Rum has been a classic drink ever since its first distillery on a sugarcane plantation in the 17th century Caribbean. It is conventionally made by fermenting sugarcane molasses or juice and then distilling and aging it in oak barrels.
In the centuries that have passed distilling techniques have changed and improved but there is one question that remains throughout - dark or white rum? Which is better?
As delicious and packed with flavor as dark rum can be, white rum is the milder of the types of rum available on the market today and is perfect for mixing in cocktails or on its own for a smooth, sweet taste.
White rums are called many things around the world, from ‘silver’ to ‘light’ to ‘white’ - but all of these terms mean the same thing - clear or extremely light in color and rarely infused with extra, deeper flavors.
So you’ve picked the light side - you’ve decided you want a great bottle of white rum and you’re trying to figure out what the best one would be to buy. But that’s a hard decision? How can I choose?
Don’t panic - we’re here to help you with that. Here is a guide to the 12 most interesting and best white rums on the market today. We’ll give you a short rundown of each and tell you some pros and cons, we’ll also tell you if they’re best for drinking neat, or within specific cocktails and mixtures!
We’ve also added a handy buyers guide and FAQ to run you through the ins and outs of all things white rum, including what to look out for and what all the different kinds are. Put on your pirate outfit and get ready to sail the seven seas of rum with us. Yo-ho-ho and the best bottle of white rum!
OUR TOP PICK
If there’s a king of reliable rum that will give you the same taste every time - it’s old Captain Morgan here. This white rum is five times distilled, made with the finest cane molasses with hints of burnt sugar, melon, and nutty flavors.
It’s one of the more neutral on this list in terms of flavor which makes the perfect fit for light cocktails. We recommend this rum for beautiful summer cocktails or as a drink alongside gorgeous Caribbean food!
- 5 times distilled
- Light flavors
- Great for cocktails
- Not the most adventurous of rums
Another reliable and well-known rum is Bacardi. Here is a rum with notes of citrus and vanilla, whose history boasts helping to invent famous cocktail recipes such as Mojito and DaiQuiri.
Oak-aged in barrels under the Caribbean sun, this rum has been in production since the early 1800s and in this time Bacardi has perfected their distilling process to make a taste that many know and love. We recommend Bacardi if you’re looking for something that won’t surprise you!
- Old company with a history of rum.
- Great base for cocktails
- Vanilla and almond taste not for everyone
Created in 1938 by Venezuelan Alejandro Hernández, Pampero Rum is lesser-known but a great addition to your liquor cabinet because of its light taste with hints of fruit.
It’s oak-aged and charcoal filtered which gives it a delicate smoky taste. We found that this rum was amazing as a base for cocktails, but not so much if you’re thinking about drinking it neat!
- Fruity taste
- Charcoal filtered
- Good neutral base for cocktails such as Mojito
- Not amazing outside of cocktails
Named after the mythical figure, this is a rum from the United States with a light flavor and not as much punch as others on this list. It’s a safe bet if you’re looking to make a big batch of rum punch that guests of different tolerance levels can drink without fear of intense hangovers or overwhelming flavor.
- Smooth and Mild
- Perfect for punch
- Fairly basic flavor, nothing unique
Palo Viejo White Rum is a great and reliable rum if you’re looking for something from Peurto Rico. It’s fairly strong at 43% ABV, but has a great taste and it isn’t too sweet or overpowering in terms of additional notes.
We see this as a rich rum that you can add to cocktails without spoiling it with additional flavors. Careful drinking this neat though, it’s a fairly strong one!
- Great, traditional taste
- Good for Cocktails
- Fairly strong
If you’re looking for something modern that’s infused with coconut, this might be the white rum for you. Dead Man’s Fingers are a new rum brand from the United Kingdom.
It’s less conventional than some of the other white rums on this list, infused with coconut, mango, clove, and lime peel
- Unique taste
- Something different
- Coconut infused
- Not great for cocktails unless you experiment
- Flavors may put rum purists off
It would have been hard not to include Bacardi twice. This is the alternate end of the spectrum from the plain white Bacardi we linked earlier. This is a white rum packed full of different fruity flavors including pineapple, coconut, and guava.
This blend is great for two things - as an addition to cocktails or punch, or as a tastier alternative to white rum if you’re not so keen on the drier, more biting taste of traditional rums.
- Fruity flavors
- Mixes well with juice and soda
- Great for cocktails if you don’t have lots of ingredients at hand
- Flavored blend
Wray and Nephew is an authentic Jamaican rum, best known for its pear, pineapple, and citrus notes as well as its spicy tang. This is a simplistic rum, but it has slightly more unique flavors and final punch which make it a good accompaniment to spicy food! Wray and Nephew rum has been blending rums since 1825 and is the oldest company registered in Jamaica
- Spicy finish
- Fruity notes
- Limestone filtered water, no additives, and GMO-free
- Not the most inventive rum
- High alcohol percentage
This is a rum made in Barbados, a tribute to some of the older, historic rums that have been produced in the Caribbean throughout time. With this rum, they’ve attempted to blend three different flavors from Barbados, Trinidad, and Jamaica.
