Daiquiris aside, the warm, rich spirit makes for pleasantly warming cocktails.
Spiced rum
Credit: Carey Jones

Rum may be a spirit with tropical connotations — pineapple and coconut and big slushy cocktails — but we happen to think the warm, rich spirit works just as well in the winter. Especially a good spiced rum. And while there are certainly less-than-stellar spiced rums on the market, we’re big fans of The Kraken Black Spiced Rum (named for a mythological sea creature).

Up at 94 proof — most rums are down at 80, so that’s a significantly higher level of booze — it’s flavored with cinnamon, clove, and ginger, among other spices, and has a pleasant vanilla flavor. All these qualities take very well to mixing, whether in a simple highball or rich, complex cocktail; check out our favorites below.

Easy: Kraken & Coke

Kraken & Coke
Credit: Carey Jones

Rum and Coke is obviously a time-honored combination, but the pairing works very well with a good spiced rum, too — all Coke’s mysterious warm-spiced flavors really emerge, and the vanilla flavor of the rum plays in perfectly. Squeeze in a lime for best effect.

Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine one and a half ounces of Kraken and four ounces of Coke. Stir briefly and garnish with a lime wheel.

Intermediate: Spiced Grog

Spiced Grog
Credit: Carey Jones

As far as we can tell, “grog” doesn’t really have a meaning — “rummy, boozy drink” works well enough for us — so we’re calling this rum-citrus drink a grog for sure. Spiced rum, grapefruit, and dark sugar syrup all work well together; and doesn’t it just look better over crushed ice?

Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces Kraken, half an ounce of ruby-red grapefruit juice, half an ounce of lime, 3/4 ounce raw sugar syrup (Sugar in the Raw, or the like, cut 1:1 with hot water), 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, and 2 dashes of orange bitters. Shake until well-chilled, then strain into a big glass with fresh ice (ideally, crushed ice). Garnish with two grapefruit half-moons and a lime wheel.

Advanced: Rum Flip

Spiced Grog
Credit: Carey Jones

A “flip” is a cocktail that incorporates a whole egg, which may sound a little tricky, but gives the drink a creamy richness without compare — combined with vanilla-and-spice rum, it tastes like dessert, with almost an ice cream effect. Delicious.

Instructions:  In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine two ounces of Kraken, 3/4 ounce of simple syrup, and one whole egg. Shake the cocktail without ice for about 30 seconds -- that starts to whip up the egg white, and it’s called a “dry shake”. Then add ice and shake again. (The "wet shake.”) Strain into a rocks glass without ice. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.