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What Are the Different Types of Rum?

glas of rum, cigar and a panama hat in a bar in Cuba

We all have our individual taste preferences when it comes to alcohol—you might prefer one brand of vodka over another, gold tequila over silver, or chilled white wine above red. But with rum, more so than any other drink, there are so many different types to choose from, all with their own unique history, geography, and perhaps most importantly, flavor profile.

From the clearest whites to the darkest blacks, and all the specialized distillation processes in between, this list will break down what the different types of rum are (and how best to enjoy each one).

#1 White Rum

Also called silver or light rum, white rum is a light-bodied, sweet spirit. Its defining feature is the fact that it’s, well, white, which comes as a result of the lengthy filtration process. Some white rums are aged like their darker counterparts, with the color then filtered out, but usually for shorter periods or not at all.

While some people will compare the taste of light rum to that of vodka, white rum has a much fuller (and tastier) flavor because of the molasses and sugarcane juice it’s made from. 

White rum pairs best with:

    • Tropical cocktails, including piña coladas, tropical fruit mojitos, and daiquiris
    • Sweet fruit juice blends
    • Light, clear mixers like sparkling water, ginger ale, and lemon-lime sodas
    • Cola and a dash of lime juice

#2 Gold & Aged Rums

With its medium-amber coloring, it only makes sense that gold rum is aged longer than white and shorter than dark rums—this is true of aged, gold rum, anyway. Some gold rums are merely white rum with additives and coloring.1 

Aged rum has a slightly richer flavor derived from its time in charred oak barrels, but both gold and aged rum have relatively simple flavor profiles that pair nicely with most cocktails and mixers.

#3 Dark Rum

A fine rum bottle and a glass

The general rule here is the darker the rum, the longer it’s been aged. Many dark rums have been aged for several years and get all of their flavor and color from the oak barrels. Other dark rums have been aged for just a short period of time, with the rest of their color derived from caramel and vanilla additives.

Dark rum pairs best with:

  • A splash of water or ice, for high-quality dark rums
  • Cocktails like a Rumberry Punch or Mai Tai
  • Mixers, including iced tea, cola, pineapple juice, and ginger beer

#4 Black Rum

Sometimes considered a subset of dark rum, black rum is specifically aged in a well-charred barrel for quite a while. The sugary molasses notes from this premium rum mix with the smoky undertones of the barrel to create a whiskey-like beverage with rum-like sweetness.2

Black rum is the signature ingredient of a Dark ‘N’ Stormy, though it also adds complexity to fruity cocktails and other mixed drinks.

#5 Spiced Rum

To intensify the natural flavors of oak-aged dark rums, those that make spiced rum add a handful of aromatic spices like cinnamon and cloves.3

Spiced rum pairs best with:

  • Cocktails like Spiced Pineapple Rum Punch and Ginger Mojitos
  • Dark mixers like cola, unsweetened iced tea, and ginger beer
  • Fruity mixers like pineapple juice, apple cider, and lemonade
  • Hot chocolate or cold brew coffee

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#6 Overproof Rum

While a standard rum is 80-proof (40% ABV), overproof rum is much higher and hotter. Coming in anywhere from a relatively mild 110-proof (55% ABV) to a scorching 151-proof or even 160-proof (80% ABV), these overproof rums are no joke—and no easy sipping, either. 

They do, however, mix surprisingly well with plenty of tropical tiki bar beverages, despite their potential mouth-burning bite.  

#7 Rhum Agricole

Made exclusively from raw sugar cane, rhum agricole relies on a unique production process that accounts for its unparalleled flavors. Originally from the French Caribbean, this location-specific flavored rum uses unrefined juices that create a brighter, funkier, earthier, and more potent drink.

Rhum Agricole pairs best with:

  • Inspired cocktails like Caribbean Sazerac, Creole Cosmo, and El Presidente
  • Tropical drinks, including Ti Punch and Matcha Colada
  • Fresh lime juice and a squeeze of cane syrup

#8 Cachaça

Similar to rhum agricole, this sugar cane-derived flavored rum is produced exclusively in Brazil with less alcohol content than its French Caribbean rum counterpart.3 Cachaça is made with fermented rather than pure sugar cane juice and has a flavor profile that is simultaneously spicy and sweet with fruity undertones.

Cachaça pairs best with:

  • Muddled lime and sugar with crushed ice
  • Brazilian cocktails like the Caipirinha, Coco Batida, and Bossa Manhattan

#9 Solera-Style Rum

Solera is an aging process for all sorts of liquids, including, but not limited to, liquors. Translated to “on the ground,” it refers to the way barrels are stacked in a pyramid shape, with the oldest barrels on the ground and the rest stacked upward from there. 

When it comes time to fill the rum bottles, most is taken from the bottom barrels, which are then refilled using the newer rum in the barrels above, which are then refilled using the barrels above that, and so on. The rum that makes it into the bottle you drink could be a combination of rum from as long ago as 35 years and as recent as four, for example.1 This fractional blending technique is the same as the process for sherry and other wines.

Solera-style rum pairs best with:

  • A classic rum cocktail like a rum-infused Old Fashioned and Perfect Manhattan
  • Inventive, fruity creations like the Smoked Pineapple Mai Tai and Hot Rum Punch

SLIQ Spirited Ice: Still The Best Type of Rum

Every SLIQ frozen rum ice pop is made with premium white rum from the Caribbean for an unbeatable pairing to our three delicious Daiquiri flavors: coconut & lime, strawberry, and pineapple. 

No mixology necessary and no hassle involved—just a surefire way to enjoy the best rum, the best frozen treats, and the best times. 

Looking for more info on how to make at-home cocktails for yourself or any of your potential guests? Explore our blogs on “What to Mix Rum With?” and “The Best Frozen Rum Drinks” today!

Sources:

  1. Thrillist. All the Types of Rum, Explained. https://www.thrillist.com/spirits/rum/types-of-rum
  2. Bon Appétit. Why We’re Drinking Black Rum, a Caribbean Spirit Even Whiskey-Drinkers Can Love. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/black-rum
  3. MasterClass. A Complete Guide to 8 Types of Rum. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/a-complete-guide-to-rum#8-rum-styles-and-how-to-use-them 
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