The tides are shifting in the liquor landscape, with rum steadily making waves as the next “It” spirit. Signs abound — a number of bars centring on rum have established themselves around Singapore, and globally, there have been reports of an increase in rum sales as gin begins to slowly dip. Though rum is encroaching on the limelight, it is not as easily appreciated as its botanical rival, with many people maligning rum as a strong and sweet spirit that leads to hangovers.
It’s time to delete memories of knocking back low-quality rum shots in dark nightclubs from the mental bank because the spirit does have so much to offer the curious drinker. Naturally, the best way to nosedive into rum (or any spirit) is to sample its different varieties neat, but cocktails are a more palatable starting point to broaden your horizons. They don’t have to be tiki-style, tropical beverages either, because rum’s bodied profile lends itself well to a number of timeless classics.
Here are some of our favourite rum cocktails to get started.
Rum and Tonic
Tonic water’s bittersweet goodness is not just gin’s best friend. It does plenty when added to a shot of rum as well, and offers an easy avenue for rum enjoyment that one can even mix at home. Whether it is dark or light rum, pair your poison with tonic water that’s lower in sugar, and finish the drink with a squeeze of lime.
Rum Old Fashioned
Everyone loves an Old Fashioned, and rum makes a worthy replacement as the base spirit for this classic. Swap whiskey in favour of a drier dark rum if you’re making this at home, or place trust in the hands of the bartender when you order it at your next after-hours session.
Though the origins of the El Presidente are a touch hazy, most credit the rum cocktail to Eddie Woelke, a bartender who escaped Prohibition in the U.S.A, and found himself in Cuba. Made with light rum, orange curaćao, dry vermouth and grenadine, this refreshing treat is a crowd-pleaser that begs to be your next favourite sundowner.
Daquiris tend to be synonymous with the oversized, overly sweet adult slushies that are a dime a dozen on beach resorts and island bars. If we trace the recipe back to its original, however, the daiquiri is more simple than saccharine. Rum, lime juice and simple syrup are all it takes to make a tangy thirst-quencher that demands seconds.
Created by cocktail legend Tony Abou-Ganim, this rum cocktail has its provenance in San Francisco’s iconic rooftop bar, Starlight Room. Coupling spiced rum with orange curaçao and lemon juice, the Cable Car is made to please fans of sours.