Spirits & Liqueurs Rum

The 9 Best Rums for Rum & Cokes in 2021

From dark to white, spiced to aged, and everything in between.

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The Rum & Coke seems like such a simple cocktail to make. After all, it’s basically just two ingredients—rum and Coke, or some other type of cola, perhaps a lime wheel thrown in for good measure. But what is the right rum to choose for this popular drink that’s served in thousands of bars across the globe every day?

We turned to some experts to find out what they recommend, from age statement to spiced, dark to white, and everything in between. After all, a drink this simple is only going to be as good as its components, so here’s a guide to the best bottles of rum to take your Rum & Coke to the next level.

Best Overall: Rhum Clement XO Agricole

Rhum Clement XO Agricole

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: Martinique
  • ABV: 44%
  • Tasting Notes: Honey, Smoke, Orange

“Rum and Coke is such a recognizable flavor combination that I love using a quality aged rum to give it a little backbone,” says Kat Hawkins, beverage director at Shaw's Crab House in Chicago. “Rhum Clement XO Agricole from Martinique provides the quality and complexity at a great value. It is aged for six years and provides complimentary vanilla and smoky aromas to a classic drink.”

Read Next: The Best Cheap Rums

Best Budget: Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

Courtesy of Drizly

  • Region: US Virgin Islands
  • ABV: 35%
  • Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Vanilla, Nutmeg

According to Craig Schoettler, MGM Resorts executive director of beverage & corporate mixologist, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on rum for mixing with cola. “If you like a heavy vanilla flavor, spiced rums work well—Captain Morgan, etc.,” he says. “With Coke being the dominant flavor profile in this drink, the nuances that could be found in some high quality rums would get lost.”

Best Spiced: The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

Courtesy of Reserve Bar

  • Region: Trinidad
  • ABV: 47%
  • Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Vanilla, Nutmeg

“The Kraken’s deep spiced vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors are perfect for a wintertime Rum & Coke,” says Nicole Ross, head bartender at New York's The Chester, Gansevoort Meatpacking. “It will even excite you as you approach it with its deep caramel, toffee, and spice aromas that make your mouth water before you have even taken your first sip. Giving this rum a splash of Coke just opens up those incredible spices and makes you just hope that you do not accidentally finish the bottle on your own.”

Read Next: The Best Spiced Rums

Best Dark Rum: Goslings Black Seal

Goslings Black Seal Dark Rum

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: Bermuda
  • Proof: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Molasses, Caramel, Vanilla

Goslings is a bartenders’ favorite dark rum, not too expensive with rich flavors that work in many different cocktails—including the Dark ‘n Stormy, which is actually trademarked by the brand. The rich vanilla and molasses flavors complement the sweetness of cola as well, so this should be a go-to bottle to reach for in the dark rum category for making this drink.

Best White Rum: Bacardi Superior

BACARDÍ Superior White Rum

Courtesy of Drizly

  • Region: Puerto Rico
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Banana, Pineapple, Vanilla

Bacardi is known worldwide for making high quality and affordable rum, including this white expression which is one of the brand’s most popular. Add a splash of this to your Rum & Coke to keep the color light and the flavor fresh, as this aged and then filtered spirit provides sweet and citrus notes to the cocktail.

Read Next: The Best White Rums

Best Double Aged: Dos Maderas 5+3 Double Aged

Ron Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum

Courtesy of Caskers

  • Region: Barbados, Guyana, Spain
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Cherry, Brown Sugar, Caramel

“I really enjoy aged rums for Rum & Coke as it can stand up to coke’s sweet caramel flavors,” says Kevin Reilly, beverage director at Taub Family Outpost. “One of my personal favorites is Dos Maderas 5+3 Double Aged rum. The finishing of this rum in palo cortado sherry casks gives great complexity of roasted nuts, smoke and tobacco helping elevate the flavors of this classic libation.”

Best Jamaican: Appleton Estate Signature Blend

Appleton Estate Signature Blend

Courtesy of Reserve Bar

  • Region: Jamaica
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Honey, Vanilla, Oak

“This is a nicely balanced aged rum from Jamaica that is fruit-forward with peach and apricot notes and a hint of sweet molasses,” says Hristo Zisovski, beverage director of Altamarea Group. “It mixes perfectly with sweet cola.” Appleton Estate is a long-running Jamaican rum distillery that has some top-notch aged expressions as well, but this NAS blend should be the bottle you reach for to make a drink like this.

Read Next: The Best Dark Rums

Best Latin American: Flor de Caña 5 Year Añejo Clásico

Flor de Caña 5 Year Old Rum Añejo Clásico

Courtesy of Reserve Bar

  • Region: Nicaragua
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Coconut, Vanilla, Brown Sugar

“Since Coke can be perceived as a bit overpowering, I like to choose a rum that suits it best,” says Tyson Torres, food & beverage manager for Belmond El Encanto. “I always say if it isn’t broken don’t fix it. Vanilla and Coke are always a great combination and the vanilla, nutmeg, and caramel flavors that come through Flor de Caña Añejo 5 Year at such a reasonable cost is divine on the palate.”

Best Age Statement: Rhum Barbancourt Réserve Spéciale 8 Year

Rhum Barbancourt 8 Year Old

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: Haiti
  • ABV: 43%
  • Tasting Notes: Pepper, Citrus, Vanilla

“There really isn’t a bad rum to use in a Rum & Coke, but if you’re looking to upgrade your highball to something next level, look no further than Rhum Barbancourt 8YO,” says Christian Favier, bar manager at The Gin Joint in Charleston, SC. “The answer to the question “white rum or dark rum?” is to use a bright and vegetal French-style rum, at the perfect age that it matches perfectly with cola. Light enough to drink all day, and flavorful enough to keep you coming back.”

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.

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