Rum Focus 101

2017-09-24 12.46.46 1611136059646969523_4831345287

So perhaps as you’re building up your homebar, you’ve been intrigued by all the recent excitement around rum and tiki and are ready to give that college hangover juice another try? (I mean…whatever caused any bad memories probably wasn’t even rum…) Or maybe you’re just not that into whiskey and have not yet become acquainted with our botanical gin friend. Whatever your reasons, rum is definitely having a moment with the increasing popularity of tiki-style cocktails, though rum is not all about tiki. Rum in itself can truly be a treat and is in fact my favorite spirit.


So, here are my recommendations for the bare minimum bottles to start out your homebar with to maximize your rum cocktail explorations. Make sure you start out by stocking all the basic necessary Bar Tools, and see Home Bar Basics for others in the series. If you’re particularly interested in Tiki, check out the Tiki Starter Kit once you’re thru with this.


Also, while this post is focused on a rum-focused starter bar, check out my Rum Series for a deep dive on all things rum.


  • Light rum

Plantation 3 Star [#BarFaithPlantation3Star], Flor De Cana 4 [#BarFaithFlorDeCana], El Dorado 3, Caña Brava, Havana Club 3 (only if outside US)

  • Gold aged rum

Plantation 5 Year , Plantation Original Dark, El Dorado 5 or 8, Mount Gay Eclipse, Bacardi 8


  • Jamaican gold rum

Appleton Estate Signature, Smith and Cross

  • Angostura Bitters

An aromatic bitter cocktail “spice” to liven up and add complexity to many classics

  • Orgeat syrup

Small Hand Foods, BG Reynolds, Latitude 29, or homemade

  • Orange liqueur

Cointreau, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

Classics to Make

  • Rum Old Fashioned | gold rum, sugar, Angostura
  • Mojito | light rum, lime, mint, sugar
  • Daiquiri | rum, lime, sugar
  • Bumbo | gold rum, sugar, nutmeg
  • Piña Colada | rum, lime, pineapple, Coco Lopez cream of coconut
  • Coconut Kallaloo | rum, lime, cream of coconut
  • Classic Mai Tai | rum, lime, orange liqueur, orgeat, sugar
  • Navy Grog | rum, lime, grapefruit, honey

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