For years I always thought of rum as a warm-weather drink. Distilled from sugarcane or molasses, a rum cocktail (or a neat pour) just feels tropical, even if there isn’t a palm tree in sight.
But those same caramel and spice flavors also work beautifully in winter drinks. Whether you want a toddy-like concoction or an umbrella-worthy cocktail that transports you to an island, rum is as versatile as it is delicious.
Here, more than a dozen spirits pros talked about all the rum drinks they’ve been making all season—from a hot buttered banana rum to a Champagne mojito and beyond.
Easy-to-Make Rum Cocktails for the Winter
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THE JOLLY ROGER
“Rum shares space at the top of my list for favorite spirits. It’s a widely diverse category that offers a range of profiles so wide, it may only be challenged by the sherry category in terms of the broad spectrum. Many enthusiasts’ minds may go immediately to fruit-driven cocktails when it comes to rum, but I’d challenge them to explore the category. You can have ‘bridge cocktails,’ like my Jolly Roger. This has one foot in the bright refreshing side of things and begins to explore deep spice, warm flavors, and even flirts with savory elements.” —Charles Joly, cofounder of Crafthouse Cocktails and bartending champion
1 oz. Ron Zacapa
0.5 oz. Don Julio reposado tequila
0.75 oz. Punt e Mes sweet vermouth
0.25 oz. Fernet-Branca
0.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. dry sparkling wine (prosecco, Champagne, or cava)
Method: Combine rum, tequila, vermouth, Fernet, citrus, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake gently. Add sparkling wine to shaker and strain ingredients over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Mist with lemon oils and garnish with peel and fresh mint sprigs.
“The piña colada is a classic rum cocktail that’s very popular in Western culture. Meanwhile, cucumber and sesame oil is a popular flavor combination in many Asian dishes—especially within Taiwanese, Japanese, Chinese, and Southeast Asian cuisines. This cocktail represents our Asian background and our move from Taiwan to New York—east and west merge together. Just one tiny drop of sesame oil really changes the entire drink: It’s savory, aromatic—and totally refreshing.” —GN Chan, founder at Double Chicken Please, New York City
1.5 oz. Bacardi Carta Blanca
0.75 oz. fresh pineapple juice
0.75 oz. coconut liqueur
0.5 oz. fresh peeled cucumber juice
0.25 oz. lime juice
1 drop sesame oil
pineapple leaf, for garnish (optional)
Method: Mix all the ingredients in the shaker, shake it, and pour on the ice.
SOUTH FOR THE WINTER
“South For The Winter is a riff on the classic tropical rum daiquiri. Every time the weather changes here in New York City a variety of thoughts surge through my mind. Excitement for denim jacket weather and the promise of holiday meals are quickly overwhelmed by my swift and intense urge to flee the oppressive frozen building shaped walls of NYC. This fight or flight reaction led me to concocting this playful take. The boozy pineapple rum speaks to sandy beachside getaways down south while the allspice dram and baking spice notes of velvet falernum keep me firmly planted here at home in the Big Apple. Very little preparation is necessary and you can pick up these spirits at nearly any large liquor store. A nice added bonus is that once you buy the allspice dram and falernum you will most likely be able to add those bottles to your home bar arsenal as modifiers for countless other tiki drinks in your future!” —Drew Johnson, head bartender at The Musket Room, New York City
1.5 oz. Plantation Pineapple Rum
0.75 oz. John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum liqueur
0.25 oz. St. Elizabeth allspice dram
0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
Method: Combine all ingredients into a shaker tin over ice, shake, strain into coupe. Garnish with a lime wheel.
KASAMA OLD FASHIONED
“Think beyond bourbon with this golden rum Old Fashioned. The light sweetness and the sophisticated herbal flavor of the bitters pairs perfectly with Kasama’s flavor profile, which includes notes of sweet pineapple, a hint of vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt. Keep it simple or garnish with a cherry or burned orange twist.” —Alexandra Dorda, founder at Kasama Rum
1.5 oz. Kasama rum
0.5 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Method: Combine bitters and sugar in a rocks glass, add ice and rum, stir to combine.
