Dwayne Allen of Rum Bar Gives a Tasty Tutorial on Rum

Rum Bar -- 3 fancy rums.jpg
Three fancy rums
If you've ever been inclined to dismiss rum as a legitimate spirit because of slushy vats of hot pink strawberry daiquiris, flaming tiki drinks or frat boys chugging Bacardi and Coke, hang on one little minute. Dwayne Allen, who co-owns The Breadfruit and Rum Bar with his partner Danielle Leoni, is just the guy to give you a much-needed attitude adjustment. His father's family has been growing sugar cane in Jamaica's St. Elizabeth Parrish and selling it to prestigious rum producer Appleton Estate for generations. "Rum is in my blood," he says only half-jokingly.

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At Rum Bar, Allen offers 137 different bottles of rum, not one of them labeled Bacardi or Captain Morgan. So listen up because he makes a pretty strong case for rum being as sophisticated as it is fun.

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One way to ruminate on rum
The first thing Allen wants me to know is that rum is as American as Apple computers. Although the spirit was probably first distilled on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 1600's (Barbados is often considered its place of origin), the drink's popularity soon spread to the North American Colonies. Our first distillery was established on Staten Island in 1664 and rum-making quickly became New England's largest and most profitable industry. When the Sugar Act of 1764 (a tax which pre-dated England's Tea Act by nine years) threatened to cut into the profits of the Triangular Trade (an exchange of molasses, rum and slaves), American colonists started thinking long and hard about revolution.

All rums fall into one of two umbrella categories: rhum industriel (any rum made from sugarcane byproducts, usually molasses) and rhum agricole (any rum made from the juice of pressed sugar cane). Most rums are made from molasses because it's less expensive.

Agricoles are treated the same way as Cognac, receiving AOC certification. They're produced in former French colonies such as Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Other Rum Classifications:

White -- Clear, light-bodied and subtle. The rum to use for a classic daiquiri or mojito or a fruity cocktail because the rum won't overpower the other ingredients. Think Mount Gay Eclipse, Cruzan Light Aged and Flor de Caña 4 Year Extra Dry.

Location Info

The Breadfruit

108 E. Pierce St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

The Rum Bar

108 E. Pierce St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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