Shake up your drinking game with these rum cocktail recipes

Shake up your drinking game with these rum cocktail recipes

Pick the most refreshing and quirky cocktail on a bar menu, and there’s a good chance you’ll find rum in the ingredient list. We explore a few classic recipes that let the roasted, sweet taste of the ghost shine.

From the star of Tiki drinks (Pina Colada, anyone?) to adding a certain zest to spirit forward summer brews, the versatility of rum is indispensable.

Popular base alcohol, rum is distilled from cane sugar or molasses, giving it a delicious, sweet underlying flavor. Depending on how it is aged and the region, the flavors can further range from subtle to earthy, with variations in styles ranging from light to spicy. Each works well for a specific set of classic bar cocktails. And while the ghost is in various concoctions, a few of the chosen ones stand out wonderfully. We round up a list of a few such rum cocktail recipes that are sure to be a hit at the next one side or a meeting you organize.

Transform a bottle of rum into exciting cocktails with these recipes

Pina Colada

If you love pina coladas, this recipe is all you’ll ever need. The cocktail was created in the 1950s when a bartender at the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico combined coconut cream, rum and pineapple to represent sunny sand and tropical vibes. His colleague Ricardo Garcia then added strained pineapple juice and gave it a name. Creamy, fruity and refreshing, this cocktail is a crowd pleaser. That said, having the right balance of ingredients is key to keeping it from turning into a sugary mess. Don’t forget to load up on some good quality ice cream for this one.

Rum Swizzle

Often referred to as Bermuda’s national drink, this cocktail was created at The Swizzle Inn in the 1900s. At the time, limited island ingredients were combined and stirred with a stick cut from the native stirring tree, giving the brew its name. This recipe calls for good quality rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, lime juice, lemon juice, falernum, and angostura bitters.

If you can’t find the liqueur, you can make your own by steeping lime zest, orange zest, sweet lime zest, ginger, caster sugar, and white and dark rum in a glass jar for three months. And while there are several variations of the drink, there’s no denying that the way you put the drink together and the ingredients you use will make all the difference.

Mai Tai

This blend of rum, curacao liqueur, orgeat syrup, and lime juice is one of the most popular Tiki creations. The cocktail was created in the 1940s by Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron to showcase the flavors of rum. Like Pina Colada, the balance of ingredients is key to keep the drink from becoming too sweet. Other than that, the cocktail is easy to make. To stay authentic to the original recipe, you’ll need amber rum and dark Jamaican rum. Don’t forget to garnish with fresh lime and mint for an extra sparkle.


A classic cocktail with several variations, daiquiri has been featured in several films, from Godfather II to Our Man In Havana. The ingredients include rum, citrus juice and sugar, and the blend was first formulated in 1898 in the mining town of Daiquiri in Cuba. Other anecdotes state that an American mining engineer stationed in Cuba melted the drink to protect his workers from yellow fever. Regardless of its origin, the blend is now popular in bars around the world. And its bright, sour taste makes it the perfect summer refreshment. Garnish with a lime wedge and good quality ice.

the jungle bird

A popular drink in Malaysia, this cocktail is a delicious blend of dark rum, Campari, lime and sweet pineapple. It was reportedly founded in 1978 in Aviary Bar (Kuala Lumpur Hilton). A classic Tiki cocktail that works just as well in the winter, there is a distinctly bitter and dark flavor to this concoction that makes it so popular among cocktail aficionados. Garnish with pineapple leaves for extra bloom.


This blend of rum, lemon juice, passion fruit syrup (or puree), and orange serves as a one-way ticket to New Orleans’ French Quarter, where it was first invented in the 1940s. The drink is traditionally served in a curvy glass of the same name. There is a huge number of varieties available in all bars, from frozen to indulgent and sweet. However, the classic is hard to beat. This particular recipe pays tribute to the original and involves making fassionola, a red-colored, fruit-flavored syrup. While this may seem like work, the payoff is worth it. Don’t forget to garnish with pineapple.

Cable car

Popular mixologist Tony Abou Ganim created this cocktail in the 1990s as a tribute to the San Francisco cable cars that passed by his Starlight Room lounge and bar. The classic recipe calls for spiced rum, orange curacao, lemon juice, simple syrup, and cinnamon sugar and is an adaptation of the cognac-forward Sidecar. The cinnamon sugar rim and orange twist in this particular recipe help balance out the sour taste of the drink.


Perhaps one of the most recognizable cocktails in the world, you’d be hard pressed to find a bar that doesn’t offer mojitos. The brew traces its origins to the 18th and 19th centuries when Cuba spearheaded the production of rum and sugar cane — two key ingredients for a mojito. The recipe calls for potent rum, seltzer, sugar cane, mint and lime juice and is a refreshing, fun summer drink. Make sure to shake the mint before adding it, as that adds some spice to the sour and sweet flavors of this cocktail.

Bahama Mama

A cocktail as fun as its name, Bahama Mama is a classic tropical cocktail. While the drink is indisputably, as the name suggests, from the Bahamas, its origin story is shrouded in mystery. However, some reports suggest that a bartender named the drink after Dottie Lee Anderson, a calypse singer and dancer in the 1930s.

The drink has now become the banner of beachside concoctions and recipes call for rum, coconut rum, grenadine, orange juice, pineapple juice and crushed ice. Several others also contain coffee liqueur to balance the flavors of the drink. Regardless of the version you choose, be sure to serve your drink in a hurricane glass for that authentic touch.

Jamaican Rum Punch

If you’ve got a party planned this summer, this Jamaican rum punch is guaranteed to be a showstopper. The drink is said to have been made by British sailors who worked for the British East India Company and mixed Indian arrack with other common ingredients such as lemon juice.

By the 17th century, this blend became quite popular and the modern recipe was born when Jamaican rum was used in place of the arak. A typical recipe includes rum, grenadine, pineapple juice, fresh lime and orange juice, making the resulting drink a fruity delight. Keep this Caribbean treat in the fridge for up to 12 hours for a party, and garnish just before the party starts.

Featured Image: Courtesy Melissa Walker Horn/Unsplash; Hero Image: Courtesy Shutterstock

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