We may all be stuck inside — dreaming of the days when we could be day drinking in our backyards with friends, at our favorite bars, or at the beach now that it’s getting warmer — but alas. Until this social distancing thing is over, none of that is an option. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t mix up a tropical classic to at the very least pretend that the world is a little bit normal for a little while.
A cocktail to help you with that is one of our favorites, the mojito. The mojito is a classic Cuban cocktail that is, in essence, a pumped-up rum highball. Traditionally made with white rum, sugar, lime, mint, and soda water, the drink is equal parts fresh, effervescent, citrusy, and delicious. The fairly-low alcohol content of these drinks makes it a perfect sipper for summer, or really any time you want a long drink without worrying about getting too drunk.
With only one alcoholic ingredient in the drink, though, it matters what rum you choose. Yes, you should also ideally use fresh mint and fresh lime juice, but if those are not available, substitutions (mint simple syrup, bottled lime juice) can do in a pinch. The rum, though — you don’t want to skimp on the rum.
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Below, you’ll find our picks for the best rum for mojitos and a classic recipe to use While the majority of these rums are white or silver rums, we have included a few options for those looking for rums with a little color, age, or both. For a better understanding of the spirit, here’s a breakdown of the different types of rum.
Best Rums for Mojitos
Bayou Silver Rum
Bayou Silver Rum is made from a blend of local, unrefined sugar cane and molasses by Bayou Rum Distillery of Louisiana. The tropical notes that underpin the sweet vanilla and butterscotch characteristics make it an easy-to-drink spirit, both on its own and as a component to a variety of cocktails — which is why Bayou Silver Rum was selected as the winner of the Best American White Rum category in the Manual Spirit Awards 2018.
Banks 5 Island Rum
The number in the name of this rum does not come from the age, rather the fact that the rum is a blend of rums from five different islands (technically, it is a blend of 21 rums from six different distilleries on those five islands). The various islands all contribute different flavor components to Banks 5 Island Rum, ranging from Trinidad ’s blackstrap molasses flavors to the aromatics thanks to Jamaica’s pot stills to the spice flavors from Java and more.
Mount Gay Silver Rum
The only silver rum that Mount Gay produces, Silver is a mellow and soft rum that is full of banana and sugar cane syrup flavors. It is fresh and somewhat sweet, with hints of mint and citrus towards the end of the palate and into the finish. The mint notes are heightened when used in a mojito, bringing the drink to a whole new level.
Flor de Caña 4
Aged for four years, Flor de Caña 4 is clear as water and light-bodied making it perfect for light mixed drinks, even as simple as rum and tonic. The coconut, vanilla, and light barrel notes are enough to keep up with a bit stronger mixers as well, so grab a Flor de Caña 4 and enjoy the toasty sugar cane finish.
Caña Brava Rum
A Panamanian rum made by “Don Pancho,” a master distiller with 45 years of experience in rum distillation, Caña Brava is a drier rum that has floral notes and honey on the nose, a silky palate rich in dark chocolate, cacao butter, vanilla, and sugar cane that finished with a long, somewhat fruity back end.
A standard on bar shelves across the country, a mojito rum list wouldn’t be complete without Bacardí. The brand is almost synonymous with rum and its cheap price tag doesn’t take away from its distinct flavor. Its vanilla, cooked sugar, and extremely light oak can balance a cocktail without getting lost, but it can also let the mixer shine as if it’s meant to take a back seat.
Plantation 3 Stars Rum
A blend of rums from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad, Plantation 3 Stars Rum utilizes the different characteristics from each island (and different aged rums, ranging from unaged Barbados rum to 10-year-old Jamaican rum) to create a balanced and nuanced white rum. You’ll get brown sugar, vanilla, and honey on the nose and dark chocolate and root beer on the palate. The finish is grassy and herbal.
Cruzan Aged Light Rum
Made using a blend of rums aged between one and four years, Cruzan Aged Light Rum is filtered after aging in American oak barrels to give the rum its straw color. Overall, the rum is dry with rich vanilla characteristics that lead to coconut and pineapple notes. The palate is smooth with a nice, clean finish.
Gosling’s Gold Seal Rum
The newest product from the brand known for inventing the Dark and Stormy, Gold Seal is an amber rum and somewhat of a departure from the other rums on the list. Gold Seal is made from a blend of pot still and continuous still rums, and is aged for around five years, giving it notes of toasted oak and tropical fruits on the nose, a mellow and fruity palate, and a peppery, dry finish.
How to Make a Mojito
- 1.5 oz white rum
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp sugar
- 6-8 mint leaves
- Soda water to fill
Method: Muddle mint, sugar, and lime together in a Collins glass. Add ice, followed by rum. Top with soda water and stir to incorporate. Garnish with a lime slice and more mint.
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