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Distilled from either the molasses or juice that comes from sugarcane, rum is a deliciously sweet liquor that is enjoyed the world over. With a reputation that is related to pirates and revolutions, rum brings with it a unique and fascinating background. World Rum Day celebrates the rum itself and its somewhat-sordid past, as well as the community of makers, bartenders and drinkers whose lives are made a little better by rum! 

History of World Rum Day

Rum has a history that dates back at least several centuries. Its production from sugarcane ties it to the Caribbean and West Indies areas of the world where it began to gain popularity in the 17th century. At the same time, as the New World was being settled through the thirteen colonies, rum was the drink of choice. In fact, at one point in time, rum was such a staple that it was often used as a currency.

Because of the tension of the Molasses Act of 1733 and the subsequent Sugar Act of 1764, both taxes the British government placed to try to control rum production and trade, many people believe that rum played an important role in the American Revolution. At the very least, rum was one factor that motivated the assembling and bonding of key leaders over a cause that led to the Revolutionary War.

World Rum Day got its start in 2019 when a writer named Paul Jackson was motivated to establish the day. As a spirits writer and the editor of the World Rum Guide, Jackson was motivated to give rum more attention on a global level. The event always takes place on a Saturday, with the purpose of giving participants as well as restaurant and bar owners the best possible weekend opportunity to celebrate the day.

World Rum Day Timeline

1630s

Sugar cane is grown in Barbados

Brought from Brazil, sugar cane quickly becomes an integral part of Caribbean society.[1]

1664

First commercial rum distillery 

Staten Island houses this first distillery to meet the rum demand in the thirteen colonies.[2]

1733

Molasses Act is imposed 

This British law places a tax on non-British molasses, used for making rum.[3]

1862

Bacardi Rum is founded

Possibly still the most recognized name in rum today, this company is established in Cuba.[4]

2019

World Rum Day is founded 

The inaugural World Rum Day is started by Peter Jackson, editor of World Rum Guide.[5]

How to Celebrate World Rum Day

World Rum Day offers a veritable pirate ship full of opportunities to show some love for this tasty little spirit! Whether enjoying the delicious flavors of a dark rum on its own or engaging with others for a festive island celebration where rum drinks are featured, check out some of these fun ideas to make plans for the day:

Enjoy Some Rum

Whether drinking a glass of rum neat or on the rocks, adding it to a mixer like pineapple juice or cola, or enjoying it as part of a mixed cocktail such as a mojito, pina colada or daiquiri, World Rum Day is best celebrated with a toast! Grab a friend and head over to a bar to order a rum drink, or cozy up at home and get creative with some flavorful rum cocktails.

Not sure which rums to try? Consider one of these rums that are great for a mid-range budget:

  • Mount Gay Black Barrel Barbados Rum. From the oldest distillery in the world.
  • Botran Reserva Superior No. 12 Rum. This orangey, spicy rum comes from Guatemala.
  • Copalli Single Estate White Rum. Perfect for mixing, this rum from the Belizean rainforest offers creamy and fruity notes.
  • Plantation Double Barrel Rum. With flavors of clove, nutmeg and dried papaya, this rum is sourced from Fiji.

Host a World Rum Day Party

Folks who want to celebrate the unique flavors and varieties of rum, or who are just looking for an excuse to host a gathering, can celebrate with a World Rum Day party! This could mean inviting a large group of people for some rum fun on an outdoor patio or it could be a more intimate gathering with just a few friends who would really appreciate a rum tasting.

Obviously, drinks will be made from rum, and food could include appetizers or tapas that coordinate well with tropical drinks. For a festive feel, try playing music that has an island flair to it, as a nod to the Caribbean and West Indies islands where rum originated from. The World Rum Day website offers some suggestions, guides and resources for celebrating the day, such as options for printable rum tasting placemats.  

Learn More About Rum

A fun way to get involved with and celebrate World Rum Day might be to get a bit more educated and knowledgeable about this tasty spirit. Perhaps in an effort to raise awareness for the day, it would be a good idea to learn a few bits of trivia about rum and then share them. Get started with some of these facts:

  • White rum is the most common type of rum, usually aged for 1-2 years in barrels made from oak.

  • Dark rum is aged much longer, for up to 12 years, offering a richer flavor of vanilla, caramel, and oak.

  • Rum is often associated with pirates because it travels well and could be mixed into the casks of water to preserve it for drinking on long journeys.

  • The world’s oldest continually producing rum distillery is located in Barbados, called Mount Gay Distilleries, and hails back to 1703.

Engage with a Rum Tasting

Distilleries and other companies invested in this liquor may be celebrating World Rum Day by hosting various events, including rum tastings. Get involved in one locally or host one at home for a few friends.

Rums can be analyzed first when they are poured into a stemmed glass, simply by looking at the color and the way it reflects the light. Swirl the glass to view the “legs” or tears” as they cling to the sides, and then experience the nose and aroma. Finally, it’s time to taste the rum with a small sip, allowing the entire flavor to be present in the mouth.


When World Rum Day is over, rum lovers don’t need to fret because National Rum Day takes place around a month later, on August 16.  Other connected days to celebrate might be Talk Like a Pirate Day, National Pina Colada Day or National Mojito Day.  

World Rum Day FAQs

What is rum made from?

Rum is made from sugar cane products.[1]

Is rum gluten free?

Yes! Pure rum is made without any gluten, as long as it doesn’t contain any additives or flavoring that contain gluten.[2]

What to mix with rum?

Rum is tasty with many mixers, including pineapple juice, cola, tonic water, lime juice, ginger ale and more.

How is rum made?

Rum is made by distilling, fermenting and aging the juice or molasses that comes from sugarcane.[3]

Is Bacardi rum?

Yes, Bacardi is the brand name of rum that comes from Cuba.

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