Finding the best rum is often a matter of taste, because there are a number of different types and styles of rum. Rums range from funky Brazilian cachaça, used to make a classic caipirinha, to rich, molassesy dark rum perfect for sipping. Whether you like your rum in a tiki drink or you prefer to sip it straight up or on the rocks, you're spoiled for choice with all of the delicious rums available.
Discovering the Best Rums
Rum is associated with tropical vacations, fun tiki umbrella drinks, and sailors - particularly pirates. Distilled from sugar cane or its byproducts (such as cane juice or molasses) and produced primarily in tropical locales around the world, rum comes in an array of styles and prices. It ranges in alcohol by volume (ABV) from 40% and upwards for overproof rum, and in different parts of the world, the style and names of the rum may vary. The best rums below come from a variety of rum categories from distillers.
1. Best Rum Overall - Facundo Exquisito Rum
Bacardi, a famous name in rum, produces Facundo Exquisito rum, which is one of Flaviar's top rated rums for 2020 receiving 9.2 stars out ten stars from consumer reviewers. The Facundo Exquisito is one in a line of Bacardi's 150-year anniversary extra-premium rums. The dark rum, produced in Puerto Rico, is a blend of aged rums ranging from seven to 23-years old and aged in Sherry wine casks to add nutty notes. The custom blending process produces a smooth, flavorful, lightly spicy rum with notes of chocolate, marzipan, toffee, and coffee. It's a standard 40% ABV, and you'll spend about $100 for a 750 mL bottle. The rum is versatile, however. It's equally good in tropical tiki drinks as it is blended with ginger beer in a dark and stormy, or you can sip it neat or on the rocks.
2. Best White Rum - Rhum Clément Canne Bleue Agricole Rhum
White rum (also called light rum or silver rum) is aged in either stainless steel or wood and then filtered to remove impurities. Various types of rum can be made into white rum, including rhum agricole, which is a hard liquor directly distilled from pressed cane sugar in Martinique.
Rhum Clément Canne Bleue is produced from blue sugar cane, hence the French word bleue in the name. After distillation, it's aged in stainless steel to preserve the rum's light color. Don't let the clarity fool you, however. Rhum Clément is clean, fruity, and aromatic with the classic funky, tropical notes commonly present in rums. It's a higher proof rum at 50% ABV, but it's delicious in the classic rum drink, the daiquiri. You'll pay around $45 for a 750 mL bottle.
3. Best Gold Rum - Elements Eight Vendôme Golden Rum
Gold rum (also called amber rum) is wood aged after distillation. The result is a smooth, warm flavor coming from the wooden barrels. Typically, golden rum isn't aged as long as dark rum, so its flavors and colors are lighter. Gold rum is a great all-purpose cocktail addition, working well in tropical cocktails as well as in holiday beverages such as eggnog or hot buttered rum.
Difford's Guide lists Elements Eight Vendôme Golden Rum as one of its top golden rums. Reviewers rate the rum 5 out of 5 stars. The rum is pot distilled from molasses in former bourbon barrels, and the rum has flavors and aromas of bananas, molasses, and toast. It's distilled in Saint Lucia and has an ABV of 40%. Expect to pay around $45 for a 1,000 mL bottle.
4. Best Dark Rum - Admiral Rodney HMS Formidable
Dark rum has a longer barrel-aging process, and the barrels may also be charred in order to impart toastier flavors and darker colors. One of Wine Enthusiast's top dark rums of 2020 is the Admiral Rodney HMS Formidable. It received a 96 out of 100 point rating from the publication. It's a blend of bourbon cask-aged rums from Saint Lucia with flavors and aromas of caramel and spices. Expect to pay around $85 for. 750 mL bottle of this 40-proof dark rum that's delicious as a sipper or blended in classic rum cocktails.
5. Best Sipping Rum - El Dorado 15-Year Special Reserve
A good sipping rum is smooth and balanced with mouth-watering flavors. The El Dorado 15-Year rum is a Demerara rum from Guyana that's spicy, viscous, lightly sweet, and supremely balanced with notes of honey-dried fruits and brown sugar. Sipping it neat is a revelation with a satisfaction factor that's akin to savoring a high-quality Scotch or Armagnac. Consumers at Flaviar rated the El Dorado 15-year special reserve rum 9 out of 10 stars, and the rum earned a gold medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition. You'll find it for about $60 for a 750 mL bottle.
6. Best Rhum Agricole - La Favorite Vieux Rhum Agricole
Because it's distilled directly from sugar versus a byproduct of sugar production such as cane juice or molasses, rhum agricole (which translates to agricultural rum) offers a sense of terroir or place, similar to how fine wines reflect the place the grapes are grown in their flavors. You'll find rhum agricole from various countries around the world, although the Martinique in the Caribbean is best known for its production.
The Robb Report lists La Favorite Vieux Rhum Agricole as its top rhum agricole. Distilled in Martinique, the rum is aged in bourbon barrels for a minimum of three years. It's a spicy rum with notes of dried fruit and treacle. Expect to pay around $60 for a 1L bottle for this 80 proof rum.
