Top 10 Rum Brands You Need to Know in 2020

Time to channel your inner Jack Sparrow. In this post, we cover the top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020. Let's get to it.

Time to channel your inner Jack sparrow and explore the debauchery that comes from rum. Check out our other post if you want to know more about rum in general, but for this list, we’re naming off the rum brands you need to have in your arsenal before you end up being poked in the back by a peg-legged pirate named patches as you walk the plank regretting not having more rum. Let’s get into it.

1. Malibu (Barbados 1982)

Do you like Pina Coladas? What about getting caught in the rain? Malibu rum is flavored with a variety of different sweet, fruity tropical flavors to compliment some of your favorite summertime drink recipes. This is one of those rum brands that will have you lying underneath a palm tree on the beach. You there yet. Good. Take a drink and thank me later.   

Bacardi carta oro superior gold rum.
Bacardi carta oro superior gold rum.
Top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020 | giphy | cocktail hammer
Making a piña colada with malibu brand rum.
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2. Bacardi (Cuba 1862)

This is one of the biggest rum brands in the world. Bacardi Limited is the largest American privately held, family-owned spirits company in the world. Dona Amalia spotted fruit bats in the Bacardi family distillery (bats are considered lucky in Cuban culture), which is why the bat appears on every bottle of Bacardi rum. Good call, because the company has been lucky enough to thrive in markets internationally. 

They now have approximately 12 different variations of their rums, with different flavors to compliment the occasion.

Top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020 | giphy | cocktail hammer
A few variations of bacardi rums.

I suggest you checking out the history of Bacardi on its official website. I would do it here, but it’s pretty long and decadent. Still, check it out, and definitely have a few bottles of Bacardi around, because the people will call for it, and you better be ready to answer.

3. Brugal (The Dominican Republic 1888)

On a sunny day in Puerto Plata, Don Andres Brugal Montaner founded his company Brugal & Co. Forty years later, Brugal creates the first aged Rum in the Dominican Republic. To this day, the Brugal Company has factories, distribution facilities, and offices spread throughout the entire island. Don Andres would become one of the faces of leadership and entrepreneurship in society. 

Here’s a quick tip, enjoy your Brugal with some ice, a little coca-Cola, and you’ve got a “Cuba Libre” on your hands, mix it with a little sprite or 7-Up and you’ve got a “Santo Libre.” What kind of delicious wizardry is this you may ask? Well, I say worry less about the trick and more about the debauchery that ensues. Brugal is truly one of our favorite rum brands.

4. Goslings (Hamilton, Bermuda 1806)

Time to get lost in the Bermuda Triangle… of drunkenness. James Gosling (no relation to Ryan Gosling), on a voyage to America, sent out from Kent, England to nothing but his hopes and dreams. And 10,000 pounds sterling, of course. However, his charted vessel eventually ran out of funds and he was unceremoniously dumped at the nearest port of St. George, Bermuda.

But Gosling made lemons out of lemonade when he realized the lucrative opportunity of rum production on the island and now, it’s one of the world’s biggest rum brands.

James and his brother began experimenting with blending the distinctive black rum. During World War 1, they would top their bottles of rum with black sealing wax. Black. Sealing. Black Seal-ing. “Black Seal 80 proof Bermuda Black rum.”  

Now there’s a beautiful picture of a blessed black seal balancing a barrel black rum. Marketing level, strong; taste level, strong; amount of alliteration in the last sentence; decent. Now buy a bottle of Goslings before I continue alliterating. 

Fun fact, Gosling trademarked the drink “Dark ‘n Stormy” back in 1991. If you want to make this iconic drink, check out the video below.

How to make a Dark ‘n Stormy.

5. Don Q (Puerto Rico 1865)

Hope you saved your ticket. If not, you’re swimming all the way to Puerto Rico. Don Juan Serralles received a copper still imported from France and laid down a legacy for Puerto Rico as one of the world’s commanders in rum production. 

Don Q gets its name from the protagonist Don Quixote of the literary classic of the same name. Both the fictional character and rum share many of the same attributes. They’re both resilient, noble, sweet, and idealistic. And both were probably enjoyed by a short fat guy named Sancho at one point.

Top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020 | giphy | cocktail hammer
Don quixote with his trusty companion pancho.

Where am I going with this? Oh yes, if you want to guarantee a good time for all, have a bottle of Don Q at your disposal.

Drink responsibly. This is one of those rum brands that may have you believing you’re a chivalrous knight, instead of a drunk person wearing a salad bowl as a helmet at your brother’s wedding. 

6. Mount Gay (Barbados 1703)

We continue our island hopping tour to Barbados with Mount Gay rum. Named after Sir Joahn Gay Alleyne, who funnily enough became the manager of a distillery from a friend named John Sober, made good use of his resources and perfected his craft when he came up with a rum to please the sense and satisfy the palette. This is without a doubt one of my favorite rum brands.

Fun fact, the oldest surviving deed for the company is from 1703, titling Mount Gay rum as the oldest rum distillery in the world. The rum found popularity among sailors at the time. And so, the rum that was born on the island off the coast of the West Indies spread to the corners of the globe. And now, you can make sure it lands on the shores of your bar to be shared for the right occasion.

