12 Must-Have Cocktails for National Rum Day

Did you know that the first distillations of rum in the Caribbean date back to the 1600s, though there were other beverages made from sugar cane that have roots even older than that? No, great. You learned something! Now it’s time for the fun part: making drinks!

essential national rum day cocktails mai guy cocktail

Today, August 16, is National Rum Day, which means it’s time for everyone to get imbued with a little bit of sugarcane-based spirit. What was once primarily the domain of Caribbean-based distilleries, the rum category has exploded as distilleries from all around the world are getting in on the rum game (and for that, we are #blessed.)

Below, you’ll find some of our favorite rum-based cocktails from bars and brands across the country and the world. Check them out, then impress your friends, all in the name of rum!

If you don’t have any of the rums listed below, pick up a bottle or two. Want some other options? Check out these best buys.

Waiting for Chinola

essential national rum day cocktails waiting for chinola

(Created by Russell Davis, Academia, Austin)

Method: Combine rum, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, and Becherovka into a shaker with ice and lightly shake. Strain into a Collins or pilsner glass and then add cubed ice. Next, top with Lazy Day Lager and a small scoop of crushed ice. Dash pomegranate syrup over the top of the ice and top with pomegranate seeds.


essential national rum day cocktails bk pk bottle
  • 2 oz Owney’s Rum
  • 2 oz Pineapple juice
  • 1 oz cream of coconut
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • Ground nutmeg for garnish

Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, double strain into a chilled highball glass. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg.

Here Comes the Sun

essential national rum day cocktails here comes the sun cocktail
  • 30 mL Don Papa Rum
  • 15 mL Scotch whisky
  • 5 mL lemon juice
  • 5 mL passion fruit syrup
  • 5 mL egg whites
  • 2 dashes peach bitters

Method: Shake all ingredients together in a shaker then remove ice, then dry shake. Use strainer then put in coupe glass. Garnish with 1 basil leaf.

Jones Peach

essential national rum day cocktails jones peach cocktail

(Created by Mikey Diehl, Drexler’s, New York City)

  • 1.5 oz Denizen Rum
  • .75 oz Amero Aperitif
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • dehydrated peach (for garnish)

Method: Build ingredients in a shaker tin and shake away. Strain into a chilled coupe over ice and garnish with dehydrated peach.

Monk Seal

essential national rum day cocktails baldelli cocktail

(Created by Tenzin Samdo, Art Science, Boston)

  • 2 oz Goslings Gold Rum
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz saffron-cardamom honey syrup
  • 1 egg white

Method: Dry shake all the ingredients, then shake again with ice. Double strain into a coupe glass.

Surf’s Up

essential national rum day cocktails d amp c denver surf s up cocktail

(Created by Tyson Buhler, Death & Co. Denver)

Method: Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Black Barrel Getaway

essential national rum day cocktails mount gay photo blackbarrelgetaway
  • 2 oz Mount Gay Black Barrel
  • .5 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • 6 blackberries
  • 2 dashes cardamom bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Method: Combine all ingredients over ice. Shake then strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a lavender sprig.

Cin-Ful Island

essential national rum day cocktails sugar island cocktail

(Created by Jakob Hostetter, Cantina on Lenox, NYC)

  • 2 parts Sugar Island Spiced Rum
  • 5 parts guava juice
  • 5 parts pineapple juice
  • 2 2-inch chunks of fresh cantaloupe, blended

Method: Rim glass with cinnamon sugar. Shake all ingredients together, strain and pour over ice into glass. Garnish with cantaloupe slice covered in cinnamon sugar.

Cantaloupe Coloda

essential national rum day cocktails cantaloupe colada cocktail
  • 1.5 parts Sailor Jerry
  • .75 parts Coco Lopez
  • .5 parts lemon juice
  • 3 small chunks of cantaloupe
  • 3 small chunks of pineapple

Method: Add all ingredients in a blender and pour into hulled Cantaloupe. Garnish with Cantaloupe slices, seasonal berries, and a thing that makes you happy — that is, of course, the essence of Tiki.

The Skylark’s Kiwi & Hemp Mojito

essential national rum day cocktails kiwi and hemp mojito cocktail

(Created at The Skylark, New York City)

  • 2 oz Don Q Rum
  • 1.5 oz kiwi puree
  • .75 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Pinch of hemp powder
  • Mint sprig to garnish

Method: Combine muddled mint and all ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a tall glass with crushed ice. Garnish with two mint sprigs.

Mai Guy

essential national rum day cocktails mai guy cocktail

(Created at Trina’s Starlite Lounge, Somerville)

Method: Combine all ingredients in a tin with ice and shake. Strain into a hurricane glass with new ice. Garnish with orange wedge and mint top.

Havana Especial

Havana Especial

Method: Combine in a shaker with crushed ice. Shak, and strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice.

Article originally published August 16, 2017. Last updated August 16, 2018.

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