Despite its eternal status as the “next big thing” in drinks, rum sales still lag behind multiple other spirits in the U.S., including whiskey, vodka, tequila, and Cognac. Still, there are signs that perceptions of rum are definitively shifting.
Of the almost $2.5 billion U.S. drinkers spent on rum last year, $200 million went toward “super premium” bottles, the most expensive price segment. Though still a fraction of total sales, this figure is 10 times more than the amount spent on top-shelf rum 15 years ago — proving that folks aren’t only reaching for rum to mix Mojitos and Piña Coladas.
Impressive though that growth is, numbers and spreadsheets do little to capture the depth of the category. With bottles produced in multiple continents from two starkly different base ingredients — molasses and fresh cane juice — the main consideration when buying rum is not how much to spend but how you’re looking to enjoy the spirit. But the category’s vast range of styles and ever-improving quality ensures that, whether it’s cocktail hour or time for a nightcap, there’s a bottle for every occasion and price point.
Spanning single-varietal agricole to transcontinentally aged and blended bottlings, here are 30 of the best rums for every budget.
Plantation 3 Stars Artisanal White Rum
Owned by the Cognac house Maison Ferrand, Plantation offers a range of rums that span multinational blends and single- island, vintage offerings. This particular bottling combines distillates from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad. While sweet and approachable on the nose, the palate counters with rich character and complexity. We love it in a Daiquiri. Average price: $18.
Denizen Aged White Rum
Denizen Aged White Rum is another that combines three nations. In this case, column-distilled rum from Trinidad and pot-still Jamaican rum provide the base liquids, while their blending takes place in Amsterdam. The Jamaican spirit lends a herbaceous funk to the composition while the Trinidadian rum smoothes the blend, adding notes of vanilla and toasted oak. Average price: $19.
Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum
Aged in American whiskey barrels, this blend of column- and pot-still rums is easygoing and versatile. Distinctive tropical fruit and vanilla notes delight when sipped neat, but it’s in cocktails where this bottle really comes into its own. That it’s capable of both at this price point is no mean feat. Average price: $19.
Cruzan Estate Diamond Light Rum
Though it’s charcoal-filtered to strip it down to a Chardonnay hue, this aged St. Croix rum doesn’t hold back on character, with intense molasses and charred oak aromas kicking things off. The palate shows slightly less definition but its balanced profile makes this rum an ideal canvas for cocktail creation. Anything with lime juice and sugar will do. Average price: $21.
Uruapan Charanda Blanco Single Blended Rum
From Michoacan, Mexico, this intriguing rum comprises equal parts column-distilled molasses spirit and pot-still cane juice rum. Briny sweet corn aromas and scents of tart tropical fruit give way to a dazzling complex palate that signs off with a faint puff of smoke. Everything from its provenance to production make this an ideal and affordable gift for spirits geeks. Average price: $22.
Worthy Park Estate ‘Rum-Bar’ White Overproof Rum
At 63 percent ABV, this blend of three unaged pot-still Jamaican rums may seem intimidating, but don’t let those digits put you off. The alcohol folds seamlessly into the spirit and any heat on the palate only serves to tame some of its wilder vegetal notes. This spirit calls to be sipped and savored… slowly. Average price: $28.
Bacardí Reserva Ocho Rare Gold Rum
If you’re opting for a bottle from the world’s most recognizable rum brand, look no further than this affordable 8-year-old offering. While delicate tropical fruit defines the nose, rich helpings of vanilla, Demerara, and black pepper coat the palate with each sip. Reach for this instead of bourbon for your next Old Fashioned. Average price: $29.
Barceló Imperial Dominican Rum
While bottled without an age statement, this Dominican rum shows ample signs of maturation in the form of dense dried fruit aromas and a concentrated, woody flavor profile. With vanilla and butterscotch emerging on the finish, this is another rum that promises to please bourbon drinkers. Average price: $29.
Ak Zanj Haitian Dark Rum
With its artsy label and bottle shape, this aged rum looks like a hip, natty orange wine. The aromas begin with a pleasing mix of prunes and molasses that prime the palate. Each sip adds an unexpected dose of vegetal complexity, culminating in underripe tropical fruit and toasted brown sugar. Save for the distinctive molasses note that runs throughout, one could mistake this for fine, sipping añejo tequila. Average price: $30.
