Rum will always have a special place in my heart. It was, after all, the first alcohol I ever tasted (I was 21…I swear). Many years later, rum and I are still going strong.
Turns out I have a simple plant to thank for this long term relationship of mine: sugar cane. When sugar production first started in the Caribbean hundreds of years ago, large amounts of molasses were leftover as a byproduct. At first there wasn’t any use for this thick, sticky, sweet stuff…until the colonists discovered that molasses could be fermented and distilled. And then there was rum!
Unlike tequila, rum production varies greatly from country to country. The two main types of rum are light and dark, which are differentiated based on the amount of time the rum spends aging in oak barrels. Dark rum has been aged for longer and picks up color and flavor from the wood of the barrel. Most light and dark rums are both made from molasses, although some brands do use sugar cane juice instead.
The Best Way to Drink Rum
If 21-year-old me was answering this, it would be simple: rum and (diet) coke. While there are still times when a good old rum and coke hits the spot, many popular cocktails use rum as a base, including the Dark and Stormy, the Daiquiri, the Mojito, the Pina Colada and the Mai Tai.
As with any mixed drink, you’ll want to watch out for added sugars. Choose rum cocktails with a short ingredient list and avoid those that use pre-made mixes or large amounts of juice and soda. For cocktails sweetened with sugar, honey or simple syrup, ask the bartender to go “less sweet” to reduce the added sugar.
Healthy Rum Cocktails
Daiquiri. Skip the pre-made frozen mix version and go for a simple, well-made daiquiri, like the kind Hemingway enjoyed. Try this Frozen Mango Coconut Daiquiri from Marisa Moore Nutrition. This healthy rum cocktail combines mango with lime juice, coconut rum and club soda for a sweet and sour frozen drink that’s perfect for summertime. With just a touch of honey, this daiquiri lets fruit be the start of the show and is healthier than most.
Cuba Libre. Or what I like to call a “grown up rum & coke”. I first discovered Cuba Libre’s while in Germany. It sounded very much like the drink I was used to, with the addition of some fresh lime. But don’t be fooled: the lime takes your classic rum and coke to the next level. Mind. Blown. Slightly muddle three or four lime wedges in the bottom of a glass and top with 2 ounces of dark rum, 4 ounces of regular or diet coke and ice.
Pina Colada. Nothing says “I’m on vacation” like a creamy pineapple, coconut and rum drink (bonus points if it’s served in a coconut!). Unfortunately, many Pina Coladas are made with pre-made mixes, resulting in a sugar-filled cocktail. Instead, try this Pina Colada recipe from registered dietitian Meme Inge. It uses just four simple ingredients to give you an ultra-creamy, I’m-on-a-beach cocktail. Coconut shell optional.
Dark and Stormy. Sweet and spicy dark rum is paired with ginger beer and lime for a refreshing adult beverage that never goes out of style. Simply combine 2 ounces of rum and 4 ounces of ginger beer in a tall glass, top with ice, and serve with a lime garnish. That’s it!
Mojito. Another one of my personal favorites, this rum cocktail originated in Cuba and all of the ingredients in a classic mojito are native to the country. Rum, mint, lime and sugar are mixed with soda water for a refreshing cocktail. Try this Mint Mojito recipe from Jessica Levinson. It uses less sugar and less soda water, for a version you can feel good about drinking. You can also make fruit-flavored mojitos by adding fresh fruit to the mint, and muddling at the bottom of the glass – see this Watermelon Grapefruit Mojito or this Mandarin Mojito.
Spiced Horchata Colada
This cocktail mixes a couple drinks into one: a pina colada and a Mexican coconut horchata. All of them are full of health benefits that just so happen to go really well with rum.
The spice blend in this cocktail is anti-inflammatory (except for the rum, obv) and can help with digestive issues. Cardamom and cinnamon are great to help sooth aching tummies (especially when you overeat) and the pineapple contains natural enzymes that aid digestion
For the coconut part
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 shot spiced rum
- 1 – 2 cups of ice (depending how slushie you like it)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp agave syrup
For the pineapple part
- ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Place all of the coconut ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth (about 1 min). Add as much ice as needed to make it into a slushie. You may need to stop the blender and stir the mix with a spoon to make sure all the ice is crushed. Pour contents in a jug and place in the freezer
- Place the pineapple ingredients in the blender and add a splash of water, just enough to get it going. Blend until you get a thick frozen puree. Remove from the blender.
- To serve grab a glass and pour some of the coconut mix and some of the pineapple puree alternating between flavours. Top with a stick of cinnamon and some cardamom pods for decoration
What is your favorite way to enjoy rum? Let us know in the comments below and download Luvo’s 7-day meal and fitness plan for more nutrition tips and recipes.
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