To enjoy rum, you’ll need to first consider the different styles available and which may work best with your palate preferences.
Depending on the unique conditions in which its source material was grown, as well as the techniques utilized in its production (and there are many), this delightful spirit can range from sweet and floral, to dark, smokey, and everything in between.
Dark and dry rums are typically aged longer than other types because manufacturers want caramelization in the final product. On the other hand, white rums (also known as light or silver rums) have a cleaner profile but can still vary greatly in flavor based on the brand or label. There’s also gold, spiced/flavored, and many other classifications of rum to consider.
Rum purists might argue that the spirit is best served neat or on the rocks, but you shouldn’t be ashamed of choosing to enjoy it in a cocktail or with a great meal.
Rum has been hailed as one of the best spirits to conjure memories of tropical vacations, relaxation, romance, and adventure. Likewise, there are all sorts of food and drink ideas to complement your rum-sipping experience—but you can start with these 8 pairings for rum:
1. Steak + Aged Rum When discussing rum and meat dishes, steak always comes most readily to mind. Steak and aged rum are a culinary match made in heaven as the grilled flavors of the meat enhance the unique woody and caramelized nuances of the aged spirit.
2. Club Soda + Dark or Spiced Rum For a refreshing summer drink, squeeze some lemons and fill up the glass with your favorite dark or spiced rum. Top it off liberally with club soda for an added zing of minerality—perfect for bringing out that nutty undertone in any aged or spiced rum!
3. Cheese + Silver or Black Rum Silver and black rums alike go great with what many people consider to be an acquired taste for cheese. Creamy cheeses like brie, blue, and aged gouda respond well to the varied profiles of either classification, while a handful of cheeses like parmesan are equally complementary for their salty tang and mild hints of pepper.
4. Tonic Water + Dark Rum Adding tonic water to a drink is like adding salt and pepper to a dish—it helps bring out the flavor of other key elements. Just as it unveils floral notes from gin, tonic water can show off the woody flavors of a dark rum. You can also try mixing 50 percent soda water with 50 percent tonic water for a more subtle effect.
5. Ceviche + White Rum Ceviche is a refreshing, citrus-forward dish that pairs well with the bright flavors characteristic of many white rums. It’s made from fresh raw fish (such as Cod) and cured in lemon or lime juice mixed with tomatoes, onions, chiles, and spices like cilantro sprigs. If you’re not into seafood, try Ceviche de Pollo which features diced chicken breast instead.
6. Pineapple Juice + White or Dark Rum A list of rum pairings would not be complete without pineapple juice. After all, pineapple juice is one of the main ingredients in a piña colada and makes for an incredibly refreshing Daiquiri! The tanginess of pineapple juice has the same balancing effect on various types of rum as citrus. Just be sure to squeeze it fresh.
7. Flavored Seltzer + Spiced Rum Flavored seltzers offer a wide range of enjoyment for every palate with flavors like coconut, mixed berries, and apple. Similar to tonic water, flavored seltzer can help enhance the existing flavors of a great rum while adding a delicate twist. With so many flavored seltzer and spiced rums out there, it has never been more fun to drink your rum!
8. Ginger Beer + White or Dark Rum Ginger beer is the perfect companion for most rums because it’s a little spicy and not too sweet. Mixing it up with your favorite white or dark rum will give you an enjoyable new drink that packs a bold, flavorful punch.