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Rum often evokes visions of tropical drinks and paper umbrellas due to its Caribbean roots, but the category offers plenty of premium spirits worthy of drinking all year.
While you can produce rum anywhere in the world with access to sugarcane, most of it is produced in the Caribbean, with each island delivering distinct styles.
Silver or white rum is the sweetest and fruitiest style. And it’s used in most classic rum cocktails like daiquiris. Gold and dark options are aged in barrels to get their rich color and earthy, spicy flavors. Like other high-end spirits, dark rums are frequently blended for consistency, but single cask options deliver unique and intriguing profiles as well. Dark selections are great for cocktails too, like hot buttered rum and the rum Old Fashioned.
The diversity in the category offers options for every palate and every season. And these eight rums from the Top 100 Spirits list of 2021 will get you started on your collection.
Denizen Vatted Dark Rum; $30. (Buy on Drizly.) This is a blend of 80% dark rum produced in Guyana on antique stills, and 20% unaged rhum agricole from Martinique. The end result is a deep copper hue…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Equiano Rum; $30. (Buy on Total Wine & More.) Distilled and aged a minimum of eight years in Africa & the Caribbean, then finished in Cognac and ex-bourbon casks, this rum…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Exodus Rum; $30. (Buy on Total Wine & More.) Look for a bright golden hue and toasty tropical fruit aromas. The palate is distinctively funky…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Holmes Cay Guyana Uitvlugt 2003 Single Cask Rum; $159. (Buy on Mash & Grape.) A particularly plush and delicious pour, this is a single cask rum distilled at Demerara Distillers in 2003, aged two years in Guyana, then 16 more in the UK…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Kōloa Kaua`i Coffee Rum; $33. (Buy on Total Wine & More.) The producer describes this bottling as “a rum blend,” made with white rum, cold brew coffee and sugar, all of Hawaiian provenance…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Ron Izalco 10 Year Rum; $55. (Buy on Drizly.) The mellow oak aroma includes a smoky hint. Vanilla sweetness leads the surprisingly robust palate, followed by hints of fudge…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Saison Rum Triple Cask; $65. (Buy on Wine.com.) Expect a burnished gold hue and light, rootsy aroma that suggests sarsaparilla and vanilla. The palate feels light and tingly…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Ten to One Caribbean White Rum; $32. (Buy on Drizly.) A blend of unaged, “extra-proof” rums, this is clear in the glass with bright ripe banana…SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW