glass of sipping rum with panama hat

Best Sipping Rum: Our Top Picks

Drinking rum neat is one of the best ways to enjoy this liquor of Caribbean origin. You take a small sip and gradually increase it to a mouthful as you reach the bottom of the glass. A splash of water or an ice cube wouldn't hurt, but a good sipping rum doesn't call for anything additional.

However, not every rum is all that pleasant to enjoy neat – and it isn't just the alcohol content you should care about when shopping for a sipping rum. There's a lot that goes into finding the best sipping rum for your palate and preferences. A big part of this is finding quality sipping rum to try so you can find the best one for you.

This article will guide you through some of the best sipping rums out there to give you a head start in finding the perfect match. We'll also cover what to pay attention to when choosing a sipping rum, how much to pay for a quality bottle, and where to buy it.

What You Need to Know About Sipping Rum

Most rums that are consumed by sipping are premium rums sold by boutique brands. While some of these brands are hard to come by in most liquor stores, there are a few that are relatively popular, offering great value for the money.

As for what makes a rum best consumed by sipping is the flavor and character. Sipping rums are smooth textured with a richer flavor than rums for mixed drinks. That said, when thinking of sipping rums, we need to eliminate light rums, overproof rums, spiced rums, and of course, flavored rums.

Best Sipping Rum: An Overview

Sipping rum is any rum best enjoyed by neat. Like all rums, they are made from fermented and distilled sugarcane molasses or juice.

Unaged rum has a clear color, and when aged, it slowly becomes darker and flavorful. Modern distillers may also color their products by adding drops of caramel coloring, hence the caramel notes in many rums.

Unlike cognac and whisky, there isn't a specific region in the world that produces the best sipping rum. You can find great rums from any region in the world that produces sugar, from Jamaica to the Philippines.

What makes sipping rums precisely ideal for consuming neat is their rich flavor that makes every sip pleasant. Therefore, there isn't a universally accepted rule for what makes a sipping rum. While most enjoy premium and dark rums, like single estate and aged rums, for sipping, others may think of gold rums for a good sipping rum.

For most people, however, rum with prominent notes of vanilla and caramel makes the best sipping rum. Oak is also a highly favored note in a quality sipping rum with hints of smokiness and woodiness, as rum is typically aged in oak barrels. This gives it a flavor profile that can be similar to sipping bourbonsStill, all these come down to personal preferences at the end of the day.

Regardless of what you find best for your palate, you can enjoy a good-quality sipping rum on any occasion, from summer gatherings by the beach to winter evenings to keep you company in the cold.

How to Choose the Best Sipping Rum

As we've touched on above, the best sipping rum is the one that matches your preferences the most. Most rum enjoyers want to taste the hints of vanilla and oak, but you may like notes of tropical fruits and chocolate more. Some get their favorite notes through aged rums, while others enjoy the sweetness of light rums.

Since all these are subjective, you will need to try a wide range of rums before settling on what rum you enjoy the best sipping. However, you won't need to randomly pick a bottle of rum, hoping you will enjoy it. Our list of best sipping rums below will definitely give you a head start in finding the right one to your liking.

What Does Sipping Rum Cost?

On average, a good-quality sipping rum will set you back about $35 to $80. Although boutique brands sell premium rums that cost hundreds to a few thousand, the price isn't a good quality measure for most sipping rums.

Since personal preferences play a significant role in sipping rums, you may want to try inexpensive options first if you're just getting started with rums best enjoyed neat. This will ensure you'll get to try more varieties without spending a lot of money.

At a bar, a glass of good-quality rum can cost anywhere between $5 and $15, depending on the quality of the rum and location.

Where Can You Buy Sipping Rum?

rum served on tray for tasting

Rum is pretty much sold in any liquor store and supermarkets that sell alcohol. You won't need to wander off to specific types of liquor stores to find good-quality sipping rum. You'll have a wide variety of options everywhere selling rum. Additionally, you can order rum online through online stores like Speakeasy.

In addition to buying a bottle, you can find good sipping rums in most bars. In restaurants, however, you likely won't find a large selection of rums to sip as wines.

The Best Sipping Rums

The following are our rum picks best enjoyed by sipping. We've picked a wide variety of rums to ensure you'll find a bottle to your liking. While some are available in the Speakeasy shop, you can purchase others in a liquor store. We've also included entry-level options since many are new to sipping rums.

Bacardi 8 Year Reserva Ocho Rum

  • MSRP: $39.99
  • Proof: 80 Proof / 40% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Nutmeg, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Dried Apricot, Wood
  • Our Rating: 5 Stars

Our best rum list wouldn't be complete without Bacardi, as it is considered an iconic rum brand in the US. Bacardi offers various rums, but the Reserva Ocho stands out by having one of the oldest rum blends – not just in the US but the world.

