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Ranking The Best Rums Under $20

Cheap rum isn’t one single thing.

Usually, when we’re talking about rums in the “very affordable” range, we’re talking about white (or silver) rums that are unaged (or aged and then filtered to remove color). Then there are “gold” rums, which are just touched by wood (and often adulterated with sugars) to give them a slight amber hue. There’s also spiced rum, which often leans cloyingly sweet and drips with spice — making it an easy shot, mixer, and sometimes sipper.

When we focus on the really cheap stuff (anything under $20 per bottle), you have to expect that we’ll also be talking about big brands. It requires certain economies of scale to get rum on liquor store shelves for that price. But just because an expression isn’t pricey doesn’t mean it isn’t drinkable … or at the very least mixable.

Finding the most enjoyable among the bottom shelf bottles is the reason for this list. We’re calling out and ranking white, gold, spiced, and dark mixing rums with a few (possible) sippers sneaking in right at the $20 mark. Sure, you can take a shot of any of these, and a few even work on the rocks in a pinch. But let’s call it like it is — these are down and dirty rums that bring a little burn but get the job done.

20. Largo Bay Silver Rum

Largo Bay

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $9

The Rum:

This is a standard and very cheap Barbados white rum. There are exactly zero bells and whistles with this expression. It’s made to be mixed into frozen drinks or cut with cola.

Tasting Notes:

There is a hint of depth behind that sugary rum burn. This actually won a silver medal in San Francisco, once thanks to its underbelly of vanilla, almonds, and a touch of black pepper.

Bottom Line:

This is purely a mixer. Use it like that.

19. Admiral Nelson Silver

Heaven Hill

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $10

The Rum:

Heaven Hill’s Admiral Nelson pulls rum from all over the Caribbean to create their deep roster of (mostly flavored) rums. Again, this is crafted as a rum you mix with and keeps things very simple in presentation and taste.

Tasting Notes:

There’s not a whole lot of burn, which is nice. The rum does hold onto that signature vanilla foundation with a hint of almost … melon or maybe pumpkin. There’s a hint of pepper heat, too — but not a whole lot.

Bottom Line:

This is a really neutral mixing rum. You can use it almost like a vodka to spike a big fruity cocktail.

18. George Ocean White Rum

George Ocean

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $11

The Rum:

This West Indies rum pulls its juice from various sources. The label is bespoke but the rum in the bottle is not. Speaking frankly, this is put together as a workhorse white rum that’ll never break the bank.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of vanilla. That foundation supports a sweet/savory tropical fruit edge and a slight hint of cream soda. There’s a distinct burn on the end but it’s not overwhelming.

Bottom Line:

This is a solid mixer overall. It’s got a little more vanilla in there, so it really goes well with cola. Rum and Coke, anyone?

17. Don Q Cristal

Don Q

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $12

The Rum:

Good ol’ Don Q Cristal is actually a more refined white rum than most. The Puerto Rican juice goes through multiple distillations before resting in ex-bourbon barrels for anywhere from 18 months to five years. Those barrels are then filtered several times to draw out the color before blending, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a woodiness under the alcohol on this one. The sip has a hint of cinnamon with touches of tart apples and maybe even a wisp of smoke. The spiciness is what lasts and becomes sharp and almost ginger fresh.

Bottom Line:

If you’re sitting on a beach in the tropics, go for this on the rocks with a big twist of lime. Otherwise, this is a solid mixer for lighter rum cocktails.

16. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

Captain Morgan

ABV: 35%

Average Price: $13

The Rum:

This Diageo rum from the U.S. Virgin Islands is a classic. The rum is spiced and sweetened to make it more drinkable. And damn it, the technique works pretty well.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of vanilla with a cotton candy sweetness. That cotton candy is touched with Red Hots and the spiciness of a Jarritos Mexican Cola.

Bottom Line:

A Captain and cola is one of the most ordered drinks in the world, and for good reason. It’s legit tasty. Refined? Nah. But sometimes you need something super easy and this is exactly that.

15. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Sailor Jerry

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $15

The Rum:

Named after the famed tattoo artist, Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum is a pretty easy-drinking rum. The juice is sourced from various rum distilleries around the Caribbean. Then it’s spiked with “natural spices” to mimic how old navy salts would spice up their daily rum rations back in the days of yore.

Tasting Notes:

This is a bit more dialed in with clear cotton candy sweetness next to vanilla but it’s more of a cream soda than individual notes. There’s a mild spice that leans more towards clove than cinnamon with a very mild note of oak.

Bottom Line:

You’re going to want to use this in a cocktail (egg nog in the winter, fruity tropicals in the summer). Though, if it’s hot enough out, it’ll work as a sipper over a glass full of rocks.

