Rum Tequila Spirits Inventory Reduction
It is difficult to categorize rum as a single spirit, because of all the spirits found around the globe, rum is perhaps the one which varies most dramatically from place to place. Clear, white rum - a favorite for cocktail drinkers - is perhaps the most prevalent example found today, but there is a whole world of darker, spiced and molasses-rich rums to explore, thanks to the fascinating history and wide reach this drink has.
Rum came about during the colonial times, when sugar was a huge and world-changing business. The molasses left over from the sugar production industry could easily be distilled into a delicious alcoholic drink, and provided extra income for the sugar traders. Before long, it became a favorite of sailors and transatlantic merchants, and it quickly spread across the Caribbean and Latin America, where it remains highly popular today.
The production of rum is a basic and simple one - you take your molasses, add yeast and water, and then ferment and distil the mixture. However, as is often the case, the devil is in the detail. The variation in yeasts found from place to place, the maturation period, the length of the fermentation and the type of stills and barrels used provide the rainbow-colored variation that gives rum its spectrum of styles and characteristics.
Tequila is probably Mexico’s greatest gift to the world of fine spirits, and is also possibly one of the most underestimated and misunderstood drinks in the world. Widely used for shots and slammers, and more often than not associated with parties and hangovers, Tequila is in fact a wonderful drink full of subtleties and expression of terroir, that is highly rewarding for those who look into its finer points.
One of the special things about Tequila is the fact that it is capable of expressing the fine nuances and subtle notes of its raw material, far more so than other, similar spirits. That raw material is, of course, the Blue Agave - not a cactus, as is commonly believed, but rather a succulent quite like a lily, which grows in the deserts of Mexico mainly around the province of Jalisco. The Blue Agave takes a decade to mature, and during those ten years, it takes in many of the features of its surroundings, just like a grapevine would. This is why Tequila varies in flavor and aroma from region to region, from the earthier Tequilas of the lowlands, to the more delicate and floral examples from areas of a higher altitude.
The picking and peeling of the spiky Agave, and the distillation process of Tequila is a complicated one, and one which is carried out with enormous skill by the jimadors and master craftsmen who produce the spirit. Steam cooking of the body of the plant is followed by crushing, then fermentation and distillation completes the process. The end product is categorized according to whether or not it is made with pure (‘puro’) agave, or blended with other sugars, and according to how long the spirit is aged for.