You don’t need a tropical setting with a white sand beach to appreciate a tasty rum cocktail—but it helps. In the absence of sand and a chaise, I always recommend pouring a second drink. Pretty soon you may not care that the jerk chicken you ordered for dinner is actually takeout.
So what new daiquiris and other sweet (or sour) treats will I be drinking this summer? I asked some of the best bartenders and spirits professionals in America for some cool cocktail ideas to shake up my rum game.
And they certainly did not disappoint. Here are 10 stellar rum concoctions that’ll have you craving for more.
10 of the Best (and Easy-to-Make) Rum Cocktails to Serve All Season Long
“Equiano’s Daiquiri Royalle is light refreshing cocktail perfect for those hot summer days. An effervescent mix of Equiano light, fresh lime, fresh mint leaves and sugar syrup, shaken, strained and topped with Champagne or your favorite sparkling wine. One of these may not be enough.” —Ian Burrell, cofounder at Equiano
2 oz. Equiano Light
1 oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. sugar syrup
5 fresh mint leaves
Method: Combine rum, lime juice and sugar syrup in cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously with ice and pour into coupe or martini glass. Float a little champagne on the top of the cocktail. Garnish with mint.
“I like to keep my cocktails simple and use fresh ingredients, particularly in the summer. The Island Fresca is one of my favorites because it’s just so easy to make: Combine one glass of coconut water and a splash of Kasama Rum over ice, with an optional squeeze of lime. Kasama has notes of ripe pineapple and a hint of vanilla—combined with the coconut water, it’s a refreshing drink that will instantly transport you to the tropics.” —Alexandra Dorda, founder at Kasama Rum
1 glass coconut water
Generous splash Kasama rum
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Method: Combine over ice, stir, sip, repeat.
“Bimini loves blanc vermouth—and one classic cocktail famous for its use of blanc vermouth is the El Presidente. By replacing white rum in the original with a split of Bimini coconut gin and Plantation Pineapple rum, we dial up the tropical flavor of the drink while keeping it dry and complex. Beach bar chic.” —LyAnna Sanabria at Round Turn Distilling
1.5 oz. Bimini coconut gin
0.5 oz. Plantation Pineapple Rum
1 oz. C. Comoz Vermouth de Chambéry Blanc
0.25 oz. Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao
Method: Stir. Serve up in Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with pineapple frond crown.
NOT MADE FOR DEFEAT
“‘Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.’ Ernest Hemingway summed up 2020 in a nutshell with those words. If the pandemic has taught me anything it is that we are a remarkable, resilient people. I have been nothing short of amazed watching my fellow bartenders and bar owners adapt to survive in such a crazy time. Some have even flourished. The bar community is strong and we are going to come roaring back once we defeat this virus. Not Made for Defeat is a variation on the Hemingway Daiquiri. Hemingway’s favorite drink was the Daiquiri. He would famously drink 13 in one sitting. After developing diabetes, he had his bartender come up with a low sugar drink so that he could still drink at the mythic levels he became known for. Thus, the Hemingway Daiquiri was born. Not Made for Defeat follows the Hemingway Daiquiri mold and is comprised of easy-to-get ingredients, as well as low in sugar. It’s crisp, refreshing, and crushable. It tastes like optimism, which is exactly what we all need a dose of these days. When the restrictions are finally lifted, you will find me with a pitcher of this stuff on a patio, conducting some much needed catch up with friends.” —Deke Dunne, bar manager at Allegory at the Eaton Hotel (Washington, D.C.)
1.5 oz. white rum, preferably Foursquare Probitas
0.5 oz. Aperol
0.25 oz. fresh lime juice
3 oz. Fever-Tree sparkling pink grapefruit tonic
Method: Add the grapefruit soda to a Collins glass. Add fresh squeezed lime juice, Aperol, and then your white rum. Add ice and stir for 10 seconds. Garish with a citrus peel or wedge.
ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE
“This is our top selling drink throughout summer and winter, but I am not mentioning it for that reason. It is my favorite on the menu because we take the extra steps to make this the freshest frozen drink you can imagine. We use big chunks of pineapple, fresh juice, and a coconut cream we make in-house. No matter the time of the year, this drink instantly transports you to a getaway island. And I feel like we can always use that kind of beverage.” —Demi Natoli, bar manager at White Limozeen (Nashville, TN)
1 oz. Plantation 5 Year Old Rum
0.50 oz. Plantation O.F.T.D. Overproof Rum
0.50 oz. Plantation Original Dark Rum
1 oz. pineapple juice
1.5 oz. coconut cream
0.50 oz. passionfruit puree
1 tbs blend of white and demerara sugar
Method: Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and nutmeg.
