When it comes to types of rum, there’s a large variety to choose from–and plenty of options for happy hour drinks–like rum punches, the daiquiri, or mojitos–or happy hour themes, or a liquor bottle display. There are two overall categories of types of rum in the rum industry: 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.
Knowing what 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. Our rum guide will help you along.
What Types of Rum Are There
Beyond the top labels of white and darker 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–perhaps aged in a barrel or cask–, and they may have you seeking a hangover cure)
- Black rum (often used synonymously with dark options for rum, however, true black rum uses more molasses and the rum is aged to perfection)
- 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–and sometimes it carries notes of vanilla)
- Cachaça (this unique rum is made from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice–straight from the cane in the process to make rum extra sweet)
- Overproof rum (this high alcohol content with an intense ABV rum isn’t for the faint of heart. The varieties include Navy rum and 151 rum brands often made in Jamaica, and the alcohol content isn’t distilled–even with a pot still–in the slightest)
Ultimately, in answer to the question of what types of rums are there, there are quite a lot. Within the types listed above, there are even more niche varieties made in different places and with different methods of how rum is produced. That can include the type of barrel–and even the char level–it is aged in to the blending of different rums.
Of course, beyond the process of how rum aged in different places turns out–whether it’s aged in oak barrels–there are also varieties depending on the brand of rum.
From Mount Gay rum made in a distillery in Barbados to Puerto Rican rum from Club Caribe Distillers, the makers of rum are as varied as the different types. Heck, you can even dive into rum produced in Martinique for a unique palate experience.
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 rum you’ll enjoy the most depends on what types of mixed drinks you like. From rum made with specific yeast, to the type of cane juice or cane spirit involved in the process, it all comes down to personal preference.
"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 this pineapple concoction, the 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 this drink-which is perfect for National Cocktail Day. You can even experiment with flavored rums to see what you can make of this classic rum cocktail.
That being said, if made properly, you can have a great mix using a darker rum. These days plenty of mixologists use a darker 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 an option with a darker rum, you can still keep it simple. A recipe from Mix that Drink recommends a simple recipe of:
- White rum
- Dark rum
- Pineapple juice
- Coconut cream
- Heavy cream
- Angostura bitters
What Type of Rum Do You Put in Eggnog
For some winter cocktails, you should look into the best rum to put in Eggnog. Eggnog is best served by a rum on the dark side, or even a black rum to bring the molasses flavoring. The other flavors in eggnog are pretty light and creamy. Your eggnog can always be filtered to remove any lumps as well, to make it extra easy to enjoy.
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
- Ground nutmeg
- 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–you could even include rum cream or anything made from sugar that works with eggnog. 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 options 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 R&C 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 R&C
One option for a twist on the classic comes from a great recipe in Wine Enthusiast. The overall recipe includes:
- Orinoco bitters-learn more: what are bitters?
- Cola syrup
- Silver rum
- Lemon twist (the garnish)
This bubbly R&C is perfect for any post-holiday or celebration time when you have leftover champagne to mix with rum that’s on hand. While a few of the other rum 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. An R&C that’s been mixed with lime juice, 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 rum pirates enjoyed.
For the most part, pirates would drink whatever they got their hands on. Usually, this meant unrefined, dark, high-alcohol-content strong 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rum Types
There are so many potential questions you’ll come across while learning about rum, rum producers, where rum comes from–like Trinidad and Tobago–and what it means to be made from fresh sugar cane. You can dive into how rum is made from molasses, whether it’s aged in stainless steel, or get into the flavor and color of different varieties of rum.
Overall, there are a lot of questions you’ll discover as you learn more about rum. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will get you started.
Which Type of Rum Is Best?
The best rum option is entirely dependent on your opinion. Some folks prefer a light rum that lends itself to lots of drink options. Others prefer a dark rum that can be sipped neat or on the rocks. Ultimately, it’s all about what you enjoy drinking.
Why Did Pirates Drink Rum?
As far as history tells us, pirates drank rum because it was readily available where they were located. Pirates weren’t particularly picky with what they chose to drink, and rum was always around in some form or another.
Do You Chill Rum?
You can chill rum depending on the drink you’re mixing or the way you prefer to enjoy rum. Rum on the rocks can be a refreshing beverage. Of course, eggnog is a chilled mix with rum in the ingredients list.
Does Rum Go Bad?
Rum will go bad once the bottle is opened. An unopened bottle can last for years, even decades. An opened bottle, however, will go bad outside of the 6-month mark. It’s recommended to drink it before then.
What Types of Rum Are There: In Conclusion
With the many types of rum available among the types of alcohol, and the variety of rum 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 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 there are, start with the types of rum that you prefer, and maybe even visit the best bars to find some unique drinks.