Best rums for summer: 10 to try

A bottle of rum and some flowers with a rainbow background
Havana Club 11 Year Old Rum

Rum is on a roll. The latest industry figures show that sales are increasing globally and more people than ever are mixing up rum cocktails at home. There’s good reason for this: rum is one of the most diverse spirits categories out there, with a range of styles to suit every taste. And as demand is increasing, producers are upping their game, releasing new expressions and premium products to quench our thirst.

Released in June, the Rum Global Market Report 2023 by the Business Research Company showed that the global rum category is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% this year, up to US$14.35bn from US$13.69bn in 2022. The report predicts the the category could be worth US$17.68bn by 2027.

Meanwhile research conducted by Bacardí earlier this year showed that over a quarter of us in the UK are opting for a rum cocktail instead of beer this summer. Out of 2,011 respondents surveyed in May, 29% preferred rum cocktails. A Piña Colada was the number one choice, followed by Sex on the Beach and a minty Mojito.

In the mix

If you’re a novice and want to have a go at making your own rum cocktails at home this summer, drinks expert Laura Foster recommends keeping things simple and starting with two bottles: one light and one dark.

‘For mixing rum cocktails at home, you can make most drinks with two variants in your drinks cabinet. First up is a decent, unaged rum that offers complexity, which will be the foundation for your Daiquiris, Mojitos, Cuba Libres and Piña Coladas,’ she says. ‘Next, you need an aged rum for your stirred, more serious drinks.’

Beyond the basics there’s a whole world of tropical Tiki cocktails to explore. These are the drinks that remind you of summer holidays and sundowners on the beach. Try a simple Dark N Stormy, with ginger beer and lime, or a delicious Mai Tai. Rum punches are also a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and easy to mix in large batches for parties.

New launches

If you’re a more serious rum drinker or collector, the latest round of summer releases will be of interest. The newest recruit to the range from Cuban brand Havana Club is an exclusive small-batch bottling for The Whisky Exchange (see below).

Meanwhile in Jamaica, Appleton Estate’s Master Blender Joy Spencer has been delving into the archives to recreate the discontinued J Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old, famed for its use in the first-ever Mai Tai cocktail. The result is Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend, a complex and collectable limited-edition, selling for a cool £500. See below for more details.

‘This project has been years in the making and truly one of the most challenging of my career,’ says Spence. ‘In carefully re-creating the beautiful taste profile of the original rum, we’ve created an expression that is a tribute both to our own heritage, and to the heritage of the classic cocktail craft.’

But whether you’re a connoisseur or a newcomer to rum, the choices below should give you some inspiration for happy summer sipping.

Hand holding a rum cocktail on a bar

Photo by Jia Jia Shum/Unsplash

Best rums for summer: 10 to try

8Track Spiced Rum

Cornish company Upbeat Spirits supports the UK’s independent music scene with events in small venues. Its first release is a sustainably sourced blend of rums from Guyana and Barbados, spiced with cloves, ginger, cinnamon and Seville oranges. Bursting with fruity orange notes on the nose and palate, it’s a light, easygoing style, perked up with fiery fresh ginger hits and dark clove undertones. Good value and great in a Dark N Stormy with ginger beer and lime. Alcohol 37.5%

Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend

Top Jamaican rum producer Appleton Estate has launched this rare bottling that pays homage to the discontinued J Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old, famed for its use in the first-ever Mai Tai cocktail. Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend was created by Appleton’s Master Blender Joy Spence. She referenced original archived manuscripts and formulas, using…

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