Rum originated in the West Indies over 400 years ago. Since then, rum has become a vital part of the modern liquor cabinet and a staple of social events.
Trying to shop for the best rum is like any purchasing decision. You’ll encounter a variety of brands, flavors, and ages. Some are incredibly expensive, while others are surprisingly cheap, which leaves many scratching their heads trying to wade through the options.
The next time you find yourself in search of rum, keep this list in mind!
Though rum is best known for being paired with mixers like juice to give them a kick, Ron Zacapa’s 23-year-old Solera Rum is so smooth, you may end up enjoying it on the rocks. Imported from Guatemala, Centenario is a sugar cane rum with sweet flavor accented by cocoa and orange. As soon as you open the bottle, you’ll pick up a mix of clove, cinnamon, orange peel, and cocoa.
Diplomatico Ambassador Selection is on the higher end of the price spectrum on this list, but quality doesn’t come cheap. Diplomatico matures their rum in bourbon barrels, so you can be sure that some of that smoky flavor is part of the mix. Additional notes of cinnamon, raisin, apricot, toffee, and banana are all part of the palate-pleasing profile as well.
Clement makes some remarkable spirits and their X.O. Rhum is certainly one to consider. The flavor profile has orange blossom, cinnamon, and honeysuckle. Like Diplomatico, Clement also ages their rum in oak barrels, which impart a natural charred wood flavor. This particular bottle is made with fresh-pressed sugarcane and is aged a minimum of six years.
Trinidad is known for making world-class rums, and Royal Oak is a natural choice for this list. Though it is on the cheaper side, this medium-bodied spirit has flavors of butter toffee, cream, roasted nuts, and dried flowers. Mix this into a rum punch or your favorite fruit-based cocktail.
Another affordable but delicious entry on our list is Batiste Rhum. It is one of the only bottles on our list that has flavor notes of banana, ginger, and lychee. Many taste tests claim that this particular rum starts with an herbaceous flavor and finishes with spicy ginger. We think it’s perfect for punch.
Hamilton’s Jamaican Black Rum is so dark you might not think it is rum at first glance. The manufacturer achieves this unique look by mixing extra light, light, and heavy pot-still rums. Starting with a molasses base, you can expect this rum to pack a more sugar-forward flavor, and many reviewers pick up butter, custard, lemon zest, and even melon on the finish.
Due to its long aging process and its no-nonsense flavor profile, El Dorado 15 Year Rum is a great selection for those that want to sip. The rum has a reddish-amber hue that, due to its aging, has a heavy sweetness to it. Veteran rum sippers will pick up delicate notes of ginger, oak, dried fruit, and honey from this medium-bodied brew.
Some liquor bottles look so good you don’t want to pop the top. Cruzan Black Strap Rum is a mid-shelf bottle, but its beautiful exterior will make you want to bump it to the top shelf. This rum comes from St. Croix and has rich notes of molasses and lots of herbaceous highlights perfect for sipping or blending.
Distilled in Jamaica, this traditional golden rum offers a rich and light flavor derived from its time in an oak cask. Mix it with a drink of your choice to get the most of its banana, molasses, spice, and leather notes.
Aged for just three years, Rhum Agricole Vieux Neisson is a sweet and caramel-forward rum. The bright amber finish on the beverage ensures the drinker that they are going to get a sweet and complex sip of rum straight from the Caribbean.
That smooth amber look is certainly attractive, but Angostura’s 7-year-old rum is more about its rich and deep flavor profile. Once popped open, expect to be hit with notes of vanilla, clove, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. Add it to any drink to bring out the sweeter flavors, like dark chocolate, tiramisu, and even burnt sugar.
Sure, this one is a bit on the expensive side, but Reserva De La Familia Serralles is worth it if you can swing it! Don Q has 150 years of distilling experience, so you can be sure that they produce a great product. This bottle of Serralles has a delicate mix of oak, vanilla, and fruit in what many reviewers say is the smoothest rum to ever come out of Puerto Rico.