How to make great summer cocktails with rum

Sponsored feature: presented by Diplomático

DIPLOMÁTICO MASTER BLENDER TASTING, a special event featuring guided rum tastings with Master Blender Gilberto Briceño and complimentary barbershop services. Barber & Co., 89 Ossington, June 6, 2017. More event info here.

Rum is one of the most versatile spirits available for summertime cocktails. Bartenders tend to use it in drinks like mojitos, piña coladas, daiquiris and punches, among others. But sometimes the sweeter ingredients in these popular cocktails can overpower the flavour of the rum being used. So how should the casual rum fan balance out a favourite summer beverage?

Why do rums taste different? 

Master Blenders like Diplomático’s Gilberto Briceño – appearing at the special event listed above – can demonstrate how best to bring out the flavour of an expertly distilled rum. A big part of what you will taste in your next cocktail has already been decided by the processes used in creating your rum.

Darker rums are often made from sugar cane molasses and lighter rums can be made from sugar cane honey. Once a distillery sources its raw cane and begins the fermentation process with what is often a proprietary yeast strain, much of the final flavour is already determined. 

Distillation also adds a lot to the final product, as the choice of still (i.e., the container in which the alcohol is produced and refined) can vary widely and transform a rum into something totally unique. Aging the distilled spirit in various types of casks can shape the colour and finish of a rum. Then, finally, distilleries can choose to blend two or more rum batches for a desired effect – whether it’s to obtain a more consistent final product or create a totally new flavour. 

How to balance cocktail flavours

As any professional bartender will tell you, there’s a lot more to making a cocktail than throwing together a spirit with bitters and a twist. Not all rums are created equally and they can vary widely in taste, which is why more delicate cocktails can go wrong with a type of rum that doesn’t complement other ingredients well. 

A good starting point is knowing the kind of rum you like and build your cocktail around that preference. Having received numerous high scores in notable spirit competitions, Diplomático Rum is a solid choice. Lighter rums that don’t have a strong barrel finish can often go well in more fruit-forward cocktails, while darker rums that offer a more smokey finish might be better paired with ingredients like a simple sugar syrup and bitters. But remember: there are no rules – only personal preferences.

Experimenting with different combinations will produce different results. Try out your favourite recipes and add a unique twist to surprise yourself or guests. For example: instead of using orange peel for a citric edge, try star anise.

Go-to rum cocktail recipes

Pick up a bottle of Diplomático rum at the LCBO and try out these cocktail recipes to kickstart your mixologist creativity this summer. Share your summer drink creations on social media with #DiplomaticoRum and follow @DiplomaticoRum on Instagram and Twitter.

More cocktail recipes available at

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