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8 Classic Rum Cocktails Every Guy Should Know How To Make

8 Classic Rum Cocktails Every Guy Should Know How To Make

When it comes to classic cocktail base hierarchy, it’s pretty difficult to beat the overall appeal of rum as the base for your favorite mixed drinks. White rum, dark rum, and even spiced rum have such a long and storied history as a cocktail ingredient.

It’s the base for some of the most well-known mixed drinks of all time. In fact, many believe that the first cocktail on record was made with rum. Created more than 400 years ago, the El Draque is a rum and citrus-based drink that is reminiscent of a modern-day daiquiri. On top of that, beginning in 1850 and lasting until 1970, the British Royal Navy even gave out a daily rum ration to its sailors. If that doesn’t sum up the popularity and appeal of rum, nothing will.

This isn’t solely an article about touting the popularity and merits of this sweet, sugarcane-based spirit and everything it brings to a cocktail. It’s also a story on the rum-based cocktails themselves. Particularly, classic rum cocktails that every guy should know how to make.

Fear not, this isn’t a list of drinks that require a master’s degree in mixology. These are (mostly) easy-to-make, well-known cocktails with minimal ingredients. They don’t require much expertise or technique to craft them. Stock up on white rum, dark rum, and spiced rum, grab some fresh syrups, fruits, and herbs, and get to mixing.



One of the most refreshing rum cocktails, this traditional Cuban mixed drink is made with white rum, sugar, soda water, lime juice, and fresh mint. While every ingredient is key to the overall flavor, the fresh mint might be the most important piece. It’s muddled with sugar and lime juice before being topped with rum and soda water. Sweet, herbal, and perfect.

Mojito recipe:

  • Mint
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces rum
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • Soda water
  • Lime wheel

Combine the simple syrup, rum, and lime juice in a shaker. Muddle the mint and then shake with ice. Serve in a high ball glass, stop with soda water, and garnish with a lime wheel.



If you don’t know much about rum-based cocktails, you might have preconceived, inaccurate ideas of what a daiquiri is. No, a classic daiquiri isn’t frozen and there’s definitely no strawberry anywhere near it. This simple, elegant cocktail is simply made up of sugar, lime juice, and rum. These three ingredients are all you need to make a sweet, tart, refreshing drink.

Daiquiri recipe:

  • 2 ounces rum
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • Lime wheel garnish

Shake all the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Serve up in a coupe glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

el presidente

El Presidente

Another classic rum cocktail hailing from Cuba, it’s believed by many that it got its name from President Mario García Menocal, who was in office in the early 1900s. A popular drink during Prohibition and beyond, it’s simply made with white rum, dry vermouth, orange curaçao, and grenadine. A little more complicated than some of the drinks on this list, it’s still fairly easy compared to the cocktails being whipped up at your neighborhood bar.

El Presidente recipe:

  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum
  • 3/4 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/4 ounce orange Curaçao
  • 1 dash of grenadine

Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain and serve neat in a coupe glass.

cuba libre

Cuba Libre

You might know the Cuba Libre by its basic name of rum and cola. Translated from Spanish to “Free Cuba”, this cocktail has been around since the early 1900s. If you want it to be as simple as possible, you can simply mix rum and cola in an ice-filled glass. If you want to be more traditional, you’ll add a lime wedge for a little zesty, citrus flavor.

Cuba Libre recipe:

  • 2 ounces rum
  • 2 lime wedge
  • Coca-Cola

Add the rum and squeeze one lime wedge into a highball glass with ice. Top with Coca-Cola and stir. Add a lime wedge garnish.



Not all of the rum cocktails you should know how to mix up are simple. The classic painkiller has a few more ingredients than most of the cocktails on this list, but you should still know how to wow your friends by whipping one up. Pusser’s Rum’s signature drink is made with rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, orange juice, and a sprinkle of grated nutmeg. It’s a fruity, tropical tiki-style drink for any occasion.

Painkiller recipe:

  • 2 ounces rum
  • 4 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce cream of coconut
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • Nutmeg

Shake all the ingredients but the nutmeg with ice. Strain and serve over ice (crushed or pebble if you can get it) and grate the nutmeg over the top.

jungle bird

Jungle Bird

Another classic Tiki-style cocktail, the Jungle Bird’s genesis can be traced to the flashy, neon-era of cocktails: the 1970s. First served at the Aviary Bar at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton, it’s made with blackstrap rum, Campari, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, demerara syrup, and garnished with a pineapple slice. It’s semisweet, fruity, and highly memorable.

Jungle Bird recipe:

  • 1 1/2 ounces blackstrap rum
  • 3/4 ounce Campari
  • 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice

Shake all the ingredients over ice. Strain and serve over ice (pebble or crushed for a longer drink, or one big rock for a more straightforward cocktail).

dark 'n' stormy

Dark ‘N’ Stormy

If you only learn how to make one rum-based cocktail on this list. While nobody is going to come to your house and throw handcuffs on you if you use a different rum, technically if you’re making a legitimate Dark ‘N’ Stormy, you must use Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. That’s because this Bermuda-based distillery owns the trademark to this cocktail (as of 1991). To make it, you’ll also need lime juice and ginger beer.

Dark ‘N’ Stormy recipe:

  • 2 ounce Gosling’s Black Seal rum
  • Ginger beer
  • Lime wheel

Add the Gosling’s rum to a high ball glass with ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wheel.

mai tai

Mai Tai

There are few Tiki-style drinks more famous than the mai tai. While there are disputing theories, its history likely can be traced back to the 1940s at the iconic Tiki bar Trader Vic’s. This popular drink features white rum, dark rum, orange curaçao, fresh lime juice, and orgeat (almond syrup). It’s usually garnished with a lime wheel, mint, or some other fresh citrus or herb.

Mai Tai recipe:

  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum
  • 3/4 ounce orange Curaçao
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce dark rum
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat
  • Lime wheel
  • Mint

Add all ingredients except the dark rum and lime wheel to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a glass with ice (pebble or crushed preferable). Top with dark rum and garnish with lime and mint.