Summer is here, and with it, the want for tropical beverages!
Rum is an excellent choice for summer drinks, as some of the best tropical cocktails use rum.
Rum originates from the West Indies in the Caribbean, and it has gained popularity in Central and North America due to its sweet taste.
Rum is made with molasses and sugar cane, and the sweet, buttery sugar notes pair well with many fruity cocktails.
Today, some of the best rum comes from Jamaica, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy it elsewhere when we want a little taste of the Caribbean!
Tropical Rum Cocktails
Here are some of my favorite tropical rum drinks for warm weather.
A Mai Tai is a classic rum cocktail with two main variants: a traditional and a popularized version.
While a traditional Mai Tai is an orange, nutty rum drink, making Mai Tais by replacing the nutty notes with additional fruity flavors for an extra-sweet drink has become increasingly popular.
I like both versions, depending on what I’m in the mood for.
A traditional Mai Tai contains two types of rum, curaçao, lime juice, and almond syrup.
The popularized Mai Tai also has two types of rum and curaçao but usually has orange juice and a fruity syrup in place of lime juice and almond syrup.
When enjoying the popularized Mai Tai, I like to use half orange juice and half pineapple juice and replace any fruit syrup such as grenadine with raspberry syrup.
A Piña Colada is a refreshing and relaxing way to enjoy rum after a hard day.
Busting out the blender to make this alcoholic smoothie is a bit of extra work, but it is worth it to enjoy the creamy pineapple coconut flavor on a hot day.
While you can make a Piña Colada with just pineapple juice, cream of coconut, rum, and ice, a recipe with frozen pineapple in place of some of the ice makes a Piña Colada that is thicker, more flavorful, and slower melting than if you make it without whole fruit.
I like to dice my pineapple and freeze it before making a Piña Colada because it’s significantly cheaper than buying precut or frozen pineapple.
However, there’s nothing wrong with getting pre-prepared pineapple, and your Piña Colada will be delicious either way!
A Rum Runner is another delicious way to enjoy rum this summer.
The Rum Runner is a tropical rum drink invented in Florida in the 1950s. While a Rum Runner requires a lot of ingredients to make, the cocktail is worth it!
A Rum Runner blends several fruits with very different flavor profiles to get a fruity drink without being too overwhelming.
This beverage uses two types of rum, banana and blackberry liquor, pineapple juice, and lime juice. Most Rum Rummers have a dash of grenadine to add a bit of color.
While Rum Rummers typically have a pineapple wedge for garnish, in my experience, any fruit will pair well with this drink.
A Bahama Mama is another beverage that you will need to bust out your blender for, but these adult slushies make for a wonderfully refreshing drink.
Bahama Mamas generally contain rum, coconut rum, orange and pineapple juice, and grenadine. All of these ingredients will then blend with ice.
As with the Piña Colada, you could replace some ice with frozen oranges or pineapples. However, I like the Bahama Mama best without adding frozen fruit.
With frozen fruit, this beverage is more like a smoothie, and the drink is slightly thinner and more similar to a slushie without the fruit.
Zombie Punch gets its name from its ability to clear away the drinkers’ thoughts.
Donn Beach invented this drink in the mid-1930s with the intent of making a drink that would help a customer get over a hangover.
While I’ve never tried to drink a Zombie Punch to get over a hangover, this tropical beverage does excellently hide the taste of alcohol behind its fruity ingredients.
A Zombie Punch contains three types of rum, grapefruit and lime juices, cinnamon syrup, Falernum, bitters, and grenadine. The mixture is best when it’s over ice.
Like a Long Island Iced Tea, a Zombie Punch can be a dangerous drink because of its high-alcohol content paired with low-alcohol tastes.
While a Zombie Punch is one of my favorite rum cocktails, I think this drink is best in moderation.
Caribbean Rum Punch
A Caribbean Rum Punch is a delicious tropical drink with many varieties.
If you make one of these tasty treats to enjoy by your pool, you can adapt the recipe to your flavor profile.
However, if you are looking for drinks to enjoy on vacation, don’t expect this beverage to taste the same at every beach-side bar you visit. Sometimes, there is variance even at the same bar or restaurant, depending on the bartender!
