Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products, such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels. The majority of the world's rum production occurs in the Caribbean and Latin America, although, any sugar producing country like Australia can produce good quality rum. However, for the time being,  many non-producing countries look to the Caribbean to import their rum. Many countries require rum to be aged for at least one year. This aging is commonly performed in used bourbon casks, but may also be performed in other types of wooden casks or stainless steel tanks. The aging process determines the colour of the rum. When aged in oak casks, it becomes dark, whereas rum aged in stainless steel tanks remains virtually colourless. Blending is the final step in the rum-making process. As part of this blending process, light rums may be filtered to remove any colour gained during aging. For darker rums, caramel may be added to adjust the colour.

Styles of Rum:

Light rum, also referred to as "silver" or "white" rum, in general, has very little flavour aside from a general sweetness. Light rums are sometimes filtered after aging to remove any color. The Brazilian cachaça is generally this type, but some varieties are more akin to "gold rums". The majority of light rums come from Puerto Rico. Their milder flavours make them popular for use in mixed drinks, as opposed to drinking them straight.

Golden rum, also called "amber" rums, are medium-bodied rums that are generally aged. These gain their dark color from aging in wooden barrels (usually the charred, white oak barrels that are the by-product of Bourbon Whiskey). They have more flavour and are stronger-tasting than light rum, and can be considered midway between light rum and the darker varieties

Spiced rum, obtain their flavours through the addition of spices and, sometimes, caramel. Most are darker in color, and based on gold rums. Some are significantly darker, while many cheaper brands are made from inexpensive white rums and darkened with caramel color. Among the spices added are cinnamon, rosemary, absinthe/aniseed, or pepper

Dark rum, also known by their particular color, such as brown, black, or red rums, are classes a grade darker than gold rums. They are usually made from caramelized sugar or molasses. They are generally aged longer, in heavily charred barrels, giving them much stronger flavours than either light or gold rums, and hints of spices can be detected, along with a strong molasses or caramel overtone. They commonly provide substance in rum drinks, as well as color. In addition, dark rum is the type most commonly used in cooking. Most dark rums come from areas such as Jamaica, Haiti, and Martinique. Black rums are coloured with non-sweetened caramel.

Note: Navy strength rum was traditionally bottled at over 57% as this is the strength that if rum was spilled into a barrel of gunpowder, it would be strong enough to allow the gunpowder to ignite even when wet.

Flavoured rums, are infused with flavours of fruits, such as banana, mango, orange, citrus, coconut, star fruit or lime. These are generally less than 40% ABV [80 proof]. They mostly serve to flavour similarly-themed tropical drinks but are also often drunk neat or with ice.

Overproof rums are much higher than the standard 40% ABV [80 proof], with many as high as 75% [150 proof] to 80% [160 proof] available. One example is Bacardi 151. They are usually used in mixed drinks.

Premium rums, as with other sipping spirits such as Cognac and Scotch, are in a special market category. These are generally from boutique brands that sell carefully produced and aged rums. They have more character and flavour than their "mixing" counterparts and are generally consumed straight.

Cachaça is made in Brazil and is a cane based unaged spirit usually distilled in a mix of pot and column stills depending on the style, and will have similar vegetal knots as Rhum Agricole. Traditional pot still and single column distilled cachaça are the most vegetal in style and have been distilled to a lower strength. Some high strength, filtered cachaça are trying to emulate the success of vodka and are more neutral in style.