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The Best Rums for Making Eggnog

Spice up the holiday season with the right rum and eggnog pairing

I love eggnog so much that I’m not too picky about it. I enjoy all of it, from the inexpensive pre-made nog in the grocery store’s refrigerated section to the homemade boozy drink you only get at holiday parties. 

eggnog in martini glasses

If you’re going to drink the alcohol-spiked version, you need the best rums for eggnog to make it delicious. Bad rum can ruin the best eggnog batch, so it pays to find rums you enjoy on their own to mix in. 

Spiced rum works well and can take so-so nog over the top. It also makes a great nog even better, though heavily spiced nog might only need a traditional rich rum to finish it off. 

Best Rums for Eggnog

I’ve compiled this list of the best rums for eggnog out of my favorite tried-and-true rums. They make the best nogs I’ve ever had, and they’re all delicious in other rum cocktails and on their own.

Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum

A bark native to the Caribbean called “Bois Bande” is added to the company’s original rum with orange and lemon peel, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice to create Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum. 

They age the rum in ex-bourbon barrels, then put it into oak vats for the six months they spend adding local fruits and spices to create its distinctive flavor. 

I love the rich color of this rum and its strong aroma. The St. Lucia-based company’s local ingredients give this rum a unique flavor I haven’t found in other brands. 

It’s one of the best rums for eggnog that’s a little bland and needs a boost. In a heavily spiced nog, it might be too much. 


Denizen Merchant’s Reserve 

Denizen’s Amsterdam blenders use Trinidadian and Jamaican rum to create award-winning blends like the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve. 

Aged 8 years, this rum has a rich caramel taste with a sweet hint of banana and a green, grassy taste on the finish. I like it in spicy eggnog, and it’s great for other mixed drinks or slow sipping for the unique, warm flavor. 

The company has 300 years of experience making small-batch rums, each with a unique flavor profile. 

I also like their aged white rum, which tastes a little like coconut and marshmallow, though it’s best on its own and in tropical drinks instead of eggnog. 


Appleton Estate 12-Year

This rum has a darker bronze color than many other rums, and the bold taste matches the color.

The Appleton Estate 12-Year rum, as its name suggests, is aged for at least 12 years in Jamaica. 

They use a blend of rums mixed with limestone-filtered water and ingredients like molasses and dark cocoa to create the taste of this drink. 

You’ll get hints of vanilla, coffee, orange peel, hazelnut, and the toasted oak of the barrel. Dried fruits offer a little extra sweetness. 

It’s one of the best rums for eggnog, but it’s also great in any other rum drink you enjoy. 


Coruba Dark Jamaican Rum

Coruba Dark Jamaican Rum could become a new favorite if you like darker rums.

This blend of over 30 rums gets its rich, deep hue from two years spent in heavily charred oaken barrels before the addition of molasses. 

This rum has an oiler mouthfeel than many other brands, with heavy tastes of fruit, wood, and molasses. 

If you use this with eggnog, use less than you would with other brands and taste often to avoid adding too much and overpowering the eggnog’s natural flavors. 

J. Wray & Nephew have made rum since 1825, and it’s pretty clear they know what they’re doing. This rum is excellent in any tropical cocktail. 


Plantation Dark Overproof Rum 

Plantation Dark Overproof Rum is an excellent choice if you want exceptionally boozy eggnog. 

Most rum tops out at about 80 proof, or 40% alcohol. This brand is 69% alcohol or about 138 proof. 

Guyana, Barbados, and Jamaican rum blend together with a base of cane sugar and molasses with a strong coffee and plum scent. 

I love the rich chocolate and vanilla flavors mixed with spices and dried fruits. It has a creamy caramel finish with a light smoky taste on top of it all. 

I get a lot of dark chocolate and caramel flavor out of this one, particularly if I’m sipping it instead of mixing it with other ingredients. 


Skipper Demerara Rum

Plenty of ex-bourbon barrels age this rum for at least three years before it goes on sale.

These bottles are some of the least expensive on this list, but don’t let the price make you think it’s cheap-tasting rum. 

It’s a navy rum with a 54.5% alcohol content with a rich, funky aroma. This one is my least favorite to sip, but I still enjoy it.

It’s best mixed with other ingredients and can turn a plain-tasting nog into a delicious, boozy treat. 

It has a strong aroma and a taste that starts sweet with a spicy, slightly bitter finish. I taste a lot of orange in this one. 

One of my favorite things is the vintage bottle label that looks much the same as it did in the 1930s. 


The Diplomatico Rum

Diplomatico rum comes in several varieties, and my favorite is the Mantuano. It’s a blend that’s perfect for sipping or mixing in cocktails. 

I taste oak and plum as the dominant flavors and not as much spice as many other rums. It’s a little heavier on vanilla than some other brands, too. 

Some of their other blends, like Barbet Rum, spend only four years in ex-bourbon and ex-whisky barrels and have a more citrus taste. This rum ages for eight years and has a creamier mouthfeel.

The Diplomatico company designs most rum varieties to be enjoyed on their own rather than in a drink. So you know the flavors are typically rich and satisfying. 


El Dorado 12 Year Rum 

Another rum aged for 12 years, El Dorado rum, has a distinctly tropical fruit taste.

Most aged rums taste more like molasses and wood to me, but this one has a honey sweetness that helps make it more mellow than some darker rums. 

That sweetness makes it one of the best rums for eggnog, and it’s also perfect for changing up the flavor of an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. 

Despite spending 12 years in oak barrels, this rum doesn’t give me a strong wood taste but a hint of oak that I like. 


Rhum JM VO

Rhum JM VO spends three years in new toasted oak barrels, unlike rums darkened from aging in charred ex-bourbon barrels. 

It lacks the bitter finish of darker rums while maintaining a toasted oak taste. I smell wood a lot more than I taste it with this one. 

The hint of vanilla with coconut makes this an excellent choice for tropical drinks like a piña colada, and it adds an interesting depth of flavor to eggnog. 

It hits a little spicy on the tongue when you first taste it, but it mellows out quickly.

Mixing it with other ingredients softens the spices, so you might have to adjust the amount to get the flavor you want. 


Goslings Black Seal Rum

This rum has another bottle I love with a black seal balancing a rum barrel on its nose.

I don’t care about bottles much in general, but it’s always nice to have an interesting label on the bar, especially during holiday parties. 

They’ve been making rum since 1806, and the recipe for Goslings Black Seal Rum is a 150-year-old Gosling family secret. 

I love the butterscotch and banana scent of this rum. All the dried fruits and spices remind me of fruitcake, making it perfect for holiday festivities and one of the best rums for eggnog. 


Best Rums for Eggnog

  1. Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
  2. Denizen Merchant’s Reserve 
  3. Appleton Estate 12-Year
  4. Coruba Dark Jamaican Rum
  5. Plantation Dark Overproof Rum 
  6. Skipper Demerara Rum
  7. The Diplomatico Rum
  8. El Dorado 12 Year Rum 
  9. Rhum JM VO
  10. Goslings Black Seal Rum

Final Thoughts

Even if the season for eggnog is months away, try one or more of these in drinks like piña coladas, mojitos, daiquiris, and hurricanes. 

To use the heavily spiced rum, try a cable car or enjoy a warming dessert drink by using it to make a hot buttered rum. 

If you’re like me, not every sipping rum is a favorite in mixed drinks and vice-versa. Some inexpensive rums taste best mixed into drinks, but I find all the rums on this list of mid-range to expensive brands suitable for sipping and mixing. 

I hope you find a new favorite drink on my list of the best rums for eggnog. 

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.