- August 16 is National Rum Day, so if you’re looking for a way to spend your Sunday afternoon, you should choose making rum cocktails.
- Whether you prefer dark or white rum, with fresh fruit juice, the spirit can easily transform into an island resort-worthy drink that you can enjoy from home.
- Try a classic Dark ‘n Stormy or Mojito for a quick, refreshing fix, or go tropical with a Daiquiri or fruity Mai Tai.
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As summer winds down (yes, it’s already mid-August), you’ve probably had your fill by now of margaritas and rosés. What’s next? Rum.
With origins in the Caribbean, rum is a spirit that’s made from distilling and fermenting the molasses that’s created as a by-product when sugarcane is processed into sugar. Rums can vary widely in aroma and flavor, from vanilla and caramel to cloves and spice, especially when comparing light versus dark rum.
But regardless of what kind of rum you like, or which bottle you have on hand, pretty much any rum can be whipped up into a yummy cocktail for your National Rum Day celebrations. Here are 15 recipes from iconic distilleries and expert mixologists.
1. Light After Dark
This recipe features Bali Hai Tiki Dark rum from Cutwater Spirits, which is made from the company’s four year barrel-aged rum combined with a lighter white rum, merging flavors of warm toffee, caramel, and vanilla. Mixed with fresh citrus and fruit juice, this cocktail is an easy summer refresher.
- 2 oz Bali Hai Tiki Dark Rum
- 1 oz lime juice
- .75 oz orange juice
- .75 oz pineapple juice
- .5oz vanilla syrup
Method: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake until cold and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange slice.
2. Monkey Wrench
This recipe features two more bottles from Cutwater. First, you have their Bali Hai Tiki Monkey, which is a rum combined with cream, cold brew coffee, cocoa nibs, and natural banana flavors for a one-stop vacation mode shop. Blend in the Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum, which features tropical flavors of pineapple and coconut, with a banana and chocolate syrup, and you’ve got your daily serving of fruit taken care of, too.
- 3 oz Bali Hai Tiki Monkey
- 1 oz Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum
- 1 banana
- Chocolate syrup
Method: Blend all ingredients together with ice. Drizzle chocolate syrup on the side of the glass, and pour. Garnish with shaved chocolate.
3. Dark ‘n Stormy
This famous (and trademarked) recipe comes from Goslings Rum, Bermuda’s oldest and largest export, and is one of the most classic and straightforward ways to enjoy rum.
- 2 oz Goslings Black Seal Rum
- 6 oz ginger beer (preferably Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer)
Method: In a glass filled with ice, add Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer and top with a float of Goslings Black Seal Rum. Optional: Garnish with a lime wedge.
4. South Shore
If you’re looking for a slightly sweeter rum, try the lighter Goslings Gold Seal. This rum offers a butterscotch taste with touches of vanilla, florals, and nutmeg. Combined with lemonade, ginger beer, and mint, it’s simple and refreshing.
- 2 oz Goslings Gold Seal Rum
- 4 oz lemonade
- 2 oz Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer
- Fresh mint
Method: Fill a highball glass with ice, pour in Gold Seal Rum, lemonade, and ginger beer. Slap two to four mint leaves to release flavorful oils, add to the glass, and stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge and mint sprig.
5. Zacapa Sour
This sour features Zacapa 23, an rum that is produced in Guatemala. The Zacapa 23 Centenario is a solid mid-hued spirit, with notes of butterscotch, raisin, and warm oak. Shaken thoroughly with fresh citrus, this cocktail is a smooth introduction for people who are new to drinking rum.
- 1.5 oz Zacapa 23 Centenario
- 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
- 0.75 oz simple syrup
- Edible flowers
Method: Combine all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with edible flowers.
6. White Mojito
Captain Morgan is no longer the rum of your college weekend flashbacks — here, it’s elevated in a classic Mojito with lime and mint.
- 1.5 oz Captain Morgan White Rum
- .5 oz simple syrup
- 6 mint leaves
- Half lime, sliced
- 1 oz club soda
Method: Muddle limes and mint, Captain Morgan White Rum, and simple syrup together. Add ice and top with club soda. Garnish with mint and lime.
7. Beach Side Chiller
For tropical with a touch of spice, top off Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum with a touch of their White Coconut Rum, pineapple and orange juice, and cream of coconut.
- 1.5 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
- .5 oz Captain Morgan White Coconut Rum
- 4 ounces pineapple juice
- 1 oz cream of coconut
- 1 oz orange juice
Method: Mix together Captain Morgan original spiced rum, Captain Morgan white Coconut rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and orange juice. Garnish with pineapple leaf.
