Learn how to make rum at home with this tutorial. Rum is a made from by-products such as molasses which are created during the refining process of sugar from sugar cane, or the juice from sugarcane. During distillation, rum distillate runs out from the pot still as a clear liquid. It’s then aged in oak or bourbon barrels for flavor and color. However, other methods people use to add rum’s distinct color and flavor include the soaking oak chips or mixing in caramelized sugar.
Ingredients Needed to Make Rum
The majority of these ingredients are used to make all types of alcoholic spirits. Rum’s distinct flavor is in part due to molasses.
- 25L water
- 6-8kg sugar
- 5L sweet molasses
- 1 packet of 48 Hours Turbo Yeast
- Aging & flavoring ingredients (see below)
Equipment to Make Rum
This equipment can be used to distill all types of alcoholic spirits in addition to making rum.
- 25L fermenting bucket with air lock
- Pot or Column Still (larger than 30L)
- Heat Source (hot plate, internal heating element, stove)
- Water source (tap, river or bucket with pump)
- Large spoon, alcoholmeter, hydrometer, cooking thermometer, test jar
Directions to Make Rum
Step 1: Fermenting
It’s very important to clean all equipment before starting. The smallest spec of contamination could lead to a sour batch of rum. Dissolve the sugar and molasses in the fermentation bucket using 8 liters of hot water. Add 17 liters of cold water and mix well. The overall temperature should be 80 degrees C., warm enough to dissolve yeast. If it’s over 90 degrees C. it could kill the yeast. Dissolve packet of turbo yeast into the mix. Ensure the yeast particles have completely dissolved. Seal the fermentation vessel and add air lock. Fill the air lock half full with water to protect foreign matter from entering while allowing gases to escape. Allow this to ferment at 20-30 degrees C. (70-80F) for 3-10 days. The length of fermentation depends on the amount of sugar used and air temperature. The mash is ready for distillation when the level on the hydrometer reaches 990. It will contain 16-18% alc. By volume and smell like a rats ass, but don’t worry. The only way to fail is if it was made with dirty hands, dirty water, or dirty equipment.
Step 2: Distilling
The fermented product is then distilled using a still. There are two types of stills that can be used to make rum – pot stills and column stills. Pot stills allow more impurities in the distilled product, giving the rum a richer flavor. Fill the boiler up completely. It should fill to approximately 85% of the stills volume. Put the boiler on the heat source and assemble the still. This assemble may include hooking up the cracking tower, condenser, and water supply. Turn the heating source on high until the steams temperature reaches 78C/173F, the boiling temp of Ethanol alcohol. Adjust the temperature accordingly. Discard liquid which makes it through the still before your desired temperature. This will ensure all the Methanol alcohol, which boils at 64C/148F is removed. This is usually the first cup (head) to run off the still.
Step 3: Age & Flavor
Rum is usually aged for at least one year. In many places, the aging time is up to twelve years. Unfortunately home distillers who make rum don’t want to wait this long to enjoy beautifully flavored aged rum. Rum is commonly aged in in wooden casks made of bourbon or oak. Using different types of casks will result in different flavors, new casks for lighter flavors to heavily charred casks for richer flavors. It’s often blended to improve quality and flavor. Light rums can be filtered to remove coloring, while caramel may be added to darker rums to perfect the shade.
Making spiced rum is a fun experience for the home distiller. It allows you to create the perfect spiced rum by aging the rum distillate (rum straight from the still) with a chosen blend of spices and berries.
Spices Rum Ingredients
- 1 Liter of rum distillate (fresh rum)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 cinnamon stick, chopped
- 5 whole allspice berries
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 star anise (licorice taste)
- 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
- 3 2-inch pieces ginger
- 2 3-inch strips orange zest
- Mix your favourite spiced rum ingredients as suggested above with 1 Liter of light rum/rum distillate in a glass carboy or wooden barrel.
- Age at least 5-15 days depending on desired taste and strength.
- The world’s best rum is made in the Caribbean and Latin America.
- Aged rum can be identified by descriptors on the label such as “ron añejo” (aged rum) and “ron viejo” (old rum).
- Light, clear colored rums are usually used in cocktails and mixed drinks. Darker rums are often consumed straight or on the rocks.
Popular Rum Brands
Videos showing how to make rum
The following three video show the basic process of making rum, from the fermenting stage to distillation.