Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

20 Rum Cocktails to Try Right Now

Rum’s not just for Tiki cocktails and tropical drinks, but there are plenty of those on this list, too.

Island Oasis cocktail
Island Oasis Image:

Tyler Zielinski

The first half of this list is “bartender’s choice” cocktails, contemporary creations that come straight from the cocktail shakers of today’s top bartenders. The second half is classics, both pre-Prohibition standards and more modern ones that have achieved worldwide acclaim. You’re sure to find something for every palate among these 20 drinks.

The true beauty of rum lies in its versatility. The spirit is produced in more than 80 countries, and in a wide range of styles and proofs. With varieties that span from mild white rum to dark and full-bodied Navy-strength, chances are high that there’s a rum out there for every palate. 

And while rum is often lovely sipped on its own, its flavors really shine when mixed in cocktails. From the classic Daiquiri to tropical drinks like the Mai Tai and fun new twists like the Across the Pacific, the 20 drinks on this list are sure to introduce you to a new favorite. 

  • Across the Pacific

    Across the Pacific cocktail

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Meaghan Dorman, the bar director at Dear Irving and The Raines Law Room in New York City, invented this drink that brings the tropics to Italy, thanks to the addition of Averna amaro. It’s shaken with two kinds of rum, lime juice, and orgeat, then served over crushed ice with a lime wedge and grated nutmeg to make a drink that brings a transatlantic spin to the tropical traditions.

    Get the recipe.

  • Cable Car

    Cable Car cocktail

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Sweet, tart, and lightly spiced, this cocktail from Tony Abou-Ganim veers away from the tropical format and more toward a Sidecar. It employs spiced rum, orange curaçao, lemon juice, and simple syrup, shaken and served in a glass with a cinnamon-sugar rim.

    Get the recipe.

  • Rum Rangoon

    Rum Rangoon

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    This cocktail comes from bar vet Jim Meehan, who uses Banks 5-Island Rum, Clément Créole Shrubb liqueur, lime juice, sugar cane syrup, and orange and aromatic Angostura bitters to create a decidedly Caribbean-inflected drink.

    Get the recipe.

  • Beachbum's Own

    Beachbum's Own cocktail

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    This cocktail’s name is a good clue that it was created by Tiki historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry of Latitude 29 in New Orleans. Two kinds of rum go into the shaker along with Licor 43, lemon, orange, and pineapple juices, and a dollop of passion fruit puree. The resulting cocktail is definitely worth claiming as one’s own.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • Hot Butter(nut) Rum

    butternut-rum

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Rum often comes with tropical associations, but this drink from Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo proves the spirit plays well in the colder months, too. It is, yes, a riff on the Hot Buttered Rum, calling for combining hot Earl Grey tea with aged rum, falernum, a homemade butternut squash butter, and maple syrup to taste.

    Get the recipe.

  • Undead Gentleman

    undead-gentleman

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Somewhere between the classic tropical drinks Zombie and Jet Pilot lies this Tiki drink from Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco. Two different rums, grapefruit and lime juices, falernum, cinnamon syrup, and Angostura bitters get mixed and strained into an absinthe-rinsed glass. The eight ingredients—before you even get to the garnishes—may be more than many cocktails call for, but the resulting drink is worth the extra effort.

    Get the recipe.

  • High Horse

    high-horse
    Gina Haase

    Shannon Tebay, currently heading up the American Bar in London, created this cocktail while at NYC’s Death & Co. Calling it a rum Manhattan wouldn’t be far off; in a nod to Colonial-era ingredients, it uses aged rum, brandy, cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters. 

    Get the recipe.

  • One Last Midnight

    One Last Midnight

    Noah Fecks

    Another cocktail created by Dorman, this drink calls for aged Venezuelan rum and two Italian vermouths, plus a pinch of coffee-infused salt and a spritz of Islay scotch to finish. As its name implies, it makes an ideal nightcap.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • White Bat

    White Bat

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Bartending vet Simon Ford came up with this drink somewhere between a White Russian and a Rum & Coke. A mixture of rum, Kahlua, and whole milk gets topped with cola and garnished with mint leaves for a deliciously sweet guilty-pleasure drink.

    Get the recipe.

  • Island Oasis

    Island Oasis cocktail

    Tyler Zielinski

    A homemade pineapple shrub is the key ingredient in this refreshing summery cocktail from drinks educator Jena Ellenwood, adding acidity and spice to a mix that also calls for aged rum, pineapple juice, and coconut water. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Daiquiri

    daiquiri

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    As legend goes, this ultimate classic was invented 1898 in the mining town of Daiquiri on the southeastern tip of Cuba by an American mining engineer named Jennings Cox. With only three ingredients in the classic form of the recipe—light rum, lime juice, and simple syrup—and a bright, tart flavor, it’s no surprise the Daiquiri soon took the world by storm.

