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Off to a bad start with rum.

I'd love some suggestions for an affordable (<$30) rum that can change my mind about the drink.

I'm an avid vodka/tequila/gin drinker, but my experiences with rum so far have been negative. I tried two types of Bacardi ("Superior" and "Select") mixed with different juices and sodas, and found them all to be unpalatable. The medicinal, cough-syrup flavor really got to me. I've had a few fru-fru drinks from bars over the years that used rum, but they were so heavily juice-enhanced that I never noticed or was able to develop an opinion. Preferably, I'd like something that's good with a single mixer.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

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  1. Flor de Canas white rum is really nice and for around $20. It would be great with a sour mix as long as the sour mix was homemade or of good quality.
    You stated that you wanted to spend less than thirty, but Appleton Estate Extra ($32 in oregon) is awesome! You could make a nice Rum old fashioned with it.
    Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva is also nice.
    Good luck.

    1. Bacardi is serviceable in a mixed drink or cooking, but you can find better quality rum at the same price point.

      El Dorado 5 year old Demerara is my first choice at around $17.
      Appleton Estates is also good at around $20. The 12 year old at around $30.
      Gosling's Black Seal is a good dark rum at around $20.

      But, if you continue to find rum mixed with different juices and sodas "unpalatable." perhaps you should just admit that rum is just not your thing.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jerryc123

        Agreed. After much trial and error, I've had to come to that very conclusion.

      2. Rum and tonics, made with dark rum and extra lime to balance the sweetness of the rum?

        Good rum is nice sipped neat after dinner or with dessert, when a little extra sweetness isn't objectionable. Older rums have a lot of character for the money.

        A Daiquiri (rum, suger, lime) is classic and can be made as tart as desired.

        1. Flor de Cana - white or dark, 4 or 5 years old.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            I think I've seen you suggest this in the past, and Flor de Cana is my favorite rum. I'm wondering if it's the same one, as that seems like a name that could easily be used by more than one distiller. Do you mean the Nicaraguan rum of that name? Other than at specialty liquor stores in the US, I'd never really seen Flor de Cana outside of Nicaragua. Is it popular in South America?

            1. re: danieljdwyer

              Flor de Cana is available at even low end stores here in NY

              1. re: danieljdwyer

                Yes, I refer to the Nicarguan rum, and haven't seen any other rums of the same name. We bring in F de C in our annual duty free orders: South American countries protect their own rum industries with heavy tariffs on booze from elsewhere. people here in Colombia like F de C, but generally cannot afford it ove a local rum.

            2. Lots of great suggestions to be found in this thread:


              If you're getting a medicinal flavor it's probably because you're using low quality rum (most Bacardi falls into that category--the only one I personally use is the "8 year" version, which you can get for around $25). Don't be afraid of the brown rums, and if you want a white rum go for something of quality like Oronco, Matusalem, or Flor de Cana (or on the cheaper end, Cruzan Light, which is far better than Bacardi).

              I suggest that you ditch the random pairings with juice and soda and try a few classic cocktails. A Daiquiri, as EvergreenDan suggested, can be a great drink. El Presidente is also quite nice. And a Mai Tai, when properly made, is an incredible drink, easily included in a list of the top five or 10 drinks ever created.

              1 Reply
              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                I'm not a Bacardi fan but the 8 and the Anejo are both drinkable on ice or for sipping neat. I'm very partial to El Dorado 12 and 15 for sipping. Flor de Cana I find on the dryer side. There are so many good rums for sipping. Appleton, Barbancourt, Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva to name a few. There are so many really good rums out there. Too bad most bars and restaurants stock so few.

              2. bacardi is mediocre rum. try some good sipping rums. Check out a friend of mine's blog, it's basically all about rum and rum cocktails.

                1. Mount Gay Eclipse is always a good stand-by and mixes well. A classic with tonic and lime. Usually under $20.
                  The Cruzan Single Barrel is in the $30 range and is a decadent pleasure with a good ginger ale or on its own.

                  1. if you can find Smith and Cross i Highly recco it.
                    big flavors of vanilla and caramel, and it's got great body and mouthfeel even though it's 150proof.

                    1. Old Monk from India tastes really amazing, especially in mixed drinks (e.g. Hemingway Daiquiri or Tom and Jerry), and is really cheap (under $20 for 750 ml)

                      1. If you want a high quality flavored rum that doesn't have those fake flavors, try Brinley Gold Rum from St. Kitts. Doesn't even need a mixer (but may be a bit too sugary for some).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: thirstygirlpa

                          sadly, I'm friendly with Mr. Brinley, but really hate their flavored rums. He gave me a bottle each of their whole line a few months ago and I tried working with them. I wanted to like them, but to no avail. They taste totally sickly sweet and over flavored. Ghastly. i was one of the judges in the 2008 Ministry of Rum competition, and the only reason it won anything is because there are no good flavored rums except for a few spiced rums like Montecristo and Sailor Jerry.

                          1. re: JMF

                            Luckily there's a place for a "sickly sweet" rum since many people, especially newbies, can enjoy them - though not a whole lot at once for sure!

                        2. For a few really noteworthy rums:
                          - Barrilito 3 Star
                          - Brugal Anejo (or extra anejo)
                          -Wright and Nephew Demerara
                          - Any of the Barbancourt Rums
                          - Old Monk (already mentioned)
                          - Or try a nice Cachaca or Rhum Agricole

                          All of these can be sipped on the rocks, or with perhaps a splash of soda.

                          I don't really enjoy any of the Bacardi products.

                          1. We've really been enjoying Pyrat rum lately. It's around $25 a bottle (750 ml) in our market, and has brown sugar and caramel flavors. We drink it straight in a brandy snifter, as an after-dinner drink or something to sip on as we watch the fire.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Niki in Dayton

                              I sometimes like to classify Pyrat XO as a flavored rum liquour. It has a very pronounce orange flavor. I like it at times and always drink it neat. I know a lot of people hate it. Would be a nice after dinner rum.

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                I sometimes like to use it in a Mai Tai in place of the curacao. Makes the drink rummier, but still with orange flavor. Kind of an interesting twist.

                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                  I find it has more of a peach/apricot flavor.

                                  1. re: JMF

                                    Different batch, perhaps? My bottle tastes like a lesser version of Grand Marnier--there's no question about it being sweet and orangey.

                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                      I looked at some notes from fall '06 and I found it to be dried apricot, orange zest, and buttery toffee.

                                  2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                    DavisSqPro may be on to something with batch variation, as I found it to be orange, quite bitter, and sweet/caramel. I usually like bitter things but couldn't warm up to it even after using up the whole bottle over the course of a year or so. It reminded me of a Shrubb that a friend let me try, which was also very bitter but in a more interesting way.

                                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                                      Bittter? Never tasted bitter and I've had several presentations of Pyrat. Not my favorite rum due to the over orange thing going but still enjoyable to me.

                              2. We all get off to a bad start with rum, it's why it's the universal separator of men from boys.

                                Also, never drink bacardi again, unless it's in a coke bottle, or you are inheriting their fortune.

                                1. Flor de Cana 4, 5 or 7 year
                                  Havana Club white, anejo, or 7 year
                                  Mount Gay Eclipse
                                  for spiced rum: Sailor Jerry, it has a subtle cherry and vanilla flavour and its 46% alcohol