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Rum [Hardcover]

Dave Broom , Jason Lowe
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £21.09
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Book Description

19 Dec 2003
The world has fallen in love all over again with rum. Now among the world's top four spirits, rum sales continue to increase steadily. Its popularity notwithstanding, this is the first full-color reference book to detail the history, various production processes, and manifestations of rum.Prolific spirits expert Dave Broom explores the complex and colorful history of rum from its beginnings among slaves in the Caribbean. He probes the intricacies of pure rum by the island or country in which each variety was first made, illuminating the role of microclimate and slightly distinct production techniques in determining style and flavor.After a section examining the multitude of blended and spiced rums on the market, Broom offers the reader detailed instructions on achieving the greatest possible appreciation of the rum-drinking experience. The book also includes a complete A-Z directory of rum distilleries and societies worldwide. Illustrated with specially commissioned art shot on site in the Caribbean, Rum is the ultimate resource for the professional or armchair connoisseur of any strain of this fascinating product.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press Inc.,U.S.; 1 edition (19 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789208024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789208026
  • Product Dimensions: 27.3 x 25.9 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is a most attractively produced illustrated book about one of the world's oldest spirits. The first rum may have been enjoyed some 2,500 years ago, but the modern drink began with moonshine fermented by Iberian New World settlers and later by the other Europeans when they established their Caribbean colonies. Perhaps the most popular rum comes from Cuba, where humidity levels are responsible for the sweetest sugar cane, and where in 1878 Don Facunado Bacardi imported the first still and created his famous brand. Dave Broom examines the colourful history of rum and explains production techniques from around the world. He also offers a directory of more than 200 rums with tasting notes and ratings. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Award-winning author and whisky expert Dave Broom has been writing about whisky for 25 years as a journalist and author. He has written eight books, two of which (Drink! and Rum) won the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Book of the Year. He has also won the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Writer of the Year twice and recently won the extremely prestigious IWSC Communicator of the Year Award. Dave is editor-in-chief of Whisky Magazine: Japan, consultant editor to Whisky Magazine (UK, the USA, France, Spain), and a lead columnist on Whisky Advocate (USA). He is also editor of the Scotch Whisky Review and a contributor to a raft of national and international titles including the Spectator, Mixology, and Imbibe (Europe). He is a regular broadcaster on TV and radio. Over his two decades in the field, Dave has built up a considerable international following with regular training/educational visits to France, Holland, Germany, the USA and Japan. His remit has covered consumer features as well as business reports. He is also actively involved in whisky education, acting as a consultant to major distillers on tasting techniques as well as teaching professionals and the public. He was also one of the developers of Diageo's generic whisky tasting tool, the Flavour MapT. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this from a rum drinker 9 Jun 2008
Whether or not you drink rum regularly, you will probably find this book interesting as it looks at rum not just as a spirit but also investigates the regions that it comes from. It is beautifully illustrated and would make for a great coffee table book to have out for people to look at. That's what I am doing with it! I am from the West Indies and I have been drinking rum for years and I found this book insightful, not patronising and a thoroughly enjoyable read. It would make a great gift for someone who is a bartender, mixology or spirit enthusiast. It can be read easily within two hours if you find yourself with nothing to do and you just want to sit outside with an easy read. I was pleasantly surprised and bought it based on an equally extolling review in a cooking magazine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare and Informative Find 25 Aug 2007
I found 3 copies of this book in Bennets Bar in Tollcross, Edinburgh - seemingly having been left behind by another drinker. Bennets although being more of a whisky bar than a rum bar, is the perfect setting to learn about Rum. Mr Broom's research into the topic is exceptional, giving a novice like myself a good insigth to all things rum. I highly recommend it to anyone with a slight interest in Rum. You'll be hooked.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book 8 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is a great book for the Rum enthusiast, which would like to read and learn more about the history of Rum... I highly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rum Book 26 May 2010
The book was a fascinating read - short on detail about the ranges of rum purchased
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative journey through the universe of rum 23 May 2005
By Elliot Essman - Published on Amazon.com
I could kick myself for digging through a shelf of quotation books to find Lord Byron's "There's nought no doubt so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion." Rum, by Dave Broom, a luxuriant keeper volume published by the Wine Appreciation Guild, has got the very same quote emblazoned on the back cover. Of course, Byron used the term "rum" to refer to all potent alcoholic beverages. If anything, the usage attests to the wide historical and social reach of rum. "Here is a drink," Broom writes, "that has been the catalyst for the birth of nations." The scope of Rum, the book, aided immeasurably by the superb photography of Jason Lowe, does true justice to the beverage.