Update: Mount Gay has a new rum line! Watch the video below to get familiar with the XO from mount gay.

The new XO rum from Mount Gay.

7. Captain Morgan (Jamaica 1944)

Ahoy Matey! Even if you don’t drink rum, you probably remember the Captain Morgan commercials where they strike the iconic captains pose in inappropriate situations from around 2004 (did I just date myself?). The real Captain Morgan, named Sir Henry Morgan, became the inspiration and face for the spiced rum. Why? Probably because he drank a lot of rum. 

Top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020 | giphy | cocktail hammer
Top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020 | giphy | cocktail hammer

Captain Morgan rum, is one of the most popular rum brands in the world. Many consider it the quintessential rum. It’s found in pretty much every bar you walk into. Go ahead, take a look. And there’s not just one bottle of Captain Morgan; there’s usually about three or four of their massive varieties of rums.

We suggest following their slogan and “live like the captain,” which we imagine is dressing up like a pirate, placing your foot on an oak barrel, and drinking straight from the bottle.

8. Havana Club (Cuba 1934)

As the fifth-largest rum brand in the world, it’s safe to say that you’ve probably come in contact with a bottle of Havana Club at some point in your life. Especially on your aunt’s shelf as one of her prized possessions from the one time she went to Cuba for her third honeymoon, probably right next to the humidor filled with Cuban cigars. Freaked out yet. I know, it’s like I’m right in the room. 

Endorsed by young celebrities, this rum likes to be placed in environments where their loud music, fun nights, and true rum fans. But don’t tell Bacardi, they might not be too happy you broke open the bottle of Havana Club instead of theirs, but I’ll leave the gossip aside. 

A bottle of havana club rum brands.
A bottle of havana club rum.

Havana Clubs official website has a ton of rum recipes you can try out. Click here to check out some great Havana club drink recipes.

9. Don Papa (Philippines 2012)

It’s common to find rum brands across the Carabina, however, there are exceptions. Enter Don Papa Rum. Don Papa is quickly becoming a favorite amongst rum enthusiasts. The creator, Stephen Carroll, travels to the Philippines in 2012 and comes out with Don Papa rum. 

Bottle of don papa rum brands with moai rum brands mug.
Bottle of don papa rum with moai rum mug.

Some say a true entrepreneur actively looks for opportunities. Others say opportunity jumps out and slaps them in the face, either way, Carroll saw the rich stalks of sugarcane and famously asked, “where’s the rum?” (not to be confused with captain Jack Sparrows ” why is the rum gone”). From there, he knew exactly what he had to do. 

Top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020 | giphy | cocktail hammer
Captain jack sparrow asking “why is the rum gone? ”

The real Don Papa is based on Papa Isio ( Dionisio Magbuelas), one of the leaders of the 19th-century revolution in the Philippines. The liberator of the island from Spanish rule, and one of the last major leaders to surrender to the American invasion, the bottle pays homage to his legacy. They’ll be calling you The Don once they see that you have one of these bottles on your shell. Give it a try and we are sure you will add this one to your list of favorite rum brands.

Remember to pace your drinking too, or you might be named Papa for an entirely different reason.

10. Diplomatico Rum (Venezuela 1959)

Last on our list of rum brands you need to know is at the foot of the Andes mountains in Venezuela lies something sacred. Now before you get your Indiana Jones hat out, I’m referring to the Diplomatico Distillery. 

It was established in 1959 with its biggest shareholder Seagrams International. But in 2002, the company was bought by a group of Venezuela entrepreneurs and is a proud, family-owned, independent company. The man you see on the label is Don Juan Melendez AKA Don Juancho, a nobleman who dedicated his efforts to exploring the many sources and ingredients used to make rum. 

Diplomatico Rums accolades are rightfully deserved. On the price to quality chart, it hits that perfect equilibrium.  

Honorable mention

We would be remiss if we did not include these popular rum brands: Sailor, Jerrys, Kraken, Ron Diaz, Ron Zacapa (Guatemala 1976)


Are you already sipping on a mojito with one of those little umbrellas sticking out of it? Well, good for you. We are glad we could take you on this tour of the top ten rum brands you need to know. I know you can enjoy it all year round, but when that summertime hits, you best believe everyone’s gonna be coming over expecting you to provide them with their favorite Caribbean spirit. 

Some of these rum bottles might be a little harder to acquire than others, but what’s life if you can’t enjoy the journey. Good luck on your voyage in search of collecting these doubloons of debauchery.

Top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020 | source | cocktail hammer
A cheers from sir patrick stewart.

So, did your favorite rum brands make our list? let us know in the comments below. Click here to check out all of our blog posts. Thanks for reading and stay hammered.

Top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020.
Top 10 rum brands you need to know in 2020.
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Written by Chris Harris, Staff Writer

Howdy. I’m Chris Harris. One of the writers here at Cocktail Hammer. I have a passion for all things food, wine, and mixology. When I’m not I’m behind the bar or writing for this awesome blog, you can find me riding my bike all across New York City.

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