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Rum 101: The 4 Different Types of Rum

Produced across the Caribbean and Latin America, rum is a versatile spirit distilled from sugarcane or molasses that also has tremendous historical significance because of its ties to major trading routes. Like most spirits, it comes in a variety of different styles so we did a little research to find out more about the most common types of rum that are available. Do you know the difference between a dark rum and a black rum? What gives spiced rum its name?

  1. Light rum is also known as white or silver rum and has nearly no color and a light flavor. It is filtered multiple times to remove any impurities and is not aged very long. This is the most common rum in a Mojito.

  2. Gold rum is also known as amber rum. This rum has been aged in wooden casks for some period of time which gives the spirit its signature color and sweeter, richer flavor.

  3. Black rum is also known as dark rum and has been aged the longest of any of these types of rum. The extended time it spends in wooden casks gives it a dark color and deep, smoky-sweet flavor. The most common brands are Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, the iconic spirit in a Dark & Stormy, and Myer’s Dark Rum, used in many tiki drinks.

  4. Spiced rum typically is aged for the same length of time as black rum but spices and caramel colorings are added to give it a signature sweet spice taste. A brand you may be familiar with is Captain Morgan.

On rare occasions, you might see some other types of rum on the market but for the most part, what you’ll find will fit into one of these 4 categories. Just like tequila and gin drinks, rum cocktail recipes may call for a specific type of rum so now you’re well equipped to know what they mean.

For baking or cooking with rum, we recommend choosing a rum whose flavor complements the other flavors in your dish. For example, if you’re making something like this Grilled Mojito Mahi Mahi, use a light rum to complement the mint and citrus. If you’re making a caramel flavored cake, use a gold rum to complement the sweeter flavors. A black or spiced rum would be delicious in any recipe with warm spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.

  • Nija

    Hello, I want to make a red velvet rum cake or cup cakes but I don’t know what kind of Rum I should use. What kind of Rum should I use?

    • @disqus_PoDruIJ4PC:disqus Great question! You can use either a regular white rum or even a gold rum for that type of recipe. I like to use gold rum whenever there’s a caramel-y component and white rum otherwise.

    • Old Gregg

      Cruzan Black Strap. Amazing stuff.

  • adanazikelam

    I have 2 left over bottles of rum from when time began, about 1/4 bottle of light and of golden rum. Making a fruitcake, and I want to use both rums. The 2 rums mixed together won’t fight each other will they as the final bath for the fruitcake?

  • Deborah Radigan

    I have a recipe for a yellow bunt cake with a rum drizzle glaze that calls for dark rum. I only have Jamaica rum. If I use it will it change the taste/ flavor?

  • Yohan Chu

    Has anyone or any country used dark rum to make vinegar?