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Spiced rum is an extremely versatile category of spirits. It can be enjoyed on its own or with a wide variety of cocktails, both hot and cold. This style of rum is great for various tropical drinks or Hot Toddies in the colder months. Many different brands include a spiced rum among their expressions, often using botanicals and flavors that capture the essence of where it’s made. Here are some of the best spiced rums to drink now, according to some experts.
Best Overall: Boukman Botanical Rhum
"Boukman Botanical Rhum is a spiced Haitian rhum made in the agricole style from fresh sugar cane, not molasses," says Crystal Chasse, beverage director of McCarren Hotel and Talk Story Rooftop. "It is infused with barks and wood, as well as baking spices and bitter orange. It is a spiced rum with so many layers that it works perfectly in many different drinks." Haiti is well regarded for its rhum, so drinkers who are unfamiliar with spirits from this country should take note.
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Best Dark Rum: Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
Sailor Jerry is widely available and instantly recognizable from the iconic hula girl tattoo on the bottle’s label. This is a dark rum flavored with a blend of spices, with strong notes of vanilla and cinnamon. It's also bottled at 92 proof, which makes this really stand out in any rum cocktail.
Best for Rum & Coke: Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
This spiced rum from Captain Morgan is famous for a reason. It’s easy drinking, soft on the spices, and it sits on the sweeter side of the flavor spectrum. According to the brand, this spirit is a blend of Caribbean rums with a palate dominated by vanilla and caramel notes—perfectly matching the flavors of cola in a classic Rum & Coke.
Best Budget: Bacardi Spiced Rum
"I really like Bacardi Spiced," says Darnell Holguin, co-host of the Azucar y Limon podcast and co-founder of Silver Sun Group. Bacardi is one of the biggest rum brands in the world, and it makes some affordable bottles, including this one. "It's mellowed in charred American oak barrels for one year," says Holguin. "It's so good as a Cuba Libre because the rum has delicious vanilla overtones, with a hint of maple and smoke from the barrel char."
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Best Aged: Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
"Chairman’s Reserve Rum is delicious," says Holguin. "This award-winning rum has a wonderful aroma of bitter orange, nutmeg and sweet raisin, making it such an awesome, complex spiced rum." Produced in St. Lucia, this is a blend of column and pot still rum, aged in ex-bourbon barrels, with fruits and spices added during the final six months spent in oak vats.
Best for Sipping: Bayou Spiced Rum
Bayou is a rum distillery in Louisiana, and the spiced expression really reflects the roots of the people there. All the rum is distilled from local sugarcane. To flavor this spirit, a blend of Creole spices are added for up to a month to infuse the rum with a unique taste that is complex and perfect for sipping.
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Best Puerto Rican: Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum
Jose Medina Camacho, bar manager of Automatic Seafood & Oysters in Birmingham, Ala., says Puerto Rico is known for its high-quality rum. One of the best sellers from this island is Don Q. "Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum is one of my go-to rums to use in cocktails in the fall and winter," he says. "Not only is it a good rum, but I also love that Don Q does their part to take care of the environment."
Best for Mai Tai: The Kraken Black Spiced Rum
The Mai Tai is a classic rum cocktail, but to make a good one, a good spiced rum is key. Give The Kraken a try—this dark rum is infused with a "secret blend of spices," according to the brand, with strong notes of vanilla and nutmeg leading the flavored charge. This is a bartender favorite.
Best American: Cardinal Lake House Spiced Rum
American craft distilleries are making excellent spiced rums these days. "One of my favorites is called Lake House Spiced Rum," says Demi Natoli, bar manager of Nashville’s White Limozeen. Lake House is made by Indiana’s Cardinal Spirits. "This rum is particularly cool because they naturally infuse all of their baking spices, including black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, orange peel and vanilla," she says. "The majority of spiced rums add artificial flavors (and sweeteners) to hide a crappy base spirit—however, Lake House does not add anything of that nature."
Best Caribbean: Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum
Cruzan is located in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. This distillery makes many different expressions (the single barrel is particularly good), including this spiced rum. Its name is based on the number of spices used as flavoring, including allspice, vanilla, pepper and juniper berry. Sip this on its own, or use it in a cocktail.
Best Craft: Twenty Boat Spiced Rum
Crafted in Truro, Massachusetts, Twenty Boat is named after the rum runners who scoured the area of Cape Cod Bay and beyond. The spices used to flavor it include cardamom, vanilla bean, anise and rose hip, all of which can be found at the nearby Atlantic Spice Company. This spiced rum is further proof that the craft movement can make spirits beyond whiskey and gin.
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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.