Ten to One Caribbean White Rum
In one carefully crafted blend, this unaged Caribbean white rum demonstrates the beauties of column-still Dominican rum and pot-still Jamaican rum. Its funky, esoteric side never threatens to overpower, while the more approachable aromas and flavors only enrich its vibrant personality. If your bar cart has room enough for only one white rum, make it this one. Then clear some space and add a second bottle. Average price: $30.
Zaya Rum Gran Reserva
Deep-amber hued, Zaya is somewhat opaque in the details it shares on this blend, noting only that it’s a mix of rums from Caribbean islands that are aged up to 16 years. While production info is limited, this spirit oozes character, with dried apricots marrying wonderfully with caramel and vanilla on both nose and palate. Enjoy in cocktails or on the rocks. Average price: $32.
El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum
Crafted in a trio of historic stills, this molasses-based rum ages for a minimum of 12 years in former whisky casks before blending and bottling. The nose delivers an enjoyable array of vibrant fruit aromas, which shift to a more concentrated, dried guise on the palate. With generous body and enticing spice, this bottle begs to be mixed in Rum Old Fashioneds. Average price: $35.
Rhum Clemént ‘Canne Bleue’ White Rum
This Martinique rhum agricole derives from the distilled juice of the single “blue sugar cane” variety. Bottled at 50 percent ABV, it’s expressive character carries from start to finish. Expect cucumber water, wet grass, and powdered sugar on the nose, and peppery tropical fruit on the palate. With such depth of flavors, don’t assume this rum needs to be mixed in cocktails by virtue of being completely unaged. Average price: $39.
Rhum J.M VO Vieux Agricole
After resting for three years in toasted new American oak barrels, this Martinique rhum agricole enters the bottle at 43 percent ABV. Those numbers don’t tell half of its story, though. The time in barrel is more than enough to develop an array of spiced notes that would delight a baker. And while seemingly tame in terms of alcohol, its proof point hits at the perfect pitch to dial up the volume of its complex character. One number you should pay attention to is the price tag: This bottle is a bonafide bargain. Average price: $40.
Brugal 1888 Doblemente Añejado
Produced in the Dominican Republic, this rum is double aged in sherry and bourbon casks. Each vessel imparts its own individual character to the final spirit, though the Demerara sugar and licorice notes from the base distillate shine through to the finish. Enjoy in your finest rocks glass, with or without ice. Average price: $40.
Chairman’s Reserve ‘The Forgotten Casks’
Combining column- and pot-distilled spirits, this St. Lucia blend draws you in with alluring candied pineapple and floral aromas. Oak and maturation then emerge on the palate with sweet, toasty gusto. The profile may point to sipping occasions but its relative affordability allows it to be equally enjoyed in cocktails. Try it in place of bourbon in the modern classic Gold Rush. Average price: $46.
Equiano Light Rum
British-owned Equiano fuses history, philanthropy, and innovation in every bottle. Sold as the world’s first blend of Caribbean and African rums, this golden-hued spirit invites then entices with vanilla and tropical fruit aromas and an energetic palate that brings the senses to life. Mix in any classic rum cocktail and enjoy the interesting new results that await. Average price: $46.
Phraya Deep Matured Gold Rum
This gold rum is distilled and aged (7 to 12 years) in Thailand, and made from locally grown sugar cane. Vibrant aromas dart from red berries to vanilla to charred oak and molasses. With equally impressive character on the palate, this rum promises to shake up cocktail hour. Average price: $46.
Ron Zacapa 23 Solera
Intentionally or not, the large “23” emblazoned on this bottle could lead one to believe that this is the age of the rum inside, but that number actually represents the oldest rum in the solera blend. And this is a good thing, for while the older spirit adds luxurious notes and velvet texture, the younger spirit adds a spritely spring to its step. Average price: $47.
