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The Essential Rum Cocktails (With Recipes) To Mix Up This August

Summer is waning yet temperatures remain high. That calls for refreshing cocktails. And we’d argue that there are no more refreshing cocktails than rum cocktails. There’s just something about rum drinks — full of sharp spices, tropical fruits, lime, mint, and even cola — that hit the exact right note on hot days.

Today, we’re calling out eight rum cocktails that you can make while you’re social distancing at home. These drinks cover a massive range of genres. They run from tropical, juice-forward tikis to the more herbaceous and spicy tropical drinks to rum versions of the classics. Then there’s the illustrious and very advanced Clarified Milk Punch, which we’re not going to get into on this list but will stan for until the wheels fall off. (You can find our full recipe here!)

The eight recipes below are all easy-to-moderate in difficulty. The last couple of drinks listed will require a few special ingredients. Otherwise, we tried to keep this as simple as possible for easy mixing, thirst-quenching, and socially distanced drinking.

Dark ‘n’ Stormy

Bottle To Use: Goslings Black Seal Rum

We’re starting things off easy.

This is a classic highball — just a matter of pouring stuff in a glass and getting your drink on. The drink needs Goslings since it’s the official cocktail of that rum. Plus, the deep molasses of the dark rum is the perfect counterpoint to a really sharp and spicy ginger beer, making for a true summer refresher.

Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Goslings Black Seal
  • 4 oz. ginger beer
  • Lime wedge
  • Ice

Method:

  • Fill a Highball glass with ice.
  • Add rum.
  • Top with ginger beer.
  • Stir once.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge, serve.

Cuba Libre

Bottle To Use: BACARDÍ Anejo Cuatro

If you can make a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, you can make a Cuba Libre. And no, this is not a Rum ‘n Coke. You need to add freshly squeezed lime juice to this. We’d also recommend grabbing a really good craft cola or Mexican cola.

I really dig this Jarritos Mexican Cola and Key Limes. The spice and sweetness of the cola are wonderfully accentuated by the high tartness of the smaller limes. Plus, Bacardi Anejo Cuatro is a great base for any rum-based drink.

Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Bacardi Anejo Cuatro
  • 4 oz. cola
  • Limes
  • Ice

Method:

  • Add ice to a highball glass.
  • Add the rum and cola.
  • Squeeze in two or three lime wedges and drop them in.
  • Stir once or twice, serve.

Rum Rickey

Bottle To Use: Mount Gay Rum Eclipse

Sticking with the highballs, this take on a Gin Rickey is a no-brainer.

It’s rum, lime, and soda and it’s also one of the most thirst-quenching drinks on the list — with no added sugars. That’s another big win if you’re planning on drinking more than one and don’t want the dreaded sugar crash hangover the next morning.

Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Mount Gay Rum
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 4 oz. soda water
  • Limes
  • Ice

Method:

  • Fill a highball glass with ice.
  • Add the rum, lime juice, and soda water.
  • Stir once.
  • Add in three or four lime wheels, serve.

Hemingway Daiquiri

Bottle To Use: Havana Club Anejo Blanco

Okay, it’s time to break out the ol’ cocktail shaker. I’ve broken the versions of a Daiquiri down before. In this case, we’re going with a slightly more refined version than Papa’s favorite Havanese drink. Still, this is a very entry-level cocktail that’ll be a late-summer favorite the moment you take your first sip.

Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Havana Club
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 0.5 oz. Maraschino liqueur
  • Lime
  • Ice

Method:

  • Add the rum, liqueur, and juices to a cocktail shaker.
  • Add enough ice to fill the shaker about 1/2.
  • Top and shake until the shaker is ice cold to touch.
  • Strain into a pre-chilled coupe.
  • Spritz with lime oils and drop in the rind, serve.

Rum Old Fashioned

Bottle To Use: Diplomatico Rum Reserva Exclusiva

Most old fashioned recipes call for “bar syrup” in the base. I call bullshit on that. Use raw sugar and take the time to dissolve it in the cocktail. It’ll make all the difference in the world. This is especially true with rum-based old fashioneds. Yes, it’s a little more time consuming but the depth this step adds to the cocktail will be evident once you take a sip.

