How to Make Rum - Rum Recipe (2024)

This blog provides information for educational purposes only. Read our complete summary for more info.

March 26, 2013

Last updated

Kyle Brown

Owner of Clawhammer Supply

How to Make Rum - Rum Recipe (2)

Here is a recipe for authentic, molasses rich, rum, made just like they did in the colonial Caribbean islands. This tutorial on how to make rum will focus mostly on using a pot still to distill a rum mash made from traditional cane and molasses. But we'll touch on some other methods as well.

What is Rum

According to the United States TTB Beverge Alcohol Manual, Chapter 4, there are actually a few different types of rum. Here are definitions for the two primary types of rum: traditional rum and flavored rum.

Traditional Rum

The TTB's BAM states that rum is traditionally defined as, "Spirits distilled from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup, sugar cane molasses or other sugar cane by-products at less than 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof) having the taste, aroma and characteristics generally attributed to rum and bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)." Purists looking for the least adulterated version of rum will prefer this version of the spirit. It's made with water, cane sugar, molasses. However it may also contain natural flavor and color additives totaling up to 2.5% (of the volume of the finished product.

Flavored Rum

Flavored rum is, "Rum flavored with natural flavoring materials, with or without the addition of sugar, bottled at not less than 30% alcohol by volume (60 proof)." This means that color and flavor additions may exceed 2.5%. Furthermore, Chapter 7 of the BAM states that flavored rum may include natural as well as artificial flavors.

Is it Legal to Distill Rum at Home

Making your own rum co*cktails at home is perfectly legal. Making rum mash with sugar cane, molasses, and fermenting it with yeast is also legal. However, distilling rum at home is a different story. Distilling alcohol, including rum, is illegal without a federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant permit as well as relevant state permits.

Our distillation equipment is designed for legal uses only and the information in this article is for educational purposes only. Please read our complete legal summary for more information on the legalities of distillation.

Making Rum

Now that we've defined rum and explained the legalities associated with it, it's time to discuss how it's made. Rum is made using a 5 step process:

  1. Creating Molasses
  2. Fermentation
  3. Distillation
  4. Maturation
  5. Blending

Step 1: Creating Molasses

During the process of making sugar, sugar cane is juiced and then dried. The drying process causes the formation of sugar crystals. Once the crystals are removed, the liquid remaining is called molasses.

Molasses is a thick, syrup-like liquid produced while refining sugar from sugar cane. It's also a key ingredient in rum. Whether light molasses, dark molasses, or blackstrap molasses is used is up to the distiller. Each type will make a unique spirit.

Distilleries generally do not need to process their own cane to make molasses. The sugar industry offers all variety of cane juice, cane sugar, and molasses that distillers are able to purchase.

Step 2: Fermentation

This recipe is for an authentic "old world" Caribbean rum. By that we mean the ingredients will be limited to what would have been available to traditional rum distillers on Caribbean sugar cane plantations.

How to Make Rum - Rum Recipe (3)


  • 12.5 pounds raw cane sugar
  • 9 gallons water
  • 160 oz. unsulphured molasses
  • Yeast

Mash / Fermentation

Heat water to 120 degreesFahrenheit stirring sugar in a pound at a time. Add molasses, a jar at a time, once most of sugar has been dissolved. Stir thoroughly while adding so molasses does not burn. For a more mellow, smoother finished product, allow to cool to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and add breadyeast. Aerate, then transfer to carboys. For a higher yield (but a more unpredictable finish) use "Super Start" yeast and ferment at 90F. Install air lock and allow to ferment for at least 2 weeks.

Step 3: Distilling

We'll be using old-style equipment. Instead of using a column still, we'll use a pot still. Pot still distillation creates wildly different characteristics than column distillation because more of the original mash is carried through to the final product. The recipe below is also scaled down to10 gallons for the purpose of commercial testing on a10 gallon pilot system.

The distillation process consists of transferring fermented wash to a still (preferably a copper pot still or a stainless steel still with pure copper mesh packing) and heating it until ethanol begins to boil out of solution. It's then turned back into a liquid in a condenser and drips out of a still into a collection vessel. However, not all distillate is created equal!

Different chemical compounds will vaporize at different temperatures during the run. Some of this liquid will be discarded, some will be collected for consumption and the rest will be saved for distillation in future runs. Here is a summary of process of making distillation cuts.


Foreshots (methanol) will begin to evaporate and flow once the liquid temperature reaches 148.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Foreshots are poisonous and should be discarded.


Ethanol will begin to evaporate at 173 degrees Fahrenheit. However, distillate produced early in the distillation process is more likely to contain acetone, acetaldehyde, and acetate. This stuff smells bad, tastes bad, and will definitely cause hangovers! However, it does contain some (desirable) ethanol and should be set aside to mix with future runs.


In making alcohol, the "hearts" is the name for the best distillate produced from a still, which happens after the heads but before the tails. The hearts contain ethanol and the most desirable flavor and aroma compounds as well as the least amount of the undesirables. In other words, the hearts portion of the distillation run smells and tasted the best and is the stuff that distillers keep to drink or age.


The smoothness and richness of the distillate will begin to fade and begin to become weak and oily. This is how a distiller will know that the "tails" portion of the distillation run has begun. Tails, like the heads, are set aside for mixing with future batches of wash. Again, The tails contain a mix of good and bad and can be purified in later distillation runs.

