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The Difference Between Mad River’s Rums

In one of our previous blog posts, we explored the wonderful world of rum—what it is, where and how it’s made, and what it’s made with. We explain that while most rum is distilled from molasses, which typically requires a very high proof to separate out undesirable elements such as sulfur, we prefer to distill from demerara sugar which allows us to distill at a lower proof to preserve more flavor and finish. The result is a rum with subtle sweetness, smokiness and vegetal notes. How the rum is then finished is what imparts the unique flavors among each of our rums. 

With a variety of different aging and finishing techniques, we transform our Demerara sugar-based rum into five unique offerings. Here, we explain the difference between our five rums, what makes each of them unique, and we offer some suggested cocktails you can mix with each right from the comfort of your home.

PX Rum

This dark rum is unlike any other. Carefully aged in a mixture of toasted and charred barrels, and then finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, the resulting flavor is both nutty and smoky. Receiving the Double Gold award for Best Aged Rum at the San Francisco International Spirits Competition and the Bronze Medal at the American Craft Spirits Association, PX is perfect as a sipping rum, but it can also make some incredible cocktails. 

First Run Rum

A premium American rum that is both fresh and distinctly modern, our First Run Rum is aged in fresh charred American oak barrels—just like our Bourbon and Revolution Rye Whiskey. The result is a stunning sipping rum with an initial “hit” of bourbon-like richness that rapidly transitions to a smooth and distinctly rum-caramel finish. Made with all natural raw and fair trade certified sugars, sourced from either Texas or Malawi depending on the season, we often hear how whiskey lovers are pleasantly surprised by the taste of this rum.

Bottle of First Run Rum, a strainer and cocktail on a bar

First Run Rum Recipes to Try:
Midday Reviver
Vermont n’ Stormy

Maple Cask Rum

This delicious, rich and complex rum offers hints of smoky whiskey. In a partnership with Al Wood of Wood's Vermont Syrup Company, our First Run Rum is aged in barrels that previously contained Wood’s rum barrel aged syrup. These maple-cured barrels result in a rum that is smooth and has a nose of tropical fruits and butterscotch flavors. Having received several awards, including Gold Medals from Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America and Spirits of the Americas competition, this rum is great for sipping or mixing in all kinds of cocktails. In fact, tasting notes from the Spirits of the Americas competition noted this rum as having a “bourbon quality that shows good balance,” notably sharing that “American rum returns to greatness with this sipper."

Bottle of Maple Cask Rum, bitters and a cocktail on a bar

Maple Cask Rum Recipes to Try:
Maple MojitoTap & Press (recently featured in Forbes!)
Maple Cask Rum Hot Toddy

Vanilla Rum

We start with our First Run Rum to create this all natural spirit. Fresh off the still, our rum is diluted to cask strength before being placed in stainless steel tanks. Unlike some spirit companies who use artificial flavoring, our Vanilla Rum is infused only with fresh Tahitian vanilla beans. After aging the vanilla beans in rum for around 10 weeks, the result is a clear rum with a nose of vanilla cupcake that pairs extremely well in punch drinks and summertime cocktails. As an added bonus, this rum provides a grain-free alternative to vanilla vodka (with no added sugars)—a total win!

Rum 44

This silver rum is the latest addition to our spirit offerings. Unlike our other rums, this one isn’t aged in barrels. It’s a clear and clean drinking rum distilled on the 44th Parallel (hence the name). The flavor gives a beautiful nod to the demerara from which it is distilled, but there is no added flavor or sweetening, which makes it an excellent rum for daiquiris. A “Best Value” and “Chairman’s Trophy Finalist” in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, this rum is only 97 calories per serving!

Mix All The Rums Together. What Do You Get?
Want to try a drink featuring all of our Rums? Our Rum Punch mixes all of the rums, a bunch of citrus, Angostura bitters and grapefruit bitters—and it’s one of our popular Tasting Room cocktails. One customer recently raved “it was by far the best rum punch I’ve ever had.” Be sure to stop at our Burlington location and order one from the bar. Or, try our Mad River Rum Punch cocktail recipe online, which combines our Rum 44 and First Run Rum.

Where to Find Our Rums
Our rums are available for purchase (retail and wholesale) in VT, MA, ME, RI, CT, NY, CA, and also online.

Need More Cocktail Ideas?
Visit our recipe section to discover other cocktails you can shake up from home using our rums or other spirits.

Written and published by Brianne Lucas on September 11, 2021.

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