8. The Burrell Daiquiri
If you want to splurge on a fancier bottle of rum, try this recipe featuring Equiano Rum by the company’s cocreator, expert mixologist, and world renowned rum ambassador Ian Burrell. This rum has a natural sweetness, with notes of orange peel, butterscotch, and sweet pepper, and pairs smoothly in Burrell’s twist on a classic Daiquiri.
- 2 oz Equiano
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- .5 oz agave nectar
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- Twist of orange garnish
Method: Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain in chilled cocktail glass — serve straight up; without ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
9. Gold + Stormy
Burrell softens the classic Dark n’ Stormy with this golden alternative that is light and easy to make.
- 2 oz Equiano
- 8 oz ginger ale
- 2 lime wedges
- Large twist of orange peel
Method: Pour the Equiano Rum into a tall, highball glass. Top off with the ginger ale (bitter/dry) or ginger beer (sweet). Top off with ice. Garnish with an orange twist and a lime twist or two.
10. Cayo Espanto’s Espanto Wave
The Espanto Wave is the signature drink of Cayo Espanto, an exclusive seven-villa resort located just off the coast of Belize. Blue Curaçao adds a vibrant color, and pineapple and lime round out this fruity frozen beverage.
- 1 oz of Captain Morgan Rum
- .5 oz of Blue Curacao Liquor
- .3 oz of Amaretto
- .5 oz of Triple Sec
- 1 oz of pineapple squash
- 1 oz of lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- Ice cubes
Method: Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and frozen. Serve in tall glass.
11. Kukui’ula Mai Tai
From The Lodge at Kukui’ula in Hawaii, this Mai Tai cocktail uses Koloa Rum that’s locally distilled on Kauai, combined with fresh tropical juice.
- 1 oz Koloa Gold Rum
- 1.8 oz fresh pineapple juice
- 1.8 oz fresh orange juice
- .4 oz Gifford’s Orgeat Syrup
- 1 oz Koloa Dark Rum (as a float)
Method: Shake all ingredients minus Dark Rum over ice, add Dark Rum as float, and garnish with fresh pineapple.
12. Mango Aperol Daiquiri
This bright-colored cocktail was created is by Miranda Breedlove, the national director of bars for Hyatt Hotels, and made exclusively for The Confidante Miami Beach in South Florida. Maybe drinking this can help me forget I’m stuck in my tiny not-in-Florida apartment…
- 1.5 oz Bacardi White
- .5 oz Aperol
- .75 oz lime juice
- .5 oz house-made mango syrup
Method: Pour the ingredients and ice into a shaker, stir and strain.
How to make the mango syrup:
Add equal parts Lakewood Mango 100% Juice Blend and white sugar (a quart each if making a lot) into a large container, mix and stir together until fully integrated. Do not heat.
13. Old Timer
This recipe was created by beverage manager Jonathan Pietri at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico, and uses local ingredients including Karma Honey from the Karma Honey Project, a nonprofit foundation on the island that works to rebuild the local honey bee populations that were destroyed by Hurricane Maria. The rum, orange bitters, and spiced honey create a perfect late-summer drink.
- 1.5 oz Bacardi 8 Rum
- 2 dashes angostura bitters
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 1 oz Karma Honey (Cinnamon, apple, turmeric infused)
Method: Mix all ingredients in mixing glass, stir with spoon up to 6 times and strain over block of ice or sphere. Orange peel expressed (squeezed) over cocktail and dropped in glass.
14. Beach Tuba
Israel Diaz, expert mixologist and owner of Alquimista Cocktail Room in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, created this recipe that mixes Bacardi with a surprising ingredient: white vinegar. Tempered by coconut cream, this cocktail offers a simple but unique sipping option.
- 1.5 oz Bacardi rum
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 oz natural water
- 1.5 oz coconut cream
- .5 oz simple syrup
- 30 grams of finely chopped walnuts
- 30 grams of finely chopped red apple
Method: Put ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake well. Serve in tall glass with ice and garnish with walnuts and apple slices.
15. Frangi’s Island Famous Rum Punch
This fruity punch was created manager Scott Kircher of the Frangipani Beach Resort, a luxury boutique resort located on the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean. A twist on a classic Caribbean rum punch, the recipe below can be made as a single drink or easily batched if you’re serving multiple people.
- 1 parts fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 parts simple syrup
- .5 part Amaretto Disaronno
- 1 part guava nectar
- 2 parts passion fruit juice
- 3 parts spiced rum
- 1 part dark rum
- Angostura bitters, to taste (a few generous dashes)
- Sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg for garnish
Method: Stir all ingredients except nutmeg. Serve over ice. Sprinkle with fresh ground nutmeg and garnish with a lime wedge.