Rum is a distilled beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses and sugarcane juice by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak and other barrels. The majority of the world's rum production occurs in and around the Caribbean and in several South American countries, such as Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. There are also rum producers in places such as Australia, Fiji, the Philippines, India, Reunion Island, Mauritius, and elsewhere around the world.
Light rums are commonly used in cocktails, whereas golden and dark rums are also appropriate for drinking straight, or for cooking. Premium rums are also available that are made to be consumed straight or with ice.
Rum plays a part in the culture of most islands of the West Indies, and has famous associations with the Royal Navy and piracy. Rum has also served as a popular medium of exchange that helped to promote slavery along with providing economic instigation for Australia's Rum Rebellion and the American Revolution.
Dividing rum into meaningful groupings is complicated by the fact that there is no single standard for what constitutes rum. Instead rum is defined by the varying rules and laws of the nations that produce the spirit. The differences in definitions include issues such as spirit proof, minimum aging, and even naming standards.
Examples of the differences in proof is Colombia, requiring their rum possess a minimum alcohol content of 50 ABV, while Chile and Venezuela require only a minimum of 40 ABV. Mexico requires rum be aged a minimum of 8 months; the Dominican Republic, Panama and Venezuela require two years. Naming standards also vary. Argentina defines rums as white, gold, light, and extra light. Barbados uses the terms white, overproof, and matured, while the United States defines rum, rum liqueur, and flavored rum. In Australia Rum is divided into Dark Rum (Under Proof known as UP, Over Proof known as OP, and triple distilled) and White Rum.