If you’re looking for a spirit to stock up on this winter, make it rum. Whether you prefer to sip it neat or on the rocks or mix it into a fruity, tropical cocktail to make you forget all about the winter weather outside — there’s a rum out there that’s perfect for you. White rum, aged rum, spiced rum, there might not be a more versatile winter spirit. You don’t even need to be a pirate to enjoy it.
As with many spirits, many big names seem to dominate the rum marketplace. While there’s nothing wrong with grabbing Captain Morgan, Bacardi, or Sailor Jerry for your home bartending needs, there are countless lesser-known brands that deserve a spot in your next dark ‘n’ stormy, daiquiri, or rum runner.
Instead of walking into your local liquor store and wandering aimlessly in hopes that you’ll stumble into a great, less-popular rum. We decided to help you on your sugarcane-soaked quest by finding them for you. We asked some well-known bartenders to tell us the best lesser-known rums for winter mixing. Keep scrolling to see them all.
Don Pancho Reserva 8 Year
Jorge Centeno, bartender at The Bar at Deerpath Inn in Lake Forest, Illinois
Average Price: $45
Don Pancho Reserva 8 years it’s a great mixing rum to cure the winter blues. With the right amount of heat and full of flavors, Don Pancho stands up in any mixed cocktail.
Vanilla, caramel, citrus. This rum has it all. It’s a versatile rum for your favorite winter cocktail, but it also shines as a sipper.
English Harbour 5 Year Rum
Nat Harry, USBG bartender in San Francisco
Average Price: $30
English Harbour 5 year Rum. This is a fantastic mixing rum made in Antigua, a rum-producing Caribbean Island that seems to get very little attention.
A light-bodied, column still rum with notes of raw cane sugar, allspice, and Crème brûlée.
East London Rum
Max Stampa-Brown, beverage director and partner at The Garret Group in New York City
Average Price: $25
East London Liquor Company is known for making gin, but they have a marvelous white rum that is super applicable for all your classics.
It’s clean, citrusy, has a lot of nuances, and somehow leans more tropical than you’d expect. It’s really well-priced too.
KOKOLEKA Cacao + Honey Hawaiian Agricole Rum
Greg Coll, food and beverage director at Dawn Ranch in Guerneville, California
Average Price: $45
Ko Hana Rum’s Kokoleka Cacao + Honey Agricole Rum is made from Hawaiian heirloom sugar cane. Perfect for creating new spins on classics like an espresso martini or a white Russian. Count on a Hawaiian distilled rum to warm you up when you’re cold.
Lesser known and lesser utilized, it brings a wonderful honey sweetness and rich cacao notes to a drink.
Rhum J.M Agricole 100 Proof
Melissa Chaney, bartender at Agua Caliente Casino in Cathedral City, California
Average Price: $38
Rhum J.M Agricole 100 Proof. This rum packs a punch, but since it is Agricole, is something completely different. It’s 100-proof and will add a nice, complex kick to your favorite rum cocktails.
This has a ton of grass aromas but is also a bit floral. It is meant to be mixed, so a Hemingway daiquiri or rum punch is my recommendation. I promise you. One will do the trick.
Foursquare Probitas White Rum
Sean Pantazi, director of beverage at The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe, California
Average Price: $37
This one is easy. Probitas White Blended Rum. It’s a blend of column and pot still distilled rums from Foursquare in Barbados and Hampden Estate in Jamaica.
With notes of banana, allspice, and pineapple and being bottled at 47% ABV it holds up nicely in any cocktail. Try making a cranberry mojito and you’ll see what I mean. Superb.
Flor de Caña 4 Year Extra Seco
Raul Ayala, lead bartender at Shelby’s Rooftop in San Francisco
Average Price: $18
Flor de Caña 4 Year Extra Seco is one of the best rums to mix with from refreshing to straightforward cocktails because of its versatility. This sustainably produced white rum is known for its herbal, sugarcane-forward flavor profile well-suited for mixing.
With hints of grass and honeysuckle this dry rum pairs well with almost anything from flowers to fruit to chocolate to coffee. Seriously a strong contender for best winter mixing rum.
Camazotz Oaxacan Rum
Alex Barbatsis, head bartender at The Whistler in Chicago
Average Price: $40
Camazotz Oaxacan rum. Yes, I love Mexican rums. 100% sugarcane, vegetal, and sweet, great to sip on or in any cocktail, especially a Mojito. Fermented in open-air barrels with native yeasts, a true terroir-driven rum.
Its unique flavor profile featuring herbal, grassy notes, vegetal sweetness, caramel, and vanilla make it a great base for any cocktail.
Mike Donaldson, bar manager at ChoLon Restaurant Concepts in Denver
Average Price: $45
I fell hard for the super interesting flavor profile and aromatics of a rum made in northern Oaxaca Mexico called Dakabend. It is a beautiful rhum agricole from local high-mountain sugar cane. It is fermented with native yeasts and distilled in tiny pot stills.
The result is a funky, black olive, briny-smelling rum that hits your palate and makes you wonder what you just put in your mouth. But in a really good way.
Copalli Cacao Rum
Linda Garcia, bartender at Tiki Chick in New York City
Average Price: $28
Copalli Cacao infuses and distills roasted cacao nibs from Belize without adding artificial flavors or added sugars. It starts with the brand’s original white rum. It’s added to a tank to rest with 100% organic cacao nibs. After sitting for weeks, the rum is imparted with a rich, natural chocolate flavor.
It has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, with notes of chocolate and berries. It can make a delicious espresso or chocolate martini which is tasty all year round. It is also delicious to spike your hot cocoa with.
Hilton Head Toasted Coconut Rum
Ryan Christensen, bartender at Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Average Price: $30
One of my favorites is a local rum from Hilton Head Distillery, their Toasted Coconut Rum. They take their Platinum White Rum and infuse it with fresh toasted coconut flavor. It’s a real treat.
Vanilla, sugarcane, caramel, chocolate, and toasted coconut. This flavorful rum will add a unique, tropical taste to your favorite cocktails.