National Rum Day - History And Recipes

To celebrate "National Rum Day" on August 16th, I am offering up a little historical perspective on the Caribbean spirit and some great cocktail recipes.

Rum (sometimes spelled rhum) is usually associated with the Caribbean, although technically, it can be produced anywhere(unlike Tequila and Bourbon). It is made from sugar, either molasses or the fresh-pressed juice of the sugar cane. Rum comes in many varieties, from light-bodied to heavy-bodied, complex, not to mention numerous spiced and flavored rums. Every rum out there will pair well with nearly any fruit imaginable. With rum, maybe more so than any other spirit, it's important to taste it to identify its signature flavors. I will list recipes for these different types of rum below.

Light-bodied rums work well with subtle, not overpowering ingredients, such as lime and spearmint, that generally do accompany heavier rums. Melon, honeydew, and peach is also a good match, especially when made into a puree made from scratch or purchased (for example, Perfect Puree out of Cali). Cherries and blackberries are also very good when infused in rum itself or muddled in a seasonal Mojito for any light rum. Light-bodied rums work the best when making your own infusions. Bacardi Superior and Cruzan are both good examples of good light-bodied rums.

Complex rums with multiple layers of flavor are best complemented by flavorsfound in rum itself, such as coconut, banana, apricot, and mango. Using blueberries with fresh limes and sugar and ginger and vanilla bean are good examples. Mount Gay and 10 Cane fit this style of rum.

Heavy or full-bodied rums will stand up to tropical fruits such as papaya, mango, passion fruit, and guava. Finding a good rich Jamaican rum with pineapple juice and apricots is a good match. Myer's Dark and Appleton Estates are good examples.

Cachaca, sometimes referred to as Brazilian rum, is distilled from 100% sugar cane juice. It is best known for its appearance in traditional Brazilian cocktails, such as Caipirinha and Batild, but is generally misunderstood or unknown. Cachaca flavor profiles can range from raw, intense, and aggressive to smooth, elegant, and refined. A popular brand, Leblon, is considered an artisanal cachaca, and Pitu, is considered to be more industrial or lively end of the spectrum. It matches up well with most citrus fruits, especially those winter ones, such as kumquat, clementine, Meyer lemon, and blood orange. You could also add berries for an additional layer of flavor, such a blue, black, and raspberries. Savory flavors such as basil, sage, thyme, or mint work well also.


Cherry Caipirinha

  • 2 oz Leblon Cachaca
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 6-8 pitted cherries
  • 1/2 lime, cut in quarters

Fill an old-fashioned glass with cracked ice to chill. In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Muddle lime to extract juice. Dump ice from old-fashioned glass into mixing glass and add cachaca and shake. Pour into chilled old-fashioned glass. Add more ice if necessary.

Easy Living

  • 1.5 oz Rhum Clement VSOP Rum
  • 3/4 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice

In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Garnish lime.

Jamaican Sunset

  • 1.5 oz Sailor Jay Spiced rum
  • 1.5 oz fresh orange juice
  • 1.5 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz fresh lemon sour
  • 1/2 oz Myer's dark rum
  • 1/4 pomegranate syrup reduced

In a mixing glass, add all ingredients except pomegranare syrup and dark rum. Sahke with ice and strain into an ice-filled collins glass. Add syrup and watch it cascade down the glass. Top with a float of dark rum. Looks like a great sunset.

Golden Dragon

  • 1 1/2 oz Bacardi 8 rum
  • 1/2 oz Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz orgeat syrup
  • 3 oz coconut milk
  • chilled soda water
  • ground cinnamon to sprinkle

Coat a collins glass with sweet vermouth. Discard excess and add ice. In a mixing glass, add all ingredients except soda water. Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled chilled collins glass. Spritz with soda. Spritzing is to strain ingredients as you add soda water. Garnish with ground cinnamon.

Blue Lobster                                                                                                                  

  • 1.5 oz Bacardi Limon rum
  • 1/2 oz Southern Comfort Lime
  • 1/2 oz blue curacao
  • 1/2 oz of orange juice and pineapple juice 
  • splash of cranberry juice

In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish orange spiral


Hemingway Daiquiri                                                                                                                                       

  • 1/5 oz 10 Cane rum
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liq
  • 1/2 oz of fresh lime & white grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup

In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe.

Cable Car

  • 2 oz Captain Morgan Spiced rum
  • 1 oz Orange Curacao or Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon sour

In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish orange spiral.