What’s better than a refreshing rum cocktail to wind down? Whether you like light or dark rum, fruity or spicy flavors, we’ve created a comprehensive list that covers all the bases.
When most people think of rum, their minds go to sweet, fruity cocktails to sip by the pool. In fact, rum is actually very versatile and able to be used in drinks of all flavor profiles. Many rum-based cocktails are designed to mask the flavor of alcohol, but some, like the Rum Old Fashioned, allow you to experience the taste of a nice bold rum.
I’ve put together a list of 21 classic rum cocktails, some fruity and some not so much. Some of my favorites on this list are the Bushwacker and Mai Tai. We’ve got you covered whether you’re lounging on the beach or cozying up after a long day.
We’re starting off with one you may not have tried yet. This creamy cocktail is an adaptation of the textbook Bee’s Knees gin cocktail. It only uses three ingredients so you can whip it up in no time. With light rum, honey, and heavy cream, it’s the perfect after dinner treat.
Honey can be difficult to fully dissolve even when shaken. Use a honey syrup instead so that the sweetness blends into the entire drink. Just add everything into a shaker with ice, shake, strain, and enjoy! You can sprinkle some nutmeg on top if you want to get fancy.
Piña Coladas are a classic summer cocktail made of rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream. Add a splash of lime juice to strengthen the flavor. They’re meant to be a frozen drink, but you can drink them shaken if there isn’t a blender handy.
Piña Coladas are incredibly popular vacation drinks because they’re sweet and the ingredients would typically come from tropical areas like the Caribbean. Top yours off with a mini umbrella or swirly straw for extra fun!
The Old Cuban is a newer cocktail created in just 2001! It’s perfect for those who want a little bit of bite to their cocktail without tasting too much burn. It has simple syrup, lime, mint, bitters, aged rum, and a splash of champagne.
Inspired by a French 75 and Mojito (very different, we know), this incredible drink earned its spot on the International Bar Association’s list of official cocktails.
See Also: Manhattan vs Old Fashioned
Let’s get one thing straight. A true Mai Tai is not the unbearably sweet drink that most tiki bars and cruise lines serve. Dark rum, orgeat syrup, lime juice, orange liqueur, and aged rum make a Mai Tai tangy and sweet with notes of vanilla.
Back in the 1940s, the drink gained popularity at Trader Vic’s restaurant in California. It spread like wildfire for being the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and rum forward. Definitely try making it at home before you order one out and taste the difference!
“One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak.” This classic Jamaican punch is just what you need to sit back, relax and feel a little bit of paradise. Both light and dark rum mixed with orange, lime, pineapple, and grenadine come together for a beach party in your mouth.
Garnish with an orange slice, maraschino cherry, mint sprig, or pineapple wedge to make it look as beautiful as it tastes. You can serve Rum Punch in a large punch bowl with fruit floaters or in clear Hurricane glasses to show off the vibrant color.
If you haven’t tried a Mojito yet, you are missing out! Mojitos are the absolute best drink to cool off with on a hot summer day. Though they take a tad more work than the other cocktails on this list, it’s totally worth it.
Muddle the mint first in your shaker to release the aroma and intensify the minty flavor. Then just add lime, rum, and ice, and give it a shake.
Strain, top with club soda, and you’re done! You can muddle fresh fruit like blueberries, strawberries, or watermelon to make things interesting. Mojitos can be played with in a million ways and still taste phenomenal.
See Also: Pineapple Orange Coconut Rum Cocktail
The Dark and Stormy is a simple yet solid cocktail for those who love rum but don’t want a bunch of sugar taking over every sip. Mix dark rum with ginger beer and some lime juice for an ever refreshing, strong cocktail.
The lime juice is optional and often just squeezed in from the garnish to each individual’s preference. It literally takes less than five minutes to make, so if you want a quick drink, this is your best bet.
It’s no surprise that the Hurricane comes from no other than New Orleans, Louisiana. This colorful creation is sweet like candy and strong enough for the best of them. Since the rum is practically undetectable, Hurricanes are a popular party drink.
There are seven ingredients here, all important and all delish. We have lime, orange, passion fruit, grenadine, simple syrup, and both dark and light rum. You guessed it, this drink is a sweet one, which is why it’s so beloved in the rambunctious streets of N’awlins.
This one here is another tropical cocktail that you’ll often see people enjoying poolside in the summertime. Banana liqueur and blackberry liqueur make this drink what it is, but the other ingredients vary depending on where you look.
It’s most often made with lime, pineapple, and orange juices, but bottled mixes are frequently used, too. Try using fresh-squeezed fruit juice to cut back on the extra sugars while keeping the flavors pure.
Here we have yet another vacation drink but this time coffee liqueur takes the stage. When combined, the sweetness of pineapple juice, acidity of lemon, and deep taste of coffee make for a deliciously well-balanced cocktail.
