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THE recent Budget 2011 may have spared us a higher tax on alcohol, but the fact remains that Malaysia is one of the most expensive countries to have a beer, cocktail or any sort of legal alcohol, for that matter.
With that in mind, a group of consumers have formed a group called Alcohol-Consumer-Rights Group Malaysia (Alcon) to campaign for lower prices for alcoholic beverages.
“Malaysians pay the highest price for alcohol in the world, next to Norwegians who earn a lot more than we do,” said Deepak Gill, spokesman for the group. “A majority of us are just social drinkers who drink moderately, and we should not be penalised with such high prices.”
He added that the high price of legal alcohol also leads to more smuggling and related illegal activities, and could force people to turn to cheaper and more harmful alternatives like moonshine or locally made compounded hard liquor.
To join the cause, visit Alcon’s Facebook page ( http://on.fb.me/bLyWrN). make rum – when you plant sugar cane for sugar, you will get molasses at the end of it; and instead of throwing it away as waste, the molasses is used to make rum,” he explained. “When you use molasses to produce rum, it results in a more subtle kind of sweetness. It’s gentle, but gives you more bite in the drink itself.”
With agricultural rum, the sugar cane is actually planted specifically to make rum, and the rum is made exclusively from sugar cane juice. “When you smell agricultural rum, you get the smell of freshly pressed sugar cane. It also retains the original flavour of the sugar cane in it,” said Ng.
Rum certainly has a dark history to it. Besides being the spirit of choice for pirates of the Caribbean (and we’re not just talking about the movies here), it also used to be a precious commodity that was used as a bargaining tool in the slave trade. The British Royal Navy also used to hand out daily rations of rum to their sailors to keep them happy (the practice was only stopped in 1970).
While it is hard to truly categorise rum properly (there’s light rum, gold rum, aged Another refreshing cocktail using cachaça. rum, dark rum, spiced rum and flavoured rum), it’s easier to differentiate the type of rum by the country each one is produced in. Most rum originating from Spanish-speaking countries like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala or Colombia tend to be light rum, while English-speaking countries like Jamaica, Bermuda and Barbados tend to make a darker, more flavourful kind of rum. Then, you have the agricultural rums that are mostly based on old French recipes and made in the French-speaking countries like Guadeloupe and Haiti.
According to Ng, light rum caters mostly to the white spirits market and is used mostly in cocktails and long drinks. Then you have the dark rums and aged rums, which are drunk almost on a connoisseur level.
“The rum market in Europe, Australia and Britain is very well-developed. People drink high-end stuff like JM or La Mauny, on the rocks or straight,” he said.
Spirit of Brazil
While technically a type of rum, cachaça has earned its right to its own category by virtue of being the only spirit that truly captures the culture and spirit of Brazil.
“Technically, cachaça is a kind of rum as well, but it has a very rich culture and heritage behind it,” said Ng.
Allegedly first produced by Portuguese colonists more than 400 years ago, cachaça is made exclusively with sugar cane juice and has a lot more sweetness and flavour to it than most rum.