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Aug12

10 Rums Everyone Should Have

The Blowlamp

Drinking rum is the paragon of happiness.

This sugar-blessed potion comes in a prismatic spray of variety that has prompted more grail-like quests to hunt down rare bottles than than any other spirit. There are over 175 different rums available in the U.S. alone, and that’s ignoring all the bubblegum and foie gras-flavored (yes please) demons.

But what if you could only afford to have a handful of different brands in your regular stock?

How to Pick?

After culling the horde of rums available, our team of experts has compiled a list of 10 rums that are essential for the pursuit of good cocktail making. And though what lies below is one of the best representations of sexy rum I’ve ever seen, you’ll surely find something amiss. So don’t hesitate to simply skip the rest of this post and go flame me in the comments. Cheers!

10 Rums Everyone Should Have

  1. Lemonhart 151
  2. Smith and Cross
  3. Zacapa 23
  4. Appleton V/X (or Extra
  5. Rhum Clement VSOP
  6. El Dorado 15
  7. Rhum Neisson Blanc
  8. El Dorado 3
  9. Rhum Barbancourt 8
  10. Wray and Nephew Overproof

Three overproof rums made the list (though admittedly, I bumped JWray up a bit, as I’m not sure how anyone could live without it). But beyond that, this is the best of what rum has to offer. Even so, a few categories were left behind: a really rich dark Jamaican, a spiced, and though not necessarily a category, blackstrap.

Honorable Mention

  • Coruba
  • Cruzan Blackstrap
  • Kracken (or Old New Orleans Spiced)

I urge you to try the following monstrosity. It is surely proof that if you keep adding ingredients to a tiki drink, it only gets better. Or maybe you don’t believe me and think I just created this in my mind realizing no one would be able to make it…

The Blowlamp

  • 1oz Appleton Extra
  • 1oz Kraken
  • 1/2oz Wray and Nephew overproof
  • 1/4oz Fernet Branca
  • 1oz Dolin Blanc
  • 1oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/2oz lime juice
  • 1/2oz vanilla syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 8 drops Herbsaint Legendre
  • grapefruit twist, for garnish

Shake with crushed ice, grab your scepter, and donate to a glass by casting Nailed to the Sky.

Rick from Kaiser Penguin

The Experts’ Data

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry

  • Lemon Hart 151 Demerara
  • El Dorado 5 year Demerara
  • Appleton Estate Extra dark Jamaican
  • Appleton Reserve or V/X gold Jamaican
  • Rhum Clement VSOP amber Martinique
  • Flor De Cana Extra Dry white (PR Spanish-style substitute)
  • Flor De Cana 5 year or 7 year gold (PR Spanish-style substitute)
  • Rhum Barbancourt five star amber Haitian
  • Cockspur Fine gold Barbados
  • Old New Orleans spiced rum

Wayne Curtis

  • Lemon Hart 151
  • Smith and Cross
  • Flor de Cana 18
  • Barbancourt 8 yr
  • Zacapa 23
  • Santa Teresa 1796
  • Prichard’s white rum
  • El Dorado 21
  • J.M Rhum Vieux VSOP
  • Rhum Neisson blanc

Ed Hamilton, Ministry of Rum

  • Lemon Hart 151 Demerara (This isn’t available so it is going to drink a lot of people nuts, like me, who will be asked where they can get this. The Lemon Hart in Canada isn’t Demerara anymore)
  • El Dorado 5 year Demerara
  • Appleton Reserve or V/X gold Jamaican
  • Neisson Eleve Sous Bois or Neisson Blanc
  • El Dorado 3 yr old white
  • Flor De Cana 5 year or 7 year gold (PR Spanish-style substitute)
  • Rhum Barbancourt five star amber Haitian
  • Mount Gay Sugar Cane Rum
  • Don Q Añejo
  • Santa Teresa Gran Reserva

Tiare Olsen, A Mountain of Crushed Ice

  • El Dorado 15
  • El Dorado 3
  • Appleton Extra
  • ONO cajun spiced
  • Zacapa 23
  • Banks XM10
  • LH151
  • Coruba dark
  • Clément VSOP
  • Barbancourt 5 star

Gabe Szaszko, cocktailnerd

  • Appleton V/X
  • Smith & Cross
  • El Dorado 12yo
  • Lemon Hart 151
  • Oronoco
  • JWNO
  • Rhum Clemente Vieux Agricole
  • Angostura 1919
  • Zacapa 23yo
  • ONO Spiced Rum
  • Cruzan Blackstrap (hmm, Gabe can’t count very well)