“We are always looking to do things our way at Yours Truly. We like to have a good time while still offering great service and drinks. This drink truly represents what we enjoy doing. Espresso and Tonic has been a hit, appearing on every neighborhood coffee shop menu around the globe, and, as an avid coffee geek, I’ve had my fair share of them so that was my starting point. I decided to use Goslings Gold Seal Rum as it has a wonderful overtone of butterscotch and vanilla on the nose, while still remaining quite dry on the finish. I then decided on maple syrup as a sweetening agent as it pairs perfectly with the cold brew coffee. A dash of Angostura bitters to give the drink that extra bit of complexity and shaking it with an orange zest really helps lift the tonic’s citrus notes. We think that this drink is a great pick-me-up right as the sun is setting and you need that little boost.” —Daniel Moik, bartender at Yours Truly in Hamilton, Bermuda
2 oz. Goslings Gold Seal Rum
2 oz. Cold brew coffee
0.5 oz. Grade A maple syrup
1 dash of Angostura bitters
San Pellegrino, to top
Orange twist, for garnish
Method: Pour the rum, cold brew, maple syrup, bitters and orange zest into a shaker tin, shake with ice, strain drink into a Collins style glass with large ice cubes. Pour tonic on top, garnish with an orange twist.
“The colder seasons always makes me think of cider for some reason. This drink is a really easy drink to make and is also a long refreshing drink that has all the seasonal flavors.” —Brendan Bartley, head bartender and beverage director at Bathtub Gin, New York City
1oz. lemon juice
0.5 oz. orgeat
4 oz. apple cider
2 dashes bitters
Method: Add all ingredients to beer glass, top with ice and lightly stir.
MAISON MAI TAI
“Plantation Xaymaca is one of the best rums on the market, dollar for dollar. Full-flavored Jamaican rum with natural sweetness, it has the funky taste without being too overwhelming and is so approachable. It is great for tropical cocktails where you want the delicious rum flavors to stay present. Rums like this don’t need many ingredients, because it’s already full of flavors. This is why I love the Maison Mai Tai. It’s all about the flavors of the rum: super simple drinks that take you on a journey to the Caribbean. As you taste it, you feel like you are in the middle of the carnival in Jamaica. The key is in the small details and the passion.” —Georgi Radev, author of Let’s Get Tropical and cofounder of Laki Kane, London
2 oz. Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum
0.5 oz. Ferrand Dry Curacao
0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
0.5 oz. orgeat
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Method: Shake with crushed ice and pour directly into double old fashioned glass (no straining). Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
“The Martiki is a creation of mine from years ago back at The Savoy in London, where I wanted to implement more of a tropical approach to a classic Espresso Martini. Since then, everywhere I travel, I place this drink on the menu and it’s been a huge success. People go absolutely wild for tropical flavors.” —Martin Hudak, global coffee ambassador at Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
0.75 oz. Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
1.25 oz. dark rum
0.5 oz. orgeat
1 oz. fresh pineapple juice
1 oz. espresso
Method: Shake and strain into a coupette. Garnish with edible flowers.
KALIMOXTO RUM & COKE
“Instead of a typical rum and Coke, try a Kalimoxto with rum: Just throw in some Angostura bitters or Fernet.” —Lane Compton, head bartender at The Roger Room, Los Angeles
1 oz. Denizen aged white rum
2 oz. Tempranillo wine
3 oz. pure sugar cane Coca-Cola
0.5 oz. Fernet-Branca
Method: Build in a large rocks glass, top with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.
