What's the Difference Between Rum and Whiskey?

Monday, March 22, 2021

What's the Difference Between Rum and Whiskey?

There are many varieties of high-quality distilled beverages around the world. Rum and whiskey are two popular varieties that have a tenure in history spanning hundreds of years. However, many people who are new to premium alcohol ask what’s the difference between rum and whiskey. The answers often surprise as so few appreciate the effort and art that goes into crafting each of these unique drinks.

How Distillation Works

To properly understand the difference between rum and whiskey, let’s first look at how each is made. Liquor is different from other alcohols as it is distilled. Brewing is a method that steeps ingredients, typically grains, with hot water for a period of time. After the wort is boiled and cooled, brewer’s yeast is pitched. The yeast consumes the sugar and creates ethanol and CO2 as a bi-product. Distilling is the reduction of a fermented liquid to its purest form through heating and cooling.

Different levels of distilling produce different clarities of ethanol, with the clearest being the most reduced—such as vodka. Rum and whiskey are both distilled, but for different periods. They also start with different base ingredients and have unique aging requirements to fulfill a quality taste.

What is Rum?

Rum originates from the sugarcane plant or molasses. This base is then fermented using water and yeast. The yeast consumes the sugar molecules in the sugarcane or molasses, which give rum its unique flavor. The next step in the process is aging, which for rum must be a minimum of one year. Aging occurs in a sealed wood cask, which is a technique used across most hard liquors.

Different woods lend the alcohol flavor as well as color. The longer a rum is aged, the darker it will be. There are quite a few varieties of rum, mostly variations in the depth of color and flavor. It’s also a popular holiday drink and baking ingredient, and so occasionally spices like cinnamon and anise are steeped in it. This gives the drink an exciting, spiced taste.

What is Whiskey?

Whiskey tends to be much more varied than rum and there are many variations for the distinguished palette to enjoy. It’s made typically from a malted grain mash of either barley, rye, wheat, or corn. It can also be a combination of all four. Connoisseurs can choose between single malt or mixed varieties. Single malt will be made from just rye or just barley, whereas mixed originates from a few quality whiskies blended.

Whiskey does not have quite as many flavor variations as rum. Instead, anyone looking for excellent whiskey should explore variations in grain, malt, dilution, and cask aging techniques.

Packaging Options Direct carries a beautiful assortment of wholesale glass spirit bottles. We understand how much master distillers pour love into their creations. Acquiring the perfect bottle to compliment the premium quality of liquor is important, and we’re ready to help. Reach out to us today to talk to one of our packaging representatives to find the perfect packaging for your liquors.

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