Matt Robold, RumDood

  • Smith & Cross
  • El Dorado 15 Year Old
  • El Dorado 3 Year Old White
  • Coruba Dark
  • Appleton Estate Extra (12 year)
  • Appleton Estate V/X
  • Neisson Blanc
  • Clement VSOP
  • Barbancourt 8 Year Old
  • Mount Gay Extra Old

Martin Cate, Smuggler’s Cove

  • El Dorado 3
  • El Dorado 15
  • Appleton Estate Reserve
  • Rhum JM Blanc
  • Neisson ESB
  • Mount Gay Sugar Cane
  • Coruba
  • Zacapa
  • Smith & Cross
  • Barbancourt 5 Star

Blair Reynolds

  • El Dorado 15
  • Lemon Hart 151
  • Clement Premiere Canne
  • Smith & Cross
  • Matusalem Platino
  • Cruzan Blackstrap
  • Ron Zacapa Centenario 23
  • Appleton Extra
  • Mount Gay XO
  • Appleton V/X

Craig Hermann, Colonel Tiki

  • Smith & Cross
  • Ron Zacapa 23
  • El Dorado 15
  • Rhum Clement VSOP
  • Appleton Extra
  • Lemonhart 151
  • Mount Gay Extra Old
  • Rhum Barbancourt (5 * or up)
  • Cockspur 12
  • Orinoco Silver

Rick Stutz, Kaiser Penguin

  • appleton extra
  • ED15
  • LH151
  • JWray
  • ED3
  • Coruba
  • blackstrap
  • zacapa 23
  • kracken
  • rhum neisson blanc

KP Question

  • What are the 10 rums you couldn’t live without?

48 Responses to “10 Rums Everyone Should Have”

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48 Comments to “ 10 Rums Everyone Should Have”
  1. barbancourt 5-star
    pussers
    st james black
    stroh 80
    old monk

  2. AndrewNo Gravatar says:

    I’m actually surprised by how much I disagree with this list. I can’t believe there’s no Coruba (we all know that honorable mention is the first loser), ED 12, & Appleton Gold, which are the three most consumed rums in my house.

    I’d be specifically interested to hear what ppl do w/ Rhum Neisson Blanc. mine gathers dust, as I think it’s too rough to drink straight & doesn’t play well w/ others in cocktails. It’s a rummier tequila.

    Also, I think the Martinique & Guyana lean of the list is interesting, esp. given that there’s nothing from the Cuban tree (Havana Club, Cruzan, or Matusalem)

  3. Matt SchachtNo Gravatar says:

    my must haves:

    El Dorado 15
    El Dorado 5
    Santa Teresa
    Lemon Hart 151
    Coruba
    Appleton Estate V/X
    Appleton Estate Extra

  4. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    I forgot JWray! how did that happen?

    I would have likde to add JWray, Pusser`s, Havana Club 7 (but maybe not as one of the criteria was easy availability) and really there`s a bunch of demeraras..but too pricey and hard to get for this list. Also if i`ve had a chance to try Smith & Cross, from what i hear, i`m cinvinced i would have added it too. So badly want to try it!

    As for Neisson blanc i use it in Ti Punches, and for example in Tiki drinks like the Pineapple Delight where agricole blanc meets JWray. I think rhum agricole adds that “omph” to some drinks.

  5. StephanieNo Gravatar says:

    Beautiful photo, Rick!

  6. Matt RoboldNo Gravatar says:

    I’d like to point out that IIIIII didn’t leave Coruba off of my list.

    Appleton Gold is forgettable IMO, and the ED15 is just leapyears better than ED12. If I could I’d have both, but if limited to only 10 rums I’d sacrifice ED12 for the more versatile and sippable ED12.

    Coming up with only 10 was pretty hard. You get to the bottom of your list and you start to really think about the great rums that you’re leaving off. Could I really live without Foursquare or ONO Spiced? Do I really want to live in a world with no Ron Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva or Santa Teresa 1796? Brugal White? Flor de Cana Extra Dry?

