8 Refreshing Rum Cocktails to Beat the Summer Heat - From Mojitos to Mai Tais
One is something you've always wanted.
Would you like a Mojito?
This question is almost certainly true regardless of where you are in the country right now, what town you live in, and what time of day you are in. What will you say when someone hands you an icy Mojito, condensation already beading on the glass, a bright, mentholated aroma beckoning you to take a sip?
It is the perfect time of year to enjoy rum. While some spirits, such as gin, can wear summer clothes without much fuss, while others, such as whiskey, require more mixological magic to feel at home in the sun, rum does not require even a raised eyebrow to wear it. The sun molded rum, but there's some disagreement about where exactly rum was invented. Some claim it was invented in Barbados in the mid 1600s, while others claim it was invented in Indonesia and Brazil earlier. One thing they all have in common, however, is that even their winters are hot.
It is also understandable, but unjust, that rum drinks have gained the reputation of being large buckets of juice. Inextricably linked to tropical vacations, their bars usually substitute sugar for freshness, precision, or training, which makes it a double-edged sword. If you're looking for a late-summer revelation, here are eight rum cocktails to get you through the last weeks of summer, from the tartness of the classic Mai Tai to the sultry texture of the Old Cuban.
In our opinion, there are two types of Daiquiris, and we can divide them into two types for our purposes. It is unfortunate to inform you that you have only had the wrong kind of Daiquiris, if you think they are blended concoctions of sour mix spiked with cheap rum.
The classic Daiquiri is just rum, lime, and sugar. Find out why it's such a great way to measure a bartender's skills below, or just make your own.
- 2 oz. Plantation 3-Star White Rum
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 0.75 oz. simple syrup
Putting everything into the shaker tin, adding ice and shaking hard for about 10 seconds. Strain off ice into a stemmed coupe glass and garnish with a thin lime wheel or honestly nothing at all, and enjoy as you reflect on what is truly important in life.
Queen’s Park Swizzle
As the Mojito's dark twin, the Queen's Park Swizzle is its alter ego. The Queen’s Park shares a build, rum, lime, simple syrup and mint, but trades its light rum brightness for a vanilla note of an aged rum and adds a spicy shock of Angostura Bitters, all cooled down by crushed ice, to make it feel even better. This cocktail has been dubbed “the most delightful form of anesthesia given out today,” and you can find out who said it.
- 2 oz. aged rum
- 0.75 oz. lime juice
- 0.75 oz. demerara syrup
- 8-10 mint leaves
Using a tall glass, place the mint leaves in it, add simple syrup and muddle the mint gently into it. Add crushed ice two-thirds full and stir until the glass starts to frost, either swiggling back and forth with a swizzle stick or bar spoon, or just stirring. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with Angostura Bitters and mint sprigs.
In itself, this cocktail is a vacation, like that Hawaiian shirt guy you keep trying on at the bar who always strikes up a conversation with everyone, but you end up liking anyway. Although it is largely responsible for the sugary reputation of rum drinks, a little lime juice and a light hand on the coconut make it transcendent. It's pretty good even if it's bad, and it's exceptional when it's good. Create your own origin store or compare the three competing ones here.
- 2 oz. rum
- 0.25 oz. lime juice
- 1.5 oz. pineapple juice
- 1.5 oz. cream of coconut
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with some pebble ice. Place contents in a festive glass and add more ice to fit.
Pour liquid ingredients into a blender and add about 6-8 ounces of ice. Blend on high for about 10 seconds, then pour into a festive glass.
You can garnish both drinks with pineapple leaves, orange slices, and an umbrella if you have one.
In 1939, Ernest Hemingway ordered the unusual Daiquiri variation from La Floridita, in Havana. A grapefruit and maraschino liqueur Daiquiri #3 had been created by lead barman Constantino Ribalaigua. Because Hemingway was both a diabetic and a savage alcoholic, he threw out most of the sweetness in his drinks and doubled the rum just to be fun. We recommend you try these three ways modern bartenders have adapted Hemingway's recipe.
- 1.5 oz. white rum
- 0.5 oz.-0.75 oz. lime juice
- 1 oz. grapefruit juice
- 0.75 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
Garnish with a maraschino cherry and shake ingredients well with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a stemmed glass.
In the same way you might think you understand what the Mai Tai is about, you're wrong if your vision is of a deathly sweet, overly juiced cocktail, just as the Daiquiri is. In this article, we explain why the 1944 Mai Tai became a sugar-embalmed zombie version of itself, or you can try the recipe below. It's among the strongest of all classic cocktails.
- 2 oz. aged rum (Appleton Estates Signature Blend or Hamilton 86 Demerara Rum)
- 0.5 oz. orange curaçao (Grand Marnier)
- 0.5 oz. orgeat (Small Hands Foods Orgeat)
- 1 oz. lime juice
In a tin with crushed ice, combine all ingredients. Shake for about five seconds and pour into a glass that looks tropical. The drink should look like a palm tree on a small island with a juiced lime husk and mint sprig. Pack with crushed ice and garnish with a lime husk and mint.
It's often described as a combination of a French 75 and a Mojito, but that's not exactly correct. The Old Cuban is aged rum, lime, simple syrup, and mint with Angostura bitters and champagne. In the Old Cuban, the vanilla from the aged rum and the spice from the bitters transform it from a poolside cocktail to a room with long narrow beams of light shining through the wooden shutters, as if under a slowly twisting ceiling fan in a smoky room. In our opinion, it is the best cocktail of the last 20 years. It is the darker side of refreshing, the more alluring and seductive side. Here's why it's neither old nor Cuban, but something in between.
- 1.5 oz. aged rum
- 0.75 oz. lime juice
- 0.75 oz. simple syrup
- 6-8 mint leaves
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 2 oz. sparkling wine
Combine all ingredients except wine in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10 to 12 seconds. Strain into a flute or stemmed cocktail glass and top with wine. Garnish with mint leaves.
A liquor company has patented the only recipe for the Painkiller, so we cannot call it a painkiller legally. Unfortunately, it is also not all that great either. There are a number of painkiller-adjacent drinks that are phenomenal. Some incorporate lime and/or passionfruit for a fresh, lively cocktail, while others simply add different rum for a richer experience. This drink has a sordid history, involving corporate espionage and a naval encounter.
- 2 oz. Pusser’s Rum
- 4 oz. pineapple juice
- 1 oz. orange juice
- 1 oz. coconut cream
Put crushed ice in a tall glass or tiki mug and shake for four to six seconds. Add crushed ice on top, garnish with crushed nutmeg, orange slices, or pineapple leaves.
As well as the Mojito, a drink that evokes a beachy Cuban summer in a glass. In the early 2000s, when the Mojito was popular but the craft cocktail movement had not really taken off, it used to be the bane of bartenders because it was light, bright, effervescent and fresh. During an era of Jack and Cokes and vodka-sodas, making this drink usually felt like a chore. With fresh ingredients and proper technique, the Mojito was reclaimed to its former glory. Here are a few tips to make yours even better, or follow the simple instructions below.
- 2 oz. silver rum
- 0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
- 0.75 oz. simple syrup
- 10-12 mint leaves
Mix all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Add one to two ounces of soda water to a tall glass, then muddle three to five mint leaves. Add two mint crowns twisted together to form a bushy mint explosion. Over fresh ice, shake and strain the cocktail.