If the only rum drink you know goes by the name of “rum and coke”, you need to give yourself a serious life evaluation. The spirit is a lot more versatile than you’d expect, forming the foundation of many cocktails you can make at home. You might even know some of these cocktails: the daiquiri, pina colada, and even our homegrown tiki drink, the jungle bird. That’s why you need to add some rums to your bar cart at home.

But first — what is a rum? It’s a spirit that is distilled out of sugarcane byproducts including molasses, or freshly pressed sugarcane juice. Thanks to its main ingredient of distillation, most rums tend to have a saccharine note and aromas of tropical fruit.

There are seven categories of rum: white, gold and aged, dark, spiced or flavoured, Rhum Agricole, cachaça, and overproof. Unless you’re getting a flambeed cocktail, never take a shot of the overproof rum, as it usually falls within the 50-75.5% ABV. The white rum is the most common one, mostly used in tiki cocktails. It’s aged between three and six months, distilled in stainless steel casks, and the lightest in flavour.

While the white rum is the most versatile to make cocktails with, you should also try out dark rums. These have been double distilled and given more depth of flavour. You can even sip it like you would with a glass of Scotch. Ready to take on this Jamaican-rooted spirit? Read on.