Occupying the space between spiced rum and botanical-laden gin, \u201cbotanical rum\u201d is a relative newcomer, though its popularity is on the rise.\r\nWhat is botanical rum?\r\nBasically, it\u2019s rum that\u2019s flavored with botanicals like fresh or dried herbs, spices and edible flowers. Usually, the base is white rum. And, like most types of rum, there are no geographical restrictions, so it can be made pretty much anywhere.\r\n\r\nIf this definition sounds a bit fuzzy, that\u2019s because it doesn\u2019t have an official category. The few available in the U.S. are classified as \u201cflavored rums\u201d or \u201cspecialty spirits\u201d under distilled spirits regulatory guidelines.\r\n\r\n\r\nHow is it different from spiced rum?\r\nThe short answer: It has little to no vanilla, and little to no sweetener.\r\n\r\nSpiced rum, also usually categorized as a \u201cflavored rum,\u201d typically starts with an aged spirit base and is flavored predominantly with baking spices, notably vanilla, but also allspice, clove or cinnamon. It\u2019s often sweetened as well.\r\n\r\nBotanical rum tends to be lighter and drier, some say \u201cgreener,\u201d in flavor. Instead of baking spices, flavorings tend to be more herbaceous or floral, though spices and barks are often part of the mix, too.\r\n\r\n\r\nHow is it different from gin?\r\nBotanical rum also shares some similarities with gin, and many producers encourage drinking mixing it with tonic, G&T style. But it differs in two key ways.\r\n\r\nFirst, botanical rums usually exclude juniper, a required flavoring for gin.\r\n\r\nSecond, the base of a botanical rum needs to be rum, which means that it must be distilled from a sugarcane product. Most gins start with a neutral spirit, most often distilled from grain. However, there are gins distilled from sugarcane, and there\u2019s no rule that botanical rum can\u2019t include juniper. So overlap is certainly possible.\r\n\r\n\r\nWhere did botanical rums come from?\r\nThis type of rum seems to have multiple origins and inspirations.\r\n\r\nHaiti\u2019s Boukman Botanical Rhum, launched in 2016, is technically a style of clairin, specifically clairin tremp\u00e9 (translated as \u201cbotanical rhum\u201d). It starts with a base of rhum agricole, distilled from sugarcane juice instead of molasses. That\u2019s infused with a mix of 11 botanicals that include native woods and barks, bitter orange peel and bitter almond.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re more of a street-style drink, infused with barks and botanicals,\u201d says Boukman cofounder Adrian Keogh. He sought to bring a version of clairin tremp\u00e9 to a global audience. Across South and Central America, he says, there\u2019s a longstanding tradition of infused rums.\r\n\r\nIn 2019, Washington, D.C. bartender Todd Thrasher created Thrasher\u2019s Green Spiced Rum in an effort to build a rum suitable to pair with tonic. The blackstrap molasses-based spirit is distilled at his Potomac Distilling Company, and it\u2019s flavored with botanicals like lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon balm, mint, lime peel and green cardamom.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhile inspired by herbs grown in his backyard, he now grows them in a rooftop garden atop the distillery. At his Tiki TNT bar, the spirit is served in mojitos and tropical drinks.\r\n\r\nIn California\u2019s Bay Area, Callisto launched in 2020 with a \u201cCalifornia dry\u201d-style botanical rum. Giles Templeman, the company\u2019s cofounder and CEO, grew up in Bermuda (home to Gosling\u2019s) and had an affinity for rum. He was drawn by the fact that the rum category has few restrictions.\r\n\r\n\u201cWith that in mind, we said, \u2018We can flavor rum with anything,\u2019\u201d says Templeman. \u201cWe said, what would be super cool would be to flavor our rum with locally sourced California botanicals.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCallisto starts with a blend of Trinidad and Nicaragua rums, transferred to Petaluma, where it\u2019s infused with botanicals like rosemary, lavender, burdock root and cherry bark.\r\n\r\nBotanical rums have also picked up speed across the Atlantic. Five Hundred Cuts Botanical Rum, from the U.K. brewery Brewdog, is fermented with red wine yeast and flavored with tonka bean, lavender and clove.\r\n\r\nIn Holland, Amsterdam\u2019s Spirited Union makes five fruit-forward varieties that include a blush-hued Pink Grapefruit and Rose bottling.\r\n\r\nEven Cuban icon Havana Club has released a Verde rum infused with orange peel and mint. It\u2019s currently available only in Germany.\r\n\r\n\u201cBotanical rum is an open space to innovate,\u201d says Templeman. \u201cThere\u2019s a ton of bases and botanicals to work with.\u201d\r\n\r\nFor now, it\u2019s still a relatively niche product. It may never become mainstream like spiced rum. However, Templeman says, \u201cthere\u2019s an open ocean for the category to grow.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat does botanical rum taste like?\r\nMost are relatively light and emphasize herbaceous, floral or fruity flavors. Botanical rums tend to be unsweetened. The few that use sweeteners generally use a minimal amount.\r\n\r\nEach tastes a little different, which depends on the base rum and the botanicals used. Here are three available in the U.S. to try:\r\n\r\nBoukman Rhum (Haiti; $48): Golden hue and intense, root-like aroma. The flavor is reminiscent of spiced rum. It shows cinnamon and grilled banana, sprinkled with brown sugar. It finishes with mellow funk.\r\n\r\nCallisto California Dry Botanical Rum (USA; $33): This clear spirit has a light floral aroma similar to some gins, but the full-bodied texture reminds that it\u2019s rum. Expect herbaceous sage and lemongrass. The finish offers piquant peppercorn sizzle.\r\n\r\nThrasher\u2019s Green Spiced Rum (USA; $27): \u201cGreen\u201d refers to the garden herbs used to flavor this brisk, malty rum. The rum has the faintest straw tinge. Look for slight coconut sweetness on the palate and whispers of dill and mint.