These are the best rums to drink now if you want to go beyond the basics for your mojito, pina colada, and daiquiri or want to find a new and unique spirit to sip.
Rum is having a moment, and it’s not just for punches and pina coladas at the beach bar. It’s currently one of the most popular spirits in the country, with bars, festivals, cruises, and competitions devoted to serving and discovering the best rums from around the world.
Rum has a centuries-long history and is now produced in over 80 countries, with a wide range of colors and flavors based on regional styles and distillation processes. Most rum is made from molasses, but many are made from freshly pressed sugarcane juice. They range from the light and mild white rums that make mojitos magical to the dark rums used in classic rum drinks such as the Dark ‘n’ Stormy. In addition, there are gold rums, which we use in rum recipes, and aged rums, best sipped neat or on the rocks.
With so many to choose from, narrowing down the best rums of all time is nearly impossible. So instead, we’ll recommend rums that are currently worth seeking out.
For our list, we’re highlighting new and old favorites, interviewing some of the country’s best bartenders, restaurateurs, and rum experts, and adding a few of our essentials to stock any home bar. We also looked at award-winning rums and spirits lists from the world’s best bars to see what they serve. Here are our top recommendations.
1. Mount Gay Black Barrel
It’s only natural to begin where it all began. Mount Gay, producing rum since 1703, is regarded as the birthplace of Caribbean rum. Today, Trudiann Branker, the brand’s first female master blender, ensures that each bottle remains true to Mount Gay’s history and standards while introducing new techniques and creative vision to rum making.
While Branker’s stamp can be found in limited-edition releases, one of the newer blends she oversees is Mount Gay Black Barrel. This rum is balanced, rich, complex, and smooth after being aged in American whiskey casks for three to seven years and then six months in charred bourbon casks.
2. Ten To One Dark Rum
Ten To One founder Marc Farrell, a proud Trinidadian native, is out to redefine what rum can and should be. This blended rum has been making waves since its initial release in 2019. It is made with Barbados, Dominican, Jamaican, and Trinidad rums and is aged in American white oak bourbon barrels.
Ten To One dark rum has no added sugar, coloring, or flavoring, despite being classified as a dark rum, which can often have coloring added. Instead, it’s a pure, unadulterated delight with notes of baking spices, fruit, cedar, and leather. Enjoy this one alone or in a cocktail, such as an elevated Dark ‘n’ Stormy, as with many aged rums.
3. The Funk
The majority of the best Jamaican rums available in the United States are blends of dark and aged rums. That is why The Funk is so distinct. In addition, the Funk is unique in that, unlike most heavy-pot still rums, it is not aged and contains no added sugar, making it far more drinkable, in my opinion.
4. Plantation Barbados 5 Year
This French-owned company is well-known for producing a wide range of award-winning rums from countries all over the Caribbean. So if your favorite cocktail bar serves many rum drinks, ensure they have a few Plantation bottles on the menu.
This Barbadian-style rum is aged three to four years in American oak in Barbados before maturing in oak casks previously used for Cognac in France. There is also some added sugar, which is common in many rums. The five-year rum has a subtle woodsy, molasses, and spiced flavor that is easy to sip neat but adds complexity to classic rum cocktails.
5. Flor de Caña 18
Flor de Caa has been producing rum in Nicaragua since 1890, and it is now the first spirit to be certified as carbon neutral and fair trade; it is also kosher. The entire rum portfolio is exceptional, but the 18-year is an award-winning rum widely sipped and savored by rum connoisseurs and newcomers alike.
This amber-colored rum is aged in white oak barrels sealed with plantain leaves and contains no additives or sugar. As a result, it’s beautifully well-rounded, with notes of toffee, tropical fruits, spice, and vanilla, and best enjoyed with an orange peel.
6. Doorly’s 12 Year
At the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, Doorly’s produces a variety of rums. According to Rob Burr, a long-time rum collector, founder of Rob’s Rum Guide, and co-producer of the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival in South Florida, it’s a brand helping restore Barbados’ rum production prestige. “This 12-year-old Bajan rum may be the best buy in the rum world right now.”
The rum is aged in American white oak casks for 12 years and is a blend of pot and column still rums (the former adds complexity and depth, while the latter brings a good balance of aroma and flavor). It has a lovely copper color and a rich nose with notes of dried fruit, vanilla, and toffee.
7. Diplomatico Rum Reserva Exclusiva
Venezuela isn’t known for its rum production, but this top-tier brand can compete with rum from more well-known rum-producing countries. In addition, Diplomatico’s distillery is located at the foot of the Andes Mountains, which provide ideal growing conditions for sugarcane. As a result, its rums are unique, well-rounded, and delicious, made using three different distillation processes.
The Reserve Exclusiva is a signature blend aged up to 12 years in oak casks. There are hints of orange peel, toffee, nutmeg, and vanilla notes, as well as a nice amber color and a long finish. Serve this one on the rocks.
Oaxacan mezcal is more common than rum, but Paranubes wants to change that. To begin, you must understand the distinction between rhum agricole and rum. Both are made from sugarcane, but rum is made from molasses, a byproduct of sugar refining, whereas rhum agricole, like cachaca in Brazil, is made directly from freshly pressed sugarcane. Although Martinique is the official home of rhum agricole, fresh sugarcane rum is produced worldwide, including Hawaii and Mexico.
Bartenders who enjoy rum enjoy rhum agricole for its complexity, grassy, earthy, and funkiness, and how it showcases terroir or where the sugarcane is grown. This rum contains no additives and is made from sugarcane grown without pesticides or fertilizers. Gaby adores its intense tropical banana notes and delicate grassy notes.
9. Don Q Reserva 7
This low-cost aged rum has all the characteristics of a Puerto Rican rum, most notably that it is lighter in the body than Barbados rum and packs a flavor and complexity punch for the price. The rum, aged in American oak barrels for at least seven years, has a dark amber color and a smooth finish with prominent notes of warm spices and molasses. You can drink it neat or mix it into cocktails like an old-fashioned or a rum-based espresso martini.
10. The Real McCoy 5 Year Rum
According to Phil Collins, beverage director for TableOne Hospitality in California, this all-time favorite rum from Barbados stays true to the original way rum was made centuries ago. It is made entirely of molasses and water, with no added sweeteners, flavors, perfumes, or chemical stabilizers.
This rum brand distills in column and pot stills and ages it in heavily charred ex-bourbon barrels made of American oak. This results in a soft, round texture with aromas of dried fruit, brown sugar, and vanilla, as well as a toasted nuttiness and buttery warm spice flavor.
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