Originally called “kill-devil”, in its native Caribbean islands, rum had taken its modern name by the mid-1600’s when the islands were being captured by the British, and the popular spirit being transported to the new colonial North America. This was when the Navy started to use rum as their daily drink (known as a “tot”) on their ships in Jamaica instead of brandy – something they continued to do until the practice was abolished in 1970.

The popularity grew as colonial demand for sugar grew – because a by-product of the sugar refining process is molasses, which when distilled become rum. Sailors would even try to smuggle this aboard the ships to make some cash on the side. In fact, this is where the word “rummage” comes from, where sailors would be searched for a hidden stash. As the British empire grew, rum distribution and production spread throughout Europe, India and even Australia.

Today, the category is one of the biggest selling in the world of liquor, with countless brands and varieties available.