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11 Different Types of Rum to Drink 

Rum is a refreshing liquor originating from the Caribbean but enjoyed worldwide for its sweet, intoxicating flavor.

Bartender pouring Whiskey on bar

It’s a popular ingredient in classics like Daiquiris and tiki drinks like the Zombie to craft cocktails. But there’s no singular “rum” as there are many different varieties of this delicious beverage, each with its unique taste and profile. 

One example is the grassy, sugary Brazilian liquor Cachaça is used in the cocktail Caipirinha, while overproof rum has an ABV of 57.5% and gets used in tiki drink recipes such as the Mai Tai.

Read on to learn more about the different types of rum!

Dark Rum

Dark rum is a spirit that has been aged for long periods in oak barrels, giving it a darker color and richer flavor than light rum.

dark rum in a glass

It has notes of molasses, brown sugar, spices, and dried fruits. Dark rum is popular in cocktails, such as the Mai Tai or the Hurricane.

The aging process gives dark rum its distinct characteristics. The time spent aging determines how dark the rum becomes and some may age for up to five years or more.

During this period, the liquid absorbs flavors from the wood casks it gets stored in, which adds complexity to its taste profile.

When sampling dark rum, one can anticipate tasting the sweetness of caramelized sugar and molasses alongside a delicate spiciness that includes cinnamon and nutmeg.

Fruity undertones, such as raisins, dates, figs, and prunes come through on your palate when sipping this spirit neat or over ice cubes.

Gold Rum

Gold rum is a variety of spirits stored in oak barrels for up to three years, resulting in its distinct flavor and hue.

Hand crafted cognac on wooden box with bottles from distillery

Gold rum is typically crafted from molasses, imparting its unique hue and taste.

Gold rums are often blended with other types of rum to create a unique flavor profile and often used in cocktails, such as the classic daiquiri or mojito, or enjoyed neat over ice.

The most common type of gold rum is Jamaican-style, with an intense molasses taste and aroma due to the long aging process.

This style of rum offers a variety of flavors, such as vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, and nutmeg – all derived from its lengthy aging period. 

Overproof Rum

Overproof rum has an alcohol content higher than 40%. It is usually made from dark rum and can add flavor to cocktails or make flaming drinks like the Flaming Dr. Pepper or the Blue Blazer.

Caribbean rum in modern glasses with a bottle of rum

Overproof rum has a long history, with its roots stretching back to the colonial era when it was a means of intensifying alcoholic beverages and raising their strength.

The most common overproof rums have an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 75% or more.

These high-strength spirits are often called  “navy strength” because they were developed for use in British naval vessels during World War II. 

Rhum Agricole

Rhum Agricole is rum made from sugarcane juice rather than molasses. Rhum Agricole is crafted in the Caribbean enclaves of Martinique and Guadeloupe and other regions such as Haiti and Mauritius.

The production process for Rhum Agricole gets highly regulated by AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) standards to ensure quality and authenticity.

The sugarcane used to create Rhum Agricole must be reaped between April 1st and June 30th each annum, a harvest time that gets unceasingly observed.

After harvesting, it must get pressed within 24 hours to preserve its freshness and flavor profile.

Once pressed, the juice gets fermented with yeast before being distilled twice in copper pot stills or column stills. The resulting spirit has an ABV ranging from 40-60%.

Spiced Rum

Spiced rum is made from light or dark rums, and the spices used can vary depending on the brand.

spiced rum bottles

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and vanilla are commonly used to give spiced rum its unique flavor.

The result is a sweet-tasting spirit with hints of spice to be enjoyed neat or mixed into cocktails.

Another great way to enjoy spiced rum is in the Dark & Stormy cocktail, which pairs it perfectly with ginger beer for an easy-to-make yet delicious beverage. 

Black Rum

Black rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented molasses or sugarcane juice.

It is usually aged in charred oak barrels and has a dark color, ranging from amber to black.

Black rum has a powerful taste varying from sweet and fiery to smoky or even medicinal. Its aroma can range from fruity and floral to woody and earthy.

Black rum’s beginnings can be traced to the 17th century when it was first crafted in the Caribbean by British settlers utilizing molasses as a major component for distillation.

In the late 1700s, black rum made its way to Europe and across the Atlantic Ocean to North America, where it soon became a part of society.

Black rum can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks and makes an excellent addition to cocktails such as daiquiris, mojitos, mai tais, hurricanes, pina coladas, and planter’s punches.

When using black rum in cocktails, it is best to use one with higher proof (80 proof or higher) so that its flavors will stand out against other ingredients without being overpowered by them.


Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice, the national drink of Brazil, and one of the most popular spirits in Latin America.

Cachaça has been crafted since the 16th century, making it one of the oldest spirits around.

It is typically aged for two to three years in wooden barrels before bottling, although some producers age their cachaças for up to five years or more.

Cachaça is clear or golden-colored depending on how long it was aged and what type of wood barrel it got stored in.

The taste of cachaça can vary from sugary and aromatic to dry and piquant, with hints of caramel, vanilla, oak, citrus fruits, honeycomb, herbs, and spices – even tobacco.

Try it in Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha!

Navy Rum

Navy rum is a dark, strong rum traditionally used by the British Royal Navy. Navy rum is crafted from molasses and matured in oak casks for up to two years before bottling.

The alcohol content of navy rum typically ranges between 40% and 54%.

Navy rum boasts a complex taste, with hints of caramelized sweetness, subtle vanilla tones, and warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.

It’s enjoyed neat or on the rocks and mixed into cocktails such as daiquiris or mojitos. The high alcohol content makes it an ideal base spirit for punches and other large-batch drinks.

Premium Aged Rum

Premium aged rum is a type of rum that’s aged for an extended period, usually three years or more, in oak barrels.

This aging process gives premium aged rums unique flavor profiles and makes them some of the most sought-after spirits on the market today.

During the process, oxygen interacts with the alcohol molecules within the barrel and helps to develop complex flavors and aromas not found in unaged rums.

The longer it is stored, the more intense these flavors become as they get further enhanced by wood tannins extracted from the barrel.

As well as enhancing flavor characteristics, aging also helps to mellow out any harsh notes present in younger rums making them smoother and easier to drink neat or on ice without overpowering other ingredients when mixed into cocktails or punches.

White Rum

White rum is made from sugarcane by-products, such as molasses or honey, and sometimes flavored with spices.

bacardi white rum

White rum is usually clear in color and has a light flavor profile.

It’s common in cocktails like mojitos, daiquiris, piña coladas, and more.

White rum offers a wide range of subtle aromas, ranging from sweet floral scents like jasmine to earthy notes like tobacco leaf or leather.


Aguardiente has been popular in Latin America for centuries, made from sugarcane, and available as either clear or dark.

The flavor of aguardiente varies depending on the region where it gets produced, but it typically has a sweet taste with hints of aniseed and licorice.

Aguardiente can range from 30 to 55 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

The production process for aguardiente begins with the fermentation of sugarcane juice into wine.

This wine then gets distilled several times to create a high-proof spirit known as “aguardiente” or “aguardentoso” which means fiery water in Spanish.

There are many types of rum available to enjoy. From light and dark rums to spiced, overproof, flavored, and gold rums, the options are vast. Rhum Agricole, black rum, cachaça, and navy rum also offer unique flavors that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

No matter what type of rum you choose to try or how you decide to drink it – neat or mixed – one thing is certain: exploring the different types of rum will make for an enjoyable experience.

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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.