How to Make Rum

Try making this delicious rum, that's perfect for beginners, and in no time, enjoy the rewarding taste of home distilled rum in your Cuba Libres.

| May 2019


Dark rum was the first distilled spirit I attempted to make. It's David's favorite kind of liquor, and he is fond of adding it to his morning hot cocoa, as well as in classic drinks like the Cuba Libre. To tell the truth, one of the reasons I started with rum is because I wasn't very confident at the time about my mashing skills, and I had learned that making rum mainly involved dissolving molasses in hot water, then fermenting and distilling it. How hard could it be, right?

I was fortunate to obtain organic blackstrap molasses at whole­ sale prices through our chef friend Gabriel. It comes in a bucket of a little over 50 pounds, and my records indicate that one such bucket produced about 11 bottles of beautiful, flavorful rum at 40% ABV.


  • 0.5 gallon (2 L) molasses (sweet or blackstrap molasses, but make sure it's unsulphured)
  • 2.6 gallons (10 L) hot tap water
  • 1.3 gallons (s L) cold tap water
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) distiller's yeast or 1 package distiller's yeast/ enzyme combination


Pour the molasses into a clean fermenting bucket. Add the hot tap water and stir until the molasses is dissolved. Add the cold tap water and stir well. I find that after I add the cold water, the wash is usually 32°C/90°F, just about the right temperature to add the yeast. (Be sure to check the temperature of the wash before adding the yeast, though; the temperature of hot tap water can vary.) Check and record the specific gravity of the wash; this concentration of molasses typically gives me an OG of1.060. Stir in the yeast. Put the lid on the bucket, add cool water to your airlock and put the airlock in place. Label the lid with the contents and the date. Ferment 48 to 72 hours in a warm place; the fermentation should have slowed way down by the third day.


Since I ferment the wash in my house and distill in the stillhouse, I like to carry the fermenting bucket to the stillhouse the day before I plan to distill it. This gives the wash a chance to settle after being jostled around and mixed up a bit en route. Then I siphon the liquid off the yeast sediment into the still. Before I put the lid back on the boiling pot, I calculate the alcohol content of the wash and record that number.



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