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By
Sarah Ward

Types of Rum: 4 Favorite Cocktails & More

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When it comes to types of rum, there’s a large variety to choose from-and plenty of options for happy hour drinks or happy hour themes, or a liquor bottle display. There are two overall categories of types of rum: white rum and dark rum. Beyond those two main types, there’s a variety of different options that are based on how and where they’re made. The answer to what types of rum are there is simply answered by: there are very many types. Even if some rum in a bar fits the 86 meaning, there are guaranteed to be a few more available-even some that a rum runner would have supplied back in the day.

Many types of rum are best suited for different purposes. Yes, you can drink rum on its own as a well liquor if you’re so inclined. However, rum is most often a great factor in a variety of cocktails-including summer cocktails and fall cocktails-and mixed drinks with tonic water-even when you're just learning how to make a cocktail with rum. Heck, you can even make dessert in the form of rum cake with some great rum choices-it's similar in many ways to whiskey cake.

Knowing what type of rum is best for the drinks you want to make will elevate your bartending skills and boost bar profits-in a bar or speakeasy. There’s a lot to learn about what types of rum are the best ones for your bartending skills with selling alcohol beverages, and personal enjoyment. 

binwise cocktails guide types of rum

What Types of Rum Are There

Beyond the top labels of white and dark rum, there are many more unique types of rum. While the list is very long-long enough to warrant an inventory spreadsheet for bars, the ones most widely agreed on for stocking a bar are:

  • Light rum (this is also called white rum or silver rum)
  • Gold rum (named after its caramel color)
  • Dark rum (this covers a lot of options, depending on how they’re made, and they may have you seeking a hangover cure)
  • Black rum (often used synonymously with dark rum, however, true black rum uses more molasses)
  • Spiced rum (true to its name, this is a uniquely flavored variety)
  • Rhum agricole (this special variety is very particular in how it’s made-it's often saved for drink specials and call drinks)
  • Cachaça (this unique rum is made from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice)
  • Overproof rum (this high alcohol content rum isn’t for the faint of heart, the varieties include Navy rum and 151)

Ultimately, in answer to the question of what types of rums are there, there’s quite a lot. Within the types listed above, there are even more niche varieties made in different places and with different methods. All these different types of rum are delicious in their own way. In fact, many of them are made to suit different types of drinks. Often, the type of rum you’ll enjoy the most depends on what types of drinks you like. 

"Key Takeaway: When it comes to types of rum, there’s a large variety to choose from-and plenty of options for mixing drinks."

What Type of Rum for Piña colada

If you’re a fan of Piña coladas, the type of rum you should invest in is a lighter rum or even a gold rum. These lighter rums serve themselves to the light, deliciously sweet flavor of a Piña colada-which is perfect for National Cocktail Day. You can even experiment with flavored rums to see what you can make of this classic cocktail. 

That being said, if made properly, you can have a great Piña colada using a darker rum. These days plenty of Piña coladas use a dark rum alongside a light rum. This will round out the flavor and, if done well, make this an even sweeter, richer drink. There are plenty of recipes online that use dark rum. If you’re mixing drinks for yourself, you can use the amount or type of your choice, and see how it goes. 

Piña colada Recipe with Dark Rum

If you’d like to try a Piña colada with dark rum, you can still keep it simple. A recipe from Mix that Drink recommends a simple recipe of:

This ingredient list is close to the classic drink, but it’ll give you a good taste of what you can do with this tropical treat on the list of popular cocktails for bar promotions.

binwise automate your inventory types of rum

What Type of Rum Do You Put in Eggnog

For some winter cocktails, you should look into the best type of rum to put in Eggnog. Eggnog is best served by a dark rum, or even a black rum to bring the molasses flavoring. The other flavors in eggnog are pretty light and creamy. Rounding out the mix with a darker rum is a good way to bring out all the flavor in this holiday classic. You’ll find a lot of recipes that call for brandy or bourbon instead, to cash in on those warm tones. It comes down to your taste, but if you’re using rum, the darker, the better. 

The Best Eggnog Recipe

While there’s nothing wrong with store-bought eggnog, if you’re a fan of homemade concoctions there are some great recipes out there. On a base level, you’ll need:

  • Egg yolks
  • Granulated sugar
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Milk 
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon (as a garnish)
  • Your choice of the types of rum (or other alcohol)

Of course, as it goes with any mixed drink, you can stray from this list if you want. However, with eggnog being such a great classic, leaving this list as is can be the best way to make the best eggnog. While there’s nothing wrong with mixing and matching, sometimes a classic is best left in its original mix. 

What Type of Rum for Rum and Coke

For a true classic, you can’t go wrong with a rum and coke for your drink inventory. The best rum and cokes use white rum. However, since this drink is such a simple mixture, you can use whichever rum you most prefer. You can also mix up the ingredient list if you want something different. Basically, while the classic rum and coke is always good, you can always make it your own with a few different additions, or the use of some bartender tools. A cocktail jigger, bar spoon, a cocktail shaker, or even a bartenders guide book might come in handy.

A Bubbly Rum and Coke

One option for a twist on a rum and coke comes from a great recipe in Wine Enthusiast. The overall recipe includes:

  • Orinoco bitters-learn more: what are bitters?
  • Fernet 
  • Cola syrup
  • Silver rum
  • Champagne
  • Lemon twist (the garnish)

This bubbly rum and coke is perfect for any post-holiday or celebration time when you have leftover champagne. While a few of the other cocktail ingredients are specialty bartender items, overall, this recipe is a great option for any aspiring bartender. 

Cuba Libre Options

Of course, if you just want a little extra, the Cuba Libre is always a good choice. A rum and coke with the addition of lime, the Cuba Libre is a classic twist for a reason. It adds just enough flavor to mix up the drink, but it remains a classic because it goes well with anything. 

What Type of Rum Did Pirates Drink

Now, for one of the most fun questions in this article: what type of rum did pirates drink? If you’re a fan of pirate lifestyles a good place to start is learning what type of rum pirates enjoyed. For the most part, pirates would drink whatever they got their hands on. Usually, this meant unrefined, dark, high alcohol content rum. When you Google this question, you’ll find the top answer to be grog, or rum grog. Rum grog was a mixture of rum, sugar, lime or another citrus, and water. These days you can purchase Pirate’s Grog Rum, which is modeled after what pirates most likely drank a fair amount of. 

binwise cocktails guide types of rum

What Types of Rum Are There: In Conclusion

With the many types of rum available among the types of alcohol, and the variety of cocktail drinks you can make it can be hard to choose the best rum for your home drink mixing or a cocktail bar. When it comes down to it, the best type of rum for you is the one that suits your favorite drinks. Since there are so many different rum options, the sky’s the limit for what you can enjoy alone, or with other ingredients. If you're curious about the variety of what types of rum are there, start with the types of rum that you prefer, maybe even visit the best bars to find some unique drinks.

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