7. Best Cachaça - Nuovo Fogo Gold Cachaça
Cachaça (also called caninha) is a funky Brazilian rum commonly used in the popular mixed drink from Brazil, the caipirinha. It's Brazil's most well-known spirit, distilled from sugar cane juice to between 38 and 48% ABV. Wine Enthusiast rated the Novo Fogo Gold Cachaça 91 points, and it's affordable at about $40 for a 750 mL bottle. You'll note flavors of cinnamon, oak, and tropical fruits in a tasty, exotic rum.
8. Best Overproof Rum - Privateer Navy Yard Rum
Sometimes good things come in strong packages, which is definitely the case with overproof rum. As the name indicates, overproof rum is stronger than the standards 40% ABV of regular rum, starting at about 110 proof (55% ABV) and up. These strong rums pack a punch, and the Privateer Navy Yard Rum is no exception. This American rum made in Massachusetts is distilled from molasses and aged in New American Oak for a minimum of 2 years for hints of toast, molasses, and spice. It's Distiller's top ranked overproof rum, and you can expect to pay around $50 for a 750 mL bottle.
9. Best Aged Rum - Brugal 1888
Brugal 1888 is a Sherry cask aged rum from the Dominican Republic. It has a slightly dry style with hints of spices and vanilla. It's a delicious sipping rum, or you can enjoy it with some ginger beer for a spicy and delicious cocktail. Wine Enthusiast rated the Brugal 1888 93 points, and it's a bargain at just $40 per 750 mL bottle.
10. Best Coconut Rum - Topper's Coconut Rhum
Coconut-flavored rum is delicious in a number of alcohol shots and cocktails. For example, you can enjoy it in a piña colada, where the toasted coconut flavors blend with the pineapple and coconut cream to create a blissful tropical mixed drink. Therefore, you'll want a truly delicious yet affordable coconut-flavored rum, which is exactly what you can expect from Topper's Coconut Rhum. It's just $20 for a 750 mL bottle, but the low-alcohol rum from St. Maarten received a 92-point rating from Wine Enthusiast. Try it in a tropical mixed drink, or enjoy sipping it on ice.
11. Best Flavored Rum (Non-Coconut) - Topper's Banana Vanilla Cinnamon Rhum
And while Topper's makes a heavenly coconut rhum, if you're a fan of Bananas Foster, then you'll probably love Topper's Banana Vanilla Cinnamon Rhum. Sip the 21% ABV rum on ice for dessert or enjoy it in your favorite mixed rum drink. Consumers on Total Wine & More rate the rum 4.9 out of 5 stars, and you'll only pay $20 for a 750 mL bottle of this magical flavored rum.
12. Best Spiced Rum - Boukman Botanical Rhum
Spiced rums are typically wood-aged rums that contain proprietary blends of warm spices and botanicals. The warm, spicy flavor profiles make these rums perfect for warm holiday cocktails or as a simple tipple added to coffee or tea. Liquor.com lists Boukman Botanical Rhum as its top spiced rum, and it's easy to see why. The Haitian rum is an agricole-style rhum with 45% ABV and notes of allspice, vanilla, orange peel, and clove. You'll pay around $55 for a 750 mL bottle of quality spiced rum.
13. Best Cheap Rum - Bacardi Superior Silver Rum
If you've serving a crowd, then you want a large volume of rum that won't cost an arm and a leg with good, clean flavor to use in drinks. And at under $20 for a 1.5L bottle, you can't go wrong with Bacardi Superior Silver Rum. It's clean, smooth, easy to find, cheap, and blends well in virtually any rum mixed drink you can imagine from a mojito to the classic Caribbean Cuba Libre (rum and Coke). The rum is distilled in Puerto Rico and has 40% ABV.
14. Best Moderately Priced Rum - Plantation Isle of Fiji Rum
Finding a quality rum for under $30 a bottle takes a little bit of searching, but there are plenty out there. Perhaps one of the biggest rum bargains is Plantation Isle of Fiji rum, which received a whopping 98 out of 100 point rating from Ultimate Spirits Challenge, but it will only set you back about $25 for a 750 mL bottle. It's a spicy, smokey molasses-flavored 80-proof rum that's as affordable as it is satisfying.
15. Best Splurge Rum - Diplomático Ambassador
Flaviar lists the Diplomático Ambassador as one of its top rums; consumers on the site rate the rum 9.6 out of 10 stars. It's a toasty dark rum that's 47% ABV and distilled in Venezuela. Expect notes of tropical fruits, biscuits, and spices in a nutty, smoky, and a delicious splurge. You'll pay about $250 for a 750 mL bottle of a very special rum.
16. Best Rum for Daiquiris - Diplomático Planas
The best daiquiri rum is a combination of a quality rum and a good price. VinePair lists Diplomático Planas as its best daiquiri rum. It's an affordable white rum with a 47% ABV. This Venezuelan rum was also Wine Enthusiast's top Spirit of the Year in 2018. You'll pay about $35 for a 750 mL bottle, and it has a clean flavor that blends perfectly with other daiquiri ingredients.
Understanding the Best Rums
As with all other hard liquors, finding the best rum is subjective. The easiest way to find the best rums is to taste them to see what you like the most for sipping, pairing with food, and adding to rum cocktails.