It’s time to rethink rum. All too often boxed in as a summertime spirit due to its starring role in beach bar favorites like Daiquiris and Piña Coladas, the rum category is actually brimming with variety, making it a spirit for all seasons. While young rums mix into delightful frozen cocktails, aged varieties make for the ultimate winter warmers when drunk neat.
It should come as no surprise, then, that rum makes an excellent gift. From funky and fresh to spiced and aged, there’s a rum to please everyone on your list this year. Read on for the seven best rums to give this holiday season.
- Best budget rum Plantation 3 Stars
- Best splurge rum: Diplomatico Single Vintage 2005
- Best rum for beginners: R.L. Seale’s 12 Year Aged Barbados Rum
- Best rum for geeks: Blackadder Fiji Rum 9 Years Old
- Best rum for cocktail lovers: Don Q Reserva 7
- Best rum for the boss: Flor de Caña 18 Years Old
- Best limited-edition rum: Foursquare Exceptional Cask Selections
Best Budget Rum
Plantation 3 Stars
Great rum doesn’t have to break the bank, and Plantation 3 Stars proves this time and time again. A blend of aged and unaged rums from Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad, Plantation’s clear color is thanks to carbon filtration. From Mojitos to Coquito, this backbar staple mixes beautifully into cocktails with its complex yet easy-to-love notes of vanilla, brown sugar, and grassy herbs. At just $20, this bottle makes a great host gift or stocking stuffer.
Average price: $20
Best Splurge Rum
Diplomatico Single Vintage 2005
If you’re looking to spend a little more this season, look no further. A single-vintage rum from Venezuela, Diplomatico is aged for 12 years in bourbon and whisky casks before being finished in oloroso sherry barrels. These various aging vessels lend spice, dried fruit, and nutty notes alongside aromas of banana nut muffins. A tipple of this is sure to make any night feel like a special occasion.
Average price: $120
Best Rum for Beginners
R.L. Seale’s 12 Year Aged Barbados Rum
Let the newbie in your life start off their rum journey with this textbook aged Barbadian bottling. An expression to sip and savor rather than mix into cocktails, R.L. Seale’s 46 percent ABV expression evokes notes of vanilla, molasses, and baking spices, while warming toast notes linger on the long finish.
Average price: $50
Best Rum for Geeks
Blackadder Fiji Rum 9 Years Old
This is not a rum for the uninitiated. At 64.1 percent ABV, Blackadder’s Fiji Rum 9 Years Old has a high but well-incorporated alcohol content. Best enjoyed with a few drops of water, this geeky rum is bursting with vibrant funk and rich depth of character. The intensity and long finish on this expression make it an ideal sipping rum for the collector on your list.
Average price: $170
Best Rum for Cocktail Lovers
Don Q Reserva 7
Pull out that shaker, and get ready to mix up some tropical treats. Don Q Reserva 7’s rich, decadent flavors of baking spice and molasses as well as its boozy kick make it shine in any rum cocktail — from Dark ‘n’ Stormys to Mai Tais. It’ll be a welcome addition to any budding mixologist’s bar cart (plus, its affordable price tag means you can buy a second bottle to add to your own liquor cabinet).
Average price: $25
Best Rum for the Boss
Flor de Caña 18 Years Old
Lightly sweet and utterly crowd-pleasing, this vanilla-forward expression from Nicaragua is the ultimate gift for your boss. Its 18-year age statement offers a nice balance between the brand’s molasses-rich 12-year-old bottling and its oak-forward 25-year-old expression. You won’t find a better aged rum at this price point, so if you come across a bottle, be sure to snag one before your yearly review.
Average price: $52
Best Limited-Edition Rum
Foursquare Rum Exceptional Cask Selection XXI 2010
A yearly release from Foursquare, the Exceptional Cask Selection series is an homage to barrel aging. Often referred to as the “Pappy of rum,” this expression is aged in ex-bourbon barrels for 12 years, making the resulting liquid an ideal entry point into the rum category, especially for whiskey drinkers. The oldest official release from the distillery, “Isonomy” is produced in Barbados and bottled at a whopping 60 percent ABV. Aromas of caramel and vanilla intertwine with tropical fruit flavors on the palate, followed by a rich brown sugar note on the long finish. It’s sure to impress even the most discerning of rum enthusiasts.
Average price: $80