THE DELIA V.2
“For the last 10 years while overseeing the bar programs at Gulfstream and Mandarin Oriental, I saw Coconut Cartel’s fresh coconuts take over Miami Beach. When I became the beverage director for 1 Hotels, I was thrilled at the opportunity to fuse their new rum with their signature fresh coconut water. One of my favorite things about this cocktail is that it’s the most sustainable cocktail on our menu! Not only is the branded coconut an eye-catching cocktail vessel, but our customers often crack open the coconut to enjoy the fresh coconut meat once they finish their rum-spiked coconut water cocktail. It’s fun, sustainable, and deliciously refreshing when you’re sitting by one of our beautiful pools or beach clubs. Definitely an instagrammable moment.” —Steven Minor, national beverage director at 1 Hotel South Beach (Miami, Florida)
1.5 oz. Coconut Cartel rum
1 whole fresh coconut
Method: Open fresh coconut with coconut opener. Funnel rum into the coconut. Swirl and place in metal straw.
DIPLOMÁTICO PLANAS CRANBERRY MOJITO
“Diplomatico Planas rum draws a smooth and complex flavor from its unique six years of aging, making it an excellent main ingredient for delicate cocktails like the easy-to-make Planas Cranberry Mojito. Super refreshing on a hot summer day. The fresh, tropical aromas in Diplomático Planas—like ground coffee and coconut—lead to slightly fruity and creamy flavors that perfectly complement the ingredients in the cocktail, which is easy to whip up at the end of the day.” —Manny Pena, Diplomático Brand Ambassador
1 ½ oz. Diplomático Planas
1 oz. of cranberry Juice
½ lime, cut into wedges
½ oz. agave nectar
10 mint leaves
Method: Muddle lime with mint, agave, and Planas in a shaker. Fill with ice, shake well, pour into a highball glass, and add cranberry juice. Garnish with fresh cranberry, a lime wedge, and a mint sprig.
“This is an easy to make, fresh, seasonal spin on the Moscow Mule. The Plantation Isle of Fiji is so rich and robust. It has hints of nutmeg and vanilla, with notes of oak and smoke that pairs perfectly with blackberries and ginger beer spice. You can also scale this up and batch in a punch bowl for a backyard party…so you can play host but not be stuck behind the bar. The ability to experiment with your favorite summer berries makes it easy to make it your own.” —Jose Carrasco, bar director at BAWK! Chicken + Bar (Sacramento, CA)
2 oz. Plantation Isle of Fiji Rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
0.75 oz. simple syrup
3–4 blackberries, or other in-season fresh berries or fruit
3 dashes all spice dram, or other aromatic bitter
2 oz ginger beer
Method: In a mixing tin, add blackberries (or other fresh berries) and gently muddle to start breaking down the fruit. Add the rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters to the tin. Fill with ice. Shake vigorously to chill and mix. Add ginger beer to tin and strain. (It’s ok if you have some pieces of fruit in the cocktail.) Garnish with a bouquet of mint.
SUMMER SOLSTICE PUNCH
“Simply put, the Mount Gay Rum Summer Solstice Punch is the perfect summer drink. It’s light, it’s refreshing, and it’s fun! Falernum and the grapefruit—being originally from Barbados—definitely gives you a sense of place through taste. The sweet and spiced elements of the falernum blend seamlessly with the grapefruit juice, while the soda adds the perfect final touch.” —Darrio Prescod, national brand ambassador at Mount Gay Rum
1 Bottle Mount Gay Eclipse or Black Barrel
0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
0.5 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
12 oz. falernum
12 oz. soda
12 dashes of Angostura bitters
Method: Add all ingredients to the punch bowl. Add large format ice. Finish with 12 ounces of soda. Garnish with grapefruit wheels, lime wheel, bitters, and mint.
A KITE IN THE WIND
“You’ll be dancing like a kite in the wind on a sandy beach after effortlessly downing a couple of these summertime sippers! The Tommy No. 2 Rum exudes notes of dry banana and subtle vanilla—blending seamlessly with the traditional combination of pineapple, lime, and passionfruit. The coconut cream cold foam adds a layer of velvety dimension from the very first sip all the way to the last.” —Erik Soehren, senior manager of mixology at Tommy Bahama Spirits
1.5 oz. Tommy Bahama No. 2 Rum
1.5 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. passion fruit puree or nectar
0.5 oz. triple sec
0.5 oz. lime juice
Coconut cold foam topper (1 oz. half and half + 1 oz. coconut cream or coconut simple syrup)
Method: Add all ingredients coconut cold foam topper to a blender with ice. Blend well. While blending, add the half & half and coconut cream to a medium-sized glass and froth with whisk or milk frother. Pour contents from blender into a medium- to large-sized rocks glass. Fill glass until approximately ¾ full. Slowly add the coconut cream cold foam, filling the glass to the brim. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge.