Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

Entertaining
7 Cocktails That Will Change Your Mind About Rum

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When we hear people say, “I don’t drink rum anymore,” we hang our heads and sigh. Whatever damage you did to your younger self with rum is nothing compared to the damage rum haters have done to the spirit’s reputation. Mistaken for a sugary villain, rum is actually an incredibly diverse spirit that can show off its multifaceted character in cocktails that range from from sweet to savory to dry to bitter to herbal. If you’re one of those rum naysayers, here are seven rum cocktails that will change your mind.

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

The original Sazerac, mixed with absinthe and bitters to turbocharge spicy rye, is a hard-drinking whiskey lover’s dream. The trick to converting this peppery cocktail into a rum masterpiece is Doc Herson’s Red Absinthe, which is infused with hibiscus flowers, the perfect complement to a spiced rum that mimics rye’s baking spice notes. The signature sweetness of spiced rum is undeniably present, but in a way that whiskey drinkers will understand.

The Essentials

Spiced Rum
Absinthe
Bittercube Trinity Bitters
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
Rum haters tend to recall shots of cheap, sugary swill at regrettable ragers or drinks that bury the spirit in sweet soda. But to really appreciate the wide world of rum (including the parts that spell it with an “h”), you have to drink the good stuff straight. If you’re not quite ready to sip the spirit neat, try ‘Ti Punch, a lowball-sized pour of rhum agricole from the French Caribbean that’s combined with a touch of lime and a smidge of bittersweet cane syrup. It’s complex, barely sweet and fiery.

The Essentials

Rhum agricole
Cane syrup
lime disc
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Gifted to Theodore Roosevelt as he returned from a yearlong hunting expedition in East Africa, the Roosevelt has all the markers of an early 20th-century whiskey drink: an aged base spirit, brick red color, vermouth, an orange twist, a touch of OJ. But this is through-and-through a rum classic. Dry vermouth balances the raw heat of the base without adding extra sweetness, while the orange juice and garnish brighten the mix.

The Essentials

Dark Rum
Vermouth
Orange Juice
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Just a quarter-ounce of bitter Fernet flips dark rum from sweet and sunny to complex. Orgeat and lime juice remind you this is still a tiki cocktail, but it’s also a palate-cleansing sipper worthy of a stormy night at sea.

The Essentials

Dark Rum
Orgeat
Fernet-Branca
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

Chain restaurant Mai Tais are the bane of a rum hater’s existence, but “fixing” this tiki classic for a sweet-averse palate is as easy as adjusting the proportions. A few dashes of Angostura bitters heighten the flavors of a standard Mai Tai, but a full ounce reimagines the drink entirely. Combine the potent bitters with high-proof Jamaican rum, and this drink seriously jumps out of the glass.

The Essentials

Angostura
Jamaican Rum
Orgeat
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
This bright frozen cocktail hides a lot of ingredients in its slushy depths: white rum, mezcal, Aperol, apple cider, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup. Bright, rich, smoky and fruity all at once, the cocktail is a total enigma—and about as far from a typical rum cocktail as you can get.

The Essentials

rum
mezcal
Apple Cider
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

Coconut cream weighs down many rum drinks like an anchor, dragging them into the depths of undrinkable slop. Coconut water, on the other hand, attaches to rum like a balloon, yanking the sweet, fruity, tropical flavors into the realm of heavenly, fizzy delight. Pretty much the polar opposite of a gut bomb Piña Colada, this bubbly Highball will bring you joy, no matter your usual preferences toward the sugar cane spirit.

The Essentials

Rum
Egg White
Coconut Water

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