  7. ColinNo Gravatar says:

    At least on my rum shelf the MUST haves, in no particular order, are:

    * Lemon Hart 151 Demerara
    * El Dorado 15 year Demerara
    * Appleton Estate 12 yr Jamaican
    * Goslings Black Seal (conspicuously absent from most lists)
    * Rhum Clement VSOP amber Martinique
    * Flor De Cana Extra Dry white
    * Zacapa 23
    * Rhum Barbancourt five star amber Haitian
    * Mount Gay Extra Old
    * Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum

    Honorable Mention
    – Pyrat XO
    – Angostura 1824
    – Depaz (so many left this off the list)
    – Rumble – This is not technically rum because its made out of Honey and figs, but in the same process as rum. Its only available in Texas right now but its fantastic!

  8. Shirow66No Gravatar says:

    Although I don’t question Lemon Hart 151 is a rum everyone should have, I wouldn’t even come close to calling it reasonably easy to obtain. Is it even sold at all in any country in Europe? I thought I read somewhere they stopped making it also? Seems to be to us in Europe what Cuban rum is to the US.

    I didn’t even know Mount Gay made a sugar cane rum! Dying to try that now.

  9. Sunny&RummyNo Gravatar says:

    Life with just 10 rums. . .!?! *shudder*

    OK, as long as this is just hypothetical, here goes:

    ED15
    ED5
    Coruba
    Rhum Clement VSOP
    Ron Del Barrilito or Bacardi 8 (aged PR rum)
    Cockspur 12
    10Cane or Oronoco (premium white – ED3 continues to elude me)
    J Wray Overproof
    Barbancourt 8
    Cruzan Blackstrap
    (** I’m also sneaking Zacapa 23 and Pusser’s in, so I’m hoping whoever is checking at the door is lousy at math.)

    I too would like a definitive answer on the status of Lemon Hart Demerara 151. I’ve searched for it for years, it’s taken on Holy Grail status in my mind, and I’ve come up empty. Is it being produced at all right now, and is it coming into the states at all?

  10. Sunny&RummyNo Gravatar says:

    Ach! Sorry Blackstrap. . . Appleton 12 needs to take your spot.

  11. ColinNo Gravatar says:

    google it, you can get Lemon Hart 151 at a couple of online liquor stores. Hi Time Wines is one, and in Europe I think you can use Whisky Exchange — but you have to pay for shipping. I had to order my bottle online because you can only get the regular Lemon Hart in TX

  12. Doug WinshipNo Gravatar says:

    Wow,

    Even in my recent Rum-celleration phase, I still only have four of these, and only ever tasted one more.

    That said, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be without Mount Gay XO again!”

    I only have a few more Rums than 10 at all, but these are the ones I consider “base loadout”:

    Mount Gay XO,
    Appleton V/X
    Goslings Black Seal
    Lemon Hart Demerara (I’m a recent, crazed convert)
    Pussers

  13. khgNo Gravatar says:

    This list is just too rich for my blood! There are some great rums available for well under $20/ 750 ml bottle in my state. Goslings black label and Appleton Estates come to mind, and I don’t find them inferior!

  14. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    LH 151 is discontinued. It can be available in some liqueur stores in the US but Europe seems totally dry since at least 2 years back now. I used to buy it from Germany.The fact that they did discontinue that rum is a global catastrophe – its a pity i`m not the president of the world, i would use force to make them take up production.

  15. Dr. BambooNo Gravatar says:

    I mostly agree with the list, except I would have dropped the Barbancourt in favor of a white like Havana Club anejo blanco or Oronoco. Also, I think three Demeraras is a little much…I’d bump one of the EDs and the Lemon Hart and swap in something like Cockspur and Matusalem Gran Reserva.

    Honorable mention: Clement Premiere Canne, St. James Royal Ambre, Gosling’s Black Seal, Pusser’s/Scarlet Ibis

  16. KeithPNo Gravatar says:

    Great post on rums. I was late to the game on rums only really drinking and then buying the stuff in earnest about a year + or so ago. Now it takes up a good portion of my cabinet falling just behind my rye and bourbons.

    Glad to see i have some of the top 10 list: JWray Overproof, appleton V/X and extra, Rhum Barbancourt 8, ED 3 yr and the zacapa 23 (+about 5 others not on the list). I like the versatility of the appleton rums in terms of using them in cocktails and as sippers (this more for the extra then the V/X) — what would others consider their best utility player to be … i.e. all around best for a variety of uses vs just the best sipper or best mixer etc?

  17. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    If we break it down..to me the best allround mixers are Appleton Extra, Havana Club 7, El Dorado 8.

