VinePair is ringing in the Holiday Cheers with a spotlight on the bottles we’re gifting (and hoping to receive) and a look inside some of our favorite holiday traditions and recipes — from elevated eggnog to all things bubbly. Plus, we’ll be reflecting on the past year in the beverage industry and shifting our focus to the drinks trends we expect to see in 2022.
The ultimate all-season spirit, rum has the bright fruity notes we seek during summertime, while retaining a spiced, caramelly depth that also makes it ideal for cold weather months. And while younger bottlings make the perfect cocktail companions, aged rums can offer the same richness and complexity of any quality whiskey on your bar cart.
Needless to say, rum is a welcome gift any time of year for Mojito lovers and neat spirit sippers alike. Here are our picks for the seven best rums to gift this holiday.
- Best value rum: Plantation 3 Stars
- Best splurge rum: Admiral Rodney HMS Royal Oak
- Best rum for beginners: Mount Gay Eclipse
- Best rum for geeks: Rhum Clemént ‘Canne Bleue’ White Rum
- Best rum for cocktail lovers: Ten to One Caribbean White Rum
- Best rum for the boss: Appleton Estate 15 Black River Casks
- Best rum for collectors: Diplomatico Single Vintage 2005
Best Value Rum
Plantation 3 Stars ($20)
You won’t find a tastier, more versatile rum at this price point. This bottom-shelf darling is made using a blend of aged and unaged rums from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad. To top it off, carbon filtration is used to clarify the spirit without taking away from its earthy, herbal, vanilla-scented appeal. Gift it to the Mai Tai lover or to the friend who’s into sipping rums. Either way, it’s a sure hit.
Best Splurge Rum
Produced in Saint Lucia, this aged rum delivers a vibrancy on the palate with notes of fruit and flowers. On the finish, spiced vanilla lingers and intertwines with a swirl of caramel, anise, and molasses. This is a rum that’ll dazzle your rye-loving friends, and its uniqueness makes it well worth the spend.
Best Rum For Beginners
Mount Gay Eclipse ($19)
This blend of column and pot still rums is bursting with tropical fruit notes and a sweet vanilla finish imparted by bourbon-barrel aging. These qualities — plus its almost unbelievable price point — makes Mount Gay a widely approachable rum, with its versatility allowing for use in cocktails and sipping neat.
Best Rum For Geeks
Impress the collector in your life with this complex, novel spirit. From Martinique, this rhum agricole is made from the juice of a single variety of sugar cane, imparting flavors of spa water, moss, and confectioners’ sugar. A spiced tropical fruit finish adds to this rum’s depth and intrigue — all at a reasonable price.
Best Rum For Cocktail Lovers
For the tiki fan, look no further than Ten to One. This spirit is made with both pot still and column still rums from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, resulting in a refreshingly earthy, vegetal-yet-sweet spirit ideal for mixing up with a variety of tropical flavors. It makes an especially delicious Daiquiri.
Best Rum For The Boss
At 15 years old, this blend of pot still and column still rums has all the barrel-aged nuances beloved by whiskey fans: rich, dark fruit notes, peppery spice, and oakiness. But compared to similarly aged Scotches, bourbons, and even Cognacs, this rum is offered at a relatively affordable price. It’s an unexpected bottle sure to make a good impression.
Best Rum For Collectors
Given the fact this Diplomatico is a single-vintage rum — meaning its distillation process took place over the course of a single year — relatively few bottles of this banana-chocolate-scented rum were released on the market. That means it’s highly sought after by aficionados, who praise the bottling for its nutty, dried-fruit complexity. Gift it to the collector in your circle, and you’re sure to have a friend for life.