Old Line Aged Caribbean Rum Single Malt Cask-Finished
Baltimore’s Old Line Spirits sources its aged rum from the Caribbean, though the distillery doesn’t divulge more precise information about its provenance. Each batch of this expression finishes in casks previously used by the producer to age its single malt. The final spirit effuses vanilla, ice cream, butterscotch, and caramel notes, making it the ideal dram to finish the night or a hearty meal. Average price: $48.
Don Q Gran Reserva Añejo XO
From the small but mighty rum haven of Puerto Rico, this bottle blends spirits aged between nine and 12 years with liquor drawn from a 50-year-old solera system. Dried fruits and berry notes balance its heady luxury of sweet vanilla and toasted oak. There’s masterful blending on show here that makes for a fine sipping rum that over-delivers on price. Average price: $55.
Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve
This rhum agricole is produced by one of Haiti’s oldest distilleries. After aging in Limousin and American oak casks, the 15-year-old cane-juice distillate exhibits only the faintest hint of green, grassy character. Instead, sweet honeycomb notes dominate, before a finish that seems to last for decades. Average price: $55.
Angostura Premium 1824 Rum
Though best known for its iconic cocktail bitters, Angostura also offers a range of (mostly aged) rums. Matured for a minimum 12 years in ex-bourbon barrels, this release oozes fruity character and serves concentrated sips of sweet Demerara. Pair with or add a splash to dessert to bring out its culinary character. Average price: $59.
Dos Maderas Selección Triple Aged Rum
The production process for this rum is complex and long-winded, encapsulating various base distillates, aging vessels, and maturation locations. Even without exploring the specifics, the harmonious nature of this rich, sherried rum is all the more remarkable. With oxidative notes, dried fruits, and tangy molasses, this is a complex but balanced sipper. Average price: $59.
Appleton Estate 15 Black River Casks
A recently introduced blend of column- and pot-still Jamaica rums, this release would comfortably go the distance in a matchup against similarly aged bourbons, Scotches, and Cognacs. With an enticing range of fruity, woody, and spiced notes that exceed the sum of its parts, this is a truly special sipping rum. Average price: $65.
Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum
Beyond the distractions of trademarked cocktails and erstwhile apostrophes, Goslings delivers some mighty fine rums, including this aged (16 to 19 years) expression. Pouring a decadent shade of midnight molasses, the spirit arrives with surprising vigor on nose and palate. Its profile mimics a sherry- and sweet-vermouth-soaked fruit cake, with each sip revealing something exciting and new about its lengthy journey from cane to Glencairn. Average price: $70.
Ron Abuelo XII Años Two Oaks
Owing to the balmy climes of their maturation environments, many rums start to feel tired and past their peak by the time they reach 12 years old. That’s not the case with this Panamanian release, thanks in no small part to the charred American oak casks used for finishing. The final resting vessels have invigorated its rich molasses core and added new layers of toasted woody notes and lively spice. Average price: $73.
Admiral Rodney Saint Lucia Rum HMS Royal Oak
Delicate fruit and floral notes kick off this St. Lucia rum, and those aromas are very much the beginning of a long, detailed journey. As decadent vanilla notes transition to a peppery palate, the mind briefly wanders to fine rye whiskey. Caramel and licorice on the finish arrive to remind us we’re firmly in rum territory, and the depth of flavors soon has you returning for more. Average price: $77.
Diplomático Rum Single Vintage 2005
This blended, single-vintage Venezuelan rum spends the first 12 years of its life maturing in bourbon and whisky casks before a finishing period in oloroso barrels. Its aromas hit all the high notes of the banana and chocolate chip muffins that define the brand’s flagship line, while time and various oak vessels have imparted spice, dried fruit, and nutty complexity. This is a fine, sipping experience. Average price: $120.
SelvaRey Owner’s Reserve Rum
A-list association and more than a passing resemblance to an iconic tequila bottle risk detraction from this rum’s quality. Distilled in Panama by an icon of the rum world, and made up of a blend of 15-to-25-year-old distillates, this decadent sipping rum pushes the boundaries of luxury and suave, much like its co-owner, Bruno Mars. While unavoidably pricey, this is worth the splurge for special occasions. Average price: $150.