    Best sippers are El Dorado 15, Zacapa 23, El Dorado 3 yo cask aged white, Banks XM10, and 1/2 El Dorado 12 with 1/2 ONO Cajun spiced.
    Best floaters: LH151, JWray.
    Best “speciality rums” – Silver Seal 15 year demerara

    And Smith&Crosss i haven`t tried yet.

    I might have forgotten some..

  18. JaphetNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve never had the pleasure of trying either of the Rhums, the Lemonheard, Kraken or Zacapa. My list, in no particular order, goes as follows and allows for both sippers and mixers:

    Flor de Cana 7 Year Old
    El Dorado 5 Year Old
    El Dorado 15 Year Old
    Havana Club Barrel Proof
    Havana Club Anejo Reserva
    Sailor Jerry Spiced
    Wray & Nephew Overproof
    Matusalem 15 Year Old Gran Reserva
    Pyrat XO
    Appleton V/X

    Sadly, the LCBO doesn’t carry Pyrat anymore..

  19. [...] likes lists; especially when we get to make comparisons and argue over the results. This list featuring the best rums is pretty good even we can’t get some of the best ones up here in Ontario. Hence my take on [...]

  20. ColinNo Gravatar says:

    Does anyone know about Buffalo Trace 17 yr Rum, its part of their experimental collection, its 17 yrs old and only comes in a 375. They have it at my local liquor store, but I was wondering if anyone knew anything about it. Any thoughts?

  21. CaptnkirkNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with most of the lists but I could never leave St. James black label off my list.
    I am surprised it is not on Beachbum Berrys list since he recommended it to me.
    Old St. James and Appleton VX still make the best Mai Tai.

  22. The ConciergeNo Gravatar says:

    Just can’t decide my top ten among these 15

    El Dorado 3yr
    El Dorado 15yr
    Bacardi Silver
    Bacardi Peach
    Lemonhart 151
    Smith & Cross
    Zacapa 23
    Bacardi Melon
    Bacardi 151
    Appleton Extra (12yr)
    Clement VSOP
    Oronoco
    Mount Gay Extra Old
    Malibu Coconut Rum
    Santa Teresa 1796

  23. buttersNo Gravatar says:

    Agree with a lot of the posts that this is very hard. I will try my best. Here goes:

    El Dorado 15
    Lemon Hart 151
    Smith & Cross
    Cruzan Blackstrap
    Zaya
    Flor de Cana 7
    Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve
    ED 3
    Zacapa 23
    Rhum Clement VSOP

    Whoa, that was difficult! Feel like I am cheating my rum collection and not sure I am set on this list. My honorable mentions are:

    Rhum Neisson Blanc
    Coruba
    Appleton 12

    I was very surprised that no one mentioned Zaya. I would say my new favorites are Ron Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, ED 5, and Ron Millonario. Just received Barbancourt 8 year, Mocambo 20 year, and Santa Teresa 1796. Can’t wait to try ‘em. Thanks for the great post!

  24. Sunny&RummyNo Gravatar says:

    Zaya and Zacapa 23 are largely interchangeable for me, insofar as I usually can’t afford to have both on hand but I also can’t imagine not having one or the other on hand at all times.

    :-)

  25. thirstynoviceNo Gravatar says:

    Very intriguing lists, thanks. I too have a question about the Lemon Hart, two questions actually:

    1) From reading around the web, I get the impression that there are *two* Lemon Hart 151 rums, the Demerara and a Jamaican rum which is completely different. Is that right? Main reason for asking is that (as noted here) it looks like you can pretty much only buy Lemon Hart 151 online, and many websites that list it for sale simply call it “Lemon Hart 151,” without specifying “Demerara.” Would hate to order this hoping for the Demerara, only to get something else. If anyone knows the scoop and can clarify, that would be great.

    2) I’m looking for Lemon Hart Demerara 151 mainly for tiki recipes that call for “151 Demerara Rum” — which makes me hopeful that I might be able to find a decent (and more easily available) substitute for the Lemon Hart Demerara 151. Problem is, I have no basis for comparison — I am not even sure if the Lemon Hart Demerara 151 is light, or dark, or what. Can anyone recommend a decent substitute if I’m looking to make a really nice Zombie with quality ingredients, or perhaps a recipe adjustment using a quality rum of lesser proof? I’d really like to hear different ideas about this, if folks have thoughts.

