Top 9 Jamaican Rums to Drink

There’s nothing quite like a tasty rum and Coke mixed up with a smooth and spicy Jamaican rum.

Iconic tour attraction Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum distillery

Although Barbados might be where rum was born, Jamaica took the rum-making process and took that yummy liquor global.

The fruity, funky flavors are enhanced with touches of molasses and burnt sugar that take all of my favorite rum-based drinks and make them spectacular. 

I’m pretty particular when it comes to certain foods and drinks. More often than not, I find my favorites and tend to stick with them. However, now and then, I can be swayed in new directions. 

When a friend hosted a rum tasting at their house not too long ago, I had the opportunity to try out a ton of new brands. It was really fun, and I was able to add a handful of new favorites to my list.

So, without further ado, here’s my updated list of the best Jamaican rum brands and why you should absolutely try them all.

Appleton Estate

Appleton Estate is your best bet if you want a great place to start with Jamaican rums.

Specifically, I’d highly recommend the Signature. It has a low price point, a funky, fruity aroma, and is really smooth, so it goes down nice and easy.

It still has a spicy, boozy kick, but the overall flavor is delicious. 

Appleton Estate’s Signature Rum has hints of pineapple, guava, and other tropical flavors that make it a great summer drink.

Appleton is a good choice if you’re looking for a no-fuss option for your basic rum and Coke or mai tai.

Sometimes, though, when I’m looking for something light, I add a splash of this to coconut water for a refreshing treat.

Myers’s Rum

Myers’s Original Dark Rum is a dark buttery rum that’s warmer than many other dark rums out there.

This one has a range of flavors, starting with vanilla and ending with a kick of molasses.

It has a blend of flavors that tastes great on the rocks. If you prefer something mixed, a hot buttered rum will be perfect.

The main gripe I have with Myers’s is that it seems like the formula has changed recently. The original was delish, so why mess with a good thing?

But honestly, even though the recipe is different, this is still one of my all-time favorite dark rums. 

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Hamilton Rum

Hamilton rum is a demerara rum straight from Guyana. It’s dark and bold with hints of wood and a touch of tobacco.

Since it isn’t as sweet as other rums, you’ll need a particular taste to enjoy it. The spicy molasses flavor is ideal for that warm feeling you’d want from a good rum. 

Hamilton is great over ice, but you could easily work it into a mixed drink.

A daiquiri would be my first go-to, but you could add it to a soda for a classic rum and Coke with delicious results.

If you’ve never tried a demerara rum, which is a rum made specifically in Guyana, Hamilton is a great first one to try.

Rum-Bar Rum

Rum-Bar has a few different rums, but the two that I seriously just can’t get enough of are the Gold and Silver.

They’re so delicious and between the two, easily cover whatever craving or whim I happen to be experiencing when I stop at the store.

The Gold has a bit of a bitter, citrusy scent with a touch of warm vanilla. There’s also a lot of apricot and strawberry fruitiness that I love.

It’s pretty tart overall, which is good for newbies who don’t like that funky taste you often get from rum.

The Silver is excellent because it has this unique herbal mix of basil and mint combined with a warm, nutty flavor.

I like sipping this one on its own with a spring of mint, but it’s also an excellent choice for a rum and Coke.  

Plantation Rum 

Plantation Rum has a lot of rums to choose from, but the Original Dark is easily my favorite.

This award-winning rum is smooth, sweet, and warm. First, you’ll get an interesting hit of overripe banana and fruitiness that sweetens the nutty flavor.

Then, it gets rounded out by the caramel and brown sugar flavors that give it that warm taste going all the way down.

I like using Plantation Original Dark in mixed drinks, like a mai tai or daiquiri. It’s a bit strong, so sipping it on its own might be overwhelming.

That said, if you’re a frequent rum-drinker, you might enjoy the burst of cinnamon spice you get when you take this one down.

Wray and Nephew Rum

Wray & Nephew White Rum is one of the most popular rums in Jamaica, and for a good reason.

This white rum has a whopping 63% ABV, so it’s the perfect choice for mixing.

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I love the quick smack of pineapple and brown sugar I get every time I open the bottle, even if the booziness is a bit…boozy.

This rum isn’t aged, so the alcohol taste is pretty strong. Even still, the bitterness you get from the alcohol is nicely balanced with the citrusy-sweet flavor.

It works well for any type of mixed tropical drink, but especially daiquiris. 

Hampden Estate

Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum is one of my favorite rums because it has such an intriguing flavor.

There’s an overall tropical flavor rich with overripe banana, mango, and citrus. Then it finishes with a touch of salt and the spicy hit of alcohol. 

This is another fairly strong rum, so if you like that warm hit of alcohol, Hampden Estate will be a good choice.

You can mix it into your favorite rum-based drinks, of course, but in my opinion, it’s perfect for sipping.

Doctor Bird

Doctor Bird Jamaica Rum is a US-based Jamaican-style rum that really lives up to its competition.

It’s full of complex and robust flavors that meld together into an intriguing drink.

There’s just the right mix of bananas, molasses, and tropical fruitiness that goes well in any tropical drink.

At 50% ABV, it might be a bit strong for sipping, so I’d definitely recommend whipping up a mai tai for this one.

It’s a bit bitter, but the fruitiness combined with your favorite mixer will smooth that bitterness right out.

Blackwell Rum 

Blackwell’s Fine Jamaican Rum has one of the smoothest finishes I’ve ever tasted in a gold rum, making it one of my all-time favorites.

Its warm vanilla flavor combined with the burnt taste of sugar and molasses is really one of a kind.

Although this could definitely be a sipping rum, the best way to get the most out of the flavors is to mix it.

You’ll get a smoother finish and be able to pick out all the individual notes much better once the spiciness is subdued a bit. 

If you’re in the market for a new brand of rum or you’re not sure where to start, this list should give you some pretty good ideas.

Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran rum drinker, there’s bound to be something here you’ll enjoy. But don’t take my word for it–go on and try them out yourself! Pair your rum with a traditional Jamaican meal for the full experience.

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So, what did we miss? Are there any other rums you think we should try out? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re looking for something different, check out our favorite Cuban rums as well!

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  1. Great article! I studied wine and spirits and I am a sommelier in my spare time (not professionally but for enjoyment) and I in Jamaica right now and one of my goals is truly to discover their best Jamaican rums. I started visiting Appleton State and I have two more distilleries to visit next week. But now you opened my eyes for more and exciting possibilities. I can’t thank you enough!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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