There’s a special place in our hearts for kitschy glasses with paper umbrella garnishes, but rum drinks go far beyond piña coladas and frozen daiquiris. A popular choice for tropical mixed drinks, rum has a warm, grassy flavor that pairs well with bright, bold flavors, such as citrus, ginger, or fruit juices like passion fruit (as in the Hurricane, considered by many the signature drink of New Orleans; though that distinction actually belongs to the Sazerac). But some of the most classic rum-based cocktails lean into elegance and simplicity: A mojito stirred with a piece of sugarcane or a sleek Cuban sour (a.k.a. the OG daiquiri).
Rum ranges in color from clear to deep amber. Unaged white rum is clear with a mild flavor, while aged white rums offer more complexity. Gold rum has a light amber hue and a warm, grassy flavor with vanilla, caramel, and citrus notes. Dark rum offers a deeper color and more intense flavor with strong notes of caramel and butterscotch. Darkest of all, black rum is a complex, full-bodied spirit (particularly good in hot buttered rum). Variations include spiced rum, coconut rum, rhum agricole (which you can think of as the rum family’s equivalent to moonshine), and more. So pick the type of rum you like best, break out the shaker, and get ready to mix a rum drink even Jack Sparrow would envy.