If you’re thinking of rum drinks right now, odds are you’re envisioning something tall and fruity and refreshing — a cocktail to pair with your winter escape to the Caribbean. But dark, aged rums can be perfect for cold weather. Rich and complex like a good whiskey, they’re ideally suited to strong winter sippers.
Grab one of our favorite reasonably priced bottles — Mount Gay Black Barrel is a great bet — and get mixing, whether you’re up for a rummy hot toddy or a stiff Old Fashioned, rum-style.
Easy: Rum Old Fashioned
Why not make a whiskey-like rum into the classic whiskey cocktail? Like any Old Fashioned, this recipe is all about the details — bitters and citrus garnish are mandatory.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of dark rum and 1/4 ounce of demerara syrup (Sugar in the Raw dissolved in an equal part of hot water). Add 1 dash of orange bitters and 1 dash of Angostura. Stir until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a big twist of orange peel and a brandied cherry.
Intermediate: Rum Toddy
Good aged rum, with its rich, complex sweetness, takes particularly well to heat; we're barely adding any water here, though if you're looking for something a bit mellower, feel free to dilute to taste. Don't skip the lemon wheel. It may look like just a garnish, but its aromas will be unleashed as soon as the hot drink hits it.
Instructions: In a saucepan, gently heat 2 ounces of dark rum, 1/4 ounce of demerara sugar (Sugar in the Raw or similar), 1 dash of Angostura bitters, and a 1/4 ounce of water. Slowly heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and it’s just warmed through. Place a lemon wheel in a heat-safe glass and pour the warm cocktail over the top.
Advanced: The Old Cuban
Invented by modern-day drinks maven Audrey Saunders, the Old Cuban is like a far, far more sophisticated mojito — with darker rum, just a hint of mint, and a big sparkling wine topper. Though the original recipe uses an amber rum, we’re going for a dark añejo here, whose complex sweetness we think matches perfectly with the bubbles. (And don’t let anyone tell you that sparkling wine is just for summer, or just for celebrations — bubbles know no season.)
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce of dark rum, half an ounce of fresh lime juice, half an ounce of simple syrup, and 10 mint leaves. Shake all that up and double-strain into a coupe or champagne flute. (Double-strain means strain through the shaker’s own strainer, and also through a fine-mesh strainer, to get those little bits of mint out.) Top with two ounces of sparkling wine and garnish with a mint sprig.