So, the strongest rums in the world eh?! How strong are we talking? 45%? 55%? 60%? Well, no.
We’re talking about ‘overproof‘ rums here, which are generally knocking about around the 75% mark and are enough to make even Jack Sparrow re-think his dubious life choices after a few.
So what does ‘overproof’ even mean and why the hell are people making rum that is enough to blow your roof sky high? Well it all started back in them olden times – when everything was carried around on a big bloody wooden ship.
Back in the 17th Century when rum was being made on plantations throughout the Caribbean, transporting it throughout the world proved to be a rather costly and time-consuming exercise – as you’d expect. This wasn’t helped by the fact that by its very nature all liquids are heavy (as are the barrels) so the manufacturers of rum came up with an ingenious idea.
They made the rum ‘overproof’ which was well too strong for most people, so that it could be transported around the world and then diluted when it arrived at its destination. Much in the same way drug manufacturers transport pure cocaine around the world today – which is then cut – as volume (and money) increase dramatically.
The only problem with this idea though was that, as I’m sure you’re aware, sailors like to have a drink. A lot. The water on ships during these perilous journeys was often manky, stale and soaked with rat shite and so the safest thing to drink was the rum. And so the sailors got a taste for the ‘overproof’ stuff.
In fact, they enjoyed rum so much that the British Navy changed the daily rationing for its sailors from brandy to rum around 1655 – but they’d dilute the rationed rum with water to create ‘Grog’.
So the overproof rums lived on, and there became a small market for them throughout the world and as soon as bartenders cottoned on, a whole host of super-strong (and super-tasty) cocktails began to surface.
Perhaps the most famous ‘overproof’ rum today is Wray & Nephew, a 75.5% monster that hails from Jamaica and is pretty much a staple at any good cocktail bar (or home liquor cabinet). On top of this, The Liars Club have also managed to secure themselves a fantastic new overproof rum in the form of Cut – a unique rum that provides a spiced alternative to the white rum flavours of Wray & Nephews.
So with a white option (Wray & Nephew), a dark option (Goslings 151) and a spiced option (Cut) you really can’t go wrong at The Liars Club – but what should you have them with?
The most obvious answer is the Mai Tai – one of the most recognisable and loved Tiki cocktails there is, and the perfect mix of syrup and citrus that brings the most out of any overproof rum. The Liars addition of an orange peel liqueur from Martinique adds a whole new dimension to the flavours and manages to reduce the fire somewhat from the high alcohol content of the overproof.
Similarly, the legendary Daiquiri is not only one of the signature drinks at Liars, it’s also perfect as a base for an overproof rum – especially a spiced one. With less flavours in the base than a Mai Tai, a Daiquiri really lets the overproof rum breathe and brings out the signature ‘funk’ that you associate with it.
Or, you could just get yourself a shot of overproof rum, a can of Ting and have a bloody good dance to some top tunes. Whatever. Do what you like.
So that’s it, a short little history lesson on ‘overproof’ rum. If you’re looking to do a GCSE project on this – get in touch and I’ll help you out with some of the colouring in.
For more information on overproof rums and some of the brilliant cocktails that you can make with them – speak to the dedicated staff at The Liars Club – I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to show you a thing or two.
(Just don’t ask them when it’s busy on a Saturday night – they might get annoyed and set your face on fire.)
The Liars Club, 19A Back Bridge St, Manchester M3 2PB
0161 834 5111