Aged rum remains in whiskey’s shadow, while the un-aged stuff languishes under the monolith of Bacardi—two facts that benefit a savvy barman, ‘cause there are excellent brands to be found at staggering values. For a silky mojito, try Mt. Gay Silver Eclipse (a standout among similarly priced white rums, and one we’d happily sip without embellishment). Decent cachaça (Brazilian rum) is hard to find out here. Cabana is the best of what’s available, and once you discover the elegant deliciousness of a caipirinha cocktail, you’ll be glad you have a bottle. Zafra Master Reserve, a new 21-year old Panamanian rum, is one of the most rewarding, complex sipping rums we’ve encountered. It’s suggested at $40 and easily worth twice that.
Go To Cocktail: Intro To Awesome Punch
Mojito-wise, you can handle your business. But only a pro can whip up rum punches that you never imagined before, and now can’t image facing the weekend without. This one comes from Jane Danger (who has the coolest name this side of spy fiction), head bartender at Cienfuegos, a retro, rum-soaked spin-off from the owners of Death and Co.
1½ oz Dry White Rum
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup
3 Cucumber Wheels
Muddle the cucumber wheels and simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add rum, Aperol, and lime juice. Shake and strain over ice into a Collins glass. Top with soda and a pinch of salt. Garnish with a cucumber wheel. For an “Amigo” size punch (2-3 people), mix 3 cocktails in a punch bowl. For a “Familia” size punch (4-people), make it six.
Collins (Tall) Glass
Punch Bowl (Optional)