You may associate “rum” with beach drinks and college kids—and while that might be true, rum is much more than that. It’s actually an excellent spirit for making cocktails at high-end bars or at home. The truth is, if you’ve found yourself not enjoying rum in the past, you probably need to get a better rum or a better cocktail. With all three types of rum (white, dark and spiced), there are numerous concoctions you can make that will wet your whistle very nicely.
In the gallery below we’ve rounded up a number of cocktails—both of the tiki variety and others—in honor of National Rum Day. Click through to see recipes from mixologists around the U.S. And once finished, let us know in the comments what your favorite rum drink is! Cheers!
Varadero Rum Punch
Pilar Cuban Eatery in Brooklyn is quite literally a rum hot spot—and that’s thanks to chef and owner Ricardo Barreras. He is a rum aficionado and created the rum-focused beverage program to showcase that. Pilar serves rums from 10 different Caribbean and Latin American countries neat, in cocktails, or the traditional Cuban way known as a Saoco—rum with coconut water and lime over ice. The Varadero Rum punch is named after Cuba’s most famous beach.
2 oz. Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum 1.5 oz. pineapple juice
0.5 oz. passion fruit-mango purée
Combine the rum, pineapple juice and purée in a shaker tin. Add ice and shake until all ingredients are combined. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Drizzle with grenadine on top.
Waiting for Chinola
Russell Davis is a former bartender expert on the Paramount Network TV show, Bar Rescue, and if you are an Austinite, you know him as the man who helped introduce craft cocktails to the Texas city. He calls his new bar, Academia, Austin’s “university of drinking”—a place where people can get great drinks without any pretentiousness. The Waiting for Chinola cocktail is light and fruity.
Combine rum, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, and Becherovka into a shaker with ice and lightly shake. Strain into a Collins or pilsner glass, and then add cubed ice. Next, top with Lazy Day Lager and a small scoop of crushed ice. Dash pomegranate syrup over the ice, and top with Pomegranate Seeds.
You might not expect to find a delicious tropical drink at a contemporary Southern restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, but that’s exactly what the Tiki Torch is. Lead mixologist Samuel Rouson created this flavorful rum drink as one of Stoke‘s signature cocktails. Try it at home with the recipe below.
1 oz. Appleton Estate Rum 1 oz. mezcal
1 oz. pineapple juice
2 dashes tiki bitters 3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. orgeat
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in shaker tin. Shake until all ingredients are combined. Pour over crushed ice. Spritz with Angostura bitters, garnish with orange peel and cherry on a skewer and serve.
This colorful daiquiri is crafted by Brian Miller, a self-proclaimed “pirate.” He mixes flaming cocktails and large-format drinks (in fishbowls and treasure chests!) at The Polynesian, a modern tiki lounge in New York City.
1 oz. lime juice
.50 oz. cane syrup
1 tsp. orgeat (an almond syrup; Brian likes to use Orgeat Works Ltd. brand)
1 dash ube extract (ube is another word for purple yam and is what gives this drink it’s bright color)
1 oz. pineapple-infused Barbancourt White Rhum (steep pineapple in rum for 3-5 days for infusion)
1 oz. El Dorado 3 Year Rum
Stir all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a coupe glass. Brian finishes his off with an orchid as a garnish.
Gordon Ramsay may be known for yelling at chefs on TV, but his restaurants are known for exceptional dining. Bartender Derek Palmer at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Baltimore has created this deliciously sweet concoction, known as The Fury. Hmmm … might that be a reference to someone?
Shake all ingredients vigorously in a cocktail shaker and double strain. Pour into a coupe glass, and garnish with a thin circular disc of cantaloupe floating on the foam and a mint sprig.
Bright 'n Sunny
The drink menu at Katana Kitten, in New York City’s West Village, is short, but everything available is well-made. The Bright ‘n Sunny was created by Masahiro Urushido, one of three restaurateurs who opened the Japanese-American cocktail bar this summer.
750 ml. white rum
1 Tbsp. dry butterfly pea flower (yes, you can get that on Amazon)
Dash of Lime Juice
Combine rum and dry butterfly pea flower in a glass jar with tight lid. Shake well and let it sit in room temperature for 10 – 20 minutes then strain the flower. Use 1.5 oz. of the now-infused white rum and build in highball glass with dash of lime juice and ginger beer. Garnish with lime and a pineapple slice.
Mary Pickford's Boudoir
Jonathan Pogash is known as “The Cocktail Guru” for a reason. With years of experience in the industry, Jonathan’s consulting company helps bars and restaurants elevate their cocktail programs while also increasing awareness for liquor brands. His cocktail below is a liquor-forward twist on the traditional Mary Pickford cocktail.
Shake all ingredients, excluding the sparkling wine, with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a brandied cherry.
Berry Delicious Daiquiri
Natalie Migliarini is an at-home bartender who shares her cocktail concoctions with the world on her blog, Beautiful Booze. She’s been writing recipes since the site launched in 2013, and here she shares a simple berry daiquiri recipe in honor of National Rum Day.
2 oz. Zaya Rum
1 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 cup mixed fresh berries
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake hard to chill and combine ingredients. Fine strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a slice of lime, and enjoy!
Thomas Waugh’s “Watermelon” is an unconventional mashup of a daiquiri and a mojito, with shiso—a Japanese herb in the mint family—taking the place of the traditional mint. Try this drink at home with the recipe below or at The Pool Lounge in New York City.
2 oz. Caña Brava Rum
1 oz. fresh watermelon juice (finely strained)
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz sugar cane syrup
2 fresh shiso leaves
Pour all liquid ingredients in shaker and one shiso leaf. Shake with ice, and strain into a Collins glass. Top with soda water and garnish with fresh shiso and watermelon.
Island Soul Old-Fashioned
As Island Soul Rum Bar and Soul Shack’s name would recommend, they know their rum… and soul food. The Seattle restaurant serves Carribean food in a community-gathering atmosphere. This rum cocktail would go well with tostones, jerk chicken and gumbo.
Muddle the sugar cube, orange slice and cherry in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add Zaya rum, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and ice; shake. Strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass and garnish with extra brandy cherries.
La Bran Manzana
The Art Deco-inspired luxury Faena Hotel serves food and drink to the Miami Beach crowd. Here, bartender Will Stribling has created a simple, yet delicious, rum cocktail.