responsibly and never drink and drive, that way everyone can enjoy this holiday safely. Other than that, you're free to enjoy the festivities however you want—and that's worth drinking to!