Rum Picks for Old Fashioned Cocktails

April 14, 2018

The Old Fashioned cocktail is a drink that we never tire of. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like to mix things up from time to time. That’s the beauty of this cocktail: variation is endless. We think a great way to shake things up (or, in this case, stir) is by changing the base spirit from whiskey to rum.

The rum category, like most spirits, has a range of flavors and styles. It can be aged or unaged, and of course, it can be flavored. It’s best to avoid that variety here. Your best bet is to stick with aged rums, but even that option ranges from very dry to very sweet.

As always, the key to this (and really, any cocktail) is balance. Sugar is used, but bitters mustn’t be forgotten. If you use an incredibly sweet style of rum, the Old Fashioned will be out of balance if you don’t adjust the recipe. Taste the rum before creating the drink to make your adjustments. Perhaps you don’t need to use sugar at all. Here are some suggestions for you to add to your rotation:

Rum Old Fashioned


Bacardi 8

A great starter rum for whiskey drinkers. A mix of earthy, sweet and fruity notes.

Brugal 1888

Lots going on with this one, from coffee to dates to red fruits. A great nightcap Old Fashioned.

Mount Gay 1703 Master Select

A mix of smoky-sweet flavors with dried tropical fruits, as well as tobacco and leather notes.

Ron Zacapa Centenario Rum XO

Sweet and savory flavors with notes of cola, baking spices and marshmallows.

Two James Doctor Bird

Admittedly, this won’t be for everyone, but if you like a bit of funk, you should give this a try.

The standard recipe still applies. Yours may vary, but this is our take:

– 2 ounces of spirit
– 1 sugar cube (1 tsp simple syrup can be substituted)
– a few dashes of bitters (Angostura will do nicely)
– splash of water or seltzer

This drink can be built in the Old Fashioned glass or in a pint/cocktail shaker and strained over a large ice cube. Add sugar cube to the glass. Dash bitters onto the cube and muddle. Add a splash of water or seltzer. Add ice to the glass. Pour spirit into the glass. Stir (and if using another glass, strain and pour into ice-filled glass). Garnish with a citrus peel.

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