You Need To Know These Classic Rum Cocktails For National Rum Day

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National Rum Day is Friday. While we celebrate this sugar cane juice (or molasses)-based spirit all year long, the 16th of August is the one day it gets to have all to itself, whiskey be damned! For one full day (and into the weekend), we’re focused on white rum (unaged), dark rum (aged in oak barrels), and even spiced rum (we’re looking at you, Captain Morgan).

Good rum is easily sipped with a little ice, but more often than not the spirit is mixed into classic cocktails. There are plenty of options, of course, but some — Planter’s Punch, for example — are a little too complicated for novice home bartenders. That’s why we decided to make a list of the six essential rum-based cocktails you should know how to make by the time tomorrow’s festivities kick off.

The good news? Even if you screw up, you’re left with some combination of juice and rum. Just name another mistake that fun!

Mai Tai

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One of the most popular Tiki-style cocktails, the mai tai isn’t complete without orgeat syrup. This sweet syrup is made with sugar, almonds, and orange flower water. If you’re getting into the Tiki world, you definitely need to know how to make a mai tai.

On top of orgeat, you’ll also need white rum, dark rum, triple sec, simple syrups, and lime juice.

Recipe:

  • 1oz. dark rum
  • 1oz. light rum
  • 1/2 oz. Orgeat Syrup
  • 1/2oz. Triple Sec
  • 1/4oz. simple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Mix and serve with a fruity garnish.

Mojito

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If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably enjoyed a mojito or two this summer. This classic Cuban cocktail can trace its origins to Havana, but it’s now a staple of beachside bar menus everywhere. It’s pretty much the rum version of a mint julep with mint, sugar, and lime juice complimenting the white rum base.

Recipe:

  • 2oz. white rum
  • 1oz. lime juice
  • 4-6 mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Soda water

Muddle the mint in the bottom of a glass. Add rocks and the other ingredients, saving the soda water. Stir and top with soda water. Serve with mint garnish.

Daiquiri

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If you can’t make a good daiquiri, you should probably just stop trying to make cocktails. And no, we aren’t talking about the frozen version you enjoyed while walking down Bourbon Street. The classic daiquiri is made simply with lime juice, simple syrup, and white rum.

Recipe:

  • 1.5oz. white rum
  • 1oz. lime juice
  • 1/2oz. simple syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice before straining into a coupe glass.

Dark ‘N’ Stormy

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You might not know this, but the dark ‘n’ stormy is actually a registered trademark of Bermuda-based Gosling Brothers. If you’re feeling lazy, the brand even makes a pre-mixed version that can be cracked open and dumped into a glass filled with ice. If you aren’t that lazy, you can mix your own with dark rum, ginger beer, and lime.

Recipe:

  • 2oz. dark rum
  • 4oz. ginger beer
  • lime garnish

Combine ingredients in an old fashioned glass, add ice and stir. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Cuba Libre

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Also, known as a rum and cola, the Cuba libre is just about as simple as it gets in the cocktail world. As long as you have white rum and cola, you can mix up this classic Cuban mixed drink. If you have lime wedges for garnish, even better. But, we won’t hold it against you if you don’t add them.

Recipe:

  • 1.5oz. white rum
  • 4 oz. cola
  • lime garnish

Combine lime and cola in an old fashioned glass, add ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Rum Punch

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Most of the classic rum-based cocktails on this list have fairly standard recipes. The rum punch isn’t one of them. It’s highly adaptable to fit your tastes. If you’re feeling really squirrelly (and downright lazy) you can make a bootleg version by simply mixing fruit punch and white rum. If you want to make it a little classier, mix your white rum and dark rum with pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, and soda water.

Recipe:

  • 1oz. white rum
  • 1oz. dark rum
  • 1/2oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2oz. orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons grenadine
  • soda water topper

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, shake thoroughly before straining over ice in a highball glass. Add soda water topper to finish.

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