Rum is made from fermented sugar. This process usually includes the fermentation of the juices of the sugarcane plant, as well as of molasses and other by-products of sugar production. Rum is one of the major liquors in the world, with a history steeped in the myths of piracy, the Caribbean, and slavery. The first true rums were made in the Caribbean during the early 17th century by fermenting the molasses left over from refining sugar into a heady liquor. Barbados is held by many to be the birthplace of rum, and for many years the Caribbean rums were known for their low quality and fiery taste. Not much later, much of the production of rum moved to New England, which used imported Caribbean molasses to produce their liquor. By the end of the 17th century, rum was New England’s most produced commodity and played a crucial role in the establishment of the region's early economy.  Rum is one of the most ill-defined of the world’s major liquors, with standards differing drastically from nation to nation. In general, however, light rums are low on flavour and primarily used in mixed drinks, gold rums are slightly higher-quality and aged somewhat, and dark rums are aged even longer and have a very rich and full flavour. Many rums are also flavoured with spices, coconut, and various fruits. Rum may be enjoyed on its own, in cooking, or in a mixed drink, though most rum connoisseurs hold that a rum should be aged and drunk alone or on the rocks.

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