FALL FOR DAQS
“The daiquiri is the go-to year-round rum cocktail. Mixing up the classic cocktail with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum adds a bit of extra Caribbean spice to make it stand out. The Fall for Daqs recipe incorporates pomegranate and grenadine, which are perfect for the season and add a bit of the earthy and musty profile we’re all looking for this season. The lime completes the profile by adding a bit of zest to balance everything out. If you can’t find pomegranate, you can fall back on cranberry juice but I recommend going with fresh pomegranate if you can. Fun fact: pomegranate can help with lowering blood pressure. God knows we could all use some stress relief in these tough times.” —Gravy Thomas, global advocacy and ambassador community manager at Sailor Jerry and William Grant & Sons
1.5 parts Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
0.5 part lime juice
1 part pomegranate juice
Dash of grenadine
Method: Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, shake and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with pomegranate seeds
“There is no doubt that the mojito is one, if not the most celebrated rum cocktail. It is simple, refreshing, and a real crowd pleaser. The ingredients are easy enough to source, Flor de Caña 7 will truly shine in this classic cocktail and anyone could make one up without too much effort. Now, what about swapping the usual soda water with some Champagne!?! All right, can you tell I’m French here? The addition of French bubbles will bring this recipe to the next level and will become a little stiffer to alleviate the current bizarreness of the world—if you know what I mean. If you are on a budget and would prefer to, grab some local sparkling wine instead of Champagne. It will work just as well—and I just won’t tell my mom you did so, sacrilège!” —Sebastien Derbomez, brand advocacy manager at William Grant & Sons
Recipe by Charlotte Voisey:
2 parts Flor de Caña 7
0.75 part simple syrup
1 part fresh lime juice
6–8 leaves loose mint leaves
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Method: Combine ingredients and shake well. Strain up into a coupe or flute. Top with 1 oz. of Champagne. Garnish with a mint leaf.
“In California we don’t really have super cold weather—and frankly, neither do the Florida Keys. This drink was inspired by one of our staff members who grew up in the keys (and it’s named after one of them!) To over simplify, it’s basically a rum margarita, but using the Pierre Ferrand Curaçao gives it a maturity and depth of flavor that pairs fantastically with the rum, and gives the drink that something special.” —Gavin Humes, food and beverage director at Scratch Restaurants
2 oz. Bank’s Five Island Rum
1 oz. Pierre Ferrand Curaçao
0.5 oz. lime juice
Method: Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and double strain into a coupe. Finish with a lime twist, rub the peel on the rim of the glass and discard.
HOT BUTTERED BANANA RUM
“The Hot Buttered Banana Rum at Blossom Bar is definitely a cocktail fit for the cooler months of New England. Being a tropically inspired cocktail bar, the challenge in creating a hot cocktail is obvious, however much of these flavors are also found in hot drinks. We wanted to have a contrast in temperature and create a latte-style hot drink, where there is a nice cool fruity foam right before you get into the toasty component of the cocktail. With aged rum (such as Santa Teresa 1796) and brandy as the base, warming spices and banana not only complement our style as a bar, but also accentuate the natural flavors of both spirits. We wanted to evoke the feeling of sitting next to a fireplace on a cool night in your favorite ugly sweater, while thinking ahead to warm tropical climates or the summer to come! It’s a reminder that a warm vacation can in fact be a few steps or sips away, considering the current limitations on travel. Enjoy our Hot Buttered Banana Rum with a friend or on your own, after the first sip, you’ll come to realize that this cocktail is the only company you need. Salud!” —Will Isaza, bartender at Blossom Bar, Boston
1.5 oz. of Santa Teresa 1796 rum
0.5 oz. brandy
0.5 oz. Plantation O.F.T.D rum
1.5 oz. brown butter banana syrup
3 oz. hot water
Method: Add O.F.T.D rum to frothing pitcher and light. Express 2 peels worth of orange oil and add in the remaining ingredients. Mix with milk brother and pour into glass mug. Garnish with an orange twist and cloves.
THE INFERNO PUNCH
“This is my spin on the traditional milk punch but made with Apothic Inferno. This decadent cocktail brings an assortment of different flavors together in a bold way. Apothic Inferno is a Red Blend aged in whiskey barrels for 60 days so you get that slight charred spice taste beautifully harmonized with citrus, milk, and rum for the perfect drink.” —Josue Romero, The Garnish Guy (@the_garnishguy)
8 oz. white rum
4 oz. pear syrup
1.5 oz. pineapple juice
6 oz. lemon juice
1 o.z orange liqueur
4 oz. whole milk
4 oz. Apothic inferno
Method: Place all the ingredients (except the Apothic wine and milk) into a glass container. Stir until all the ingredients are fully combined. In a separate container, heat up the milk until almost boiling, and slowly pour the cocktail mix into the milk (it will slowly curdle) and let it rest for a couple of hours. Stir for a few minutes, then run the mix through a cheesecloth a couple of times. Store the mix in the fridge. Serve the cocktail over ice, float Apothic Wine over it, and garnish with a dehydrated pear slice.
