What is white rum?

Rum is one of the most ubiquitous and versatile spirits in the world. We’ve been enjoying this sugarcane-based booze for centuries, and you'll find it in bars across the world either poured over ice in a short glass or at the base of a refreshing cocktail.


The story of rum is an uncomfortable one. Common consensus says that it was born when slaves in the Caribbean and Americas started to ferment molasses, a 'waste' product from the sugarcane industry. The spirit eventually became mainstream and it was common practice for a sugar plantation to distill its own rum.

Naturally, rum became a staple of naval life. Up until the mid-20th century, the British Royal Navy served each sailor a ration of rum a day. Over the years the spirit also became inextricable from pirate lore.

What's the difference between white and dark rum?

There are plenty of rum varieties, differentiated based on colour, strength and spice. You’re more likely to sip a dark rum and mix a white rum. This is due to the methods of maturation. A white rum is typically aged for a shorter time and in steel tanks, while dark rums are usually aged for longer in oak barrels, which impart more mellow and chewable flavours.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course – some white rums are aged in barrels and then filtered to remove the signature golden colour. Whether you like them young and sharp or old and mellow, we’ve narrowed down the best white rums on the market today.

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Best white rum to buy 2023

Sunset Very Strong rum (84.5% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

Clocking in at an imposing 84.5% ABV, this may be a step too far for some. But if you're willing to take a leap of faith then you’ll be handsomely rewarded. This is a rum packed with as much flavour as alcohol. Just the right amount of water and a big squeeze of lime will give you a vanilla and raisin-laced tumbler of refreshment. Read our full Sunset Very Strong rum review.

Available from:
Master of Malt (£42.95)

Montanya Platino white rum (40% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

Montanya Platino is proud to be from a female-founded, -owned and -operated distillery in Colorado. An early mover in the craft spirits game, this distillery has nailed the art of making rum – its white expression is a particular favourite, bursting with baking spices and a dry nuttiness. We loved it in Montanya’s Sonic Rum cocktail, where a combo of tonic and soda helps open up the complex flavours of the rum without diluting them too much. Read our full Montanya Platino review.

Bacardi Facundo NEO white rum (40% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

The most successful rum brand on the planet pays tribute to its founder with this premium edition rum. Don Facundo kicked things off in Cuba centuries ago and his legacy is paid homage to with this sophisticated and refreshing palate of creamy vanilla and custard along with tropical fruits and pepper. Pour over ice and raise your glass to The Don. Read our full Bacardi Facundo NEO white rum review.

Diplomático Planas white rum (47% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

Diplomático produces world-beating spirits from the foot of the Andes Mountains. This white rum highlights everything we love about the distillery – it's a complex spirit, sweet and spicy, with mingling caramel, chilli and ground nut notes. Try it in a martini with dry vermouth. Read our full Diplomático Planas white rum review.

Ninefold pure single rum (40% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

A modern rum from an ancient estate in the south of Scotland. This unlikely delight is un-aged and packed full of big, sharp flavours such as ginger and tart citrus but there’s also plenty of smooth, chewy caramel. Put this at the base of a warm rum punch to dispel any sniffles – think of it as a pirate’s hot toddy. Read our full Ninefold pure single rum review.

Cape Cornwall white rum (40% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

This spirit takes its inspiration from the smugglers of old and pays tribute to such a heritage by mixing Caribbean rum with Cornish water, making it as unique as it is delicious. Cape Cornwall white rum delivers on everything you're looking for, with tropical fruits met by burnt brown sugar and fresh earthy flavours. Ideal for the base of daiquiri, or equally delicious served with ginger beer. Read our full Cape Cornwall white rum review.

Chairman’s Reserve White Label rum (43% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

This is a St Lucian delight from an adored distillery. The rum is aged like the rest of the Chairman’s Reserve line, but it's filtered to remove the colour, resulting in a white rum packed with bold citrus and punchy pepper notes. Marry those citrus flavours with creamy coconut in an ice-cold piña colada. Read our full Chairman’s Reserve White Label rum review.

El Dorado 3 Year Old white rum (40% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

El Dorado was once a mythical kingdom made of gold. Now, it's a mythically good rum. This Demerara rum is the flag bearer for the Guyanese industry, once numbering hundreds of operations, but now consolidated into the prolific Diamond Distillery. This sugary, nutty spirit is unbeatable at its price point and is perfect in a daiquiri. Read our full El Dorado 3 Year Old white rum review.

Real McCoy 3 Year Old white rum (40% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

This rum celebrates the legacy of a man who gave us the saying ‘the real McCoy’ – a legendary figure who refused to dilute his spirits. This modern day tribute to Bill McCoy is made with no additives; just pure, unadulterated, top-notch rum. The Real McCoy 3 Year Old comes packed with chocolate, coconut and scorches of pepper. It goes incredibly well in a Bloody Mary. Read our full Real McCoy 3 Year Old white rum review.

Copalli white rum (42% ABV)

A bottle of rum against a white background

Rainforest rum from a picturesque landscape in Belize. As clean and tasty as they come, this eco-friendly rum draws inspiration from ancient local traditions. An incredibly fresh, even grassy rum, the hints of mint and citrus in the background make this the perfect choice for a mojito. Read our full Copalli white rum review.

More on white rum...

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How to make piña colada
Best ever rum cocktail recipes
White rum cocktails
Mojito – glossary
Rum – glossary

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This review was last updated in February 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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