If you like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain, and recognize how cheesy this joke is, you are clearly a Rupert Holmes fan. But you are not alone, as this classic tropical resort drink is popular for a reason. It’s sweet and icy, usually blended but sometimes on the rocks, and provides a tropical fruit infusion with a boozy kick underneath. And you can make it at home too, as long as you have pineapple juice, cream of coconut or coconut milk, a blender, and of course some good rum.
This last ingredient can make or break the drink, and there are plenty of options to consider, from light to dark to pineapple or coconut flavored. We asked some experts in the bar industry to pick their go-to bottles for making a Piña Colada, and the answers were varied and thoughtful. Here are our expert's picks for the best bottles of rum to make a pitch-perfect Piña Colada with. Hold the rain.
Best Overall: Don Q Gran Reserva Anejo XO
Region: Puerto Rico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Oak, Vanilla, Fruit
“This rum checks all of the boxes for me, as I prefer using a rum with a little more depth and character,” says Jose Medina Camacho, bar manager at Automatic Seafood & Oysters in Birmingham, Ala. “I also like that they practice sustainability and are helping to create a cleaner earth.” Gran Reserva is a blend of rum aged between 9 and 12 years, with some as old as 50 years in the mix from the solera system.
Best Budget: Myers’s Rum
Region: Jamaica | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Raisin, Fig, Chocolate
“[Myers’s] gives [a Piña Colada] a bigger, bolder flavor than a typical white rum,” says Ashley Elias, of the Disneyland resort company in Garden Grove, CA. “It has a better taste, it makes the drink less sweet.” The rum is aged for up to four years in oak barrels, and distilled in pot stills from molasses in Jamaica.
Related: The Best Cheap Rums
Best Non-Caribbean: BATI 2yr Fijian White Rum
Region: Fiji | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Oak, Banana
Tom Levron, bartender and brand ambassador for Broken Shed Vodka, recommends using this Fijian rum for your Piña Colada. “Buttery mouthfeel, very subtle funk, and a rich vanilla aroma” are the flavors he says you can expect to find in the white rum. The rum is aged for two years, then filtered through coconut shell carbon to remove the color before bottling, leaving the flavors intact.
Best White: Plantation 3 Stars
Region: Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad | ABV: 41.2% | Tasting Notes: Biscuit, Chocolate, Root Beer
“An all-around workhorse rum, it has nice depth and weight that can stand up well in this rich but delicious classic,” says Jon Feuersanger, bar manager at Death & Co Denver.
This rum is a blend distilled in Trinidad (unaged), Jamaica (unaged), and Barbados (2-3 years old), with just a touch of older Jamaican rum added to the mix for flavor. This is a full-bodied rum that will augment this drink.
Related: The Best White Rums
Best Overproof: Rum Fire Overproof Jamaican Rum
Region: Jamaica | ABV: 63% | Tasting Notes: Banana, Pineapple, Vanilla
“While I often play the traditionalist with my Piña Coladas, more often than not I'll reach for a bottle of Jamaican white overproof like Rum Fire, and turn it up to 11,” says Zakai Arnowitz, a bartender from San Anselmo, CA. “That Hampden Estate juice is full of so much tropical hogo, and it really complements and shines alongside all that pineapple and coconut.”
Best Coconut Rum: Don Q Coco
Region: Puerto Rico | ABV: 21% | Tasting Notes: Coconut, Vanilla, Brown Sugar
Pablo Guerrero, F&B manager for Azabu in Miami Beach, thinks this flavored rum stands out from others in the category to use in a Piña Colada. “Don Q Coco [is great] because its coconut flavor tastes very natural and creates excellent Coladas without tasting artificial,” he says. This rum is aged for about a year and then flavored with real coconut extract.
Related: The Best Coconut Rums
Best Age Statement: Barbancourt Estate Reserve 15 Year
Region: Haiti | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Almond, Pear, Butterscotch
“Short of driving to the beach, building a campfire, and toasting a marshmallow to adorn your Piña Colada, Barbancourt 15 is the best option for putting that essence into this cocktail,” says Clay Tolbert of The Alley Light in Virginia. “Oaky as all hell, the vanilla and caramel notes from this thoroughly aged r(h)um is pretty much unparalleled in the world of sugarcane distillates, and ‘punch you right in your sense-memory’ good!”
Best Pineapple: Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum
Region: Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Pineapple, Apple, Oak
“There isn't a better rum out there for mixing up a few Piña Coladas and soaking in the sun,” says Nicholas Wyatt, a bartender in Montgomery, AL. “The rich rum rounds out the sweetness of the cocktail, while the extra touch of pineapple adds to its brightness. But, make no mistake, this is very different from the pineapple rums you are used to. Plantation's outstanding silver and dark rums are blended together and infused with both pineapple rinds and flesh. It's the real deal.”
Best Caribbean: Cruzan Estate Diamond Dark Rum
Region: Virgin Islands | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Chocolate, Vanilla, Banana
According to Timmie Hoffman of SALT7 in Florida, this should be your go-to rum when making a Piña Colada. “I just think it pairs so well with the heavy coconut cream and fruit flavors. I think the Cruzan Diamond Dark Rum makes a traditional Piña Colada more intriguing and bright.”
Read Next: The Best Rums
Why Trust Liquor.com?
Jonah Flicker is an experienced writer who has been covering spirits and traveling the world visiting distilleries for many years. His work has appeared in many different national outlets covering trends, new releases, and the stories and innovators behind the spirits. His first love remains whiskey, but he is partial to tequila, rum, gin, cognac and all things distilled.