Rum isn’t the most gentlemanly spirit. Whisky pips it to the most in that regard — as does gin. But, while it might not be the most proper spirit, it is perhaps the most fun. For centuries, this sweet tipple has been traditionally associated with rogues and rapscallions — with plundering pirates swigging it straight from the bottle.
And, while those days of doubloons and treasure maps are far behind us, there’s no reason rum should go the same way. Instead, we’re on a mission to rescue the spirit for summer — and restore it to your delectable drinks cabinet. Here are the best rums to drink this year — as well as a few ideas on the best cocktails to mix them with. Bottoms up!
Try you hand at a Rum Old Fashioned with Bacardi Reserve Ocho
Why choose this rum: If anyone knows how to do rum, it’s Bacardi. And this particular option is, hands down, one of the best summer rums going: whether you’re a rum aficionado, or just entering the rum fray.
What it tastes like: With apricot and banana on the nose, sublime oak and spice on the palate and a gloriously well-rounded finish, we simply can’t recommend this one enough.
Which cocktail to mix: This one is a versatile wonder. It can be served neat, or over ice: or, equally, why not try your hand at a Rum Old Fashioned? There are various different ways of preparing this famous cocktail, but we can assist with one particular recipe…
Bacardi Reserva Ocho
Celebrate summer in style with a CUT SPICED RUM Sugar Mama cocktail
Why choose this rum: This is the ultimate premium Caribbean rum: transport yourself to the blissful aquamarine seas and towering palm trees of Jamaica with one sip of this divinely spiced offering.
What it tastes like: Infused with mouth-wateringly delicious flavours like aniseed, ginger, cinnamon and sweet vanilla pods, this is rum at its triumphant, delectable best.
Which cocktail to mix: Why not go all out with a CUT SPICED RUM Sugar Mama cocktail? All you need is 50ml CUT SPICED RUM, 40ml pineapple juice, 30ml lime juice, 20ml Orgeat Syrup or Grenadine, 10ml Campari and a roguish twist of lemon as a garnish. Add everything to a cocktail shaker (with ice, of course), shake and double strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice.
While away the wait for No Time To Die with this Blackwell 007 Limited Edition
Why choose this rum: We’ve got Chris Blackwell to thank for this sublime Bond tribute — the very same Chris Blackwell who made his name as founder of Island Records. His Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum will feature in No Time To Die; and to mark the upcoming instalment of the Bond series, this same rum has derived a 007 Limited Edition version.
What it tastes like: With notes of treacle, maple syrup and tropical fruit, it’s a Jamaican masterpiece fit for Bond aficionados the world over.
Which cocktail to mix: Well, that’s really up to Mr Blackwell. These rare bottles come with a QR code, from which a selection of cocktail recipes — as well as Chris Blackwell’s music selection — can be found, among other highlights. These bottles will be snapped up quickly; we’d advise getting one while you can.
Blackwell 007 Limited Edition
This Don Papa Rye rum is the perfect opportunity to try a Dark 'n' Stormy
Why choose this rum: Matured in rye whisky barrels for a formidable four years, this divine rum has its roots in a divine molasses, nicknamed Black Gold in its homeland of the Philippines. If that doesn’t have you reaching for the rum glasses, we simply don’t know what will.
What it tastes like: It’s packed with a sharp, peppery warmth and notes of fresh mint and dark chocolate followed by flavours including smooth honey, vanilla, oak and fruitcake. Need we say more?
Which cocktail to mix: Well, we feel the flavours really speak for themselves. But if you’re dead set on a cocktail at all costs, this could be the perfect opportunity to try a Dark ‘n’ Stormy. If you need a recipe, we can help you out there…
Don Papa Rye
Keep it blissfully simple with Flor de Caña 18 Year
Why choose this rum: Aged for a resoundingly formidable 18 years, this is a mature rum if ever there was one. In fact, this rum brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘mature tipple’ — for all the right reasons.
What it tastes like: It’s delectably sweet upon a first sip, with a palate of dark chocolate, caramel and allspice; but don’t make the mistake of thinking that sweetness naturally gives way to the saccharine. There’s a smoky finish, thanks to the charred oak and burnt nut fade; proving that this is a full-bodied rum of the highest degree.
Which cocktail to mix: It’s because of that full-bodied element that we wouldn’t advise mixing this one in a cocktail. This is a rum that can be enjoyed best neat, or on the rocks; whatever floats your rum boat.
Flor de Caña 18
Spirited Union Coconut Rum is the cooling, refreshing rum your summer needs
Why choose this rum: This coconut-infused tipple is one of the very best summer rums it’s possible to get your hands on. With a joyful focus on botanicals, it harks back to nature and it’s without a doubt the most refreshing beverage you could harken after this summer.
What it tastes like: The toasted coconut and coconut water infusions make this another rum with outstanding ocean-transcending powers; and its distillation in rich cacao give it a divinely strong flavour.
Which cocktail to mix: Your best option here has to be the Spirited Union Organic Coconut Rum Mojito (because, honestly, who doesn’t love a summer mojito?). Pour out 60ml of the rum, and add 25ml fresh lime juice, 15ml sugar syrup and 15 mint leaves. Simple! Add the ingredients to a tall glass and add a scoop of crushed ice before stirring and adding more ice. Add a splash of soda water and a sprig of mint: and you’re good to go.
Spirited Union Coconut Rum
Indulge in a Piña Colada with Providence Haitian Rum
Why choose this rum: To give this sublime bottle its full title, it’s ‘First Drops Pure Single Rum Blanc’. First Drops is the debut release from Haiti’s Distillerie Port-au Prince, the Caribbean’s newest distillery…
What it tastes like: …and if those flavours of pineapple, strawberry sorbet and brown sugar are anything to go by, it most certainly won’t be the distillery’s last offering.
Which cocktail to mix: You may have been wondering why we haven’t mentioned the Piña Colada before now; but wonder no more, because this is the Piña Colada’s shining hour. If we’re talking best rums of the summer, then the Piña Colada is undoubtedly among the ultimate cocktails for those long, sunny evenings. And we’ve got the perfect recipe for you…
Providence Haitian Rum
Find the joy in experimental flavours with Batch Brew Broken Biscuits Limited Edition
Why choose this rum: Move quickly; you’ll want to get your hands on this one, without a doubt. This is guaranteed to be one of the biggest rum hits of the summer. Each month, Batch Brew release an experimental spirit in their Batch Innovations range, always limited to just a few hundred bottles.
What it tastes like: Inspired by lemon biscuits, the first sip gives way to flavours of fresh lemon before a gloriously smooth finish.
Which cocktail to mix: The opportunities are endless. You could make this rum the centrepiece of a Long Island Iced Tea, or a Daiquiri with biscuity overtones. Whichever you choose, be sure to be quick about it; from the sounds of it, those few hundred bottles won’t be around for long.
Batch Brew Broken Biscuits Limited Edition
Count the myriad flavours with Ron La Progresiva
Why choose this rum: This is a Cuban rum of the finest variety; did you know that ‘ron’ is the Cuban name for ‘rum’? Well, you do now. The sugarcane we have to thank for this delicious offering hails from the red soils of Ciego de Ávila, central Cuba, which is renowned for its exceptional molasses.
What it tastes like: We can well believe the molasses hype; this rum has strong treacly overtones; with other notes of pineapple, banana, oak and marmalade.
Which cocktail to mix: Due to all those flavours, this is a rum we’d recommend leaving well alone when it comes to cocktails: it can certainly hold its own. Just don’t forget the ice; it is a summer tipple, after all. Enjoy it solo, and see how many flavours you can count as you savour each sip.
Ron La Progresiva