- "There's not a pirate living who'd turn his back on a keg of rum."
- ―Edward Kenway, 1715.[src]
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage produced from the byproducts of sugarcane processing, such as juices and molasses. It has been a staple of trade and nautical culture for centuries. It is especially popular in the West Indies and Canadian Maritimes.
Although the origins of rum are debated, drinks made from fermented sugarcane juice have existed in Asia for millenia. A document from 1651 indicates a rum production in Barbados. Rum production in the West Indies began properly in the 17th century, when plantation slaves discovered that molasses could be fermented into alcohol, which could then be purified and concentrated through distillation.
Rum soon became a staple of Caribbean trade. Its popularity, value and heavy dependence on manual labor made it a key component in the triangular trade, and merchants such as Stede Bonnet sold it. During this time, many pirates, such as Edward Kenway and Alonzo Batilla, would plunder merchant ships for rum, after which they would sell it.