Recipe:

  • 3 oz. Diplomatico Rum
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters
  • 1 barspoon raw sugar
  • 1 barspoon soda water
  • Luxardo Maraschino Cherry
  • Orange Peel
  • Ice

Method:

  • Add the sugar, soda water, and bitters into an old fashioned glass.
  • Stir the ingredients until they blend into a base.
  • Add rum and stir until the sugar fully dissolves.
  • Fill the glass with ice and stir until the glass is ice cold to touch.
  • Re-top with ice.
  • Spritz orange oils over the cocktail and rub the rind around the glass, drop it in the drink.
  • Garnish with a cherry, serve.

Mojito

Bottle To Use: Koloa White Rum

This is one cocktail everyone should have in their arsenal. It’s a crowd-pleaser and generally pretty easy to make. In a perfect world, you’d make this with Havana Club 3 Años. But since Cuban rums are nearly unsourceable stateside, I recommend using a solid craft rum to add an extra layer of texture and refinement to your mojito.

Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Koloa White Rum
  • 1 barspoon fine white sugar
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3 oz. soda water
  • Fresh mint
  • Limes
  • Ice

Method:

  • Add sugar and lime juice into a highball glass.
  • Gently muddle the sugar into the lime juice until it just emulsifies.
  • Add three or four leaves of fresh mint and gently muddle into the sugar/lime juice.
  • Top the glass with ice.
  • Add the rum and vigorously stir to combine everything.
  • Top the glass with fresh ice and a squirt of lime juice.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint and two or three lime wheels, serve.

Painkiller

Bottle To Use: Pusser’s British Navy Rum

Okay, now we’re getting into a little more advanced territory. This is a take on a piña colada that doesn’t require a blender to make. Pusser’s official cocktail is a classic tropical sipper that’s best served in a big old tin mug like you’re on the decks of a British Navy ship. If you don’t have a mug, a Hurricane glass will do just fine. And don’t forget the freshly grated nutmeg. That’s what ties this whole drink together.

Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Pusser’s Rum
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. coconut cream
  • Nutmeg
  • Pineapple
  • Ice Cubes
  • Crushed Ice

Method:

  • Add the rum, juices, and coconut cream to a cocktail shaker.
  • Add ice and hard shake until the shaker is ice cold to touch.
  • Fill a tin mug with crushed ice.
  • Strain the cocktail into the mug.
  • Dust with three or four grates of nutmeg on a planer.
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge, serve.

Zombie

Bottle To Use: Appleton Estate Signature Blend, BACARDÍ Gold Rum, El Dorado 151

If you can make a zombie at home, you’re good to go for really getting your drink during these dog days of summer. Still, there’s a reason tiki bars limit guests to only two of these. Drink responsibly, please.

Okay, this is an ingredient heavy drink but worth it once you lock it in. The biggest thing to master here is the “pulsing” of the drink. Where I make these, we use an old-school milkshake machine to pulse it. You want to add air while mixing, chilling, and sort of knocking the ice around without breaking it up. Remember, this is a cocktail, not a slushie.

Recipe:

  • 1.5 oz. Appleton Rum
  • 1.5 oz. Bacardi Gold
  • 1 oz. El Dorado 151
  • 0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. Falernum
  • 0.5 oz. Donn’s Mix (see recipe below)
  • 1 barspoon Grenadine
  • 1/2 barspoon Pernod
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Fresh Mint
  • Ice

Method:

  • Add everything but the mint to a blender jug.
  • Top with ice until it’s just over the top of the liquid.
  • Pulse the blender very quickly two, maybe three times. DO NOT blend.
  • Pour about 2/3 of the drink with ice into a tall Zombie glass or Chimney glass.
  • Pour the last 1/3 of the drink with a strainer over the jug to stop the ice from filling the glass.
  • Top with fresh ice.
  • Garnish with a fresh mint sprig, serve.

Donn’s Mix — 2:1 ratio of fresh grapefruit juice to cinnamon syrup mixed until emulsified.

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