Rum comes in many styles, colors, and flavors -- no wonder it’s the most cocktail friendly of all the liquors in the cabinet.
Rum is usually derived from molasses, a byproduct of the industrial process that converts cane into sugar. Rum makers ferment the molasses, and then distill the boozy liquid into rum, which is typically aged in old whiskey barrels, giving the rum color and flavor.
There are light rums and dark rums, spiced rums and purely sipping rums. Each of the rum-producing islands in the Caribbean has a well-established style. In Puerto Rico, for example, the style is light and crystal clear. Jamaica, on the other hand, produces dark, rich rums.
Styles of Rum
Light Rum: These are clear rums without much flavor of their own. Light rums are typically filtered after aging to remove color. Also called silver or white rum, they provide a good base for building other flavors in cocktails. Puerto Rico is a big producer of light rums.
Amber Rum: Wood barrels give amber rums their golden color and rich flavor. They are also called gold rum.
Dark Rum: Aged in charred whiskey barrels, dark rums take on a dark color and deep flavor. Jamaica is known for producing dark rums.
Related: Put yourself on island time with Classic Rum Cocktails.
Spiced Rum: These rums are flavored with spices, such as cinnamon and cloves. In color, they are darker than light rum; sometimes caramel is used to deepen their hue.
Make your own spiced rum! Here's a recipe for Homemade Roasted Pineapple Spiced Rum.
Flavored Rum: These rums are infused with fruit flavors (coconut or mango, for example).
Mix 'em Up: Rum is a terrific base for creating exotic, colorful cocktails, involving fruit juices and several styles of rum. Here are a few 5-star favorites:
- Mai Tai Cocktail -- with light rum, dark rum, and gold rum.
- Bill's Famous Pina Colada -- with light rum, amber rum, and dark rum.
- Storm of the Century Hurricane -- with light rum, dark rum, and coconut rum.
More Rum-Related Stuff
- For more rum cocktails, check out our rum recipe collection.
- Find your favorite Tropical Theme Recipes.
- Take a look at some top-rated Hawaiian recipes.