Spirits: Break out the rum for some classic summer refreshment

photo by: Shutterstock

Much like brown spirits in the winter, rums shine on in the summer. Often associated with sun, sand, water, fruity drinks and pirates, the rum selection available today is far greater than it has ever been.

To stick to the basics, rum is a fermented and distilled spirit using sugar cane. Although it may be produced anywhere. Most of today’s rum will come from the Caribbean or the United States. White rums will be unaged and are used predominantly in cocktail recipes. Much like tequilas, inexpensive “gold” or “spiced” rums will contain additives and have caramel coloring to give it the look of being aged.

Dark rums will get their golden color from being aged in charred oak barrels. Stronger flavors of molasses and caramel are prevalent in the darker rums making them perfect for sipping or with a splash of your favorite soda or juice. Their richer flavor lends them to be preferred when rum is called for in cooking.

Premium aged rums will offer complexity and individuality. Some will drink like a sweeter bourbon while others offer earthy flavors more reminiscent of a scotch. At the end of the day, drink your premium rum like a whiskey. Consume it neat or with a large cube of ice.

There are a few other popular rum variants such as Martinique’s Rhum Agricole and Brazil’s Cachaca not to mentioned all the different flavors available now. Since with variety also comes a plethora of rum cocktail recipes, I’ll just stick to two of the classics for now.


This classic rum cocktail supposedly gets its beginnings from American Jennings Cox and his time as a mining engineer in Cuba during the early 1900s. Poor planning led to Cox running out of gin for the gin sours he was pouring at his party. Faced with unruly guests and determined to keep the party alive, Cox reached into his liquor stash and grabbed a bottle of rum. The classic Daiquiri was born.


In a cocktail shaker, add 2 ounces of white rum, .75 ounces of lime juice and .25 ounces of simple syrup, add ice and shake. Strain into a chilled glass and serve. 

Pina Colada

Invented by Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresi to increase moral on his ship, the pina colada at its heart is white rum, pineapple juice and cream of coconut. However, like the daiquiri, we now have electricity and modern versions of the pina colada are preferred fresh from a blender. 


In a blender combine 1.5 cups of ice, 2 ounces light rum, 1 ounce dark rum, 2 ounces pineapple juice, 2 ounces cream of coconut (and my secret ingredient is to throw in half of a fresh banana).

Blend until smooth. Poor into a tall glass, garnish with fresh pineapple and a maraschino cherry. Enjoy!


Welcome to the new LJWorld.com. Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.