All you have to do is shake together the ingredients, strain, and serve over ice. It takes less than five minutes to make and tastes so good your guests will be asking for seconds in no time.
This drink is simple, strong, and straight to the point. All you need is light rum, lime juice, triple sec, and maraschino liqueur. It’s served up in a martini glass or coupe, making it as classy as ever.
Top it off with a curly lime peel or add a splash of grenadine for a visual appeal! This drink is perfect if you want to get a slight buzz without drinking a ton of liquid and getting full.
If you love Piña Coladas (and getting caught in the rain) this is your drink! Like a Piña Colada, it has pineapple juice and coconut cream, it adds orange juice and swaps our light rum for dark rum.
Whether you’re having a backyard barbeque or cruising on a boat in the Bahamas, you can’t go wrong with a Pain Killer. Top this fruity refreshment off with a pineapple wedge and a sprinkle of nutmeg to complement the spicy undertones.
The next drink on our list is as fun to drink as it is to look at. This concoction brings together the flavors of dark rum, Campari, pineapple, and lime for a refreshing and well-balanced experience. Campari is a liqueur with hints of cherry, clove, orange peel, and cinnamon.
To suit its name, bartenders garnish this masterpiece with a pineapple wedge, Luxardo cherry, and a few of the spiky leaves to resemble a tropical bird.
Light rum, fresh lime juice, and demerara sugar syrup are all you need to a classic, exemplar daiquiri. Shaken and served up is originally how the famous mixed drink was served. Nowadays we’ve played with the recipe enough to know that almost any variation of this drink tastes amazing.
On a warm day, Daiquiris can be blended with frozen fruit for a cool, nectarous refreshment. Strawberry is a popular flavor, but banana is my personal favorite. The best part is, you can easily blend up a large batch to share with friends.
The Rum Swizzle is another tiki cocktail that you need to try. It’s got all the fruity juices and a whole lot of dark rum and bitters. Throw some fruit on top and you’ve got a beautiful cocktail that goes down easy. Fun fact – the Rum Swizzle is actually Bermuda’s national drink!
I’m absolutely obsessed with this drink. It’s got coffee, maple syrup, Angostura bitters, tonic water, and some orange zest. As the name implies, this is a good last drink of the night to help lull you to sleep. For some people, though, the coffee is enough to wake them up and keep the party going!
You probably wouldn’t think of combining these ingredients but when you do, you’re in for a real treat.
Hot Buttered Rum is exactly what it sounds like! Filled with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla, it’s sure to hit the spot on those cold winter nights. It’s what I imagine Butterbeer tastes like (but with rum, of course).
This cozy cocktail takes longer to make than some on this list, but all good things take a little effort. Next time you’re snowed in, try a Hot Buttered Rum while you’re stuck inside watching movies or reading a good book.
The Rum Flip is a creamy, decadent winter cocktail that you most likely already have the ingredients for. Shockingly simple, this only calls for rum, a whole egg, heavy cream, and sugar. Some bartenders prefer simple syrup to the sugar and cream mixture.
Adding the whole egg is uncommon but provides texture and extra froth. Simply shake all ingredients well with ice, strain, and serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top of the foam. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Eggnog is a holiday classic and this variation is the perfect blend. You may be thinking, isn’t this the same as the Rum Flip? Actually, eggnog calls for the egg yolk and white to be separated and whisked separately. In the Rum Flip, everything is shaken together.
I like to bring eggnog to my holiday parties since it’s pretty seasonal. It looks great with cinnamon sticks, whipped cream, and some nutmeg to garnish.
If you needed an excuse to try an alcoholic milkshake, this is it. Get ready to be amazed. This cold, creamy creation has chocolate, coffee, and coconut. Yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds.
To be specific, the Bushwacker has dark rum, Kahlua, creme de cacao, coconut cream, and chocolate ice cream (only if you want). It’s great for cooling down in the summer heat or as a dessert treat. Don’t take my word for how great this is – you have got to try it for yourself!
In contrast to some of the sweeter rum-based drinks out there, the Rum Old Fashioned is a strong sipper. Most people make this with dark rum, demerara syrup, and both Angostura and orange bitters. I highly suggest this if you’re a lover of Old Fashioned but sometimes crave a different base spirit. Garnish with an orange peel and Luxardo cherry for a finishing touch.
Other Drink Options
Hopefully, something on this list is just what you were looking for.
From the sweet end of the spectrum with the Hurricane to the strong end with the Rum Old Fashioned, there is a rum drink out there for everyone.
The great thing about rum is that its sugar cane base makes it blend well with sweet drinks, while its spiced qualities add complexity and depth to any drink.
Just like in any recipe, what you put in is what you’ll get out of it. Use a nice, high-quality rum if you want the best cocktail you can get. If possible, go for fresh squeezed juices over mixed concentrates, and shake with love.
I don’t know about you, but I think it might be time for a drink!