First Choice Liquor Market

How to drink rum in winter

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first choice liquor market winter rum

Rum is so hot right now, with global sales going through the roof and those in the know – like us – understand exactly why: rum is versatile with a capital V. And here’s the thing: rum has been the spirit of choice for thirsty connoisseurs for the past 100-or-so years. Only now does it seem that everyone else is catching on. So, which rum is the one for you? And what are the best rum cocktails to try?


We break down the most burning rum-related questions so you can become an instant rum expert, plus we have an easy and warming rum cocktail recipe to try tonight.

What makes rum such a versatile drink?

Here’s a statement to kick things off: rum is the most diverse spirit of them all. There, we said it. From drinking it neat to enjoying it in cocktails and mixed drinks, no spirit delivers as well as rum. “I’ve been screaming from the rooftops for the past 20 years about diversity in rum!” says Mark Wyatt, owner of the Rum Bar, in Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia’s oldest rum bar.

How long has rum been our winter spirit of choice?

Rum was the de facto spirit for connoisseurs just 100 years ago. “If you look at old cocktail books, they will suggest a decent rum more than any other spirit,” Wyatt says. “In fact, if you couldn’t find a decent rum they would suggest replacing it with whisky.”

Why has rum become more popular in the past 12 months?

With global sales of rum up nearly 40 per cent over the past year, people are clearly discovering – and loving – rum again. But it’s more than just luck. Australian distillers have been upping their game, too, producing some of the best rum in the world – making way for delicious mojitos, pina coladas, strawberry and other daiquiri combos. The choices are endless. “There are a few Australian distillers that are really kicking goals right now and people are rediscovering what people knew 100 years ago [about rum],” says Wyatt.

What is the best rum?

“My first answer would be the one that’s in my glass… or a free rum!” Wyatt quips. But there really is no one-answer-fits-all approach to this question. Ask yourself what you want to do with rum. Do you want a snifter? Something to sip on? A cocktail? A mixed drink? It’s about your taste and then pairing a rum to it.

So, what are the different types of rum?

There are many different rum types, but the five most popular are:

  1. White rum. Lighter in style, white rum like Havana Club 3 Years or Bacardi are traditionally used in mojitos, daiquiris and pina coladas and are aged for a relatively short time or charcoal filtered, which makes them ideal for Cuban-style cocktails.
  2. Dark rum has either spent longer in smaller barrels or had some colour added at the end. They are often enjoyed neat or on the rocks, or as part of classic cocktails, like a mai tai. Try a mai tai using Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum.
  3. Gold rum tends to be medium-bodied, an excellent example of which is Mount Gay. It goes well with your favourite mixer but here’s a tip: try it with lemon squash! Not only do they tend to make great mixing rums, golden rum is exceptionally good neat, too.
  4. Navy rum was a traditional style of rum that fuelled the British Royal Navy when it patrolled the Caribbean during the two World Wars – the sailors liked their rum in excess of 54.5% ABV. That rum tradition eventually ended in 1970. The alcohol was traditionally made from a blend of rums from the Commonwealth countries, including Australia.
  5. Rhum agricole is made from sugar cane rather than molasses and comes from the French Caribbean islands. It has a more fruity and earthy flavour which provides more character on the palate.

But what about spiced rum?

Ah yes, spiced rum. How could we forget? Darker in colour and with a spiced flavour, they are extremely popular types of rum. Check out Dead Man’s Fingers Lime Rum, Bacardi Spiced Rum and The Kraken Spiced Rum. And for a unique, spiced-rum twist on a classic favourite cocktail, try substituting the vodka in an espresso martini for spiced rum. “It works incredibly well!” says Wyatt.

What is the best rum to go for if I’m starting out?

There are so many exceptional rums on the market right now and Barbados-style rums are generally considered the world’s best. For an accessible entry point to rum, give Mount Gay or Sailor Jerry Caribbean Rum a try.

The perfect at-home mojito

Of course, no rum round-up would be complete without mentioning the simple yet delicious mojito. But how do you create the perfect at-home mojito? It’s all about the rum, and we suggest going for Bacardi Superior Rum, Havana Club Añejo Especial and Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum.

How do you make the best daiquiri?

Arguably one of the most popular rum cocktails, a daiquiri is extremely easy to make because it only has three ingredients: rum, sugar and lime. (As many people will attest, you could also add a splash of Cointreau and some sliced strawberries to create a Strawberry Daiquiri). For best at-home results, use a Cuban-style rum, such as Havana Club 3 Year or Bacardi and keep it simple: 50ml rum, 30ml freshly squeezed lime juice, two tablespoons caster sugar, ice, and then give it a good shake (“shake it ‘til it hurts” is a semi-official measurement of time here!). And for a bit of holiday fun, try this: 50ml spiced rum, 30ml freshly squeezed lime juice, ice, a squeeze of maple syrup or honey, and then blitz away!

Hang on, what is hot buttered rum? Is it a thing?

Yes, it is a thing. And it’s a delicious thing, too. Basically, you use some softened butter and mix it with cinnamon and nutmeg, then stir in some hot water and rum (we strongly recommend Captain Morgan Spiced Rum) to create a perfect winter warmer. “I don’t think there’s anything quite like it actually,” says Wyatt.

Hot buttered rum recipe

Serves 4 Prep 10 mins

125g butter, softened

⅓ cup (75g) brown sugar

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

⅔ cup (160ml) Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

3 cups (750ml) boiling water, cooled slightly

Vanilla marshmallows, to serve

Cinnamon sticks or quills, to serve

1 Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar, nutmeg, ground cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl until well combined.

2 Divide the rum between 4 heatproof glasses. Add 2 tbsp of the butter mixture to each glass and top with the water. Stir until the butter mixture melts.

3 Top with marshmallows and use a kitchen blowtorch to lightly toast, if you like. Decorate with cinnamon sticks or quills to serve.

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