    Get the recipe.

  • Piña Colada

    pina-colada

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    The Piña Colada is often misunderstood. Since it debuted in 1952 at the Caribe Hilton in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, the blended cocktail took off, quickly becoming synonymous with overly sweet concoctions downed at poolside bars and on booze cruises. Tropical-cocktail aficionados and vacationers alike love the mix of rum, coconut, and lime and pineapple juices, though using quality ingredients certainly helps to render a top-notch version.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • Dark ’n Stormy

    Dark and Stormy

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    A close cousin to the Moscow Mule, this classic takes rum to a new level with just three ingredients. Technically, Gosling’s Black Seal rum is the only rum to be used in a Dark ‘n Stormy, since the company owns the trademark for its name. It’s a rich, flavorful rum from Bermuda and features notes of caramel, vanilla, and spice that perfectly balance the drink’s lime juice and ginger beer. The resulting cocktail looks like a storm but goes down dangerously smoothly.

    Get the recipe.

  • Jungle Bird

    Jungle Bird cocktail

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    This classic tropical cocktail, created in the 1970s at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton, has an unusual twist: the addition of Italian bitter liqueur Campari is used alongside black strap rum, pineapple and lime juices, and demerara syrup. The result is a balanced drink with a dark, bitter edge—still recognizable as a drink in the Tiki genre, but with a flavor that takes it into the colder months with ease.

    Get the recipe.

  • Mojito

    mojito

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    The origin of this cocktail is thought to lie in 16th-century Cuba, where a drink called El Draque—named for Sir Francis Drake, the English sea captain and explorer who visited Havana in 1586—was popular. Composed of aguardiente (a cane-spirit precursor to rum), lime, mint, and sugar, El Draque was supposedly consumed for medicinal purposes. Later, the aguardiente was swapped for white rum, and the rest is history. Though muddling the mint takes a bit of extra effort, the refreshing result is worth it.

    Get the recipe.

  • Mai Tai

    Mai Tai cocktail

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    This drink is one of the best-known Tiki cocktails in the world, and for good reason. Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron is often credited with inventing the drink at his bar in the 1940s, though it’s likely that Donn Beach laid the groundwork for the famous recipe during the 1930s at his Don the Beachcomber bar. It was invented as a way to showcase the flavors of rum, but over the years it became an overly sweet concoction thanks to bottled mixers and juices. In the spirit of the Tiki renaissance, our recipe goes back to the basics to form a well-balanced cocktail. 

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • Hot Buttered Rum

    buttered-rum

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Rum isn’t only for hot summer days and sandy beaches. This heated cocktail is ideal for winter months, thanks to its warmth and rich, complex flavor. Make a batch of batter—with butter, sugar, spices, and vanilla ice cream—and keep it in the freezer so you can make a cocktail whenever you need some warming up. Then, just mix it with gold rum and boiling water, and garnish it with freshly grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick to create a drink that’ll warm you from the inside out.

    Get the recipe.

  • Painkiller

    Painkiller cocktail

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    The Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands is the home of this twist on the Piña Colada,. Pusser’s Rum (it’s another trademarked drink) is mixed with pineapple, orange, and coconut to create a tropical cocktail that will certainly cure—or at least make you forget—whatever ails you, even if it's just a sunburn.

    Get the recipe.

  • Bahama Mama

    Bahama Mama cocktail

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Another misunderstood drink often found in sugary form at beachside resorts, this midcentury classic is better than most people know. Its true recipe calls for coffee liqueur alongside two types of rum and lemon and pineapple juices, which tamps down the fruity sweetness and adds an earthy depth, taking the drink from a sugary fruit punch to a complex but still-tropical cocktail
    Get the recipe.

  • El Presidente

    El Presidente cocktail

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog 

    Originally created in the early 1900s in Cuba and most likely named for President Mario García Menocal, who ran the country from 1913 to 1921, El Presidente was invented to satisfy the thirsts of vacationers looking for good weather and booze during Prohibition. After the alcohol ban ended, they brought the cocktail stateside, where it died out in popularity and was then revived in the aughts by curious drinkers looking to sip this interesting combo of white rum, dry vermouth, orange curaçao, and grenadine. 

    Get the recipe.