August 16th is National Rum Day

I love how there’s days for everything now. Commercialization at its best? Yes. An excuse to learn about rum? Definitely. Here’s all you need to know about National Rum Day.


First a little intro on Rum (content from

Rum lovers around the world owe a great debt to a simple plant: sugar cane. Hundreds of years ago, there was a sugar craze in Europe, and colonies were established around the Caribbean to make the sweet commodity. But the production of sugar creates a lot of byproduct—namely, molasses. There wasn’t much use for the thick, sticky, sweet substance until it was discovered that molasses could be fermented and then distilled. The alcohol quickly became popular with pirates, sailors and America’s founders.

Rum also became a key element in the infamous “slavery triangle.” The Brits shipped molasses to New England, where it was transformed into rum, proceeds from the sales of which purchased slaves in West Africa, who were subsequently taken to the sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean and South America.

While the rules for rum production vary greatly from country to country, there are two main types: light and dark. The color of the spirit is primarily determined by the amount of time it has spent aging in oak barrels. The longer it’s been aged, the more color and flavor it picks up from the wood. Some experts say that the Caribbean’s high heat and humidity help speed up the alcohol’s maturation. No matter the color, most rum is still made from molasses, but some brands do use fresh sugar cane juice.

National Rum Day 2014 in DC (Originally reported by DrinkDC)

Here are the best places to go on Saturday in honor of one of the first liquors most of us are introduced to in our lives:

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar: It’s no surprise that a dedicated rum bar would want to make the most of the holiday, so Cuba Libre is running specials all throughout the month of August. Mojitos and rum flights are specially priced all month long, and look for special events like the Mojito, Ceviche and Rum tasting class. And, on August 15 and 16, all of their 90+ rums will be half off between 5–7 PM. (801 9th St. NW; 202-408-1600)

The Observatory at The Graham Georgetown Hotel: Kick off your weekend of rum on August 14 at the trendy rooftop at the Graham Hotel, which will be hosting an evening of rum flights and signature aged rum cocktails from 6–9 PM. Georgetown Tobacco will also be on hand to provide complimentary cigars—life is good. (1075 Thomas Jefferson St. NW; 855-341-1292)

Jack Rose Dining Saloon: From 1 PM – 5 PM on the big day, you can enjoy BBQ from an open pit fire at this Adam’s Morgan cocktail bar, which will be featuring signature rum cocktails and special rum punches to celebrate. Try the 18th Street Twizzle (Gosling’s Dark Rum, lime, simple syrup, angostura, mint) or cool down your spicy BBQ with the Cold-Lada (Bacardi Rum, lime, hibiscus syrup, coconut creme). (2007 18th St. NW; 202-588-7388)

Cork Wine Bar: Yes, it’s a wine bar, but Cork knows quality liquor and will help you celebrate Rum Day with true class. They offer two 15-year rums, aged to perfection: the rich and toasty Ron Matusalem from the Dominican Republic and Rhum Barbancourt from Haiti. (1720 14th St. NW; 202-265-2675)

Patty Boom Boom: This U St. reggae hall offers up three different tasty rum punches that are crazy strong but only $8. The Wild Ting (Ting Jamaican grapefruit soda and light rum), and classic Dark and Stormy (Gosling’s dark rum, ginger beer, and lime) will keep you dancing into the wee hours. (1359 U St. NW; 202-629-1712)

Zengo: Hit up this Latin fusion joint in Chinatown to try three different takes on the classic mojito: the Mojito Cuzco is a refreshing blend of Bacardi Castillo rum, melon, cucumber, mint, lime and soda; the Mojito Oro uses Patron Pyrat rum and plenty of brown sugar, or go fruity with the Mango Mojito, a tropical mix of Parrot Bay mango rum, mango puree, mint and soda. (781 7th St. NW; 202-393-2929)

The Rum Runner Bus Tour: If rum is your drink of choice, why not go all out? Hop on the Rum Runner Bus to enjoy special Rum Day DC Punch and hit bars like Farmers, Fishers, Bakers, Lincoln, and Smith Public Trust, each featuring their own specialty rum cocktails and appetizers. The Rum Bus journeys from 5:30–10:30 PM on August 15.

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