Image of a Caribbean rum cocktail with palm leaves in the background

Caribbean Rum Cocktails

Close your eyes and imagine yourself on a beautiful Caribbean beach, feeling at your most relaxed with a gentle breeze and a cocktail in hand, mimicking the beautiful colours of a Caribbean sunset.

 

A beautiful thought right? Well, while we can't transport you to the Caribbean, we can help to bring the Caribbean to you with this list of Caribbean rum cocktail recipes!

WHAT IS RUM?

Rum is a liquor distilled from sugar. The sugar used in the fermenting and distilling process can be either pure cane sugar, a sugar syrup or sugarcane molasses.

 

Sugar is one of the main exports of a lot of Caribbean countries. It's climate also makes for the perfect place to produce some of the finest rums in the world and a key component to some of the best Caribbean rum cocktails.

HOW RUM IS MADE IN THE CARIBBEAN?

Where there is sugar there is rum and the Caribbean has plenty of it! Rum is made from sugar cane, which still grows widely in the Caribbean.

 

Sugar cane is used to make sugar, which we know as an ingredient used in everyday cooking and baking. A sugar factory's main purpose is to extract sugar from sugar cane juice. However, this process also produces a by-product called molasses, which is a thick liquid that is black in colour and bittersweet in taste. The molasses can then be used to make rum.

 

To make rum, the molasses is first fermented with water and yeast for 24 to 72 hours to produce a beer like 'wash'. This 'wash' has a 6-8% alcohol level, and can be distilled to make rum.

 

The distillation process seperates the alcohol from the waste product of the fermenting process. Distillation is seperating two liquids with different boiling points. To do this, you heat the fermented 'wash' liquid. At 80°C the alcohol in the liquid will become vapour leaving the rest of the liquid behind. You then trap the vapour and purify it to make the rum.

 

At this point, the blenders will decide what to do next. Making the decision of if and how they'll age the rum. Many rums are aged is wooden casks with the type of wood used helping to determine the colour of the rum produced.

WHAT IS A LIGHT RUM?

Light rum is also known as "silver" or "white" rum. Light rums are usually aged in stainless steel tanks for up to 12 months and are often filtered before bottling, giving them their clean, light taste.

 

They have a distinct subtle flavour and a general sweetness. Its milder flavour make it perfect for Caribbean rum cocktails and are commonly used in cocktails around the world.

 

Chairman's Reserve, pictured above is produced in St Lucia and is one of the finest rums on the island as well as Bounty Rum, which you'll likely see on any trip you take to St Lucia and likely used on the island to make your Caribbean rum cocktails.

COCKTAILS WITH A LIGHT RUM

You'll often find light rums one of the main ingredients in popular cocktails like the Mojito and the Daiquiri.


Light rum can be mixed with many other ingredients like tonic water, lime juice, ginger ale, orange Juice and coconut water.

WHAT IS A DARK RUM?

Dark rums are usually barrel-aged for a longer period of time than light or golden rums. Dark rums have the richest flavour, which is often used in Caribbean rum cocktails that demand a richer, sweeter flavour.

 

"Golden" and "dark" rums are also drank neat with or without ice. They can also be used in cooking too. I've used them in my  Caribbean Rum Cake recipe and Caribbean Rum & Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.


Caribbean Rum & Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

COCKTAILS WITH DARK RUM

Using a dark rum in your Caribbean rum cocktails, not only gives it an extra punch but also gives it a rich brown look and produces cocktails like a dark & stormy cocktail, hot buttered rum cocktail or you can use it to make a mai tai.

WHAT IS A GOLDEN RUM?

Gold rums or as they are also referred to, "amber" rums, are medium-bodied rums that are generally aged in oak casks. This type of aging also contributes to their dark, smooth character.

 

They typically have a more rich flavour and are far more powerful in taste than a light rum and the in-between range between a light and dark rum.

 

Golden rums are also commonly used in Caribbean rum cocktails.

SPECIALITY RUMS

Overproof rum is bottled at a higher alcohol by volume (ABV) and can go up to 75-80% ABV. Jamaican Wray & Nephews is well known for it's overproof rum. It can be dangerous to drink if not diluted in some way, so it's mainly used as a base in cocktails and with mixers.

 

Spiced rum has increased in popularity over the years. This type of rum obtains its flavors through the addition of spices like cinnamon, rosemary, aniseed, pepper, cloves, and cardamom. But also sometimes caramel. A popular spiced rum in Saint Lucia is Chairman's Reserve Spiced Rum.

SORREL WITH RUM

Hibiscus flowers are native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions - like the Caribbean. One species of the hibiscus flower is called roselle, and it is used to make a drink known in the Caribbean as sorrel drink which is often made during the Christmas period.

 

As well as being a non-alcoholic beverage, you can use sorrel in Caribbean rum cocktails like this one from the Food Netwrk, or sorrel punch.


HIBISCUS TEA AND JAMAICAN SORREL DRINK RECIPE

CARIBBEAN RUM COCKTAILS FOR YOU TO TRY

BEST CARIBBEAN RUMS ACROSS THE REGION

With a lot of the world’s best rum originating from the Caribbean region, there's quite a selection of rums to explore. See below for the different rums across the region:

Barbados

Dominican Republic

Grenada

JAMAICA

SAINT LUCIA

Drink responsibly - More info on www.drinkaware.co.uk

Inspired by Caribbean Rum

Sources and Further Reading:

1. How is rum made? Read more

2. Introduction to rum. Read more

3. Country profiles: The Caribbean. Read more

4. Overproof Rum. Read more

5. Photo by Olivier Guillard on Unsplash

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