Sugar is arguably the most important commodity that the Caribbean has gifted the rest of the world. Not only do we use it to create desserts and sweeten drinks, but we also ferment sugar to create another world-famous Caribbean product: rum!
Today, there are countless rum distilleries producing numerous rum varieties to sip or create any number of tropical cocktails.
Below, you can explore the best rum on the market to help you narrow down an overwhelming abundance of options.
Best Rum Brands
Ron Zacapa is a rum brand that sets itself apart on many levels. It’s one of the only brands that has a female master distiller. Ron Zacapa also distinguishes its line of rums through the location of its distillery at over 7000 feet above sea level, instilling a richer, bolder flavor.
Flor de Caña
Meaning “cane flower,” Flor de Cana is a distillery out of Nicaragua that originated in 1890. They offer ten rum variants, aged between 4 and 25 years. They produce both dark and white rum and recently achieved fair trade status in the US. Thus Flor de Cana is a purchase you can feel good about.
Bacardi is one of the biggest spirits companies in the world and has been family-owned since 1862. They now own several spirit labels, but their original product is white rum. They also produced spiced and flavored rums.
Still, their signature Bacardi Blanca is the fan favorite, offering a smooth, clean spirit with fruity and floral notes.
A Venezuelan, family-owned company, Diplomatico, was founded in 1959. Their distillery uses three different distillation processes, a unique and elaborate characteristic that sets them apart from the competition.
They offer nine different types of rum. Their Mantuano blend, aged eight years, is a wonderfully balanced rum for sipping or cocktails, with notes of dried fruit, wood, and vanilla.
The original rum distillery of Bermuda, Goslings, has been a trusted brand since 1806. Goslings' signature rum is black rum bottled in a classy champagne bottle with a black seal. It is a luxurious, rich rum with notes of stewed fruits and sweet spices.
Black Seal rum is so famous that bartenders created the now iconic Dark n Stormy drink in its honor.
The world’s oldest rum distillery, Mount Gay, originated in the early years of the 18th century in Barbados. Mount Gay rum is made with molasses and a unique hand-selected yeast.
They offer four products, the most distinctive of which is the Mount Gay Eclipse, a gold rum with an intense banana and apricot flavor.
Plantation is a newer company owned by master distiller Alexandre Gabriel, with distilleries on various Caribbean islands, from Barbados to Jamaica. Plantation has a long line of rums offering a diverse range of vintage, white, dark, and blends.
The extreme series out of Barbados offers some of the most expensive rums aged over 20 years.
Ten To One
Founder Marc Farrell’s mission statement for the brand Ten To One is to reimagine rum, modernize its distilling practices, and break the traditional rules of rum making.
In an industry rigid with tradition, Ten To One is a refreshing Caribbean-owned brand offering white and dark rum. Their dark rum is especially complex, aged eight years, with notes of banana, apple, spices, tobacco, nut, and leather.
Originating in Jamaica in 1944, Captain Morgan specializes in flavored rums. They have a five-times distilled white rum aged for a year, but they’re renowned for tropical-flavored rums like pineapple or mango.
The various flavored rums are the ultimate tropical cocktail ingredients. They also have a lower alcohol content due to the addition of fruit juices.
Appleton Estate is one of Jamaica’s most revered rum companies, originating over 270 years ago in the beautiful Nassau Valley. They use locally grown sugar cane irrigated with the fresh spring water of the valley to produce a pure taste.
Appleton Estate has multiple aged rums between 8 and 21 years old for sipping. Their signature blend that’s meant for cocktails.
Brugal is a Spanish-founded, Dominican-born rum distillery that has 130 years of revolutionizing rum distilling practices in the Dominican Republic. Their rum is cask aged, with white rum, aged, and double-aged rum varieties.
The sherry-cask, double-aged Brugal 1888, is an ultra-smooth, well-balanced rum with flavors of red fruits, toffee, and cocoa.
The Real McCoy
Named for the famed prohibition-era rum runner Bill McCoy, The Real McCoy is a Barbados-based distillery offering a line of award-winning rums using blackstrap molasses and Barbados spring water. They offer three aged rums made in small batches.
All varieties have won over 100 awards. The three-year-aged rum has the tastiest palate and finish, with flavors of marzipan, caramel, butter, and coconut.
Another Barbados-native rum company, Bumbu, delivers a refined, handcrafted line of rum in the most beautiful, ultra-thick opaque corked bottles with a metal X. The theatrics of popping a corked spirit bottle is as exciting as its contents.
Their award-winning Bumbu XO is in a jet-black bottle with a silver X, with notes of orange zest, coffee, and peppery spice.
Equiano distinguishes itself as the first Afro-Caribbean rum, named for founder and African slave-turned-freedom fighter Olaudah Equiano in the mid-1800s. Their rums, likewise, feature blends of Caribbean and African rums.
Their original Equiano works wonderfully in cocktails, but you can best taste the notes of anise, toffee, and orange peel when sipping it on the rocks.
Havana Club is a Cuban rum company that claims the superiority of Cuban rum due to the specifics of its practices, local ingredients, and tropical aging. Cuba is, after all, the birthplace of sugar cane.
The Havana Club 7 is a fan-favorite dark rum, aged seven years, with an almost burgundy color and notes of cocoa, tropical fruit, and Cuban sweet tobacco.
Founded in the highlands of Venezuela’s Aragua Valley, Santa Teresa began as a sugarcane farm in 1796. They started producing rum in 1830.
Their Santa Teresa 1796 rum has an amber-red appearance, an aroma of fruit and earthy wood, and a palate that combines dried fruit, honey, pepper, nuts, dark chocolate, and cinnamon.
Originating in Puerto Rico, Don Q is a family-owned rum company with 150 years of award-winning recipes passed down from generation to generation. They have a rum for every taste, all of which are double aged in oak and then cognac casks.
They have a line of flavored rums, the limited Serralles collection, and the traditional collection. The Don Q Cristal is so smooth and subtle that you could use it instead of vodka.
Rum is a treasured Caribbean tradition, and my list of the best rum brands gives you a diverse set of countries and distilling styles, each delivering unique flavor characteristics.
After sipping your way through these fantastic and distinguished rum brands, leave a comment below about which one you liked the best.
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