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Our Favorite Rum for Sipping

While several diverse types of drinks are available for you to taste, you might want to consider having a sip of rum to liven up your night. Many distilleries developed several variations of this spirit to suit your taste preferences and compatibility with other drinks to create perfect mixtures. 

glas of rum, cigar and a panama hat in a bar in Cuba

We’ve compiled a list of what we consider the best sipping rums appropriate for any occasion. Whether you prefer a sweeter variety, using in a cocktail, or drinking dark ones straight, there are plenty of ways to expand your palette and pick a favorite. 

Sit back, relax, maybe fire up a nice cigar and enjoy these rum brands made for sipping.

Panamá-Pacific Rum 23-Year – Best Dark Rum Aged Over 20 Years

  • Region: Panama
  • ABV: 42.3%
  • Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Oak, Molasses, Tropical Fruit

This 23-year rum is a specialty distilled at the San Carlos or “Las Cabras” distillery in Panama’s Provincia de Herrera. After aging in American oak for three years, it spends 20 more years inside rye whiskey barrels to create a smooth, long, and dry finish for you to savor its woody flavor profile.

Panama’s hot and humid climates allow this sipping rum to efficiently mature when supervised to ensure its quality. One sip of Panamá-Pacific Rum gives off soft fruity aromas, finished off with a subtle spice hint to balance the sweetness.

Appleton Escape 12-Year – Best Burnt and Bitter Finish

  • Region: Jamaica
  • ABV: 43%
  • Tasting Notes: Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit, Oak, Vanilla, Warm Spices, Cocoa

Renowned as one of the oldest rum distillers in Jamaica, Appleton Estate ages its rum in American ex-bourbon barrels for a minimum of 12 years. Other varieties might age them longer or shorter. 

We recommend this rum due to its full flavor and its flavor variety that you discover after every sip.

Although it has a slight burnt and bitter finish, its fruity scent is enough to entice you. Drinking it neat is the ideal way to enjoy this sipping rum. Adding a dash of coke or lime can also enhance its taste. 

Holmes Cay Barbados 2005 – Best Single Barrel with More Than 50% ABV

  • Region: Barbados
  • ABV: 64%
  • Tasting Notes: Brown Sugar, Butterscotch, Caramelized Toffee, Tangerine, Vanilla

This sipping rum blend is distilled in Barbados using the traditional British rum-making style. It ages inside of used bourbon barrels at different intervals; it ages 11 years in a tropical setting and three more in the UK. 

Ron Zacapa 23 – Best Served on the Rocks

  • Region: Guatemala
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Coffee, Vanilla, Honey, Spiced Oak

We recommend this sipping rum for people who enjoy their bar specialties neat, on the Rocks, or served in a dark spirit cocktail.

This Solera rum uses a blend of rums aged 6 to 23 years placed inside used barrels previously containing aged American whiskey, delicate sherries, and Pedro Ximenez wines to create a smooth and balanced rum.

They also age this wine 2,300 meters above sea level to balance out its maturation process. Before aging this rum, they ferment raw sugar cane honey with pineapple yeast and distill it in a copper-lined column device.

Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple – Most Unique Flavor Blend

  • Region: Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, France
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Roast Coffee, Vanilla, 

Plantation Stiggins’ gets its namesake from the Pickwick Papers character Reverend Stiggins, created by Charles Dickens, who enjoys pineapple rum. The distillation process takes place in four different countries, 

This sipping rum’s flavor variety makes it an ideal option for tantalizing your taste buds during a night out. The sweet and fruity profile makes a fine alternative to other tropical drinks and spirits.

When manufactured, Plantation Siggins’ distills every part of the pineapple. First, the pineapple rinds get infused with Plantation 3-Stars Rum while the rest of the fruit distills with dark rum. Eventually, they get blended together.

