Whiskey sippers, step aside. Rum is on the rebound, and if you don’t believe us, just take a peek at the cocktail menu of your favorite watering hole. Bartenders from Brooklyn to Boulder are experimenting with rum’s many styles and flavors, creating drinks that showcase the spirit in all of its glorious diversity. These are the 10 rum cocktails to drink in bars now.
Can't make it to any of the bars serving these great rum cocktails? Try mixing the Holy Water from this list at home.
Seaworthy beverage director Matt Ray created the Holy Water as the restaurant’s flagship cocktail, served tableside in a custom tarot glass from local shop Flambeauxs. He steeps Hamilton Jamaican gold rum with golden raisins, orange peels, vanilla bean, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and other spices. Shaken with Maison rouge cognac, lemon, lime and grapefruit juices, the drink gains yet more spice from a float of Angostura bitters. A half-lime garnish filled with Green Chartreuse and a sugar cube is then lit tableside, caramelizing the sugar and releasing aromas of citrus, herbs and spice.
The ambitious new ONE65 is a multilevel French culinary destination encompassing everything from patisserie/café to fine dining. On the fourth floor, Elements is a sleek low-light bar serving elegant cocktails from bar director Trevin Hutchins and his team. A large selection of whiskeys, liquor lockers for members and a menu showcasing the four elements— air, water, earth and fire—draw you in. The Fortune Favors the Bold is a house blend of four rums. With typical Tiki complexity, the drink is then layered with the spice and sweetness of falernum, Giffard Vanille de Madagascar liqueur and Donn’s Mix (grapefruit-cinnamon syrup) and balanced by a bright kick of passion fruit and bitter depth from Cynar.
While snacking on uni shooters and salmon skin chicharrón at The Hidden Pearl, peruse the handful of Japanese shochus or order drinks with Japanese influence in ingredients like ume (Japanese plum) or togarashi. The Flying Fox takes inspiration from the classic Daiquiri with its rum and lime base, combining smooth Caña Brava rum with the beautiful funk of Haiti’s Clairin rhum agricole and a touch of Del Maguey Vida mezcal. Then cinnamon spice and acidic, fruity notes from Giffard crème de pamplemousse rose and pineapple are added.
Chef Alex Seidel opened Mercantile Dining & Provisions in 2014 as one of the early businesses in Denver’s restored Union Station. The all-day vibe is chill yet refined, offering a leisurely breakfast and lunch at the bar serving the likes of fried chicken bánh mi. At night, there are dishes like butter-poached sturgeon or morel mushroom custard. Cocktails keep in step, like the Big Red, with its blessed rum funk from a blend of Rhum J.M. agricole blanc and Smith & Cross Jamaican rum, mixed with a vibrant dose of black cherry, cucumber, spearmint and lime.
James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz’s Tigertail + Mary opened last spring in an indoor-outdoor space marked by live foliage, all-day dining and executive chef Stephen Ullrich’s food. Billy Yoder runs the bar while Miami’s Bar Lab team created cocktails like the Tigertail Daiquiri, inspired by Coconut Grove, the restaurant’s neighborhood. Coconut-fat-washed white rum, Cocchi Americano vermouth and lime juice moves from tart and creamy to toasted and herbal with house-made fennel syrup.
Sunny and casual Naive café is a charming neighborhood spot for a Louisville rarity: locally sourced vegetarian food. Cocktails are often straightforward and easy-drinking, like the Malibu Man, a welcome rum refresher of white rum, vivid with pineapple, turmeric and lemon. The drink gains soothing, cool notes from cucumber and Chareau aloe liqueur.
One of Boulder’s most exciting openings in 2018, Corrida not only boasts killer mountain views from its expansive fourth-floor dining room and outdoor patio but it offers a rare local offering of Spanish tapas, a vermouth and sherry selection, Spanish Gin & Tonics and steaks. The cocktail menu goes well beyond G&Ts with drinks like the Photobomb, deftly combining Street Pumas rum, Yellow Chartreuse, Campari and Bougie Syrups orgeat with a burst of lime, blood orange and absinthe.
Magical city views, firepits, couches and quality bites keep Chairmaine’s rooftop bar at the Proper hotel perpetually packed. Drinks enhance the view, with Banks 5 Island rum showcased in the Let Me Touch Your Mind, a creamy cocktail of coconut, pineapple and lime over crushed ice. Where it says on the menu “topped with a Negroni,” the tall drink essentially gains bitter intrigue from a float of Campari, sweet vermouth and gin.
Masahiro Urushido’s Katana Kitten is as special a venture as you’d expect from the bar vet, down to Japanese movie posters, a communal-seating basement and his grandmother’s irresistible fujimi crispy chicken recipe. The drinks also shine, whether Boilermakers or a creative highball section. Barbados meets Japan in the Yuzu-Shio Daiquiri with its blend of Mount Gay rum and Cor Cor Okinawan rum, kicked up with yuzu and lime, balanced by salt and koji and silky with pandan leaf.
Chicago’s veggie-forward (but not vegetarian) restaurant great Bad Hunter sadly closed for seven months after a kitchen fire. But after reopening June 17, chef Dan Snowden’s wood-fired grilling, smoking and fermentation is all back. Bar manager Vinny Starble kept things fresh during the close with local and national pop-ups. He also created a new cocktail menu aptly titled “Re:Birth,” heavy on Bad Hunter’s sustainable, local and seasonal ethos (so no citrus but instead acid from verjus, wine and vinegars). The Silken Sunrise features Santa Teresa 1796 and Smith & Cross rums mixed with Leblon cachaça’s grassy goodness and oxidized nuance from Bual Madeira. This base is mixed with Indian masala spice, creamy-nuttiness from tofu puree and a Tiki-tropical whisper from Giffard Banane du Brésil liqueur and coconut.