HAVE A GOODNIGHT
“As we settle into the cold winter months, one would want nothing more than to enjoy a drink that reflects the shift in season. One perfect for the shift: a balanced rum in Mount Gay bearing sweet yet spiced oak hints accompanied with some RumChata along with a festive pumpkin-spiced agave. If you enjoy it as much as we do, then sit back, relax, and Have a Good Night.” —Donny Largotta, beverage director at The Chester, Gansevoort Hotel (Meatpacking)
1.5 oz. Mount Gay XO
0.5 oz. Pumpkin spice agave
1 oz. RumChata
Method: Shake and serve in martini glass. Garnish with cinnamon-nutmeg sugared rim
“Cinnamon, clove, and citrus complement the sweet almond nutty taste of amaretto, which brings together a perfect cocktail.” —Juan Fernandez, beverage director at The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte, NC
8 cups of apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 cups spiced rum, preferably Sailor Jerry
Method: Combine all items in a crock pot and heat. The crock pot will heat the cocktail, but will not burn off the alcohol in it. It will also make your house smell amazing. Serve and enjoy.
STIGGINS’ FANCY PINEAPPLE DAIQUIRI
“Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy is just one of the rums showcasing the innovation of Alexandre Gabriel. When you add sugar and lime to it, the combination is so delicious. It’s super simple to make, but the flavors are very complex—and it’s perfect for the current situation. You need only rum, lime, and sugar—and you get an amazing session cocktail that makes you feel like you are on holiday. I have taken part in the making of Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy at Maison Ferrand. We were cutting the skin off and separating the flesh—it was so much fun. The evening finished with Plantation Pineapple Daiquiris by the fire pit.” —Georgi Radev, author of Let’s Get Tropical and cofounder of Laki Kane, London
2 oz. Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum
1 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. fresh lime juice
Method: Combine in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a Nick and Nora glass.
“To elevate a rum and coke, it’s simple. Instead of Coke, use CioCiaro and soda. CioCiaro is the coke of amaro, I swear by it! Then a dash of lime bitters to be esoteric, but you could just squeeze one as well.” —Adam Aly, general manager at Stampede Cocktail Club, Seattle
1 oz. Denizen Merchant’s Reserve rum
1 oz. Amaro CioCiaro
1 dash Scrappy’s lime bitters
Method: Pour desired amount of Topo Chico in the bottom of a Collins glass. Add the alcohol and bitters. Then ice, ice baby. Garnish with a lime wedge.
“For a classic and easy daiquiri, I always like to throw in a quarter ounce of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur; and I use lemon instead of lime.” —Lane Compton, head bartender at The Roger Room, Los Angeles
2 oz. Denizen aged white rum
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
0.25 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
Method: Add ice, shake, and strain into a chilled coupe. Top with 4 drops Angostura bitters. Optional: Garnish with a lemon wheel soaked in Angostura bitters.
“A true sign of the times is America’s continued love affair with coffee. For many, coffee is the start to their day or respite during a trying time. Given current events, you might require a coffee that takes the edge off a little: enter the Don Café. It’s a warm, rum cocktail made with Don Papa, Grady’s coffee, a touch of Mr. Black coffee liqueur for sweetness and an added kick, then finally just a couple drops of hazelnut. It’s a careful balance of everything you need to get your day going, rounded out with the charming complexity of Don Papa’s 7-year-old rum. In a time where my office has become whichever local park has seating, the Don Café has made the perfect coworker to share my cubicle with!” —Peter Ruppert, brand ambassador at Don Papa Rum and beverage director at Short Stories, New York City
1.5 oz. Don Papa rum
3 oz. Grady’s cold brew coffee (hot)
3 oz. water
0.5 oz. Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
3 drops hazelnut extract
Method: Combine, stir, and strain. Serve with Stroopwafel.