Zaya Gran Reserva 16 – Best Sipping Rum with a Sweet Finish

  • Region: Trinidad & Tobago
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Maple, Fruit, Cocoa

Zaya Gran Reserva 16 blends rums aged in medium-charred whiskey barrels to age it for at least 16 years. Although this aging range can differ between different types of Zaya Gran Reserva rums, they distill it from fermented molasses. 

We recommend this sipping rum for people who prefer tasting rum with a sweeter aroma and a slightly smoky aftertaste. Some notable tastes you can identify in this rum include vanilla and cocoa. The average cost ranges less than $100 and tastes well when paired with hard cheeses.

Kōloa Kauaʻi – Best Natural Coconut Rum

  • Region: Hawaii
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Coconut, Vanilla, Lime

Although you can find several coconut rums on the market, most of them don’t have natural sweetness; Kōloa Kauaʻi’s Coconut Rum doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners or additives when produced. 

The rum is placed inside a copper still and combined with mashed, crystalized sugarcane during its distilling process. They distill the rum twice at 160 to 180 ABV. The coconuts used for the rum act as its base before adding other natural flavors. 

We recommend this coconut rum as a sipping rum due to its oily and sweet flavor profile. The natural coconut flavor is enhanced with a lime and vanilla touch that increases its sweetness. Its bittersweet finish also has a hint of white chocolate. If you enjoy your rum with a fruity touch, this drink might be the right one for you.

Flor de Caña 25-Year – Best Rum Without Artificial Ingredients

  • Region: Nicaragua
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Oak, Dark Brown Sugar, Caramel

We recommend this option as one of the best sipping rums on our list due its finish’ smoothness. Flor de Caña 25 Rum is slowly aged in small white oak bourbon barrels for 25 years to balance its flavors and aromas. Its Nicaraguan distillery distills it using renewable energy to ensure its natural production.

Some flavors you can pinpoint in this rum include toasted oak and vanilla. We recommend this sipping rum served neat, on the Rocks, or paired with 70% dark chocolate.

This rum is also Kosher-certified for people who follow specific dietary guidelines. One bottle costs less than $200, ensuring its natural value. 

Sailor Jerry – Best Spiced Rum

  • Region: US Virgin Islands
  • ABV: 46%
  • Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Vanilla

Sailor Jerry’s rum has a 92 proof, notably higher than other sipping rums on the market. This proof allows this spiced rum to stand out when added to a cocktail. They blend several spices together with the most potent rums originating from the Caribbean.

The blended cinnamon and vanilla give this sipping rum an excellent balance of sweets and spices, allowing you to enjoy a traditionally blended drink.

The spice blend gives this rum its unique smoothness and flavor. You might enjoy Sailor Jerry with a dash of coke or fruit cocktails to give it a flavorful kick.

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold – Best Option for Distilled Sweetness

  • Region: US Virgin Islands
  • ABV: 40%
  • Tasting Notes: Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit, Oak, Vanilla, Warm Spices

Originally distilled in Puerto Rico before relocating to the US Virgin Islands, Captain Morgan is one of the best sipping rums with enhanced flavors and a 70 proof. For some time, Captain Morgan was the second-largest spirits brand in the United States.

Captain Morgan uses molasses, yeast, mash, and water to create its Spiced Gold rum. This rum gets continuously distilled to give it a sweeter taste.

Following this process, it ages for one year inside of oak barrels before adding its flavors and spices. This sipping rum might be worth your time if you want a nice blend of spices and sweetness.

Several rum distilleries distributed delectable blends for rum enthusiasts to enjoy responsibly. Although we encourage you to taste all of the choices we highlighted, the best sipping rum we recommend you try is the Appleton Escape 12-Year.

We believe its combination of fruit and spice flavors offers an excellent taste balance for people interested in experimenting with their drink preferences. Although its burnt and bitter aftertaste might be too strong for some people, this allows you to pair this rum with soda to enhance the taste and encourage you to slip it slower. 

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality 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.