We’ve covered the most important whiskey bars and gin joints in the US. Today, we’re branching out from the states and heading into the wild wild world. As we’ve said before (many, many times before), the rise of cocktail culture and spirits-centric bars is good for you. This is especially true if you have a passport and aspirations of getting a few new stamps — because — as rum specialist Shaun Cole, bartender at The Edmon in Hollywood, California, tells us — Rum bars are hotter than Hansel in 2001.
We asked Cole to pick influential rum bars all over the globe from San Francisco, to Cuba, to Greece. As with our previous “most important” lists, it should be noted that Cole’s list isn’t specifically bars, haunts, and watering holes that only serve rum-based drinks (although some of them do). This list is merely a rum enthusiast and expert’s idea of the most important, envelope-pushing, innovative, exciting, best rum bars in the world — based on the skill of the bartenders, geography, and any other X-factor that makes them unique and noteworthy.
The Rum Bar @Speakeasy Inn – Key West, FL
Located on the quiet end of the bustling Duval Street in Key West. The former Speakeasy during Prohibition carries over 230 bottles of Rum and serves up delicious fresh cocktails, like the Painkiller, while maintaining that Key West signature laid-back charm.
Key West is the landmark for Rum bars in the U.S. (thanks to all the rum-runners during Prohibition) and the Rum Bar @Speakeasy Inn encapsulates the history and charm of Key West in one historically preserved building.
Floridita – Havana, Cuba
You can’t talk about Rum bars and not mention el Floridita. It’s “la cuna del Daiquiri” or “the cradle of the Daiquiri” and the known stomping ground for “Papa” Hemingway — making this a definite bucket list item. Though now filled with tourists and a statue of Papa, the properly dressed waitstaff still transports you back to the 1940’s — making this a must-stop on a hot, sunny afternoon. Get cooled down by consuming the “Papa Daiquiri” (Hemingway Daiquiri), a daiquiri with grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur on crushed ice.
Bootlegger Tiki – Palm Springs, CA
Even though Palm Springs is more than 100 miles away from the nearest ocean, rum cocktails are the order of choice in this laid-back, desert oasis. Located in the original 1950’s Don the Beachcomber, Bootlegger Tiki is serving up some of the best cocktails you’ll find anywhere. Try the ‘Kingslayer’ with Demerara Rum, Rhum Agricole, Campari, Falernum, Donn’s Spice #2, lime and pineapple juice and pair it with some chili, lemon mangos.
Trust me: You’ll be racing back to Palm Springs to chill every weekend.