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Craving a taste of the tropics? Look no further than a splash of coconut rum. Whether mixed into cocktails or sipped over ice, these coconut-flavored spirits promise to fulfill all of your sun-soaked island dreams. However, not all coconut rums are created equal.
Coconut rum is a bit of a wildcard, in that it’s produced with a variety of color, style, and flavor profile spectrums. Both dark and light versions exist, and the ways in which these spirits get their sweet, toasty flavoring varies. In short, knowing which bottle to snag for every situation is key—and we’ve done the hard work for you. Check out our favorite coconut rums, and how to best enjoy them.
Best Overall: Kōloa Kaua’i Coconut Rum
- Region: Hawaii
- ABV: 40%
- Tasting Notes: Toasted Coconut, Lime, Caramelized Pineapple
This award-winning coconut rum is produced from steam-powered, copper pot distilled sugarcane combined with young coconut, toasted coconut, and cocoa flavors. The rum’s natural flavors are heavily influenced by the purifying rainwaters of Mount Wai’ale’ale, which are filtered through volcanic strata. Refreshing, terroir-driven, and utterly tropical, this rum promises to add a splash of sunshine to any drinking experience.
“Our favorite coconut rum at Grand Wailea is Kōloa Coconut Rum from the island of Kauai, as it embodies all the qualities and flavor profiles that we look for in a coconut rum,” says Alan Castellanos, beverage manager at Grand Wailea in Maui, HI. “We love local distillers, especially those that use natural ingredients,” says Castellanos, noting that a high-quality coconut rum’s palate should “accentuate the naturally robust flavors of coconut accurately and honestly.”
Best Budget: Don Q Coco Rum
- Region: Puerto Rico
- ABV: 21%
- Tasting Notes: Molasses, Mango, Pineapple
This delicious coconut rum is produced in the heart of Puerto Rico from 1 to 1.5-year-old rum and natural coconut extract. Whether poured into a cocktail or sipped solo, this budget-friendly bottle will immediately transport you to sunny beaches, suntans, and summertime. Try it in a Bahama Mama or a Coconut Daiquiri.
Read Next: The Best Cheap Rums
Best Easy to Find: Bacardi Coconut Rum
- Region: Puerto Rico
- ABV: 35%
- Tasting Notes: Fresh Coconut, Vanilla, Brown Sugar
This accessible, easy-to-find coconut rum is crisp, clean, and perfect for mixing with cola or tropical juices. The spirit is produced using traditional Bacardi infused with the essence of real coconuts. Sweet, refreshing, and intensely flavorful, this bottle’s got your back. Pop your favorite island-inspired playlist and get ready for a good time.
Best for Sipping: Coconut Cartel
- Region: Guatemala
- ABV: 40%
- Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Caramel, Toasted Coconut, Dark Chocolate
Influenced by the Miami tradition of spiking cold coconuts with Guatemalan rum, this unique coconut rum is produced from 4 to 12-year-old rum aged in new, charred American white oak barrels and proofed with fresh, locally-sourced coconut water. Smooth, dry, and utterly tropical, this perfectly balanced bottle is ideal for sipping solo or over a large ice cube.
“Coconut Cartel is a smooth, dry, tropical sipping rum. It's not too sweet and exhibits some similarities to whiskey,” says Danielle Zig, CEO and Co-Founder of Coconut Cartel. Rather than using artificial flavorings, Coconut Cartel uses infusions of fresh coconut water during the blending process. “This unique process creates very subtle coconut notes in an otherwise traditional oaky and caramel-forward rum,” explains Zig, citing that this unique process is what creates the smooth and rich mouthfeel marked by tropical notes.
Zig additionally notes that over the past seven years, Coconut Cartel has helped reactivate approximately 10,000 acres of coconut farmland in Central America, which has contributed to the rise of a whole new agricultural export. Sipping for a good cause? Now that’s our idea of drinking responsibly.
Read Next: The Best Sipping Rums
Most Versatile: Sugar Island Coconut Rum
- Region: Virgin Islands
- ABV: 21%
- Tasting Notes: Creamed Coconut, Bright Tropical Fruit, Caramel
This silky, smooth coconut rum offers a creamy taste of the tropics without ever having to leave your couch. The rum’s velvety sweet flavor profile makes it perfect for sipping solo (no mixers needed) or splashing into a simple rum and coke for a touch of added fizz.
For all day long pairings, Zig recommends sipping coconut rum with fresh, cold pineapple during the day, then swapping it for rich, caramel-laden flan post-dinner.
Best for Pina Coladas: Malibu Coconut Rum
- Region: Barbados
- ABV: 21%
- Tasting Notes: Sweet Coconut, Brown Sugar, Vanilla Bean
Although technically a coconut liqueur, this accessible, easy-to-find sipper is produced from oak-aged sugarcane, pure water, and coconut flavoring on the island of Barbados. Mix into your favorite drinks at home, including Rum Runners and Pina Coladas, shaken or frozen. Rich, flavorful, and conveniently packaged in its signature plastic white bottle, this coconut rum is perfect for pool parties, picnics, and all other forms of outdoor activities.
Read Next: The Best Rums
Best for Mai Tais: Brinley Shipwreck Coconut Rum
- Region: St. Kitts
- ABV: 36%
- Tasting Notes: Baking Spices, Toasted Coconut, Molasses
This spicy, handcrafted coconut rum is produced on the island of St. Kitts and is perfect for mixing into premium cocktails, especially high-end Mai Tais. Authentic, molasses-based, and naturally flavored, this award-winning spirit is ideal for reliving your last tropical vacation from the comfort of your own home.
Best for Gifting: Montauk Rumrunners Coconut Flavored Rum
- Region: New York
- ABV: 30%
- Tasting Notes: Oak, Vanilla, Rich Coconut, Maple Syrup
Coconut rum produced in the heart of New York? You bet. Handcrafted in the sleepy beach town of Montauk, this small-batch coconut rum is perfect for sharing with the beach lover in your life. Inspired by The Rum Line—what rum-runners used to call the US territory considered international waters off of the Montauk coastline—this Caribbean-inspired rum is sweet, smooth, and undeniably flavorful. Sip over crushed ice or mix into your favorite tropical drink.
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Vicki Denig is a wine and travel journalist based between New York and Paris. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators. Her work regularly appears on Wine-Searcher, VinePair and more. Denig is also the Content Manager at Volcanic Selections, Paris Wine Company, Vin Fraîche, and more.