When most think of gateway rums, it is for those switching from bourbon and whiskeys to dry rums. Not in this case! I am assuming that most rum drinkers here do like I did and start out with the most popular ones - the sugar bombs. These have 30-49 grams per liter of added sugar. Any more sugar than that is considered to be flavored. For those with 20-29 grams per liter of added sugar, those are just plain sweet, but not quite to the level of sugar bombs. To give you an idea, one teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 grams! Besides being bad for one's health, these sweet rums and sugar bombs have a very poor shelf life, usually only 1-2 months.
So, the next category down are the semi-dry gateway rums that have only 10-19 grams per liter of added sugar. These are the best way to go before gradually going bone dry. Also notice that my last ranked Diplomatico Reserva has been replaced by them for their newer Diplomatico Mantuano, which is now a dry rum. Plantation has also started to label the amounts of added sugars on their newer bottles, and many of them are dry or semi-dry.
All are ranked in order, with my rating shown to the left.
8 Pampero Aniversario
7 El Dorado 8
7 Angostura 1919
7 Angostrua 1824
7 Plantation Original Dark Double Aged
7 Don Pancho Origenes 8 Year
7 Ron Barcelo Imperial
7 Zafra Master Reserve 21
7 English Harbour 5
6 Plantation Panama 8 Single Cask 2017
6 Lemon Hart 151
6 Bacoo 12
5 Diplomatico Reserva
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Thanks for this! I’m always looking for this info. In Canada labelling is quite ‘lax and it’s tough to find anything distinctly labelled dry or if any sugars added. Cheers!
Thanks! This took a LOT of digging and research. Very few rums admit to their added sugars, but this is gradually changing. The hydrometer test is the tell tale sign that the published ABV percentage is not what comes up from the hydrometer. The difference is used to calculate additive amounts.
My gateway rum back in college was... Captain Morgan Private Stock! It was the classiest spirit any of us had seen - I was Mr popular letting friends try it. Guessing it was 5x most sugar bombs, but we were coming from Long Islands, so probably tasted quite dry to us :)
Captain Morgan did not arrive into the USA until 1986, which was three years after I had graduated from college. For me missing out on penalties from The Captain the next morning, I feel so very fortunate.
My intro to rum was through a friend we traveled with to Turks and Caicos. Most restaurants on the island had a nice selection and our friend started me with Flor de Cana. The island has not much to do except eat, drink and lay on the beach. We did our share of rum tastings and it got me started in February 2013. Many of my friends now drink rum with me.
Not much to do in the Turks and Caicos?!!!! You obviously did not get to peek at their gorgeous underwater world! Fellow divers told me all about the beauty of it's coral reefs and tropical fish. This is one of the few places in the Caribbean that I have not had the pleasure of diving and photographing. At my advanced age, I can still snorkel, but can no longer don scuba gear. They also have one or two of their own rums. One can be sampled at Frankie's Tiki Room in Las Vegas, but I forgot the name of it.
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