This isn’t the simplest rum to describe in terms of flavor, it’s rather rich and you might be left trying to figure out which is which - but we wanted to add it to the list because of its complexity.
It’s also blended in french oak which adds a layer of intrigue. This is one you could certainly sip on its own, but also fits well in cocktails
- A complex white rum with different flavors
- Good to sip on its own
- Inspiration was taken from Trinidad, Jamaica, and Barbados' rums of the past
- Different to more traditional rums
- More of a blend in terms of flavor
This is a more unique choice for this list, mostly because it has a different distillation technique and originates from Puerto Rico. Some say that Puerto Rican rums are superior due to their more unique taste.
That will be for you to decide, but what we can tell you is that Don Q Rum Cristal is distilled multiple times and is one of the smoothest rums on this list. It’s aged in American White Oak barrels to add to its calm flavor.
If you’re looking for something smooth and a little different we recommend this rum highly!
- Smooth taste
- Unique Distillation for a different taste
- Great base for slightly different cocktails
- May put off those more used to traditional rum
This is an American rum from the US Virgin Islands. It’s a blend of rums that have been aged between one and four years in American Oak Barrels, then put through an extensive filtration system.
It’s light in color and has been distilled to be smooth with a dry taste. Vanilla is the main note here - culminating in a mild but also distinct taste.
- Smooth in taste, easy to sip
- The unintrusive flavor makes it good for cocktails
- It’s a blend
- Vanilla is a distinct flavor not everyone likes
Another rum from Cruzan here. We wanted to add this one because of its exceptionally smooth taste and artisan bottle. It’s a little more up-market than some of the other rums on this list, with vanilla and deep oak flavors. We suggest this with cocktails but it’s not bad on its own either. This also would make a great gift because of its gorgeous bottle.
- Smooth with rich vanilla flavor
- Great for a gift
- Less neutral than other rums
We know that trying to figure out what the best rum is can be difficult, especially if you’re new to the world of liquor and unfamiliar with some of the more specialized languages. That’s why we’ve created this short buyers guide to help you learn what to look out for when searching for great white rums in stores or online.
Origin doesn’t necessarily mean better white rum - the process for distilling is fairly similar and not massively affected by the weather in the same way something like wine might be. That said, some countries and locations around the world have rich histories of producing the best standards of rum.
Anytime you see a rum that originates from the Caribbean it’s possible that the company distilling it has been around for a long time. The Caribbean has been making some of the best white rum ever since it was first invented in the 17th century and is probably your best bet at finding rum with the most authentic, traditional flavor.
That’s not to say other locations around the world don’t make great white rum - some locations you might not expect to have distilleries are new and making some of the most unique flavors and blends on the market today.
It’s normal to feel a little bit like a pirate when drinking white rum, but that’s not to say you have to end up as drunk as one. It’s important to check the alcohol percentage of different rums before committing to a purchase.
If you don’t, you might find something with too much kick that will leave you with a sore head once the morning comes. Liquor like rum has been infamous for centuries for leaving nasty hangovers if you’re not careful, so it’s best to know your limits and find a rum that is right for you!
Whenever you see the word ‘note’ written it just means different flavors. Before you commit to buying a bottle of rum it’s best to figure out what kind of flavors you like.
Flavors like vanilla are a little richer than other typical white rum flavors like fruits and oak - whilst some have a blend of everything. If you don’t know what you like - we recommend trying a bit of everything!
Distillation is a process in which alcohol is created by heating multiple fermented ingredients until all the alcohol vaporizes and is cooled and condensed to form clear drops of fully distilled liquor.
There are multiple different ways of distilling alcohol and listing them all here would be difficult - but it’s important to know that rum can vary in its distillation process. When rum is distilled more than once it can have massive effects on its purity, strength, and consistency.
That said, flavor mostly comes from the ingredients chosen before the distillation process as well as how long/where the alcohol is aged. Many white rums are aged in oak barrels to give them their distinctive taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bacardi White Rum?
Whilst Bacardi has a great selection of rum products, several of its finest and oldest products would classify as white or silver rum.
What Is The Difference Between Rum And White Rum?
The difference between white rum and dark rum is mostly due to their aging process. Dark rum tends to be aged in large, old charred oak barrels, whilst white rum is often aged for less time in stainless steel barrels.
This aging process greatly affects their color and flavor. The difference is also between what ingredients are in both drinks - dark rum tends to have richer flavors whilst white rum tests to have lighter, airier flavors.
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