on May 1, 2012
The book was a very interesting reading experience which offers a bit of everything about you would ever want to know about rum. It covers what rum is and how it's made, the history of rum and the impact it made economically in the new world, the production of rum today, as well as offering some tempting recipes for the reader to try. It is also filled with beautiful illustrations with the author making an Alfred Hitchcock style cameo appearance in one. If you enjoy rum, you'll enjoy the book.
on April 30, 2012
I already have books on whiskey and beer, and never knew much about rum. I only recently learned that it could be savored straight like a whiskey. Up til then it was something you put into a drink, not tasted by itself. What makes this a particularly interesting read are the sections about rum history in places that I never knew made the stuff, such as India and Australia. Some of the best reading is about the very bad rum instead of the good stuff. This is a fun book that I immediately wanted to share with a friend, preferably while sharing a drink also. The author has a wry sense of humor that actually had me laughing out loud, and I re-read some chapters for a second enjoyment before going forward. Some references in the book assumed a pretty good familiarity with American and British history, but there was nothing too arcane. It's a likable book that's not just a one-time read.
Many Americans will vaguely recall that rum had something to do with the slave trade and the Caribbean, a fading memory of some American History class. This book covers that history and much, much more. It is a fun and interesting and yet serious read.
There is in fact a substantial history with the slave trade and the sugar industry, rum beginning as a raw spirit. It was an important item in the trade of colonial New England who distilled rum from imported molasses and marketed it, sometimes as an item in what was once denoted the Triangular Trade connecting Africa, the New World plantations and New England trade.
There's more, of course. What is and is not rum is discussed. The rise of rum from a drink for the poor, for sailors and slaves to a spirit appreciated by the ruling class is examined, as well as its fall from popularity and recent rise. The book gets into branding and marketing and cultural spread. A fascinating detail is how rum has come to be made in many places--Australian rum?
Nicely illustrated and has recipes. This will interest people interested in rum, but it's also a variation of the cultural history of a food.