No matter the occasion, there’s nothing quite like a rum-based cocktail to help induce a feeling of euphoria. But despite its reputation as a vacation in a bottle, rum is much more than just the base for poolside classics such as the Mai Tai and Piña Colada.
Recognizing its complexity, bartenders are turning to rum with increasing frequency — even to elevate cocktails that don’t traditionally call for the spirit. Below, bartenders from around the country dish on the best rums recently added to their beverage programs.
The Best New Rums Recommended By Bartenders:
- Ten to One Dark Rum
- Ten to One White Rum
- Saison Rum Cask
- Far North Spirits Ålander Spiced Rum
- Boardroom Spirits Ship’s Cat Navy Strength Rum
- La Maison & Velier Clairin
- Hampden Estate Overproof Rum
- Aguaviva Cachaca
- Neisson Blanc Agricole Rhum
Keep reading for details about all of the recommended bottles!
“I love Ten to One Dark Rum. It’s a great expression of the Caribbean spirit. Rums are typically stylistically divided by nation, but Ten to One blends different signatures from various island nations, ranging from Jamaica to Trinidad and Tobago, to create unique and harmonious rums. The white is wonderful, but the dark brings those delicious banana leaf notes I crave from a Jamaican pot-stilled rum, while blending earthier notes like tobacco from Barbadian and Trinidadian rums. All of it result[s] in an expressive and balanced spirit.” —Eileen Chiang, Beverage Director, Wayan, NYC
“My favorite new rum on the market is Ten to One White Rum. It is honestly the most versatile rum I’ve tasted in ages. By itself, it can make a great sipping rum, which is hard to say for a lot of white rums, but it truly shines in cocktails. It has the most beautiful notes of white pepper, honeysuckle, and citrus, but because it has Jamaican rum in its blend, it has a nice little funky hogo to make it really pop. It can work in a citrusy cocktail, or even as a spirit-forward white rum Negroni. I will always have it stocked on my bar.” —Jess Manchenton, Bartender, Queensyard, NYC
“Over the holidays for our house eggnog, we found Far North [Spirits] Ålander Spiced Rum. The gingerbread spice is so lovely, and it’s translating wonderfully to add to our spring cocktail menu as well!” —Ashley Mac (“Amac”), Bar Manager, NiHao, Baltimore
“We were super stoked for the chance to visit and taste with Boardroom Spirits. The team there is making some really cool stuff, and one of the things that stuck with us from that trip was their Navy Strength Rum. First off, there’s a cat on the bottle. It’s strong, and it’s some damn tasty stuff. I love using higher-proof rums in cocktails, specifically Daiquiri variations, and to be able to get something local like this makes the experience that much more special.” —Daniel Daily, Food & Beverage Director/Head Mixologist, Letty’s Tavern, Kennett Square, Pa.
“Over the past several years, the category of Haitian rum has been reinvigorated in the Western world thanks to the release of single-estate clairin (wild Haitian rum), sourced by French bottler La Maison & Velier. While clairin exclusively uses fresh cane juice, Providence is created using a blend of fresh juice and sugarcane syrup. This creates a more approachable version of the still-strength clairin that the rum world has come to love.” —Andrew Nichols, Head of Mixology, Atlas Restaurant Group, Florida/Maryland/Texas/Washington, D.C.
“Hampden Estate Overproof Rum: This 120-proof pure Jamaican rum hits all the right notes when I’ve been freehanding cocktails recently and has really upped the ante in our Better and Better cocktail variation. Hampden Estate uses spring water to distill and ages for seven years before release, so you can really find layers of flavor in this bottle.” —James Simpson, Beverage Director/Manager, Espita and Las Gemelas, Washington, D.C.
“Aguaviva Cachaca is the newest rum on my bar. It’s made from fresh pressed sugarcane juice with naturally occurring yeast at a sustainable and biodynamic distillery in Rio de Janeiro that’s been producing since 1902. It’s quite dry but has a rich, round mouthfeel with green olive, lemongrass, and citrus on the nose. Perfect with tonic, in a Martini, or, of course, in a Caipirinha.” —Stuart Jensen, Co-Owner, Curio/Brass Tacks/Roger’s Liquid Oasis, Denver
“Though not a new release, for the spring and summer I enjoy a rhum from Martinique, and Neisson’s Blanc Agricole Rhum delivers! Since it is made of freshly harvested sugarcane, it has predominant aromas of cut grass, honey, and citrus. It’s fantastic [in] a Daiquiri or Caipirissima.” —Shaun Dunn, Lead Bartender, Somerset at Viceroy Chicago, Chicago