Celebrating National Rum Day

Everything under the sun has its own day. And today is rum's chance! (Apparently August is also National Rum Month, but that seems to be pushing it a little.)

Rum is probably my favorite spirit. It encompasses so many different possibilities. Sweet, spicy, dry, fiery, toasted, smoky, mixed in a cocktail, or enjoyed on its own. If there's something spirituous you have in mind, rum can probably make it happen.

El Dorado 12 Year OldMy favorite rum to drink neat is El Dorado 12 Year Old. I have many more expensive rums in my collection, but this remains a favorite. It's affordable, versatile, and delicious. Costing under $30 a bottle, it makes a great cocktail, but is also a pleasure to sip like a fine whiskey or brandy.

El Dorado is a demerara rum from Guyana, so it has a rich flavor of brown sugar, along with fruit and spice. It's not overly sweet, though, and some find it slightly smoky (although it's very subtle). It's easily one of the best rums around.

My favorite mixing rum is probably still Appleton Estate V/X. I adore Jamaican rums in general, and the V/X works well in so many different drinks. Plus it costs less than $20 a bottle.

There are dozens of rum cocktails I love, including the Mai Tai, Daiquiri, Mojito, Planter's PunchScorpion, Hurricane, and so many more.

It's hard to beat the classics, but if you're looking to try something new, here are a few recipes that you might want to explore further.

All drinks

For a twist on a classic, try substituting an aged rum for bourbon in a Manhattan.

Rum Manhattan

2 oz. Ron Zacapa 23 Rum
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Another classic with a slight difference.

Deck Hand Daiquiri
Adapted from a recipe by Tony Abou-Ganim

2 oz. Shellback Silver rum
3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
Fresh, seasonal fruits and berries

In a mixing glass, muddle fresh fruits with simple syrup. Add lime juice and rum, then shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lime and fruit of your choice.

Looking for something savory? Try this.

Garden Mojito
Adapted from a recipe by King & Grove

1 1/2 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum
1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
4 Cucumber Slices
6 Basil Leaves
Club Soda 

In a mixing glass, muddle cucumber and basil with simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients (except soda) and shake with ice. Strain over crushed ice, then top with club soda. Garnish with a cucumber slice.

Do you like sweet and easy? Here you go.

Port Royal Punch

1 750 ml bottle Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
1 32 oz. bottle Pineapple Juice
3 cups Mango Juice
4 1/2 oz. Grenadine
3 Oranges (sliced thin and quartered)
1 cup Soda Water

In a punch bowl or large serving vessel, add the ingredients and stir. Serve over ice in a punch glass.

Happy Rum Day!

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