    For reference, overproof rums available in local liquor stores appear to be Bacardi 151 (which I assume is lighter fluid), Wray and Nephew, and Gosling’s Dark 151. I can also get Smith and Cross, if that counts as overproof for the purposes of this discussion. Also, I know I have seen a Lemon Hart 80 proof rum here locally, but don’t remember now whether it specifically said “Demerara” (if indeed there are both Demerara and other varieties).

    I really appreciate any advice from this knowledgeable crowd. Thanks.

  26. Sunny&RummyNo Gravatar says:

    I’m far from the expert, and have had an equally impossible time finding LH151, but. . .

    • The one specified in the vintage tiki and faux tropical drinks is a dark overproof rum that is a true Demerera from Guyana.

    • I took advice from folks at tghe Tiki Central board and started using Goslings 151 as an imperfect substitute. It’s darker and more complex than something like Cruzan 151, and when LH151 is called for the Goslings yields a very tasty drink. If I decide I want a little more robust forwar flavors I’ll also add a small float of El Dorado dark. tAgain though, having never actually used the LH I don’t have a real basis for comparison.

    • I think the quest for a quality sub for the LH151 is hardly academic. If the last stockpiles are going to be used up or hoarded, there will be lots of folks scrambling for an alternative. Fortunately there are a lot of really knowledgeable online booze nerds who I’m sure will figure it all out for us :-)

  27. BunnyhugsNo Gravatar says:

    Will have to think about this one in detail.

    But for starters I’d want the following two:

    - Barbancourt 5 Star (or the 15 YO)

    - Appleton Estate Extra

    Then I’d need probably two rums in a vaguely Cuban style – something mixable and something sippable. Havana Club is a breeze to get in China and New Zealand so that’s the easy option. Personally I may prefer Santiago, but I’ve not had enough to be sure. Also, for this style of rum there are so many alternatives out there, mostly not from Cuba itself. Brugal, Barcelo, Flor de Cana – they’re all quite good.

    Sadly I’ve not had many chances to try El Dorado, but what little I’ve had has been stunning. I’d definitely want one or even two from their line up. In fact, were I restricted to just 3 rums total, they would probably have to be in there.

    Then one or more likely two Martinique agricoles – one white and one aged. Might be hard to go past JM, but I never had an agricole I didn’t like.

    Then I got at least two spots to play with. Guess I’d want a Barbados rum so I’d probably go for the obvious and take Mt. Gay.

    Final spot? I’ve never had a Venezuelan rum I didn’t like, so my last might be something from Santa Teresa. Mind you, I like Ron Pampero too. Diplomatico is nice but I’d probably rank it last out of those three.

    But now I’m missing an overproof, which is not good.

    I’m also missing something along the lines of Goslings or Cruzan Blackstrap. That doesn’t concern me though since I’d just buy molasses and try making my own!

  28. BunnyhugsNo Gravatar says:

    Actually I could get my over-poof by re-distilling one of my existing rums.

    Sorted.

  29. Mark BlackhartNo Gravatar says:

    I cannot put into words how much I love this concept/post, especially since you got THE rum names involved in the process (Gabe excluded, of course, haha). I would love to see such posts done with different spirits, especially bourbon or gin (my favorites). Since I’ve only probably tried a few dozen different rums in my lifetime, I think I’ll bow out of making a list of 10. Maybe I’m starting a conversation I’m not ready for, but why are there rhum agricoles listed but not a single so-called “Brazilian rum” (cachaca)? And for that matter, can anybody direct me to a definitive legal answer on the whole 38%, 48%, 54% ABV issue for Cachaca? I’ve seen people saying it used to be able to be distilled up to 54%, people that say that it still can, but must be bottled no higher than 48%, etc. If anybody has a link to the Brazilian legislation, that would be great. I’ll have my Brazilian friend translate it for me. Thanks again to Rick and others involved in this post. Cheers!

    -Mark

  30. JJ WestlakeNo Gravatar says:

    I’m probably guilty of favoring what I am currently drinking, but I find the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva to be a must have on the shelf, even though I can’t get it locally. And now that it can be had for only $49.99 (at a certain New Jersey store that will ship) the Zacapa Centario XO is also on my must have at all times list.

