5 Great Rums for Your Home Bar

Rum is hands-down the most diverse spirit in the world– and I’d fight anyone who says otherwise. A big part of why it’s so incredibly diverse is because there aren’t many rules around how to make it. Basically, each country (and in some cases, different regions within the same country) will have their own methods and traditions for producing rum.

According to the Smuggler’s Cove book (if you don’t have it, get it!) rum is made from sugarcane and its by-products, but “by-products” could mean a lot of different things. That could be fresh cane juice, crystalized cane sugars, cane syrup, etc. Then there are all types of different distillation methods and aging processes. Withs some varieties, the end result is incredibly funky and full of tropical fruit flavors (like Jamaican rum) while others might remind you more of whiskey. Point being: the world of rum is vast and exciting. If you’re one of those types that “doesn’t like rum” well you’re wrong, because chances are there is one out there for you.

With all that said, making a list of only 5 recommended rums is almost impossible and maybe even a bit silly.

There are just so many different styles and varieties to taste and explore. Personally, I’ll always be excited about finding a new rum.

However, the home bartender or casual cocktail connoisseur doesn’t necessarily have the space or need for an extensive rum collection. So here is a super short list of the 5 rum bottles that I find myself reaching for the most. Rum is generally cheap, especially compared to many other spirits, so all of these are easy on the wallet and (should be) easy to find wherever you are.

You’ll be able to make a lot with these 5 rums… but I hope you don’t stop here!

Appleton Estate Rum

Appleton Estate Signature Blend

Type: Blended-Aged Jamaican
Tasting Experience: Aromas of molasses & brown sugar. Mildly sweet with some citrus and spice.
Price: Around $18 for 750ml

Inexpensive and widely available in most states, this is a great bottle to have on hand for any home bar. It’s often my go-to for making various rum drinks when entertaining. Versatile, delicious and affordable; hard to beat that!

Try it out in a Jungle Bird cocktail.


Casa Magdalena

Type: Guatemalan
Tasting Experience: Aromas of grass & Turbinado sugar. Palate is clean with light caramel and bold white pepper. Dry spice finish.
Price: $19 for 750ml

Mag is my personal choice for slinging daiquiris. It’s really clean and light but has plenty going on flavor-wise. I especially love that it has a really unique grassy side and subtle earthiness, which in some ways reminds me of a tequila.


Wrey & Nephew White Overproof

Type: Jamaican White Overproof
Tasting Experience: Funky and fruity!
Price: Around $25 for 750ml

Everyone needs a little Jamaican funk– or a lot of it. Jamaican rums are usually my favorite, both for their level of quality and the crazy flavors. One taste of this and you get hit with a truckload of funky fruitiness. It’s not everyone’s jam but it’s essential if you want to tiki!


Plantation Stiggins Fancy Pineapple

Type: Artisinal Infusion, Blend of Caribbean rums
Tasting Experience: Pineapple and vanilla on the nose. Rich & buttery on the palate with pineapple, citrus, vanilla and oak. Spice notes and sugarcane on the finish.
Price: Around $35 for 750ml

Not all flavored rums are bad. This one is made with Plantation 3 Star Rum that has been infused with pineapple rinds then pot distilled and rested in oak casks. It’s addictively delicious stuff and makes an amazing rum Old Fashioned.

Plantation OFTD

Plantation OFTD

Type: Blended, Aged Overproof
Tasting Experience: Brown sugar and tropical fruit. Then very subtle smoke with molasses, along with pineapple and ripe fruit. Dry, intense and powerful.
Price: $40 for 1L

A little OFTD brings a whole lot of tiki to the party, which is exactly what this rum was created to do. Created in collaboration with several tiki-bartending legends, “Old Fashioned Traditional Dark” is a blend of various rums that packs a very powerful flavor punch!

Want to get mixing? Here are some rum cocktail recipes to start with…