Rum is distilled from sugar cane, and like sugar, it reveals a history of misery and pain. "Rum was slavery's currency; it made some people vast fortunes and helped others forget their misery," Broom reflects. Caribbean sugar production was so labor-intensive that it almost mandated that slaves be worked to death and periodically replaced. The rum and slave trade went hand-in-hand, enriching cities like Bristol in England and Newport, Rhode Island. American rum, sugar and slave trade with the Caribbean led to the first major commercial rifts between the American colonies and England; these soon escalated into heated debate, then gunfire and revolution. America's founding fathers reached for rum above all other beverages when they needed to stiffen their resolve.

In the nineteenth century, technical innovation spurred the creation of a modern rum industry. The Caribbean nations stratified into various "schools" of rum production: Don Facunado Bacardi in Cuba developed light rums; Jamaica kept to fuller-flavored rums ("Jamaicans are hard-headed people. They weren't going to change.") In the twentieth century, changing beverage tastes in Britain (favoring whiskies), prohibition in the US, and the Great Depression of the 1930s signaled a decline in rum's popularity. Today's swing away from the whiskies and towards exotic mixed drinks heralds a revival.

After covering the history of the beverage in great depth, Broom moves to an exacting study of how rum is manufactured. It all begins in the sugar fields. Harvesting and processing sugar cane and its derivatives is "hot, hard, brutal work that has not changed over the centuries," Broom writes. Manufacturing processes vary throughout the Caribbean. You'd never imagine that photographs of pipes and distilling equipment-much of it aged, all of it dignified-could be so exquisite. The passion for the machines and the processes cannot be separated from the passionate beverage itself. Rum is more than a drink; like salt, cotton, pepper or gold, it is a human story.

The key core of Rum is a section entitled "Pure Rums." Broom covers each nation's rum culture and industry in detail, starting with Cuba, "the island that first elevated rum from an interesting to a modern classic spirit." Cuba, the largest Caribbean island, is "the cradle for most of the world's great rum-based cocktails and is home to some of the finest barmen on the planet." Jamaica, of course, has its own ideas. Rum is integral to Jamaican life. Even non-drinking Jamaicans use the beverage as a medicinal rub for wounds and to ward off colds. Jamaicans drink their strong rums-which may at times be distilled illegally-with passion and quickly-voiced opinion. Yet all the islands, and mainland South American nations like Guyana, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, have their own rum heritage. French-speaking Martinique has its own rhum agricole-cane juice rum-subject to strict appellation regulations. Guadeloupe's rhum traditionelle is extremely popular in France as a cooking ingredient. Puerto Rico, home of present-day Bacardi, has become a major rum producer for the American market. The British have their variants; the Royal Navy long motivated its sailors by dispensing (or withholding) rations of rum. Rums are produced in India, Nepal, the Philippines, and all over the world.

You don't just sip or "nose" rum, Broom insists, "you pull all your senses to work: sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch-plus that remarkable reference bank in your head known as memory." And, yes, Broom recommends a certain type of glass for your tasting, in this case a tulip-shaped sherry copita, a brandy snifter, or even a white wine glass; anything but a tumbler. Once you've refined your sense and taste for rum, you can try a hand at some of the "ancient cocktails" (Classic Daiquiri, Rum Flip, Tom and Jerry) or "modern cocktails" (Between the Sheets, Floridita, Mai Tai, Mojito). An extensive final section explains and reviews more than 180 major rum brands, many with evocative label illustrations. Ultimately, Rum-in all its ebullience-could hardly pretend to calm the spirit as Byron suggests; you'd require the real thing for that.

