It’s the simplest of two-ingredient cocktails: The recipe is right there in the drink’s name. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. A favorite of many bar pros as well as casual drinkers, this simple drink can be customized to your individual taste in a number of ways. Proportions matter, as does the type of rum used.
There’s really no wrong type of rum to use in a Rum & Coke. White or light rum, dark rum, and even spiced rum all work equally well; it’s up to your personal preferences which style you should go with. You might even try a combination of different types of rum: Using half light and half dark rum will produce a light, bright drink with vanilla and caramel notes on the finish.
The cola you choose matters significantly, since it will make up by far the largest portion of the drink. The classic Coca-Cola is a great choice, since its relatively high acidity renders it a good match with rum. Alternatively, go with Mexican Coke if you want something slightly less sweet (it’s made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup), or try a cola that’s made especially for use in cocktails, such as Fever-Tree’s Distillers Cola.
Adding a half-ounce or so of freshly squeezed lime juice never hurts; it works amazingly well to brighten the drink. Although, technically, that minor addition—or even a mere lime-wedge garnish—turns it into a different cocktail entirely, the Cuba Libre, the drink from which the Rum & Coke evolved. A couple dashes of Angostura bitters is another optional but worthwhile addition, serving to amp up the cola’s flavors and adding baking-spice notes to the finish.
As for proportions, again, that’s up to you, but keep in mind that a 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 mix of cola to rum generally leads to the most balanced drink. If you prefer yours sweeter or more spirit-forward, though, we won’t judge: As with all cocktails, the only rule is to make your drink however you like to drink it.
- 2 ounces rum
- Cola, chilled, to top (4-6 ounces, to taste)
Add all ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice and stir gently and briefly to combine.