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Our favorite rum drinks, ranked

The best rum drinks, ranked

rum cocktail
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Rum is produced all over the world from Louisiana to the Philippines, but its heart is in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Barbados, and many other islands are cranking out amazing, high-quality, nuanced rums.

There are few spirits more versatile than rum. This distilled spirit is made by fermenting and distilling sugarcane juice or molasses to make a clear, sweet liquor. It’s then bottled immediately or aged in charred oak barrels. Because of its complex flavors of sweet vanilla, caramel, oak, and spices, it’s a great spirit to mix into your favorite cocktails.

Bacardi bottles
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Why mix with rum?

There are myriad different types of rum suitable for sipping neat or mixing. They include white rum (un-aged or lightly aged), gold rum (lightly aged), dark rum (long aged), spiced rum (rum spiced with various spices), overproof rum (high-proof rum), and more. There are great cocktails for each style of rum.

tiki drink
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Our 5 favorite rum drinks

It’s a great base for many classic and contemporary cocktails including the Daiquiri, Mojito, Cuba Libre, Dark ‘n’ Stormy, and more. Depending on the age, rum will impart notes of tropical fruits, gentle spices, coconut, vanilla, bananas, caramel, and more to your favorite cocktail. Keep scrolling to see five of our favorite rum drinks. We even ranked than on overall ease and flavor.

Mai Tai
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5. Mai Tai

One sip of Mai Tai and you’ll feel like you landed in a tropical paradise. It was created in 1944 by Victor J. Bergeron at his Oakland, California restaurant Trader Vic’s. The ingredients list includes white rum, orange curaçao, fresh lime juice, dark rum, and orgeat syrup. It’s well-known for its boozy, sweet, candied almond, fruity flavor profile. It’s a vacation in a glass.

Cuba Libre
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4. Cuba Libre

The story of the Cuba Libre is so legendary that it almost doesn’t matter if it actually happened. As the story goes, there was a US Army soldier stationed in Havana, Cuba, in 1900 during the Spanish-American War. He decided to add cola and a squeeze of lime juice to his rum. He held it up in a toasted “Por Cuba Libre” to his Cuban counterparts. Regardless of whether or not that legend happened, this drink of cola, white rum, and fresh lime juice has stood the test of time. You might call it a Rum and Coke, but we simply call it delicious.

Mojito
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3. Mojito

Few cocktails taste as fresh as a well-made Mojito. Like many classic rum cocktails, this drink has its origins in Cuba. Although, unlike some of the others, nobody has a definitive story about when it was first created. The traditional Cuban punch is made with white rum, muddled sugar and mint leaves, lime juice, and soda water. It’s filled with fresh mint, citrus fruit, and sweet rum flavors. It’s a summer staple but works as a great respite from darker drinks during the colder months as well.

A Goslings Dark n' Stormy surrounded by lime, Black Rum, and Ginger Beer ingredients.
Goslings Black Seal Rum / Golsings

2. Dark ‘n’ Stormy

With a name like the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into when you sip this drink. According to rum brand Gosling Brothers, the cocktail was invented right after World War I in Bermuda. Traditionally, it’s made with Goslings Black Seal, ginger beer, and lime juice. Think of it as the tropical version of the popular Moscow Mule. Instead of vodka, the rum adds a sweet vanilla, caramel, and spiced element that works well with the ginger and citrus elements.

Daiquiri on a table
John Maher/The Manual / John Maher/The Manual

1. Daiquiri

The classic daiquiri is one of the simplest, most elegant, perfect cocktails ever made. It’s also not frozen at all. Another cocktail with Cuban origins, it’s believed by many that an American engineer named Jennings Cox created the drink near the town of Daiquiri in 1898. Made with white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup, it’s known for its sweet rum flavor and ability to let the tart, refreshing flavor of the lime shine. If you only drink one rum cocktail, make it this one. There’s a reason it’s the most famous rum drink ever made.

Boozy Rum Dark and Stormy Cocktail with LIme.
Boozy Rum

Picking the best rums for mixing

We’ve already explained why rum is such a great spirit for mixing. If you want to make any of the above cocktails (or any other rum drinks), you need to add at least a few bottles of rum to your home bar or bar cart. We implore you not to go cheap here. If you only buy one bottle, make it a well-made, versatile white rum. You can use it in a variety of cocktails. Just be sure to buy a decent bottle, as going too cheap can result in some bad, harsh flavors that won’t be masked by any of the ingredients in the cocktails we mentioned.

Editors' Recommendations

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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