  31. in no paticular order:

    varadero 15 (oh sorry it’s cuban)
    eldorado 12 (my max age on elD because the others are way to sweet)
    Saint James Hors d’age
    Saint James imperial blanc (best for ti punch and you should try it in a mai tai 2gether wit v/x)
    barbancourt 5 stars (i agree)
    zacapa 15 (23years-buäh to expensive to sweet)
    mount gay extra old (great stuff)
    havanna club 7años (oops, sorry cuban again, my on the house rum. i still love him)
    Lemonhart 151 (demerara of course, jamaican 151 stinks)
    four square spiced rum (best i know, my own spiced not count)

  32. NathanNo Gravatar says:

    Across 25 different U.S. retailers I see roughly 400 different unflavored rums available, which, surprisingly, is comparable to the 475 unflavored vodkas available.

  33. tripdforlifeNo Gravatar says:

    Love the suggestions. I see that there is a general concensis on the El Dorado 15, the Zacapa 23, and their own favorite Appleton. Being from Iowa, we have stringent liquor control policies which makes obtaining some of these beauties an interesting task in its own right. From my experieice I have found the Zacapa 23 to be a bit light ( never had a solera before) El Dorado was one of the first rums I fell in love with and brought me over to the rum side, a bit heavy but still good. I love Appleton Extra and drink it any time I can find it. Unfortunately for us Iowegians Pyrat XO will no longer be available here soon, which is saddening, its a great product at a resonable price. Still for a top ten must have list…..
    Oronoco Brazilian and Appleton White for the whites… 10 Cane i feel is way to agricole, very intense smell and flavor

    Medium bodied… I’d go Pyrat XO, Bacardi 8 and even throw a nice Cruzan Single Barrel in for a rounded variety

    Darks are an interesting one… As Ive seen and tried I dont care much for them but have found a few decent ones i.e…. Pampero Aniversario and if your going a bit younger Goslings Black Seal… the Family Reserve OLD RUM is way to heavy and smells and tastes of pure burnt sugar

    Aged Rums are simply my favorite and I believe really show the character a good rum can have… Mount Gay XO,Flor de Cana Grand Reserve, and to round the 10 out Zaya… as I’ve seen, no matter what you mix Zaya with it will retain its flavor and intensity

    Enjoy

  34. flexoNo Gravatar says:

    Any mention for R.L. Seale 10 year or Foursquare spiced? Searching around their website (www.foursquarerum.com) has expired and online suppliers for their products appear to all be in the UK. Is their stuff available in the US anymore, do they still exist as a company?

  35. ArrianoNo Gravatar says:

    If you are making drinks from Beachbum Berry’s books, the top 10 “types” of rum you’ll need are (in order of most commonly called for):

    1. Light Puerto Rican Rum
    2. Dark Jamaican Rum
    3. Gold Puerto Rican Rum
    4. Demerara Rum
    5. 151 Demerara Rum
    6. 151 Puerto Rican Rum
    7. Gold Jamaican Rum
    8. Amber/Gold Virgin Islands Rum
    9. Martinique Rum
    10. Rhum Barbancourt

    You can decide which brand you want for each style.

  36. SwankyNo Gravatar says:

    Digging up this old thread, I agree with Arriano.

    The question is too muddied by asking it vaguely. You mean rums to sip straight, or rums to make cocktails with? Two very different things. And what may sip great may not mix well and vice versa. I think Coruba tastes awful straight, but mixes well. Appleton Gold may not be too refined, but it will never ruin a cocktail, which I can’t say for every other gold out there. I think many of the Top 10s listed are more for sipping. You don’t mix with ED 15 YO do you? 12 YO is a great mixer and 5 is still okay.

    I prefer to keep on hand to SIP on ice:
    St. James – I actually prefer the Ambre, but the others are doing as Ambre can’t be had anymore
    Clemente Amber VSOP is now my main sipper

    To mix: See Arrianos post above…
    Appleton V/X or Extra and
    Appleton Gold
    Whatever white rum I lay my hands on. I don’t know of any that are cocktail ruiners besides maybe Bacardi
    LH 151 or ED 12 year. I will sub ED 12 for LH 151 to make a less potent version of a Zombie Punch, etc. that keeps the right flavor profile
    Myers Dark for a few recipes that call for it
    Clemente Amber for a good Mai Tai, though I still have plenty of the prefered St. James Hors D’age

    That’s 6. I can make about anything in the Bum’s books work with these. I guess I am rum pragmatic. The subtlety that some folks sense is lost on 99.9999999% of the populations and even fewer of those in my bar. 2 particular rums may mix a certain way, but not too many will notice that difference when you make a substitution.

