A bottle of rum next to a barrel

A bottle of rum next to a barrel (Photo by Evgeny Karandaev on Shutterstock)

Rum is made by fermenting sugarcane molasses or sugarcane juice, and it’s the basis for all sorts of popular drinks. By no means is rum the most expensive liquor but it’s also not the cheapest. Good, quality rum makes all the difference in many of our favorite mixed drinks, such as Mojitos, but it can get a little pricey. When you want a good mixed drink or just want to sip on a sweet and spicey rum before dinner and don’t want to break the bank to enjoy yourself, it certainly pays to know your options for the best affordable rum. 

Rum, with its rich history and diverse flavors, has captivated spirits enthusiasts for centuries. While premium rums can carry hefty price tags, the good news is that you can still experience the magic of rum without emptying your wallet. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the best affordable rums – those that deliver exceptional taste and value, allowing you to savor the spirit without breaking the bank.

When navigating the vast world of rum, understanding key factors can guide you towards quality affordable options:

  • Production Style: Explore different styles like light, dark, and spiced rums, each offering unique flavor profiles.
  • Age: While aged rums offer more complexity, young rums can be equally delicious and budget-friendly.
  • Origin: Different regions like the Caribbean, Central America, and Asia produce distinct rum styles with varying price points.
  • Brand Reputation: Established brands often offer high-quality affordable options alongside their premium counterparts.
  • Reviews and Ratings: Consult online resources and expert reviews to gain insights into different rums before purchasing.

Choosing Quality Affordable Rum:

  • Focus on Ingredients: Opt for rums made with natural ingredients like sugarcane and avoid added sugars or artificial flavors.
  • Look for Authenticity: Choose rums with certifications like Denominación de Origen (D.O.) or Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for guaranteed authenticity and quality.
  • Consider Versatility: Select rums that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or mixed in cocktails, maximizing their value.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment: Explore different brands and styles to discover your personal preferences.

So, which rums are considered to be tasty, yet on the cheaper side? StudyFinds did the research, consulting 10 expert websites in an effort to bring you a consensus list of the best affordable rum options. Our list comprises the seven most frequently listed rums from across these sites. Think the experts missed one of your favorite affordable rums? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

Rum cocktail
Rum cocktail (Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash)

The List: Best Affordable Rums, According to Experts

1. Havana Club Añejo Clásico Rum

The top spot on the list of the best affordable rums belongs to Havana Club Añejo Clásico. Havana Club is a Puerto Rican rum distilled and bottled in the Caribbean to give it a delightful flavor and finish. 

havana club añejo clásico rum
Havana Club Añejo Clásico Rum (therealhavanaclub.com)

“Havana Club Añejo Clásico is an exquisite spirit that is distilled and aged in Puerto Rico under the Caribbean sun for one to three years in oak barrels. Then, the aged rums are blended and aged a second time in oak barrels for a minimum of three months,” explains The Rum Lab

This rum is double-aged with attention to detail and a focus on quality. Like many quality liquors, Havana Club Añejo Clásico has an origin story that turns out to be pretty cool. 

“This blend is said to be the original recipe created in Cuba back in the 1930s. After the Cuban regime annexed the distillery in 1960, the recipe for this blend was thought to be gone forever. Now we are lucky to get a hint of the past with this beautiful, affordable rum with notes of tropical fruits and hints of vanilla and oak,” adds Liquor

Rum is supposed to be rich, sweet, and tasty. Havana Club clearly checks those boxes and then some. “Not to be confused with the Cuban rum of the same name, this blend brings together rums that were aged for as long as three years, and then for a final three months following blending. It’s a no-brainer for cocktails, and the spice notes alongside dried pineapples, caramel-coated white raisins, and Mrs. Butterworth’s candies make it particularly useful in a Rum Old Fashioned,” furthers Food and Wine

2. Mount Gay Eclipse Rum

Next up on the list of the top affordable rums is Mount Gay Eclipse Rum. Mount Gay hails from Barbados and comes from the longest-running rum distillery in the world.  

