9 killer rum cocktails for National Rum Day, Aug. 16


It's time to gird up for yet another “National Whatever Day” – but we won’t hold the onslaught of made-up holidays against National Rum Day – Sunday, Aug. 16 – because rum cocktails are just too much fun. (Not to mention perfect drinking in our climate, especially this time of year.)

We’ve gone straight to the source for most of these recipes, collecting a solid selection of drinks with something for every taste from five national rum brands, plus a couple from our own Remix cocktail column. You can find these products locally in bars like Aku Aku Tiki Bar, The Woods, Lil Indies, Cask & Larder, Prato, and Pharmacy, among many others, and at retail spots like Total Wine & Spirits, ABC, Antonio’s Wine & Spirits, Vines Wine & Spirits and more (phone first).

Cruise through this article, pick up whatever you don’t already have in your home bar, and get ready to celebrate on Sunday. Actually, one day might not be enough – “National Rum Three-Day Weekend” has a nice ring, doesn’t it? 

  • photo by Jessica Bryce Young
Remix: Daiquiri No. 1
No. 1 is a little refined; No. 2 is a little funky. If you think of daiquiris as sissy blender drink, you've been drinking in the wrong bars.
  • 1 1/2 ounces rhum agricole (I used Clément)
  • 1/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino
  • 1/2 ounce fresh ruby-red grapefruit juice, plus a strip of peel
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • champagne or other sparkling wine
Pour all ingredients except champagne into an ice-filled shaker and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass, top with a float of champagne, and garnish with a wide strip of grapefruit peel.

Note: If you don’t have fresh grapefruit juice, don’t use canned or bottled; just increase the lime juice. On the other hand, if you don’t have fresh lime juice, Sicilia brand is an acceptable substitute.

Remix: Daiquiri No. 2
Simpler, more to the point.
  • 2 ounces Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce Velvet Falernum
  • 1/2 ounce Demerara simple syrup
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker and shake well. Strain into a chilled highball glass over a large piece of ice.

3: Rum Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva:
Old Cuban

The Old Cuban, kind of an updated mojito, was first served by renowned mixologist Audrey Saunders at the Pegu Club. Here, Diplomatico presents the cocktail as currently mixed at Eleven Madison Park in NYC.
  • 1 1/2 ounces Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
  • 3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • champagne
Add all ingredients, except champagne, to a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into glass. Top with champagne.


4. Grander Rum: Grandhattan
Grander is an eight-year-old, 90-proof rum distilled in Panama in bourbon barrels – that wood and the higher proof, along with the absence of any added sweeteners or flavorings, give Grander the heft of your favorite brown spirits.
  • 2 ounces of Grander Rum
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth (preferably Carpano Antica)
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

5. St. Augustine Distillery: Riberia Rider
The artisanal St. Augustine Distillery, which we profiled in our May 6 issue, releases its first rum Sept. 3. (Road-trip time.) The first few batches will be available only in their on-site shop, however; the final version won’t be in shops until January 2016. Brand ambassador Zach Lynch named this cocktail after Riberia Street, where the distillery is located in the historic district.
  • 1 1/2 ounces St. Augustine rum 
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce Aperol
  • 3/4 ounce velvet falernum
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters 
  • lemon peel
Include all ingredients in a shaker, including bitters. Shake and strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

6. Zacapa Rum 23: Contessa Royal
Hot young NYC mixologist Jane Danger (of Death & Co., Cienfuegos and the NoMad) concocted this tiki-inspired yet totally fresh drink especially for National Rum Day.
  • 1 1/2 ounces Zacapa Rum 23 
  • 1 ounce cold-press green apple juice 
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice 
  • 1/2 ounce jalapeño honey 
  • 2 dashes rosemary tincture 
  • sparkling wine 
  • green apple slice and rosemary sprig 
Combine rum, juices, honey and rosemary tincture in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a double rocks glass over a large piece of ice. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with one green apple slice and rosemary sprig.

  • photo by Jessica Bryce Young
7. Remix: Dark & Stormy
The classic Dark & Stormy is a favorite as well (click the title for that recipe), but coming up with variations on this cocktail is many bartenders' obsession.
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce spicy ginger-shiso syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 ounces Cruzan Blackstrap Rum 
  • seltzer or soda water to taste
Pour lime juice, ginger syrup and seltzer into an ice-filled rocks glass and give it a good stir. When everything settles down, pour rum in slowly (it will sit on top of the other ingredients). Garnish with a paper-thin lime wheel.

spicy ginger-shiso syrup:
  • 6-inch piece of ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar (also called turbinado)
  • 4 green shiso leaves (aka perilla; in Vietnamese markets, may be labeled rau ti'a to)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Mix sugar, ginger and water and bring to a boil, then simmer for two or three minutes until syrup thickens slightly. Pour into a Pyrex measuring cup over roughly chopped shiso leaves and red pepper flakes; let steep overnight, then strain the syrup into a clean container. (Alternate uses: Make your own ginger ale by mixing with seltzer, or pour over coconut sorbet.)

8. Monkey Rum: Watermelon Mojito
Host of Three Sheets, Drinking Made Easy, and his latest show on National Geographic TV, Chug, spirits connoisseur Zane Lamprey created Monkey Rum to his specific taste. Monkey Rum’s watermelon mojito is perfect for sweeter palates, with a fruity-coconut vibe.
  • 2 ounces Monkey Toasted Coconut 
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • watermelon chunks
  • pinch of sugar
  • handful of mint leaves 
  • ginger ale
Muddle watermelon chunks with lime juice and sugar in a highball glass. Stir in a handful of mint leaves, then add Monkey Toasted Coconut and ice. Top with ginger ale.

  • photo by Jessica Bryce Young
9. Remix: Tom & Jerry
The classic Tom & Jerry is an eggnog-like cold-weather drink; this Remix adapts it to Florida's climate and is appropriate year-round.
  • 12 ounces coconut bubble tea, with extra boba and no ice
  • 2 ounces Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
  • 1/2 cup sweetened vanilla almond milk 
  • fine-grain sea salt
Divide the cup of milk tea evenly between two glasses, making sure no one gets cheated on boba. Add 1 ounce of blackstrap rum to each. Froth the almond milk with the steam attachment on an espresso maker. (Alternatively, use a handheld battery-operated frother, but be sure to warm the almond milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave first.) Divide the froth between the two glasses, then dust lightly with sea salt.

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