7 Dark Rum Cocktails for Warmer Weather

'Tis the season for a Mai Tai.

Mai Tai Cocktail

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

There's nothing more luxurious than that first sip of a perfect Piña Colada with dark rum float. It's the frothy blended cocktail is creamy, sweet, and smooth, and rich dark rum is the perfect counterpart. In all cocktails dark rum brings depth and complexity. With notes of caramel and smoke, dark rum pairs with a range cocktail styles from highballs to miniature cocktails served up in coupe glasses. It plays well with non-alcoholic cocktail ingredients and spirits alike from tart and fresh lime juice to bittersweet Campari. Read on for seven of our favorite ways to use dark rum in cocktail.

01 of 07

Salty Caramel Negroni

Salty Caramel Negroni

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Nutty manzanilla sherry, slightly sweet dark rum, and salty pickle brine give this unexpected variation on the classic Negroni a delicious, savory twist. Think of the pickle juice like a salt rim on a margarita, it helps season the drink and makes the flavors come to life.

02 of 07

Canchánchara Cocktail

Canchanchara Cocktail
Romulo Yanes

Before the mojito or the daiquiri, Cubans drank this Canchánchara Cocktail. Photographer Romulo Yanes shares his father's favorite recipe, featuring honey, lime, and (what else?) Cuban rum. This sweet and sour cocktail features Anejo Rum, a variety of dark rum that is smooth and clean on the palate.

03 of 07

Strawberry-Rum Coolers

Strawberry-Rum Coolers
Greg DuPree

This strawberry-flavored cocktail is perfect for a summer time party — one batch serves eight and it can be batched ahead of time. Made with both light and dark rum this drink is a true celebration of the spirit.

04 of 07

Black Manhattan

black Manhattan cocktail with a cherry
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Marc Farrell of Ten to One Rum, who wants to introduce the Caribbean's history, heritage, and culture into people's understanding of rum, shared the recipe for this rich and layered riff on the Manhattan, which shows off the smooth caramel and butterscotch flavors from dark rum. Pairing rum with the soft herbal notes of Averna Amaro Siciliano, which is sweeter than typical amaro, a few dashes of bitters, and a sweet Maraschino cherry, gently mellows the alcohol, making this simple stirred cocktail balanced, not bracing.

05 of 07

Mai Tai

Mai Tai Cocktail

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

If the only Mai Tai you've ever had was pink, then you've never had a Mai Tai. Perhaps the most well-known Tiki cocktail, the Mai Tai is a true celebration of rum. The pale yellow cocktail topped with a classic float of dark rum elegantly marries citrus flavors with just the right amount of sweetness. 

06 of 07

Dark 'n Stormy

Dark 'n Stormy

According to a Gosling's Rum tale, this drink was invented more than 100 years ago when members of Bermuda's Royal Naval Officer's Club added a splash of the local rum to their spicy homemade ginger beer. They described its ominous hue as "the color of a cloud only a fool or dead man would sail under."

07 of 07

Piña Colada

Fresh and Easy Piña Coladas
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Consider the Piña Colada to be the official sponsor of Spring Break. In this extra-special version, coconut milk provides richness that rounds out sweet-tart chunks of frozen pineapple and adds a creamy texture to this Piña Colada.

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