The Rum Bucket List: 15 Rums You Have to Drink at Least Once

The Rum Bucket List: 15 Rums You Have to Drink at Least Once

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Not all rums are created equal. Some rums are sweet and rich like your favorite bourbon. Others are harsh and seem like they would be better used as industrial cleaner as opposed to a cocktail ingredient. The key is to know what to look for and figure out how to distinguish the cheap, bad rums from the inexpensive, great finds. Here are fifteen outstanding rums you need to try. They range in price from $18 to $158 and prove that you don’t need to pay a month’s rent to enjoy a satisfying rum.


Brugal Especial Extra Dry Rum

Not only is it an affordable rum, it tastes great for the price. “It’s a Dominican Rum from Brugal, aged for at least a year, and crisp on the palate with some fruit and coconut,” says Ray Anguiano, Head Bartender at Atwood Restaurant in Chicago. Link

Price: $25



Plantation Grande Reserve Rum

Plantation Grand Reserve is an extremely versatile rum. “Plantation has hints of caramel and chocolate, mixed in with a little spice,” says Brandon Lockman, Head Bartender at Red Star Tavern in Portland. Link

Price: $20



Ron Zacapa “Centenario” 23 Year Old Solera Rum

“It’s like sipping a good Cognac; it’s smooth and sophisticated,” says Angel Robledo from Le Soleil d’Or in The Caymans. Zacapa 23 also works well in cocktails and infusions. Link

Price: $45



Clement Select Barrel Rum

This rum from Martinique is funky, grassy and delicately sweet. Julia Momose, Head Bartender at GreenRiver in Chicago, says the 3 years spent in the barrel give it spice and backbone. Link

Price: $30



EL Dorado 15 Year Rum

Momose enjoys it neat or uses it to make a delicious daiquiri or rum old fashioned. Link

Price: $40



Cruzan Black Strap Rum

It’s a fantastic mixing rum that works well in tiki drinks and adds depth to just about any cocktail. “Delicious as a daiquiri or a buck, its rich molasses characteristics also lend well to stirred cocktails,” says Brandon Wise, Beverage Director for Sage Restaurant Group. Link

Price: $18



Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum

It’s rich, chocolaty, and decadent with a really round texture. “It’s perfect for sipping and enjoying after dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or whenever), but I also really enjoy it in (strangely enough) daiquiris,” says Darwin Pornel, Lead Bartender at Faith & Flower in Los Angeles. Link

Price: $35



Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum

It’s light with brown sugar and oak notes, with a little bit of spice. “This is my go-to after a long shift or a busy day,” says Pornel. Link

Price: $30



Batiste Rhum

This white rum has a rich history and a unique flavor profile. “It is slightly dry for a white rum, so it really allows for other components to blend well without being overpowered,” says Cameron Brown, lead bartender at FARM at the Carneros Inn in Napa, California. Link

Price: $37



Pusser’s Rum

A dark rum, Pusser’s has a rich caramel and vanilla flavor. “The sugar and sweetness is still there, but it is equally balanced with the vanilla flavor. It tastes great in cocktails or all by itself,” says Brown. Link

Price: $22



Hamilton’s Jamaican Black Rum

This rum has a great flavor with an awesome rhum agricole quality. “It’s rich and savory, but lends funky vegetal notes of fresh-pressed sugar cane. It’s versatile and can be used in many cocktail applications,” says Chris Burmeister, bartender at Outpost in Santa Barbara, California. Link

Price: $25



Lost Spirits Polynesian-Inspired Rum

Perfect to sip on its own or blended into cocktails, this craft rum is extremely versatile. “Sipping the Polynesian style will get you (along with a satisfying but not overpowering burn) notes of pineapple, caramel and I even find some butterscotch and vanilla in there,” says Andy Luymes, lead bartender at Jsix in San Diego. Link

Price: $65



Caña Brava Rum

Caña Brava is the ultimate bartender’s rum. “It’s a three-year aged white rum and we use it to make one of the best classic daiquiris around,” says Evan Charest, Mixologist at Patina Restaurant Group. “Although the rum is from Panama, it is made in a distinctive Cuban style.” Link

Price: $25



Clément XO Rhum Agricole

Good luck finding it. This rum is no longer made, as the 1952 vintage that it got its flavor profile from has run dry. Extremely smooth, with flavors of caramel, toffee, tobacco and spiced fruit, you’ll be really happy if you happen to find a bottle. Link

Price: $158



Capovilla Liberation PMG Rhum

Distiller Gianni Vittorio Capovilla collaborated with Luca Gargano of the Bielle Distillery on the island of Marie Galante to make this truly special rum. Made from rare, heirloom sugarcane, this rum is aged in previously used French wine barrels. Sweet flavors of brown sugar, orange zest and coconut are abundant. Link

Price: $150

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