Rum in Pop Culture, From Hemingway to Hollywood

A rum-based cocktail.

Let's talk about rum. Not just any spirit, but a character that has time and again popped up in pop culture. From Hemingway's seminal prose to the catchy hooks of chart-topping songs, rum has had some iconic cultural moments, subtly stealing the show.
 
Hemingway and His Liquid Muse
 
Think of Ernest Hemingway, a man whose love for adventure was only matched by his fondness for rum. His favourite haunt, the Floridita in Havana, saw him sipping Daiquiris—no sugar, double the rum. It was more than a drink; it was Hemingway's way of embracing the bold, unadulterated flavours of Caribbean life, which he had come to love. Just like in his stories, his choice of drink was straightforward, potent, and unapologetic.

Strawberry daiquiri
 
Rum's Cinematic Cameos
 
Now, switch scenes to Hollywood. Remember Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean? His whimsical line, 'Why is the rum gone?' is one of the most memorable moments of the franchise. However, it also speaks to the spirit’s historical ties with seafaring adventurers. Or take The Rum Diary, where Johnny Depp, channelling Hunter S. Thompson, dives into a world where rum is as much a protagonist as he is. In these simple appearances, rum quietly plays its part in driving the plot forward.

A still from Pirates of the Caribbean.
 
Another cult classic is Tom Cruise's Cocktail, where his character, a bartender from New York, starts a new job at a bar in Jamaica. The scenes in the Jamaican hunt, where Mojitos and Rum Punch are favourites, are also a nod to the spirit’s origins.
 
Grooving to Rum-Infused Beats
 
A discussion about pop culture without music is like a rum punch without grenadine, lacking the essential spark that completes the experience. Songs like Rum and Red Bull by Beenie Man or Rum by the Brothers Osborne have rhythms that make you want to sway. Over the years, rum has inspired musicians to spin tales of nights to remember (or forget), of sun-soaked beaches, and of heartbreaks drowned in the golden liquid.

If we talk about today, rum isn't just riding the wave of cocktail culture; it has been crucial in shaping it. From high-end bars where mixologists conjure up rum-infused magic to Instagram, where every other post seems to be a tropical rum cocktail against a pink sunset, it's become a symbol of ‘letting your hair down’, and why not? The liberating feeling of sipping a rum cocktail, be it a Mojito, a Dark and Stormy, or alcohol-free versions of these drinks, is unmatched.

Rum cocktail

 
Rum Today: Beyond a Trend
 
While its ubiquity might make it seem like another classic spirit, true rum lovers will tell you that it is the life of the party as well as the old soul, all rolled into one. Sometimes it is the lead character’s trusted choice of drink in a classic Caribbean adventure film, and sometimes it makes a guest appearance in the rehashed version of a familiar folk tune. Here's to rum—the smooth operator and the ultimate storyteller.