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.
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 the last remaining stock of the original Royal Naval Rum Tot. You can drink a piece of history if you're willing to pay the price.”—Bodenheimer
“The name says it all; this rum is truly exquisite. It's such a beautifully complex rum, with notes of mocha, tobacco and honey.”—Holguin
“This is an exceptionally well-made and matured rum. It’s produced without the addition of any sugar or coloring after distillation. This premium example of Barbados rum is a delight to enjoy neat.”—Kevin Beary, beverage director at Chicago's Three Dots and a Dash
“Richard Seale from Foursquare Distillery in Barbados makes some of the best rum in the world, and this limited-edition is no exception. This full-flavored sipper gets its unique flavor from a blend of 10-year-old rums aged in ex-bourbon casks and ex-Madeira casks.”—Paul McGee, owner and bartender at Chicago's Lost Lake
“This is one of my favorite long-aged rhum agricoles. It’s more than worthy to be enjoyed neat.”—Beary
“A deliciously smooth rum, Mount Gay 1703 is a blend of 10- to 30-year-old rums that give it flavors of spice and dried tropical fruits.”—Holguin
“This high-proof (140 proof) rum evokes a sense of place more than a specific profile for me. It's grassiness reminds me of a challenging walk in the Badlands in fall, right before a drink of water. It’s hard to describe and not for the faint of heart but a study in the limits of sugar cane distillation.”—Peder Schweigert, general manager at Minneapolis' Marvel Bar
“This rum is a great introduction to demerara rum. At 45 percent ABV, it’s a powerful pot-still rum distilled from fermented cane syrup. It is funky and rich and would be a great rum for a seasoned whiskey drinker to experiment with bolder rum styles.”—Beary