14. Jonah’s Curse Black Spiced Rum

Jonahs Curse Rum

ABV: 47%

Average Price: $16

The Rum:

This Caribbean rum is crafted simply with spices and molasses to make a drinkable mixer. The blended rum uses 12 “traditional” spices in the mix and they’re the real focus of this sip.

Tasting Notes:

This has a mix of vanilla, oak, and cinnamon with a good dose of molasses. There’s a caramel butteriness to that sweetness that leads back to the vanilla with a bit of tropical fruit aided by mild spices.

Bottom Line:

All that vanilla makes this a good candidate for a rum and Coke.

13. Foursquare Spiced Rum

Foursquare

ABV: 35%

Average Price: $16

The Rum:

This Barbados rum sounds like it’s named after an app. It’s actually named after the oldest sugar plantation on the Caribbean isle. The juice is actually pretty well-crafted — they only use real spice and herbs in the mix and don’t add extra sugars after the distillation.

Tasting Notes:

This is a bit subtler than the other spiced rums on the list. There’s a clear cream soda vibe with bits of cinnamon and nutmeg adding depth. It’s more green sugar cane juice sweet than molasses sweet.

Bottom Line:

This works as a sipper over a lot of rocks but it’s even better as a cocktail base.

12. Navy Bay Rum

Navy Bay

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $16

The Rum:

This Jamaican rum is a good entry point to the dark funk that makes Jamaican rum so unique. The bottle is built and blended to be accessible in both price and taste while highlighting the signature Jamaican funk those rums are known for.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a touch of oak and sweet vanilla up top with a very clear sense of hogo (that Jamaican funkiness). That funk is the throughline of the sip, with hints of spice and molasses arriving to support all that funk and oak.

Bottom Line:

Can you drink this as a sipper on the rocks? Sure, why not. But it really works best in highball situations either with plenty of fizzy water and lime or Sprite, cola, or even ginger ale.

11. 896 Gold

896

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19.99

The Rum:

This is sourced from Barbados. The juice is made from rums matured in ex-bourbon barrels for up to five years before blending, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a note of caramel covered almonds next to light notes of spice, a hint of oak, and plenty of cream soda vanilla. There’s a slight creamy chocolate vibe with a hint of tropical fruit on the back end.

Bottom Line:

This isn’t an overly complicated or as refined as 896’s eight-year expression. Still, it’s a steal at this price if you’re looking for a solid dark rum mixer to practice with.

10. Kaniché Réserve

Kaniche

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19.99

The Rum:

This Barbados rum from Maison Ferrand undertakes a unique journey. The rum is matured for a few years in ex-bourbon casks. Then the juice is loaded onto a ship and sent to France where it’s filled into cognac casks for an additional year of aging before it’s brought down to proof and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real heat here, akin to a bridge between Red Hots and freshly diced chili peppers. There’s a sweetness at play, too — but it’s muted under vanilla and distant hints of dried fruit and oak. There’s also a mild note of citrus on the end with a whisper of oaky smoke.

Bottom Line:

While this can work on the rocks, it’s really ideal for a highball with a twist of lime.

9. Flor de Caña 4 Year Añejo Oro

Flor de Cana

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $17

The Rum:

Nicaragua’s Flor de Caña 4 Year is a great entry point to the brand’s expressions. This rum is a blend of rums that have aged up to four years in used American oak. There are no sugars added post-distillation or blending.

Tasting Notes:

Bold vanilla greets you and leads towards a sense of toasted coconut. That coconut holds the center as sweet oak arrives, adding a dry edge. There’s a slight nuttiness next to green sugar cane blades near the finish.

Bottom Line:

This is built to be taken in a highball with good mineral water, plenty of ice, and a nice twist of lime.

8. Myers’s Rum Original Dark

Myerss Rum

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $18

The Rum:

This classic Jamaican rum from Sazerac is made from a blend of nine rums, all molasses-based. Those rums are aged for up to four years in ex-bourbon barrels before they’re blended, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

You get a real sense of that sweet and dark molasses right away. Notes of leather, dry oak, dried fruits, spicy and slightly chewy tobacco, and a touch of bitter dark chocolate mingle on your senses. The sip ends on an almost smoky note with a hint more of spice, oak, and chew.

Bottom Line:

This really is meant for mixing in hot buttered rum or the brand’s signature Planter’s Punch. This is also the perfect rum to have on hand to cook or bake with, thanks to its boldness.

7. J. Wray Gold

J. Wray

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19.99

The Rum:

J. Wray & Nephew is the backbone of Jamaican rum and the progenitor of Appleton Estate’s line. This expression is actually a rebrand of Appleton Special Gold. That’s a blend of rums that are aged for an undisclosed amount of time in old Jack Daniel’s barrels.