  37. galinNo Gravatar says:

    Rick a masterfpiece of a garnish there! Would love to read how you make a flower ot of grapefruit peel. I find the Isla N White very interesting, good for mixing.Dont know much about rum yet but enjoy Pyrat XO neat.Had a guest at the bar the other day asking for Wood’s 100 with coupla dashes of Creme de Mure neat….WTF?

  38. JokeIIINo Gravatar says:

    Is it just me or has someone else spotted the irony of the most must-have rum being the least (by a colossal margin, mind you) possible to find?

  39. DagrebNo Gravatar says:

    bump? i didn’t know you could do that on this blog…

  40. dbeachNo Gravatar says:

    I’m seriously frightened by this LH151 situation. I just bought a bottle a couple of months ago (in SF). Is it really not being made anymore?

  41. SwankyNo Gravatar says:

    Yes. And even though it may show up on shelves again, it will not likely be the same stuff. It may get re-produced one of these days, but I would expect it to be gone for a couple of years. And jerks like me went out and bought 25 bottles when they heard the news…

  42. Bobby MossNo Gravatar says:

    What are your thoughts on Oronoco Rum from brasil and Mocambo 20 yr from Mexico? I think that both of these rums are very unique and would most likely make my top ten. Although I’ve fielded some skepticism from fellow drinkers on choosing Mocambo in that they think it’s possibly not really aged 20 years. Either way, it tastes great to me.

  43. Like the post – and like the lists.
    For me, these are the top 10

    Zacapa Solera 23
    Gosling Family Reserve [haven't seen it mentioned - like it very much]
    El Dorado 15
    Appleton Estate Extra
    Pyrat XO
    Clement Premiere Canne [or another good white rhum agricole]
    La Favorite Vieux
    Home spiced Mount Gay Eclipse [better than anything else you can buy]
    Elements 8 Platinum [this is my favorite white rum for the moment]
    Bacardi 151 [yes - first to shock anyone - but it is not that bad as overproof rum and basis for homemade tinctures...]

  44. dbeachNo Gravatar says:

    Definitely some serious thumb on the scale putting J. Wray on the list, considering it got just two votes compared to Coruba (4), Cruzan Blackstrap (3), and ONO Spiced (3), which were left off. Before Smith & Cross came out, I could see the “indispensable” label applied to J Wray, since there really wasn’t any other equally funky Jamaican rum. But now? Smith & Cross offers that funk in a much tastier package.

    Also, obviously at this point LH 151 should not be on the list, though I’ll treasure the half bottle or so I have left. I’m hoping to get my hands on a bottle of the Goslings 151 so I can evaluate it as a substitute while I still have the genuine article on hand.

    I’d say:

    Oronoco
    Cruzan Single Barrel
    St James Extra Old
    El Dorado 15
    Appleton 12
    Zacapa 23
    Mount Gay XO
    Smith & Cross
    Barbancourt 8
    Coruba

    I couldn’t really see being without Appleton V/X, Flor de Cana white, Depaz, and Havana Club Barrel Proof, but so it goes…

  45. JulesNo Gravatar says:

    I know this is an old thread, but I am amazed that Vizcaya 21Yr didn’t grace anybody’s list…I had it at a Tasting Panel Event in Miami a few months back and it blew my mind! It stacks up great with the likes of the El Dorado 15Yr and the Zacapa 23Yr.

  46. [...] just thinking style. For the garnish, I went for a full-on, mulit-part constructed thingy that even Rick might appreciate. I started with my favorite tattooed lime wedge (already pretty elaborate [...]

  47. Banksy ArtNo Gravatar says:

    I have only tried a few of the rums on your list but mine top list (not got 10 favorites yet) would be in no particular order:

    El Dorado 15yr Demerara
    Appleton Estate 12yr Jamaican
    Flor De Cana Extra Dry white
    Zacapa 23
    Sailor Jerry spiced
    Mount Gay Extra Old

  48. I am sure my list will change over time, but to make my current favorite rum cocktails and to still leave room for some delicious neat pours, my 10 are:

    Pampero Aniversario
    Flor de Caña 12 year
    Appleton 12 year
    Botran Reserva
    Clement VSOP
    Zacapa 23
    Cruzan Black Strap
    Havana Club Anejo Especial
    Appleton White
    Lemon Hart 151

    I loved reading everyone’s comments. Hopefully they continue and people come back and see how/if their lists have changed. It’s been over a year now since the original article – anyone’s lists changed?

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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.

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