How To Make Rum
Whether a home brewer is in it for the money, a hobby, or simply the love of liquor, eventually they will ask how to make rum. Rum is the slightly sweet liquor made from fermented molasses or sugarcane juice. Once the fermented liquor is distilled, it is usually left in a container to age. The most traditional containers were barrels made of oak or other wood to add a distinct flavor. It comes in beautiful light, golden, or dark amber and is sometimes even flavored.
This spirit can be made pretty much anywhere indoors. The fermentation process needs a temp range of about 70-85 degrees, so inside is best to avoid climate changes. Once fermentation is complete and it's ready for aging, you may wish to put it somewhere out of the way. Aging can take anywhere from seven days to seven years.
Supplies needed to make rum are:
- High grade molasses to taste
- 1 galllon of Water
- 1/4 tsp. Yeast
- A still
- Container for fermentation
- Container for aging
- Once the supplies are gathered, the first step is to sterilize the fermentation container. This is especially important if the container was ever used for something else. Rum can pick up flavors and aromas pretty easily, and it wouldn't be very good to use an unclean pickle jar and have rum which tastes like pickles. To sterilize, use a solution of three parts water to one part grain alcohol 90 proof or higher. This will sterilize the container and not leave any scary chemicals which shouldn't be ingested.
- Next, add the water to the container. Distilled or filtered water creates the best rum flavor. The water should be at room temperature to promote yeast growth, not right out of the fridge or boiling hot.
- Add the molasses to the water. The amount of molasses used will depend on preference and the type of molasses; 64 ounces of molasses which is about 50 percent sugar can be used in one gallon of rum, and higher concentrations of sugar will require less molasses. Those who like a very full bodied flavor may use more, and those who like lighter flavors may wish to use less.
- Shake or stir the water and molasses. The two should be evenly mixed and make a nice caramel color. It is easier to place a lid on the container and then shake it, if possible.
- Mix the yeast into the solution. Yeast is another ingredient which can be varied according to preference. The yeast is what ferments the sugar and turns it to ethanol. More may make the alcohol stronger, but too much will make it undrinkable. Mix this with the solution the same way as before.
- After everything is added and mixed, cap the container. Cover it with a cloth or anything which will keep the light out and put it to the side for about two weeks.
- Use your still to distill the liquor. A column or pot still will work, as most commercial rums use a column still.
- Once the liquor has been fermented and distilled, it can be aged. Aging is not required to make rum, but the alcohol may not taste very good until it is aged. Many producers of rum age it about one year, and the longer it is aged, the better the end result. Some high end rums are aged for as long as seven years.
Learning how to make rum at home can be very fun and rewarding once the perfect recipe and process is found. It may take some trial and error, but it is well worth the effort. It is also fun to experiment with different aging containers and flavor additives!