Caribbean Rum Punch almost always contains orange juice and a splash of grenadine for color. To make this drink a “punch,” there are often other juices added.
The most popular additions are pineapple juice and lime juice.
I like mine with orange, pineapple, and cranberry juice. The cranberry gives the punch an extra pop of tartness and makes the drink appear more like a fruit punch.
Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri
A Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri is a simple, blended beverage. You can change the proportions of the ingredients to taste without it harming the consistency of your drink.
A Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri contains white rum, frozen strawberries, lime juice, simple syrup, and ice.
I like this drink because I have a large group of friends, and a couple of them don’t drink alcohol. This beverage is easy to make with rum or as a virgin drink.
For those that enjoy rum, add the alcohol as usual. For those who do not drink, simply replace any rum with lemon-lime soda so that the ice and strawberries still blend smoothly.
The versatility means all of us can be included and enjoy a refreshing treat on a pool day!
A painkiller is a tasty tropical rum cocktail that manages to be smooth and creamy without being blended.
This drink contains pineapple and orange juice, cream of coconut, and dark rum.
Traditionally a painkiller has grated nutmeg on the top and has an orange slice or a pineapple wedge as garnish.
I like to rim the glass with the pineapple or orange slice and coat it with toasted coconut.
The toasted coconut rim brings out the cream of coconut in the drink a little better, which can otherwise be overwhelmed by the bright citrus of the orange and pineapple juice.
A Mojito is significantly less sweet and fruity than most other tropical rum cocktails on this list.
However, a Mojito is just as good!
This beverage is more refreshing than anything else, and it makes it easier to drink more than one of these beverages.
A Mojito contains rum, mint, simple syrup, and either lime juice and club soda or no lime juice and a lemon-lime soda.
To make this drink sweeter, you can always add muddled fruit preserves or sweet fruit syrup to have a flavored Mojito.
I enjoy flavored Mojito variations when the mood is right, but it tends to take away some of the refreshing nature of the drink.
While a Blue Hawaiian is a very blue drink, don’t think that the color comes from blueberries or any other blue fruits.
Some Blue Hawaiians use a mixture of vodka and light rum, but I find it best to use only rum in a Blue Hawaiian.
Blue Hawaiians are garnished well with pineapples, oranges, or maraschino cherries.
A Dirty Banana is a thick, creamy dessert drink that reminds me of a banana split.
A Dirty Banana contains rum, coffee-flavored liquor, banana liquor, cream, milk, and a banana. This drink is blended with ice until it is similar to a milkshake.
I like to paint the inside of my glass with swirls of chocolate or strawberry syrup to add to the banana split vibe of this drink.
If you’re really in the mood for a bit of extra sweetness, try putting whipped cream and a cherry on top as a finishing touch.
The Jungle Bird
The Jungle Bird is another popular tropical rum drink because it is a fruity beverage but is not overwhelmingly sweet.
The Jungle Bird contains dark rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice, and simple syrup, and guests who come over to the pool love it.
While many of my guests love a Jungle Bird, I must confess that I prefer the variations on this drink.
While the complex bitter taste of Campari is well-liked by most, I don’t like ingredients that are too bitter.
Try replacing the Campari with orange bitters if you find the standard recipe a little bitter. This change allows you to add a little complexity to the drink without making the bitter taste as noticeable.
Tropical Rum Cocktails
- Mai Tai
- Piña Colada
- Rum Runner
- Bahama Mama
- Zombie Punch
- Caribbean Rum Punch
- Frozen Strawberry Daquiri
- Blue Hawaiian
- Dirty Banana
- The Jungle Bird
In this article, I talked about some of the most popular Tropical Rum Cocktails and why I enjoy them.
Rum is a versatile alcohol that works well with many fruity flavors, making it an excellent choice as the summer continues growing warmer.
With the information from this article, you’re in an excellent position to try many new rum beverages. If you’re not ready for a tropical summer drink yet, check out the most popular rum cocktails for any season.
Whatever cocktails you decide to try this summer, I hope you enjoy them!