The 15 best rums to drink this winter
Rum can be enjoyed neat, in a cocktail and even in food recipes - here’s some you should try
Despite its tropical associations, rum’s blend of sweetness and spice means it’s thoroughly at home in the festive season.
But for those who want to enjoy a tot for its own sake, here is The Week’s selection of the best rums on the market.
The Filipino island of Negros is so closely associated with sugar production that it’s sometimes known as Sugarlandia. The fertile canefields, arranged around an active volcano, also supply the distillery that makes Don Papa, a deceptively smooth small batch rum. Drink it straight and enjoy the rich aroma of vanilla and molasses, sharpened by a hint of grapefruit - or use it in classic rum cocktails. A Don Papa negroni (40ml rum, 20ml sweet vermouth, 25ml Aperol) is dangerously drinkable.
Black Tot 50th Anniversary Rum
This limited edition blend has been launched to commemorate 50 years since Black Tot Day - the day the British Navy were given their final ration of rum. Combining rums from the four cornerstones of the original Navy rum - Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad as well as rum from the original Navy Rum flagons themselves - only 5,000 bottles of Black Tot 50th Anniversary Rum have been produced. On the palate vanilla comes through nicely and there’s a sweetness with fruity and nutty flavours on the finish. A 50th anniversary gift set has also been released to mark the milestone.
Five Hundred Cuts Botanical Rum from BrewDog Distilling Co.
Described as Christmas cake in a glass, BrewDog has created one of the world’s first botanical rums. An authentic, handmade spiced rum, Five Hundred Cuts features seasonal Christmas flavours of Tonka beans, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, orange peel and cloves. Perfect for slow sipping it can also be served with Fever Tree’s ginger ale and a slice of lime for added zing.
Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Rum
This new rum from Appleton Estate is aged entirely in Jamaica and each drop is a minimum eight years old, giving it a richer, fuller flavour. It reveals aromas of spicy fruit and oak, followed by hints of honey, vanilla and Appleton Estate’s signature orange peel note.
Cane Toad: Ruby Eyes Ruby Chocolate Rum
Manchester-based craft distillery Zymurgorium has used ruby chocolate to make a spirit, blending premium rum to create an exciting new tipple, boasting the flavour and texture of silk, deep chocolate and ripe berries. It can be served as a frappe style alcoholic beverage with cream, raspberry syrup, ice and white chocolate pieces to create the ultimate sipping drink.
RedLeg Spiced Rum
This spiced rum is made by blending the best rums from the Caribbean and leaving them to rest in oak barrels before infusing with Jamaican vanilla and ginger. With a sweet aroma followed by warming ginger, it works with simple mixers or in classic rum cocktails such as mojito or hot rum punch.
Discarded Banana Peel Infused Rum
An undiscovered treasure, “finishing” rum used to prepare empty whisky casks for the final phase of maturation has now been repurposed to form the base of Discarded Banana Peel Infused Rum. Discarded sources the banana peel and it is recovered to dry out and ferment, to enable maximum concentration of flavour. When the peel is ready, it’s then steeped in alcohol for two weeks to extract optimum flavour. The rum and banana peel extract are then married together for another two days to complete the blending process. The final product creates a banoffee pie character throughout the palate.
Cabby’s White Rum by the Taxi Spirit Co
“In the daytime, I drive a black cab. At night time, I distil.” These are the words of London cab driver Moses Odong, who has opened the capital’s first ever rum distillery, aptly named Taxi Spirit Co. The first product to be launched was the award-winning Cabby’s White Rum, which has rich, full-bodied taste notes of sweet cane, delicious black treacle, a hint of oak and refreshing coconut and citrus. Taxi Spirit Co also offers Cabby’s Spiced Rum and Cabby’s Gin.
Copalli Barrel-rested Rum
An organic, single estate rum from the heart of the Belizean rainforest, crafted with conservation, community and authenticity at its core. It’s made from just three ingredients, sugar cane, canopy water and yeast. The rum is “rested” in casks that previously held bourbon, giving it gorgeous vanilla-rich notes.
Mad City Botanical Rum
This premium white rum by Foxhole Spirits is enhanced and invigorated with a recipe of 25 botanicals - with more depth, more flavour and more complexity than ever before. Mad City is the ultimate tipple for rum fans, cocktail lovers and curious drinkers who are looking beyond gin.
Equiano, the world’s first premium aged rum from Africa and the Caribbean, is 100% natural and is made with no spices, no additives and no added sugar. Inspired by the Nigerian-born writer, entrepreneur, abolitionist and freedom fighter Olaudah Equiano, the rum offers a blend of two cultures, two distilleries and two islands.
Grander Panama Rum
Grander is that rare thing in the rum world: a spirit that is completely additive free, with absolutely no added flavourings, colourings or sugars. Two ages are available – an eight-year-old and a 12-year-old. Both of these high-quality Panamanian rums have been aged in ex-boubon barrels, lending them a rich oaky taste with gentle hints of dried fruit, and of course, bourbon. Perfectly good as a mixer to liven up your cocktail parties, but best enjoyed the way they are drunk in Panama: neat, so you can properly appreciate their smoothness and complexity.
Jamaica Cove Black Ginger
Jamaica Cove Black Ginger is a premium rum which draws its inspiration from the long history of smuggling along Cornwall’s rugged coastline. It is a blend of Jamaican Pot and Column Stills, infused with ginger, this gives the spirit a bold flavour profile. On drinking the subtle hints of lemongrass and citrus really come to the fore, resulting in a very satisfying sipping experience. Ginger is an increasingly popular ingredient among bartenders and this single botanical infusion with an aged Jamaican rum, adds a perfect depth of flavour to classic long drinks, such as the Jamaica Mule.
Elements Eight Republica rum
A premium aged blend of two single rums, sourced from distilleries in Cuba and Panama, Republica is produced from traditional column stills. Producers Elements Eight promise that this rum is a break from the “orthodox” and it’s easy to see why. The Cuban rum provides earthy, green, dry flavours that marry well with the rich, woody and sweeter Panama concoction. It carries a nice spiciness to it which makes for quite a complex drinking experience and is very suitable for mixing.
At the core of this fabulous rum lies the very finest high proof Caribbean spirit, which has been blended with creamy Madagascan vanilla and a generous helping of zesty orange peel. This rum is rich, profoundly intense and very moreish. It even looks the part too, with each bottle individually wrapped by hand in crinkled brown paper, wound with twine and sealed with black wax. Rumbullion! can be enjoyed either neat or with ice and a squeeze of fresh lime.