The 9 Best Rums Worth Sipping On
Pop culture plays a major role in shifting consumer behaviors and that does not stop in the world of spirits. When you think of cheeseburgers in paradise and sailors who spend nights out to sea, there’s usually only one spirit that comes to mind – rum. Yes, this three-letter word has been synonymous with island time, laid back culture and pirates (brands have even trademarked this), but there is more to rum than that. It is a spirit that is quickly rising to top-shelf popularity.
Leave your stereotypes of this tipple below deck and discover how incredibly delicious and versatile this smooth spirit has become. We are walking off the plank with the nine best rums worth sipping on.
Frigate Reserve 8 Year Rum
The idea for Frigate Reserve Rum was sparked while a group of friends sat around a fire sipping on their favorite spirit (rum) in Abaco, Bahamas. At the time, there was little differentiation between top shelf rums, however, these friends were determined to create a product that stood out from the rest. After connecting with the legendary Master Distiller, Don Pancho Fernandez, their rum was created. Blessing it with the name “Frigate,” to represent the bird that spends months flying across the ocean, symbolizing their passion for adventure and determination. The 8 Year Rum is the youngest in the Frigate family. It is aged in wooden barrels, which gives it a clean and simple flavor profile, perfect for the individual that enjoys bourbon or scotch. Best sipped over ice, but also mixes nicely into your favorite rum cocktail.
Palms Spiced Rum
When searching for a rum, what do you look for? Is it the sweetness? The spice? The quality? Palms Spiced Rum has it all. This deep amber spirit is a part of our Sourced & Certified collection, which allows us to bring you a quality option without the hefty price tag. It has notes of spice from nutmeg and clove, tropical aromas from baked bananas and a sweet, caramel finish. This full-flavored spirit mixes nicely in a classic Dark & Stormy. If you are looking for a rum that is a bit more tropical and offers the same value, check out its sister-spirit, Palms Coconut Rum. It is delicious in a Piña Colada or substituted in a recipe that calls for spiced rum to add a coconut twist.
Bacoo 8 Year Rum
The Caribbean is full of amazing wonders, from the climate to the topography, delicious rums, and even mystical legends. This rum takes its name from one legendary creature - The Bacoo. This mischievous, mythological spirit is claimed to be found floating in empty rum bottles in the Caribbean Sea. When found, it grants the owner endless wishes. In return they must keep the Bacoo content or find that their luck may change. Whether you believe in these mystical creatures or not, there is one thing that cannot be doubted – the quality of this rum. This smooth sipper received Silver from the 2017 International Wine & Spirit Competition. Its copper color gives way to a mouthful of caramel notes and toasted aromas. You can expect to taste flavors of banana and roasted nuts with a raisin toast finish. Your wishes are sure to be granted when sipping on this seamless rum.
Papa’s Pilar Rum
Papa’s Pilar Rum is a favorite among Floridians. Ernest Hemingway fans will love the story behind it as the makers honored the adventurous author through the brand. Papa was Hemingway’s nickname and Pilar was the name of his boat. Papa’s Pilar has a delicious selection that caters to any rum-lover, with options ranging from light to dark. The Blonde Rum is a fan-favorite, light yellow in color with aromas of cane and sweet citrus. It has hints of grapefruit, sherry and key lime with a smooth finish. Mix it up in this Hemingway Daiquiri and experience its flavor profile come to life. Do your interests lie in dark rum? Papa’s Dark Blend is aged in bourbon barrels, port wine casks and Spanish sherry casks. Rums in Papa’s Dark Blend have been aged for 24 years and are made from sugar cane and molasses. It is mouth-coating with hints of spice, bourbon, almonds and apricot. The finish is robust, exotic and full-bodied. The nose has complex notes of vanilla, cinnamon, dark Italian roast coffee and honey with hints of sherry and port.
Porteño Colombian Solera 21 Year Rum
Skip the coffee and go straight for a different kind of pick-me-up—Colombian rum. Our favorite is Porteño Colombian Solera 21 Year Rum. It was rated 91 points and received a Gold Medal from The Beverage Testing Institute in 2018. Here’s how they explain it: “Golden amber color. Aromas and flavors of caramelized nuts, brown spice, spiced mocha, and polished wood with a silky, bright, fruity medium body and a tingling, stimulating, medium-long finish conveying notes of coconut crème brûlée, tropical fruit gelato, and leather and cedar finish. A very tasty and nicely balanced aged rum.” Find this gem in our Sourced & Certified collection. We recommend serving it over ice or pouring straight.
El Dorado 15 Year Old
The distinct El Dorado flavor has been perfected over three-centuries of distilling. El Dorado Rum is crafted in the county of Demerara, Guyana, where they continue to represent the culture and flavor-structure of over 300 years of Caribbean rum crafting by faithfully using wooden heritage stills. They produce skillfully constructed rums for experienced rum connoisseurs to sip and savor, including their 15-year. It is one of the Caribbean's premier-aged rums and winner of numerous gold medals going back over 20 years. It has a beautifully rounded palate with a great spread of flavors and a moderately full body. Expect a full nose packed with dark coffee, candied orange, almonds, dark chocolate, pepper and rich vanilla. Sip neat or over ice for the full flavor experience.
Cayman Reef Dark Rum
Barbados is considered the birthplace of rum, so you can count on the rums made there being high quality and full of tradition. Our Sourced & Certified Cayman Reef Dark Rum, aged for 5 years, lives up to the essential traits of Barbados rum, often being described as well-balanced and expertly aged. This rum is aromatic up front while having a smooth and rich mouth feel. Experience hints of chocolate and brief notes of blackberries during your tasting. Try sipping it on the rocks, or in a tropical cocktail like the shipwreck.
Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum
Diplomático is an independent, family-owned and run operation. They take pride in controlling and monitoring every part of production to guarantee quality. Family is a part of the culture and identity to Diplomático. The distillery lies at the base of the Andes Mountains in Venezuela, near the purest water and sugar processing plants. Their distillation processes vary to obtain a uniquely desirable product. Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum is distilled from molasses in copper pot stills for a more complex rum. It is then aged in small oak casks for about 12 years, before it is bottled. This rum is chocolatey on the mouth, rich and full, bursting with the sweet toffee, fudge and tropical fruit flavors from the nose. The texture is very generous and rounded by the oak.
Plantantion Rum Xaymaca
If Plantantion Rum Xaymaca doesn’t Jamaican you want to mix up a rum cocktail, we don’t know what will. Plantation has invigorated the Jamaican-style rum using 100% pot stills that date back to the 19th century. These stills allow the legendary “Rum Funk” expressions to be released in each bottle. Notes of black banana and pineapple explode on the nose while balanced by complex and smoky aromas. Plantation recommends, “enjoying it like a great dry whisky or with a large ice cube and even a splash of pure water to reveal its smoky aromas.”
If you’re looking for fun ways to incorporate your favorite rums into classic cocktails like Mai Tais, Mojitos and more, click here. Shop ABC’s full selection of rums here.