Food & Drink The best rums to buy now – and how to...

The best rums to buy now – and how to drink them

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Appleton Estate and its distillery, now owned by Wray & Nephew, is the oldest in Jamaica. Located in the middle of the island, the estate has its own sugar cane plantation, as well as a refinery. A large portion of each blend is distilled in pot stills to give a robust style that lends itself to long ageing. Expect a wonderful mix of ginger cake, spiced pear, apricot and blood orange.

How to drink it

This makes a great choice for after dinner – sip it neat in a tumbler, or try using it instead of bourbon in a classic old fashioned.

Mount Gay Single Estate Series 01 Rum, Barbados

55%,masterofmalt.com, £311.60 for 70cl

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Mount Gay is the oldest working distillery in the world. Known for producing rums of exceptionally high quality, its latest venture is this single-estate rum. Master Blender Trudiann Branker has fermented, distilled and matured grade-A molasses from different vintages. The first edition of the series, launched in 2023, is made from 100 per cent pot still-only rums. It carries notes of mango and lime, sweet liquorice and vanilla.

How to drink it

Another after-dinner cracker. Pour this extraordinary rum into a small whisky nosing glass to get the most from its complex layers.

Plantation Stiggins’ Pineapple Rum, Barbados

40%,threshers.co.uk, £35 for 70cl orspiritskiosk.com, £33.95 for 70cl

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Plantation draws on stocks of rum from producers around the world including Fiji, Jamaica, Barbados and beyond. From this foundation, it has moved into flavoured rum, which is so often seen as a gimmick. However, Stiggins’ Pineapple is one of a handful of flavoured rums to be taken seriously and is helping to redefine the category. Incredible fruitiness comes from the use of charred whole pineapples.

How to drink it

Try it in a daiquiri with freshly squeezed lime juice, dialling back the sugar syrup to half the usual amount due to the sweeter pineapple notes in the rum.

Hampden Estate 8-Year Old Rum, Jamaica

46%,bbr.com, £68 for 70cl

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Hampden Estate is famed for making “high ester rum”; highly aromatic and full of unusual tropical flavour and “funk”, this style is rich and unctuous with a full body. In accordance with Jamaican rum regulations, this one has spent a minimum of eight years in oak, which, according to the distillery, is “equivalent to almost 25 years of maturation in the European climate”. It has no added sugar or flavouring and as such is a true example of high ester pot still Jamaican rum. Expect notes of overripe banana, mango, vanilla and red apple with some nutmeg and cinnamon, too.

How to drink it

A real sipper to take time over and a rival to great single-malt whisky.

Eminente Gran Reserva Rum, Cuba

43.5%,thewhiskyexchange.com, £75.95 for 70cl

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Gone are the days when just one Cuban rum was available around the world. Now you can find several brands which work within Cuba’s restrictive guidelines to create and export excellent examples from the Caribbean island. Eminente is made using 80 per cent aguardiente,the lower proof, more flavoursome style of the spirit mixed with light rum. It is aged for 10 years minimum, and finished in French oak barrels. The rum carries a lightly fruity profile with notes of milk chocolate, rose water and black cherry.

How to drink it

For an incredibly rich take on a Manhattan (which usually calls for American whiskey) try a double measure of this with equal half measures of sweet and dry vermouth and a dash of Angostura bitters. 

Ninefold Distillery Cask Aged Pure Single Rum, Scotland

45%,ninefolddistillery.com, £45 for 70cl

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One of Scotland’s first independent rum distillers, Ninefold ferments and distils everything onsite at its Dumfries & Galloway home. Made using Algerian cane molasses and distilled in a bespoke 500-litre still, this rum is matured in a variety of casks, including virgin American oak, ex-bourbon and a small proportion of Scottish oak, harvested from the surrounding estate. You’ll find hints of ripe banana, toffee, dark chocolate and sweet butterscotch backed up by a rich mouthfeel. 

How to drink it

The freshness and fruity/spicy notes work brilliantly in an unusual take on a Negroni: simply switch out the usual gin and add equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth.

Takamaka Dark Spiced Rum, Seychelles

38%,spiritskiosk.com, £25.45 for 70cl 

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Takamaka has become one of the hot new names in the world of spirits, although it was actually founded more than 20 years ago by brothers Bernard and Richard d’Offay. Since then, it has surpassed the one million bottle mark and continues to delight new drinkers all over the world who are perhaps intrigued by its origins in the Indian Ocean. Local spices give a nice tropical fruit note to the rum, with vanilla and a hint of caramel sweetness.

How to drink it

Try it simply mixed with cola or in a spicy mojito.

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