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Is Rum Sweet?

Truth be told, not naturally. Rum that comes fresh out of the distillation process is not typically sweet. This is because any sugars that were used for fermentation would have been converted into alcohol. That being said, without sugar there could be nothing to kick-start the fermentation. The best rums have undergone a lengthy, thorough fermentation process, where almost all the sugars have been converted into alcohol. Any remaining sugar would be gone by the end of the distillation process. So why did that glass of rum you just had a taste of so sweet? What is rum made of, really? Just keep on scrolling to find out.

What is Rum made of?

Most often, rum makers use a by-product of sugarcane juice to make this widely enjoyed beverage: molasses. Rum that comes straight out of the distillation process is not actually sweet since the sugars have converted into alcohol. However, rum that naturally tastes sweet is because of one of the alcohol types or choice of other ingredients. It is common practice for many rum makers to add sugar to rum after it has been distilled. This is a way to make it taste artificially sweeter, smoother, thicker, and more “luxurious”.

Here’s a fun fact: Jamaican rum and rum from Caribbean countries like Barbados actually have special laws that prohibit their distilleries from adding sugar to finished rum. Instead, they let the natural flavours of their rums stand out. In Australia, the rum industry is not as heavily regulated, so many rum makers continue to add sugar to their spirits. Some distilleries are open about why they do this, while others sneak it into the bottle and in the fine print of an ingredient list. But now you know that rum doesn’t usually taste sweet by the end of the distillation process. It’s either added sugars or a damn good selection of ingredients that make it that way. So which is it that makes our loyal customers come back again and again?

Our difference: we don’t add sugar

Yep, you read that right. Unlike many of our big-name competitors, we don’t add any sugar to our spirits at the end of the distillation process. But how is rum sweet if we don’t add sugar? It’s pretty simple – we’ve perfected our distillation techniques to bring out the natural sweetness of native Australian ingredients. Our loyal customers know that when it comes to making rum, we don’t skimp on the good stuff. Our locally sourced fruits and spices produce a lingering flavour, this natural sweetness completely removing the need for added sugar. While we do mix brown sugar with yeast during the distillation process, the end result is all flavour and straight rum. Because after the ingredients run twice through our distillation apparatus, the sugars and yeast simply turn into ethanol – that good ol’ alcohol!

Why is rum sweet if it is just alcohol?

Usually, when you buy some rum, you have it mixed with other soft drinks, syrups, ale, or fruit juice. But sometimes, this sugary sweetness that you find in big-name rums actually comes from added sugar. Other rum-makers are experts at their craft and able to draw out the natural sweetness of the ingredients. As for Illegal Tender Rum Co.’s spirits, our dedication to keeping them sugar-free makes them one of the best rums you will ever try. We don’t add sugar because we trust that our enticing blends of native Australian fruits and spices are sure to win you over.

What’s in our rum?

Brown Sugar

Here at Illegal Tender Rum Co., we believe that the common practice of using molasses doesn’t always produce the best rums. This is because molasses are simply by-products of refining sugars from sugarcane juice. As a secondary product, molasses really only have a 40-50% sugar content. The low sugar content means that the abundance of other organic material within molasses create a harsher tasting spirit. Instead, we chose to use brown cane sugar from Queensland. Not only is this premium ingredient sourced locally in Australia, but it also helps us create our award-winning texture and flavours. For our quality of rum, choosing brown sugar has definitely been a worthwhile investment.

Brown Sugar

Native Australian ingredients

Besides the usual ingredients for rum, we also use a premium selection of native Australian ingredients in our spiced spirits. We toss them all into our ex-Shiraz French Oak casks, then move the barrels to a sunny spot in our distillery. With time and the warmth of the sun, the spirits draw a caramel colour from the charred fruity casks they are in. This is our preferred organic way of “colouring” or “ageing” our Australian rum without adding sugar like many of our competitors do.

Our choice of fruits and spices include:

  • Kakadu Plum
  • Lemon Myrtle
  • Wattle seed
  • Quandong
  • Wild Rosella
  • Ginger
  • Chili
  • Chai
  • Vanilla
  • Coffee
  • Caramel
  • Butterscotch
  • Cherry
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia

Soft Rainwater

Here on our farm in mid-west Western Australia, we collect rainwater and treat it for use in our signature spirits. We prefer rainwater because of its great mineral content and lack of salt. However, our unique methods mean we can only make a certain number of spirits in a month. So if you just miss out on getting yourself a bottle of our rum, you might just have to wait for the next batch.

A lot of time and patience

Production times range from 5 to 11 weeks throughout the year. This is largely due to the weather, temperature, and seasonal changes. Every day without fail, our master distiller Codie tends to the barrels like a shepherd tending to his sheep. With each visit, he adds 5 spices and a little water. This consistent care allows for the flavours of each spice and fruit to blend into the alcohol, ensuring that the quality and flavours are consistent each time, yet unique to each batch. The end result is a sugar-free rum that is perfect to enjoy on its own or for making your favourite cocktails. Whether you’re creating mai tais or mojitos, piña coladas or pineapple caipirinhas, you can bring the juice and we’ll bring the rum.

Get the real deal

The next time you savour a sip of Illegal Tender Co. rum for sale online, enjoy the perfect blends of sweet Australian flavours and the knowledge that it is 100% sugar-free. We personally love to match our rums with some beef jerky for the perfect balance of sweet and savoury! Try our award-winning Distillers’ Cut, our internationally-acclaimed Spiced rum, or display our 1808 Barely Legal on your bar counter and save it for later. We believe that the best rum doesn’t need added sugars. Instead, they let their natural flavours take centre stage. So the next time you are shopping for a bottle of rum, don’t pay for a bottle of sugar – choose our naturally sweet spirits instead.