Rum isn’t just for pirates hiding away on a desert island. It’s also for bartenders… hiding away on a desert island and only allowed to bring one rum to drink for the rest of their lives. Okay — it’s silly, but that’s the game. You’re stranded on a tropical island, but you get one comfort — all the rum you can drink. The only catch is that you only get to pick one kind.
Which is hard, because rum is a fantastic summer spirit. White rum is the base for many summery cocktails, including the classic daiquiri. Dark rum is nuanced, rich, and the perfect summer replacement for bourbon or other whiskeys. It can be used as an alternative in your Old Fashioned, as a sipper around a campfire, or as a way to drown your sorrows when thinking about living on this island forever. You know, all that normal summer stuff.
Bartenders know all about the summer appeal of rum. It’s a go-to for most Tiki-style drinks and other fruit-filled, sweet, summer cocktails. So we turned to their expertise and asked them to pick the one rum they’d drink for the rest of their lives. They brought up some well-known brands, but they also mentioned some lesser known bottles. Hopefully, should you ever find yourself stranded at sea, you’ll be able to use their recommendations to pick the perfect rum to keep you company.
Mitch Barela, bartender at Old Vine Kitchen + Bar in Costa Mesa, California
If I could only drink one rum, which one would I pick? Diplomatico Reserva. It’s clean, aged to perfection, and offers irresistible aromas that make for one of my personal favorites, the classic Mai Tai.