Aged in white oak barrels for eight years, Bacardi Reserva Ocho gold rum has complex flavors of vanilla, oak, butterscotch, and dried apricot. These flavors, paired with velvety smoothness, make it perfect for enjoying by sipping. Reserva Ocho is so smooth that it is often compared to cognacs and well-aged scotches.

For its price, Bacardi Reserva Ocho is one of the best rums out there for sipping. Whether you're just getting started with sipping rums or a seasoned rum enjoyer, it's a safe bet to try.


  • Very smooth
  • Excellent value
  • A balance of complex flavors


  • Not the most versatile rum

Lorenz Crafted Spirit

  • MSRP: $35.99
  • Proof:  86 Proof / 43% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Toasted Coconut, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Smokey
  • Our Rating: 4.5 Stars

If you know one or two things about rum, you know that most white rums are for mixing, not for drinking neat. Lorenz separates itself from others as a versatile crafted spirit. You can drink it neat, on the rocks, or make delicious cocktails. It's just as good every way you try it.

Lorenz is a perfect option for those starting to drink rum, even for those trying it for the first time. It has a flavor profile that entry-level rum drinkers may enjoy, with hints of toasted coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla.

However, experienced rum drinkers may find its flavor profile lacking compared to others in the market appealing to rum enthusiasts. Still, it can save the day to make cocktails.


  • Flexible rum, both for sipping and cocktails
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Affordable


  • Not the best choice for seasoned rum drinkers

Rumble Rum

  • MSRP: $49.99
  • Proof: 97 Proof / 47% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Fruity, Honey, Hint of Spice, Mild Rosemary, Sweet Tea
  • Our Rating: 4 Stars

From the award-winning distillery based in Texas, the Rumble Rum is a one-of-a-kind spirit. It isn't your traditional rum, made from Mission figs, Texas wildflower honey, and turbinado sugar (partially refined sugar).

Surprisingly, Rumble Rum isn't too sweet and doesn't have an overwhelming caramel flavor from the turbinado sugar. It is more fruity than you might expect, with grapefruit, kiwi, and dried fig notes.

Although it isn't exactly a rum in the traditional sense, Rumble Rum can be the perfect drink for those looking for complex flavors in every sip. It has a medium lingering finish with a hint of spice that sort of cleanses the palate for the next take.


  • Smooth
  • Offers complex flavors in every sip
  • Great value for the price


  • Not as versatile as others
  • Not exactly a rum in the traditional sense

St. Augustine Distillery Pot Distilled Rum

  • MSRP: $47.99
  • Proof: 90 Proof / 45% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Grassy, Sweet, Vanilla, Fruity, Toffee, Woody
  • Our Rating: 4 stars

Pot Distilled Rum from St. Augustine Distillery has a prominent place in Florida's rum tradition. It is made from Grade A sugarcane syrups and molasses. Like other St. Augustine liquors, this rum uses 100% Florida-grown sugarcane, giving it a prominent place in Florida's rum tradition.

This rum makes a great sipping drink because it has everything a rum enthusiast would want in their rum, though it's a bit on the sweeter side. St. Augustine's Pot Distilled Rum starts sweet and ends with a light woody aroma. It's fairly smooth and goes down nicely – you may not even realize it's 90-proof.

St. Augustine's Pot Distilled Rum might be it if you enjoy fruity rums. It may feel too sweet for those who aren't fond of sweet rums, but the pleasant finish may make up for it.


  • Easy to drink
  • Pleasant aftertaste


  • Not the best for those who don't like sweet rum

Doorly's XO Fine Old Barbados Rum

  • MSRP: $44.99
  • Proof: 86 Proof / 43% ABV
  • Tasting Notes: Sweet, Tropical Fruits, Spicy, Vanilla, Raisins
  • Our Rating: 3.5 Stars

Doorly's XO Fine Old Barbados rum strikes us with a rich flavor profile that deserves a mention on our list. It's a rather sweet rum with hints of spicy notes that balance everything well. It's easy to drink thanks to its smoothness and ends with a mellow finish that leaves a warm sensation.

Doorly's XO may not be widely available in the US, but it's an excellent sipping rum you should grab if you spot a bottle in your local liquor store. Aged for at least six years, the rich flavor of Doorly's XO offers excellent value for the money.

Although Doorly's XO makes the bottom of our list, receiving 3.5 stars, it's still one of the best sipping rums you should try to experience rich rum flavors.


  • Rich flavor profile
  • Smooth and ends with a pleasant aftertaste


  • Not widely available

Finding the Best Sipping Rum for You

rum with cigar in the background

There isn't a one-size-fits-all in the world of sipping rums. Finding the best sipping rum for your palate requires trying new bottles every now and then and figuring out what you enjoy. We've covered a wide range of sipping rums in our article. Even if you can't find the exact one for your preferences from the above, you'll have a good starting point.

If you're a rum enthusiast and want to try new bottles, we recommend Lorenz and Rumble Rum. These aren't quite traditional sipping rums but can surprise you with their complex flavors and smoothness.

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