SPIRITS: White Rums to Try

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Mix up your rum game with Diplomático, The Real McCoy, Denizen, and Havana Club rums. —INGRAIN, Summer 2019

STORY / Mike Smith

A white rum can be one-dimensional or a complex gem, depending on what kind of prize is in the producer’s eye (cheap cocktail mixer or high-end sipper). To fully appreciate the unique styles, aromas, and flavors of each—and to sniff out those with sugar or other flavor-altering ingredients—I encourage you to try a mix of rums.


Established in 1959 as a partnership between Seagram’s and multiple small Venezuelan rum distilleries, parent company DUSA and its labels (including Diplomático Rum) are today owned by a group of rum-loving families. Molasses is the standard base for the distillery’s lighter rums, while sugarcane honey (a concentrated form of sugarcane juice) is preferred for those that spend years in the barrel. The DOC-protected Planas is a blend of pot still, column, and batch kettle-produced rums that are aged for up to six years before being charcoal filtered. With strong coconut aromas and notes of banana, toffee, and vanilla, this is definitely worth the extra few bucks and is a true sipper. $30, Diplomático


Master distiller Richard Seale’s family began buying up small-batch rums from Barbados distilleries in the 1920s. Today Foursquare Distillery’s rums are bottled the same way they came out of the barrel, with no adjuncts. The Real McCoy lineup includes a “silver” version that is oak-aged for three years before filtering. The bright, floral aroma is balanced by a touch of spice, vanilla, and ripe tropical fruit, making this the perfect dual-purpose pick for cocktails or enjoying straight. $22, The Real McCoy


Denizen Aged White is a cocktail shaker’s dream, with its fresh sugarcane and spicy, clean finish. The rum is blended in Amsterdam and sourced from the famous Angostura distillery in Trinidad, along with a dash of Jamaican pot still rum, a nod to when the Netherlands colonized the Caribbean (the rums are aged five and three years, respectively). It’s a steal for such a consistently good-quality rum. The sugarcane and slight banana aromas continue into the sip; this rum is a little dry as the banana carries you through till the end. Your daiquiris and mojitos will thank you. $17, Denizen


We had to throw in a nod to Puerto Rico’s rum heyday with a long-standing mojito mixer. (And toast the Bacardi family, which has donated millions in support of hurricane relief.) The Añejo Blanco is double-aged, first for one year before it is blended and then again for up to two months. With molasses and cinnamon notes and a fiery punch of heavy ether and alcohol, this spirit is best reserved for cocktail toasts. $17, Havana Club

If you like rum in your cocktails, check out these recipes: Why I Can't Make a Mojito with Basil? and The Conrad Lewis.