You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.
Have more shopping to do? Find more bottles in our Holiday Gift Guide.
Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.
“It’s one of my favorite Dominican rums. When I lived in the Dominican Republic in the early 2000s, it was about $9 a liter. The price has gone up a little bit, but it’s still the best. It has a dry finish and really funky earthy body.”—Aaron Paul, bar director at San Francisco's Alta
“The grassy motor oil profile I find in this bottle is a robust shock to the system. If you’re looking for a smooth sipper, I would steer you away from this, but if you like to dress up a cocktail, I would look no further.”—Peder Schweigert, general manager at Minneapolis' Marvel Bar
“It’s heavy on flavor and low on pretense. Ed Hamilton always sources terrific juice. This is a punch rum through and through.”—Bodenheimer
“This sugar cane rum from Crested Butte, Colo., has interesting characteristics that I've personally never tasted in a rum before. Aromas of fresh coconut, crème brûlée and flan fill your nose with delight . Due to being aged 12 months in third-fill whiskey barrels (after their oro rum has aged a year as the second fill), banana, custard and toasted coconut jump out upon first taste, then it finishes with light baking spices. It’s a truly unique and delicious rum.”—Alicia Walton, owner and bartender at San Francisco's Sea Star
“This is my favorite spiced rum on the market. The funky rum base still shines through the addition of spices and subtle vanilla.”—Thorn
“When it comes to a good sipping rum that can still shine in a cocktail, you can't beat this rum. It is perfect for enjoying on its own, either on ice or just neat, and has everything you could look for in an aged rum, such as lush notes of brown sugar, banana and vanilla. In addition, it makes a gorgeous Corn ’N’ Oil, one of my favorite classic Tiki drinks, that truly benefits from the use of authentic Barbados rum.”—Erick Castro, owner and bartender at San Diego's Polite Provisions
Mixing your cocktail