Ah, summer. Long, sunny days. Warm nights. And that mysterious urge to run through a sprinkler that never goes away, even if it’s been decades since you’ve been a kid.
The silver lining of being an adult, though? It’s getting to towel off afterwards and settle in with a refreshing (and boozy) summer drink. While there are as many great options for summer drinking as there are opinions about barbecue, we’re thinking that this might be the year to put the white wine back in the fridge and embrace the summer of rum.
No other alcoholic drink has the same magical ability to transport us to a mental tropical vacation without leaving your block. A comfy chair and rum-centric summer cocktail can transform your porch, patio, balcony, rooftop, or living room into a true oasis. So, in the spirit of extending those vacation vibes to every day, we’re excited to share a few of our favorite rums and rum cocktails for the summer months.
Put those sweet, syrupy concoctions from chain restaurants right out of your mind. A real daiquiri is a thing of beauty. Even better, it’s a cinch to make.
Before starting, you’ll need to select a great rum. Because there are so few ingredients in a daiquiri, your base spirit really matters. While it’s possible to make a great daiquiri with dark rum, the traditional recipe calls for a light rum. We love Big Five Silver Rum or Cutwater White Rum for a classic version, or Boukman Botanical Rum for an herbaceous twist.
You’ll also want to tread carefully when it comes to balance. It’s easy for a daiquiri to seem too sweet or too sour, depending on the character of the rum itself. We suggest starting with the following proportions, but feel free to fine-tune your recipe based on your own palate.
The Classic Daiquiri
- 2 ounces light rum
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¾ ounce demerara simple syrup
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a chilled coupe.
The Mai Tai
Craving a Hawaiian vacation, but want to skip that cross-Pacific flight? Make yourself a Mai Tai instead. This cornerstone of Tiki cocktails features a blend of light and dark rum, plus orange curacao, lime juice, and orgeat.
The invention of the Mai Tai is generally attributed to Victor Bergeron–aka “Trader Vic”–whose claim to fame was a chain of eponymous Polynesian-themed restaurants. (Fun fact, maita’i means “the best” in Tahitian.)
Because it calls for two rums–one light, one dark–the Mai Tai provides fruitful ground for experimentation. For the light rum, try El Dorado White 3-Year-Old Cask Aged Demerara Rum, which is aged and then filtered to return its clear color, giving it a mellow, elegant character. For the dark rum, we love to reach for something flavorful and overproof like Cutwater Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum, or Joe’s Playlist Track #6 “Whoosier Tiki” Rum.
Of course, feel free to experiment. Formulating your best version of the Mai Tai sounds like a worthy summer goal to us.
The Classic Mai Tai
- 1.5 ounces light rum
- ¾ ounce orange curacao
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ ounce orgeat
- ½ ounce dark rum
- Garnish: Choose 1-3 from lime wheel, pineapple wedge, mint sprig, cherries,
Add light rum, curacao, lime juice, and orgeat to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, then strain into a double rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Pour dark rum over top of ice to create a two-tone effect. Garnish generously with garnishes of your choice.
The Rum Highball
Summer is all about keeping it simple, which is why we’re huge fans of a simple rum highball. Remember, a highball doesn’t have to be just spirit + soda water. Coconut water, ginger beer, or even a Jarrito from the taqueria down the way (pineapple is good!) are great companions for rum, ice, and a lazy afternoon.
Highballs are also beautifully forgiving. Since they only contain two ingredients, it’s easy to adjust the proportions to your taste. Start with 1.5 ounces of rum and 3 ounces of whatever you’re choosing to mix it with (plus plenty of ice), then go from there. Just don’t forget to garnish, It’s tough to go wrong with a lime wedge.