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Dark rum is a delicious choice, but white rum is a true cocktail staple. This clear spirit brings all the vanilla, brown sugar, and fruit notes of rum to life without affecting the way a drink looks. Some white rum is unaged, but many brands mature their rum in barrels for a period of time before filtering the spirit to remove all or most of the color. There are many different brands to choose from, so we asked bar industry experts to narrow down the best white rums to drink now.
Best Overall: The Real McCoy 3 Year Old
The Real McCoy is the real deal, a rum that comes from Barbados' esteemed Foursquare Distillery. This rum is aged for three years before being charcoal filtered just once to remove the color. The result is an excellent sipper that can also be used in any cocktail, filled with bright notes of citrus, banana, caramel and coconut.
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Best Budget: Bacardi Superior
Puerto Rico's Bacardi is practically synonymous with affordable rum. “Bacardi Superior is the go-to classic white rum for all sorts of cocktails,” says Darnell Holguin, co-host of the Azucar y Limon podcast and beverage partner of Las' Lap. “[It] has a wonderful balance of flavors from its proprietary blend. There are notes of almonds and lime that are complemented by hints of vanilla, and the finish is dry, crisp and clean. It’s delicious with just soda and lime.”
Best Sipper: Ten To One White Rum
Ten To One is a relatively new rum brand that launched in 2019. The white rum is a blend of column and pot-distilled rum from the Dominican Republic and Jamaica respectively. No sugar, color or flavor is added, and it’s bottled at a higher 90 proof, making this a complex and enjoyable rum to spend some time sipping.
Best for Mojito: Havana Club Anejo Blanco
"Havana Club Anejo Blanco has a clean taste with fruity aromas, hints of vanilla and oak,” says Reniel Garcia, the bar director of Havana 1957 in Miami Beach. “It is distilled in Puerto Rico using a two-part aging process.” The rum is aged for a year, then blended together and aged for another two months. The result is the perfect rum to mix with some lime and mint for a classic Mojito.
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Best for Piña Colada: Myers’s Platinum Rum
"There's nothing like a high-quality rum,” says Nestor Marchand, the director of food and beverage at Plunge Beach Resort in Florida. “But when I think of a good white rum to mix rather than sip, Myers’s Platinum Rum comes to mind. It's a little on the lighter side with a rich, authentic flavor.” Try this one in a Piña Colada, as the lightness of the Jamaican rum will not overpower the other flavors of this classic frozen drink.
Best Splurge: Rhum J.M. Agricole Blanc
This spirit is spelled with an “h” because it’s actually rhum agricole from Martinique. That means that it’s distilled from sugarcane juice instead of molasses. Rhum J.M. might cost a bit more than your average bottle, but the earthy palate with notes of citrus, banana, and caramel makes it worth the price. This bottle tastes great on its own or used in any cocktail.
Best Aged Over 5 Years: Diplomatico Planas
Diplomatico is a rum distillery based in Venezuela. “This rum stands out for its aging process (six years), which results in a rich and chewy rum with notes of cappuccino and a nutty finish,” says Frederic Najem, the director of food and beverage at Bank & Bourbon and Loews Philadelphia Hotel. “It could be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or it can also be an excellent main ingredient for delicate cocktails.”
Best for Daiquiri: Plantation 3 Stars
"Plantation 3 Stars White Rum is a mix of the best three terroirs in the Caribbean: Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad,” says Carlos Lopez, the bar manager of Stiltsville Fish Bar in Miami Beach. “It’s the perfect rum for a classic Daiquiri and Mojito.” This expression is a blend of unaged and two- to three-year-old rum, with a touch of older Jamaican rum for some extra flavor.
Best Puerto Rican: Don Q Cristal
Don Q is one of the most popular rum brands in Puerto Rico. “What is special about this Puerto Rican rum is that it has been aged for a minimum of 18 months in American oak barrels, then goes through a process of carbon filtration for a more smooth and refined taste,” says Pablo Guerrero, the food and beverage manager of Azabu Miami Beach. “It can be enjoyed as a sipping rum, and it will also produce great cocktails.”
Best American: Bayou White Rum
The American rum scene is thriving, with distilleries around the country making excellent versions of this spirit. Down south in Louisiana you’ll find Bayou, a distillery making rum in copper pot stills using locally grown sugarcane. The white rum is floral and light, with notes of vanilla, tropical fruit and a bit of honey on the palate.
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Best South American: Flor de Caña 4 Year Old Extra Seco
Nicaraguan distillery Flor de Caña makes rum near the base of a volcano using sustainable methods. There are a variety of aged rums in the lineup, including this white rum—a blend aged for an average of four years that is filtered to remove color. No sugar is added, earning the rum the “seco” or “dry” designation. There’s a bit of natural sweetness at play here, along with some notes of vanilla and citrus.
Best Craft: Cutwater Three Sheets Rum
San Diego’s Cutwater Spirits is a small distillery that makes an impressive array of craft spirits, along with ready-to-drink canned cocktails. One spirit that can be found in the cocktails and bottled on its own is Three Sheets Rum. This white rum is made from cane sugar, not molasses, and is a stellar example of how the American craft scene has embraced the art of rum making.
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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.