Step 4: Aging

Rum can be drank unaged, but is best consumed after it's stored in used Bourbon cask for at least a year or more. This will provide the most mellow drinking experience.

Step 5: Blending

The process of blending rum barrels is a meticulous art form often overseen by master blenders, who combine different types of rum from various barrels to achieve a desired flavor profile, aroma, and mouthfeel. Typically, rums of different ages, distillation methods, or even origins are sampled and then carefully mixed in specific ratios. Once the blend is decided upon, the selected rums are combined in a large blending vat, where they are allowed to mingle for a period of time to harmonize the flavors. This blended rum may then be further aged or go through additional filtration or treatments before being bottled for consumption. The aim is to create a consistent, balanced, and high-quality final product that embodies the distillery's unique style and character.

How to Make Rum - Rum Recipe (2024)


How to make rum step by step? ›

How is rum made?
  1. Creating molasses from the sugar cane. The juices are squeezed from the sugar cane to create a by-product called molasses.
  2. Fermentation. Alcohol is created by adding yeast and water to the molasses. ...
  3. Distillation. The fermented liquid is heated and condensed in column stills.
  4. Maturation. ...
  5. Blending.

How to make perfect rum? ›

This spirit is traditionally made with sugarcane juice, molasses, or brown sugar and just takes 4-10 days to make at home. To make your own rum, dissolve sugar and molasses in hot water. Then, add yeast and let the solution ferment to convert the sugar into alcohol.

What are the key ingredients for rum? ›

Rum is a spirit made from sugarcane molasses or sugarcane juice. The sugarcane is fermented and then distilled. After distillation, the liquid will be clear and typically aged using bourbon casks, wooden casks or stainless steel tanks.

How is rum made step by step PDF? ›

Rum is distilled from molasses, a sticky syrup that results when sugar cane is boiled down. When first distilled, the crude rum is between 130 and 180 proof. This rum is then aged for two to ten years to mellow it out. This aging process determines whether the rum is light or dark.

How to make rum at home easy? ›

How To Make Rum At Home
  1. Add 2kg molasses and 4.5kg dextrose (brewing sugar) into your clean fermenter with 3L boiling water, stir to mix (don't worry if it does not dissolve at this stage). ...
  2. Add the Turbo Carbon – this is important to absorb impurities produced by the yeast during fermentation.

What is the mixture of rum? ›

Lemon/lime juice

Lemon or lime juice is another classic choice if you're trying to figure out what to mix rum with. In fact, if you have some limes, sugar, and rum at home, you're set to make a delicious co*cktail like the refreshing Mojito and classic Lime Daiquiri.

What are the raw ingredients of rum? ›

Rum Explained

First things first, put simply rum is made from sugar cane. In fact, it's made from 100% cane product. This includes raw cane juice, white or brown cane sugar, cane syrup, evaporated cane sugar and cane molasses.

How to make pirate rum? ›

Fill a co*cktail shaker with ice and add rums, Blue Curacao, pineapple juice and lime juice. Shake well. Serve in a glass and add a splash of lemon lime soda. Garnish with pineapple and cherries.

How do jamaicans make rum? ›

Jamaican rum can be made from sugarcane juice, cane syrup, molasses, sugar or a combination of any of the above; it must be distilled in copper pots and a lot of it is made in double-retort pot stills; and, if it's aged, it does so in oak barrels in Jamaica (more on this last detail later).

What are the 3 base ingredients in the production of rum? ›

A glass of dark rum
TypeDistilled beverage
Ingredientssugarcane molasses or sugarcane juice; yeast; water
Variantsrhum agricole, ron miel, tafia
Related productscachaça, charanda, clairin, grogue, grog, Seco Herrerano
6 more rows

What is the best molasses for making rum? ›

Blackstrap Molasses is flexible, used for both rum creation, and color enhancement and flavoring of fermented malt beverages. Produced during the refining of pure, non-GMO sugar cane, the resulting Blackstrap Molasses is the final by-product.

Is rum difficult to make? ›

PLEASE NOTE: If you were looking for a nice, easy, step-by-step Recipe to make Rum, you will be disappointed. Making proper Rum is not simple or easy, and there are so many options to consider that writing a simple recipe like that is impossible. This article's goal is to help you navigate these options and choices.

How is Caribbean rum made? ›

How is rum made? Rum is distilled from fermented sugarcane by-products and the vast majority of rum—as much as 95 percent—is produced from molasses. This provides many of the rich, dark flavors you likely associate with the spirit, such as brown sugar, maple syrup, and well, molasses.

How is Bacardi rum made? ›

To make a batch of BACARDÍ's delicious rum requires just three ingredients: molasses from sugarcane, yeast and water. The water dilutes the molasses enough for BACARDÍ's unique strain of yeast (which we keep locked up in special refrigerators) to ferment.

What is Captain Morgan rum made from? ›

Made from molasses distilled in a continuous still - Captain Morgan is then aged in oak barrels for up to a year, adding a golden colour and character to the rum before the flavours and spices are added. Captain Morgan Rum is produced Diageo.

How long does it take to ferment rum? ›

The yeast can fully convert all of the sugars to alcohol in the wash. A wash that includes molasses will take around 12 – 14 days to complete the fermentation stage, but when it's ready, will still have a sweet taste.


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