Rum and Best Food Pairings

Rum and Food Pairings

Barbecuing started in the Caribbean a long time ago by the native tribes. They used pit barbecues with a wooden grate called a “barbacoa”. The first Spanish settlers called this kind of cooking “boucan.” In fact, “buccaneers” were named after this style of cooking. An abundance of seafood was readily available, fish of all descriptions, lobster, conch, turtle, shark, shellfish, shrimp, etc., were all common catches. These were usually salted or dried to preserve them before the days of refrigeration.

Expanding on the boucan, Jamaicans invented the art of ‘jerk’ cooking. Slow cooked meats, heavily spiced over pimento wood and leaves. This style of cooking became very popular and that increased tremendously once a splash of rum was added to the meat.




As more and more people came to sample the experience in the Caribbean, chefs from around the world, flock to the island paradise to capture the island flavor to the delight of new and seasoned culinary enthusiasts. Adding rum to any food gives that item a new and distinct taste. As a beverage or in a cream sauce for fruit kebabs, rum brings a unique blend of flavors together that will complement any assortment.

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A few things to remember about using rum in foods:

  • Always divulge the use of rum in your food to guests. The slightest hint of rum in a dish can trigger allergy attacks and be problematic for recovering alcoholics. A quick way to solve that would be to always use rum in the title. Not a fruit punch but rum punch.
  • Due to its longer fermentation process, which utilizes previously-used yeast, Jamaican rum is considered the strongest in flavor.
  • Choose dark rum for a more robust flavor or for a more subtle taste, choose light rum.
  • When using flavored or spiced rums in your foods, be sure the flavor or spice is complementary to your main ingredient.
  • Always keep hot buttered rum mix handy, especially during the colder season.

For substitutions, small amounts of rum (¼ cup or less) rum extract may be used.

  • 2 TBLS rum = ½ to 1 tsp rum extract. If the amount of liquid needed is an important part of the recipe, use water or fruit juice to make up the difference.
  • 1 TBLS dark rum = 2 TBLS rum extract
  • 5 TCLS light rum = 1 TBLS rum extract.
  • Brandy or cognac may be substituted in equal parts, but expect the obvious change in flavor.

Rum used in cakes and deserts will be absorbed into the spongy cake giving your cake an added flavor boost. It will be a sure favorite. Rum mixes well with sugary deserts as they come from the same plant. Some manufacturers sell rums which they have infused with flavors of fruits such as mango, orange, citrus, coconut or lime. These serve to flavor the fluffy creams and spicy sauces with a very unique and satisfying flavor.

Rum Quote: Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest-Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! ~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island