Mount Gay Eclipse
Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (mountgayrum.com)

“Being the oldest continuously operating rum distillery (1703) isn’t easy. With great age comes great responsibility? Regardless, Mount Gay [is] definitely a representative of the Barbadian rum culture,” explains The Rum Barrel

With so many astonishing accolades, you’d think Mount Gay is an expensive brand. But, Mount Gay is not only very affordable, it’s downright delicious. “Barbados’ Mount Gay is the oldest rum distillery in the world with a genesis in 1703. It makes many different expressions including many more expensive offerings, but its Mount Gay Eclipse Rum is one of the best bargains on the market. Named for the solar eclipse visible in Barbados in 1910, it’s a blend known for its flavor profile of vanilla beans, banana peels, rich oak, buttery caramel, and gentle spices,” furthers Cool Material

Barbados is a Caribbean nation surrounded by clear water and a laid-back vibe. When your rum comes from a country as renowned for vacation vibes as Barbados, you know it has to be tasty. Enjoy Mount Gay’s Eclipse rum in all your favorite rum-based mix drinks. 

“Eclipse is the lightest and youngest rum (at 2 years old) from esteemed Barbados distillery Mount Gay, but it has a strong, deep flavor and delivers on quality and value. Vanilla, caramel and banana notes pop with each sip, but this is primarily a mixing rum and provides the right balance of spice and sweetness to complement any cocktail, classic or new-school,” adds Liquor

3. Wray & Nephew White Rum

The third spot on the list of the top budget rums belongs to Wray & Nephew White Rum. White rum is a great choice for cocktails and other mixed drinks and Wray & Nephew are doing it right. 

 

“This Jamaican rum is among the few overproof rums that are still budget-friendly. Wray & Nephew is one of the most beloved rums for its versatility and usefulness in cocktail making. This overproof gives you the most bang for your buck,” writes Rum Raiders

For a rum to be overproof, it has to contain more than 50 percent alcohol by volume. Wray & Nephew didn’t let the overproof impact the quality of their rum and it shows.  

“Sometimes overproof rum can be quite harsh and, when not mixed with very flavorful ingredients, downright undrinkable. This is not the case with Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum. For about $24 you can get a small-batch, un-aged 63 percent rum that’s loaded with notes over candied walnuts, ripe bananas, molasses, and vanilla cream. At such a high proof, you definitely should mix this if not add a healthy splash or three of water,” writes Cool Material

Wray & Nephew comes from Jamaica and brings a lot of taste to your cocktail lineup, regardless of its higher proof. 

“The tasting notes include fruit and molasses with a spicy finish. These flavors manage to shine despite its high proof of 126. This is definitely more of a cocktail component than a sipping rum and works well in any classic rum drink you can think of,” furthers Liquor

4. Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum

Next up on the list of best budget rums is Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum. Appleton Estate is another Jamaican rum and the experts agree that the Signature Blend is a great choice for nearly any occasion. 

“The Signature Blend from Appleton is one of the best-value rums on the market. It is aged for an average of 4 years which is more than most rums in this price range. It is sippable but typically it is great to have on hand for making mixology masterpieces at home,” writes Rum Raiders

Appleton Estate’s dedication to quality is apparent in this rum. The Signature Blend is filled with flavors ranging from bananas to brown sugar. “On the nose you get vanilla from the bourbon barrels and a touch of orange peel and exotic fruits. When it comes to taste, you’ll get bananas, apricots and brown sugar with a suggestion of tropical fruit,” writes Mel Magazine

Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum tastes just like you’d expect a Jamaican rum to taste. It’s light yet flavorful and goes great with your favorite rum-based cocktails or in a glass for sipping.  

“Jamaica makes some of the best rums out there, known for having earthy and funky notes on the palate that intertwine with tropical fruit flavors and sweetness. The core expression from Appleton Estate is inexpensive and delicious, a blend of rums from column and pot stills that’s aged for an average of four years. This should be your go-to rum for making cocktails,” raves Liquor

5. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum

Gosling’s comes to you straight out of Bermuda where it’s aged for years and goes great in a Dark n’ Stormy. “The darkest, richest rum on the list, Gosling’s is made from a blend of rums (both pot- and column-stilled) imported into Bermuda and aged three years in former bourbon barrels. I don’t usually enjoy sipping it, but it’s great in cocktails. Gosling’s is delicious in a Cuba libre or a Dark ‘n Stormy. If you’re mixing the latter, though, get a sharp and peppery ginger beer, or the rum will overwhelm it. Barritt’s is traditional, though Gosling’s now also markets its own ginger beer, specially formulated for mixing with its rum,” writes Serious Eats

Goslings Black Seal Rum
Goslings Black Seal Rum (goslingsrm.com)

Gosling’s Black Seal Rum is utilized in several popular cocktails and drinks. As one expert explains, Gosling’s Black Seal helped inspire the infamous Dark n’ Stormy cocktail. 

