Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The 7 Best Rums to Enjoy Neat

The best rums deserve to be enjoyed neat as much as any other spirit.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For years, rum was relegated to an unfortunate position. The spirit, long a staple in tropical regions throughout the globe, was seen as something you bury in mixers. Well, rum deserves so much better — especially the really good stuff.

Related Reading

The best rums, aged and blended not unlike other spirits we tend to wax poetic about, should be treated as such. They can be thoroughly enjoyed straight, dissected to reveal the many nuances and flavors at play. Like a top-shelf cognac or whiskey with a cult following, these are things worth pouring neat.

Generally, the older the rum, the more enjoyable it is to sip. But some can drink exceptionally well even early on, depending on where the sugarcane or molasses is sourced from and how deftly it’s all put together. The best of the best sit on the palate like a fine wine for what seems like ages, treating the sipper to a fireworks display of flavor.

Transcontinental Rum 6-Year-Old

Transcontinental Rum 6-Year bottle.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A rum that lives up to the hype, this offering spans the globe, aging for four years in oak casks in Australia and two additional years in barrel in Europe. The result is a wildly clean and inviting rum, made from Queensland cane sugar and ultimately finished in cognac barrels. It’s full of feel-good tasting notes, from sweet pastry flavors to caramelized apples and candied lime. For such a relatively young rum (aged six years), it’s quite advanced.

Flor de Caña 25-Year-Old

Flor de Caña 25-Year-Old.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Flor de Caña has shown up in many of our rum-centric stories and for good reason. The Nicaraguan label makes some mean rum, ideal for sipping by its lonesome. This one shows wild honey, tea leaves, and mandarin orange with a slight hint of oak. It’ll go down as one of the smoothest rums you’ve ever had the pleasure of trying.

Rivers Antoine Grenadian Rum

Rivers Grenadian Rum.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This Grenadian beauty is a wild card, as it’s both full-proof and pretty much un-aged. Generally, that equates to a high-octane spirit you just want to make tiki drinks with. Not here. This is a spirited offering, boasting herbaceous notes, tropical fruit and spice, and just the right amount of funk. Plus, it wears a stylish label.

Clairin Le Rocher

Clairin Le Rocher Rum.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While we’re dealing in youthful rums, here’s another standout edition. This Haitian great encapsulates the many details of sitting on a sunny and deserted tropical beach, from notes of coconut husk, sweetgrass, and wild flowers to cinnamon and caramelized plantains. Sip on.

Rhum Barbancourt 15-Year-Old

Rhum Barbancourt 15.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This rum absolutely hits the sweet spot in terms of aging and evenness of flavors. It’s another Haitian offering and perfect for both those just getting into the spirit and those who have long revered the stuff. Made like a rhum agricole, it has some greener, grassier notes, rounded out by some dark fruit and pleasant nutty and butterscotch characteristics.

Santa Teresa 1796 Solera Rum

Santa Teresa 1796 Solera Rum.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The oldest rum brand out of Venezuela, Santa Teresa has a long history of quality. This one is made in the solera style, pulling various rum lots anywhere from four to 35 years old. The ultimate blend is brilliant, showing tobacco, molasses, and dark chocolate.

Appleton Estate 21-Year-Old

Appleton Estate 21 Year Old.Bartenders tend to drop the Appleton Estate name when riffing about their favorite rums. The 21-year is especially grand, arguably the most action-packed and well-rounded of the Jamaican brand’s entire lauded lineup.

It’s not uncommon for this rum to be called on for hyper-elevated cocktails at the best bars around. However, we appreciate it all the more on its own. It’s bursting with brown sugar, marmalade, caramel, backing spices, and woodsy notes. It’s also a beautiful hue, looking more like an aged sherry or tawny port than carefully-rafted rum.

Tyler Zielinski

Tyler is a New York-based freelance cocktail and spirits journalist, competitive bartender, and bar consultant. He is an advocate for sustainability behind the bar and he enjoys all the nerdiest cocktail-related topics. In addition to his work for The Manual, his writings have been featured in outlets such as Maxim, Imbibe Mag, Liquor.com, Whisky Advocate, Bourbon Review, and more. Some say his blood is mostly Fernet Branca, but that myth has yet to be debunked.

Perfect for any man cave, this 130-can beverage cooler is $50 off
The Insignia beverage cooler holds 130 cans.

Mancave, office, patio, game room, theater room, or heck, even just a bedroom, these are all perfect places to stow a mini fridge. Why? Because of sheer laziness, maybe a little, but also because it's super convenient to have your beverages and snacks available right there, right when you want them. You don't have to make a trip to the kitchen or anywhere else. Whether for wine,  beer, or soda, the best wine coolers and fridges are strangely compact but sizable at the same time -- the latter meaning they can hold a few cans or bottles. They're also available at a great price, like the Insignia 130-can beverage cooler available for a discount at Best Buy, right now. Normally $370, you can get it for $320 thanks to the current deal and save $50 in the process. The 115-can variant is also on sale, for $250 saving you $50, as well. Hurry and check those deals out, they won't last forever.

Why You Should Buy the Insignia 130-Can Beverage Cooler
Okay, so, maybe Insignia's 130-can cooler didn't make it on our list of the best beverage coolers for 2023, but that's okay because it's not just comparable, it has a lot of additional features that make it worthy of your attention. For example, the touch controls and LED display make it easy to adjust temperature settings and keep an eye on your cold storage. Plus, there are three fully-adjustable wood-trimmed shelves for the interior, which you can use to organize your snacks, beverages, and whatever else you might store inside.

Read more
The 9 best rums for Mojitos that you can get behind
Making a Mojito? You're going to need a nice light rum, like one of these standout selections
A hand serving a glass of Mojito on a table.

In the vast land of rum cocktails, the Mojito is an elite player. This classic cocktail, born in Cuba, is both a cinch to make and extremely rewarding to drink. Made of rum, lime, mint, sugar, and soda water, the beverage is basically the liquid definition of refreshing.

While often pegged as a summer drink, the Mojito is really accessible year-round. In fact, like a good tiki drink, the cocktail can be even more desirable during the colder months as it can deposit you somewhere sun-kissed and tropical. Yet, because the drink is so dependent on its spirit base, it can only be as good as the rum that goes into it.

Read more
The 7 best whiskey subscription boxes in 2023
Subscription services are still all the rage. A good whiskey option is a great choice to enhance your appreciation of the spirit.
Flaviar subscription with whiskeys on table.

A subscription service is a sweet thing indeed, setting us up with specialty items delivered straight to where we live. These days, the spectrum is broader then ever, with the category dealing in things from clothing subscription boxes and grooming kits to bacon and healthy meal kits.

Spirits have entered the fray too. Whiskey fans can sign up and receive special selections of their favorite spirit, sourced from all over the map. It's a great service for the novice and expert alike, as there are many options, tiers, and educational levels. Plus, they show up at your place, turning a regular mail day into a celebratory one.

Read more