Food writer Elliot Essman's other reviews and food articles are available at [...]
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight for Serious Drinkers 28 Dec 2003
By Bill Marsano - Published on Amazon.com
By Bill Marsano. Rum has been a forgotten drink for some decades now. Just why it fell from favor isn't entirely clear, but now, more or less all of a sudden, it's back. And in comes with this handsome book--a real lapful of pleasure--to do it justice. Certainly the new interest in cocktails of recent years has fostered the comeback, and so has the long-delayed realization that there really isn't any such thing as "rum." Instead, there are many, many rums--each different by style or flavor or the whim of its maker. Rum shows as many personalities as malt scotch does, in fact. Finally, serious drinkers have recognized that while there are plenty of raffish, piratical rums of the "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest" variety, there are others that are made as carefully and aged and lovingly as fine cognacs.
David Broom is our guide here--he's a good writer (author of numerous other books on fine drink) and a real expert in the realm of distillative arts. Wisely he doesn't try to cover every rum from every place (there are far too many, after all). Instead he focuses on the home country of rum, which is the Caribbean basin and the Spanish Main (which means, of course, mainland, so we get the word on rums from Venezuela, Guatemala, Guyana, Brazil and elsewhere). But he concentrates on the islands: Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad, the Virgin Islands (U.S. and British) are of principal importance. And of course there are little oddities. Bermuda has its own famous run but grows no sugar cane; the Caymans are known for what might be called "J. and B."--a blend of Jamaican and Barbadian rums. My personal favorite is what Broom rightly calls the "fearsome" Jack Iron, which comes from Trinidad but is unreasonably popular in Grenada and its sister island of Carriacou. It was also illegal--contraband--at least until recently.
I bring this up to illustrate rum's breadth of personality. Jack Iron is a punishing 151 proof but it has been legalized for sale to Grenada's tourists--they pick it up at the airport as a ruffianly souvenir. But I prefer its contraband version, still smuggled in to Carriacou. Every time I visit I call at a certain saloon in Hillsborough, which is just down the road for that lovely airport that has to have cars and cattle chased off the runway, and after some idle chit-chat I ask the barman if he can sell me a bottle of Jack Iron. "Not the fancy kind," I say. "I want the stuff that comes over in a neighborly kind of way." At which point he'll hand me a clear liquid in a recycled plastic soda bottle. It'll have a cheap black-and-white paper label stuck onto it bearing the name Jack Iron and a skull and crossbones. In short, he'll hand me the real McCoy.
Broom does an excellent job of covering the connoisseur rums that are leading this spirit's resurgence, but he doesn't neglect rum's splendidly disreputable side either. It's importand, even critical to understanding rum becuase rum IS a disreputable drink. It was first made from industrial waste--that's what molasses was, after all. And its roots are sunk deep in the misery of slavery and the woes of drunken sailors.
Broom provides helpful guides to appreciating rum and to individual brands of note. Finally, there's a raft of fine, color-saturated photographs by Jason Lowe, to top off this truly fine book.--Bill Marsano has won a James Beard medal for his writing on wines and spirits.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but with one major shortcoming 2 Feb 2006
By Bjorn - Published on Amazon.com
I got this book only a few days ago, and have hardly been able to put it down. The book simply reads like a great story about rum, and it actually pulls you along. The profiles of individual rums are very interesting and useful, and the photography throughout is spectacular.

The major shortcoming is the photograph descriptions. The book is so well-written that it makes you feel like you're there, but the photograph descriptions as so general that they're useless, and actually take away from the book. One photograph shows someone walking up a colourful but run-down backroad in some Carribbean town, but all the caption says is the "The Real Carribbean is in the backroads." Others say things like "Sugar cane harvest" or "A local enjoying some rum". Some basic information about where the photo was taken and a bit more about what we're looking at would be nice.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Booze is just booze, but Rum is American history. 3 Jan 2007
By J. Daniel Ballard - Published on Amazon.com
As a long time sailor and regular rum drinker (Mount [..], lime slice, dash of seltzer) I found "Rum" to be much more than a book about my favorite libation - it is, in fact, a fascinating portrayal of a young America flexing it's early capitalistic muscle in competition with England, France and Spain each of whom is entangled with slavery, intrigue and occasional flashes of distilling brilliance. I bought the book as a coffee table item for my boat "Rumble," named after my two favorite subjects, rum and bull, but found it instead to be a fascinating historically accurate novel. Pour a glass of rum and settle in for a great read called "Rum."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rum. 17 Dec 2013
By Guillermo Elias - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good book. Well documented, fine paper, good text. Mr. Dave Broom made the effort to give interesting information to all the people who like this liquor.
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