Antonis Achilleos

Three varieties, each with a distinctive style, plus cocktails to match.

By Chris Hughes

Here, the history and cocktails behind the Caribbean's most storied spirit.

1 BLACKWELL

Dark rum (Jamaica)

With extensive time spent in charred oak barrels, dark Jamaican rum develops a full-bodied complexity essential to tiki drinks. Island Records co-founder Chris Blackwell continues to explore that tradition with his eponymous label—a rum blended at the storied J. Wray & Nephew distillery.

WATCH: How To Make Planter's Punch

Planter's Punch

Combine 3 Tbsp. (1½ oz.) dark Jamaican rum, ¼ cup pineapple juice, 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice, 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 Tbsp. (½ oz.) orange Curaçao, and 1½ tsp. sugar cane simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover with lid, and shake until chilled, about 30 seconds. Pour into a highball glass filled with ice, and garnish with a mint sprig and a pineapple wedge. Serves 1

Antonis Achilleos

2 MOUNT GAY

Bajan rum (Barbados)

Surrounded by sugar cane fields, Barbadians began making "kill-devil" or "rumbullion" (later shortened to simply "rum") as early as 1650. This ancient, molasses-based spirit is the reason the island is often credited as the birthplace of rum. Barbados also harbors the oldest continuously operating commercial rum distillery, Mount Gay, which has been producing world-class Bajan rum for more than three centuries.

BAJAN RUM PUNCH

Add 3 Tbsp. (1½ oz.) aged Bajan rum, ¼ cup passion fruit juice, 2 Tbsp. sugar cane simple syrup, 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, and 2 to 3 dashes of Angostura bitters to a cocktail glass filled with ice. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg, and garnish with lime wheels. Serves 1.

Antonis Achilleos

3 RHUM J.M

Rhum agricole (French West Indies)

Considered one of the most terroir-driven spirits, rhum agricole is truly a product of its agriculture—hence the name—in the French West Indies. Unlike other types of rum, which are made from fermented molasses, rhum agricole utilizes freshly pressed sugar cane juice. The grassy, un-aged results work best in stripped-down cocktails such as Martinique's signature drink, Ti' Punch.

TI' PUNCH

Add 3 Tbsp. (1½ oz.) white rhum agricole, 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, and 1½ tsp. sugar cane simple syrup to a rocks glass. Stir gently to combine. Add 2 to 3 ice cubes, and garnish with a lime wheel. Serves 1.