“Black seal rum is a key ingredient in… fish dishes and also inspired the now world-famous Dark n Stormy rum cocktail. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum is black rum with complex and rich flavors of stewed fruits, vanilla, and spices,” furthers My Bartender

Gosling’s Black Seal is not a light rum by any means. This dark and rich blend of rum makes it perfect for mixing or sipping – the choice is yours. The best part is that Gosling’s Black Seal is more than affordable. 

“This Bermuda-made dark rum is made using a recipe dating back more than 150 years. Made from a blend of charred oak matured pot still rums, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum is the base for Bermuda’s official drink: The Dark ‘n Stormy. Perfect for that drink and many others, it’s a complex rum with notes of caramelized bananas, dried fruits, vanilla, molasses, bold, oaky wood,” adds Cool Material

6. Flor de Caña Extra Seco 4-Year White Rum

Next up on the list of the best affordable rums is Flor de Caña Extra Seco 4-Year White Rum. Flor de Caña is a Nicaraguan rum that mixes well with a range of cocktails. 

Flor de Caña Extra Seco 4-Year White Rum
Flor de Caña Extra Seco 4-Year White Rum (flordecana.com)

“Flor de Caña is an excellent rum for its price. Flor de Caña has a long history in Nicaragua, dating back to the 1890s. The Extra Seco is light-bodied, with a round, smooth taste and a medium finish. I find that it tastes pretty good just on ice, but it also mixes very well. Enjoy it in a daiquiri, but it would also taste fantastic in a mojito or an El Presidente,” explains Serious Eats

This is the only South American rum to make this list and it’s easily the most popular rum to come out of Nicaragua. “One of the only certified Fair-Trade companies, Flor de Cana is the oldest rum producer in Nicaragua. Flor de Cana is both a sugarcane plantation and distillery that recently turned 150 years old. The 4-year-old Extra Seco is a clear rum with a unique palate of white chocolate and orange,” adds My Bartender

“This Nicaragua-produced rum is aged in small oak ex-bourbon barrels that are sealed with plantain leaves. The distillers believe the volcanic, tropical climate helps to impart numerous flavors including creamy chocolate, candied orange peels, sweet bourbon, dried fruits, candied nuts, and vanilla beans. It’s warming, dry, and perfect as a slow sipper or mixed into your favorite cocktail,” furthers Cool Material.

7. Chairman’s Reserve Rum

Rounding out the list of the best rums at an affordable price is Chairman’s Reserve. Chairman’s Reserve is produced in the Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia and is made with molasses from Guyana. 

“Saint Lucia is the home of Chairman’s Reserve Rum, made using both column and pot stills from molasses in Guyana. This rum is a blend that averages around five years of maturation in ex-bourbon barrels before resting in oak vats for another six months. Don’t hesitate to sip this on its own, but try it in a Rum & Coke to really elevate the simple drink. The brown sugar, banana, and spice flavors work well with the sweetness of the cola,” writes Liquor

Chairman’s Reserve got a lot of love from the critics and reviewers. This rum is loved for its bold flavors and sweet and spicey finish. Chairman’s Reserve is a great choice for anyone looking for a rich sipping rum. 

“First launched in 1999 and named for then Chairman Laurie Barnard, this St. Lucia-produced rum is a blend of copper pot still and coffey column still distilled rums that were matured separately in ex-bourbon barrels before aging again in oak vats together. This is St. Lucian Rums’ flagship expression and its known for its bold flavors of caramelized banana, toffee, vanilla, dried fruits, and gentle spices. It’s sweet, spicy, and sippable for a surprisingly low price,” explains Cool Material

Chairman’s Reserve is 40 percent alcohol by volume and is distilled in various stills. “The 40 percent ABV Chairman’s Reserve comes from St. Lucia Distillers, and the blend offers rums aged for a minimum of five years. The distillery utilizes three different types of pot stills, as well as a column still, and this rum is approximately 60 percent column distillate and 40 percent pot still distillate. By incorporating a mix of starting flavor profiles, producers ultimately work together to create a complex and nuanced end result,” furthers Eater

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About Matthew Sherdan

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