Tasting Notes:

Slight hogo Jamaican funk mixes with molasses sweetness, vanilla, and plenty of oak char. That vanilla and oak carry the palate towards a simple end, with hints of spice, more funk, and plenty of rummy molasses.

Bottom Line:

This sip is a good entry point to the wider world of Appleton Estate. It’s really designed as a mixer and is best used for big tropical cocktails or as a floater on those cocktails.

6. Mount Gay Eclipse

Mount Gay

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19

The Rum:

This Barbados rum hails from one of the world’s oldest still-running distilleries. The molasses-based juice is aged in ex-bourbon for up to two years before it’s blended, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla and spice mingle with ripe bananas and sweeter tropical fruits on the nose. The taste builds on those notes with toasted oak and a crème brûlée vibe. The oak becomes a bit charred and bitter as the sip fades pretty quickly.

Bottom Line:

This is Mount Gay’s entry point rum and built to be a cocktail base. Though, it still works perfectly fine in a highball or on the rocks in a pinch if you’re at the beach already and didn’t bring mixers.

5. Brugal Añejo

Brugal

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19.99

The Rum:

The Dominican Republic’s Brugal makes some damn fine rums. This gateway expression is distilled multiple times and then loaded into ex-bourbon barrels where it rests for three to five years. The barrels are then married, proofed, and bottled

Tasting Notes:

There’s a rush of oily vanilla pods that lead towards a dark chocolate underbelly with a hint of cedar. Buttery toffee and spicy stewed apples build upon the palate. The wood, chocolate, and spice last the longest as the sip dries and fades.

Bottom Line:

This is built as a workhorse rum that you can sip on the rocks or mix, though we’d recommend the latter.

4. Goslings Black Seal Rum

Goslings

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19.99

The Rum:

Goslings — a Bermuda blendery — imports rums for all over the Caribbean to make their signature bottle. Each of the rums they use is matured in ex-bourbon barrels for an undisclosed amount of time.

Tasting Notes:

This really feels like “RUM” with big notes of dark molasses, oily vanilla, and buttery caramel. The sip has notes of dried fruits and Christmas spices but they’re not overly rendered. There’s a butterscotch edge that’s pretty pronounced and the end really leans into the molasses and vanilla.

Bottom Line:

This is built to be the base of a Dark ‘N Stormy. Grab a spicy ginger beer, some lime juice, and get mixing.

3. Bacardi Añejo Cuatro

Bacardi

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19.99

The Rum:

This is Bacardi’s entry point to their high-end offerings. The juice is classic Bacardi that’s rested for a minimum of four years in ex-bourbon casks. The blend contains rums that are five and six-years-old too. The final product is then crafted as a classic workhorse rum.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of rummy vanilla cakes spiked with Christmas spices, especially clove. You get a sense of toasted oak notes next to smooth honey. The end is clearly Bacardi (this stuff really has a distinct smell and taste up and down the expression list) but smoothed to a velvet texture.

Bottom Line:

Again, this is made to be mixed. Try it in subtler cocktails like a rum Manhattan or bigger sips like a rum Negroni.

2. Plantation Original Dark

Plantation

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19.99

The Rum:

This is a fairly popular rum to both drinkers and on the awards circuit. The juice is a blend of rums from Jamaica and Barbados that are aged in ex-bourbon for up to five years. The rums are married and spend a final maturation in French cognac casks before proofing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There are classic notes of rummy molasses next to rich vanilla that mingles with a plummy, maybe jammy, fruitiness. That fruit leans towards tropical fruits with banana leading the way as the caramel, vanilla, oak, and dried fruit drive the taste. The peppery spice comes into late with a hint of bitter black tea and mildly spicy tobacco on the finish.

Bottom Line:

This is crafted to be a mixing rum that’ll stand up to big rum cocktails. You can 100 percent also drink this on the rocks. Be warned — the price will range pretty dramatically on this bottle depending on the shop you’re in, thanks mainly to its growing popularity.

1. Angostura 7

Angostura

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19

The Rum:

While Trinidad and Tobago’s Angostura is probably best known for its iconic bitters, don’t sleep on their deep bench of rums. Their seven-year-old expression is a really solid entry. The juice is aged for at least seven years in ex-bourbon before it’s blended, filtered, proofed, and bottled with no sugary or spicy additives.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a mix of maple syrup, bitter cacao, buttery toffee, oak char, and rich vanilla up top. The sip has an espresso bitterness next to more cacao powder with a really creamy vanilla nature plus a slight Christmas spice sharpness. All of that combines on the slow end into a Christmas cake vanilla pudding dusted with coffee and cacao … kind of like a crème brûlée tiramisu.

Bottom Line:

This is an easy sipper at a great price (though it’ll be above $20 in some markets). It works neat or on the rocks but also really shines as a cocktail base for simple cocktails like a Manhattan or old fashioned.

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