A Taste of the Tropics
Rich Fury / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

18 Best Rums Under $35 to Spice Up Your Home Bar

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A Taste of the Tropics
Rich Fury / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

A Taste of the Tropics

Warm weather calls for rum-based mai tais, mojitos, daiquiris, and other refreshing summer drinks. But store shelves are crowded, and plenty of rums good enough for sipping neat or on the rocks cost $60 or more. Cheapism has found 18 of the best bottles available under $35, starting with recent and past winners of the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, which is respected for its tasting methodology and well-known judges. Those scores were cross-referenced with online reviews and, of course, prices. The final list includes white rums as well as darker rums that have been aged longer.

Prices and availability are subject to change.

Related: 20 Best Whiskeys Under $50

Diplomatico Blanco
Liquormojo.com.au

Diplomático Blanco

Starting at $30
It's easy to see why this Venezuelan white rum scores highly in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge year after year. Flavors of sugar cane, fresh green vegetation and earthy minerals are expansive on the palate and finish completely dry. Touted as "a real stand-out" by the website Spirits Review, this is an excellent white rum for sipping or mixing — think mojitos.

Plantation 3 Stars
Plantation Rum
Banks 5 Island Rum
Thewhiskyexchange.com

Banks 5 Island Rum

Starting at $30
This white rum is made by blending rums from different islands to create a complex yet clean flavor profile. The bright citrusy notes are ideally suited to daiquiris and simple cocktails that let the spirit shine.

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Caña Brava
Calgary.liquordirect.ca

Caña Brava

Starting at $34
This Panamanian white rum coats the mouth with its full, creamy, slightly buttery body and the sweet, earthy flavor of fresh sugar cane. This clean yet sumptuous spirit earned the title of "Best Booze Buy" from spirits blog The Pour Fool and makes a summery alternative to vodka.

Appleton Estate Signature
Thewhiskyexchange.com

Appleton Estate Signature

Starting at $19
Jamaica's original rum, this iconic brand is well known for making delicious rums that feature tropical flavors. Layered with baking spice, banana and guava, this rum is easy to sip on it's own, but inexpensive enough to mix into any drink.

Related: How to Fully Stock Your Bar for Under $300

Plantation Grande Reserve 5 Years
Plantation Rum

Plantation Grande Reserve 5 Years

Starting at $19
This rum hails from Barbados and reveals surprising depth of flavor — a range of sweetness from honey and brown sugar to toasted coconut and chocolate. Good enough to be a summer sipper, yet cheap enough to mix into cocktails guilt-free, it's admired by amateurs and professionals alike, earning 92 out of 100 points in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge a few years back.

Cruzan Single Barrel
Reservebar.com

Cruzan Single Barrel

Starting at $28
From St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands comes this deep, dense, and indulgent rum that boasts up to 12 years of aging. Touted as one of the best rums under $35 by The Pour Fool, this spirit adds considerable complexity to a cocktail and might be best enjoyed neat. Its big, boozy body is velvety on the palate, with lasting flavors of molasses, vanilla, and spice cake.

Related: 15 Best Tequilas Under $30 a Bottle for Your Home Bar

Plantation Original Dark
Thewhiskyexchange.com

Plantation Original Dark

Starting at $15
Intensely rich flavors of caramel, spice cake, and burnt sugar and cinnamon lend a bold sweetness to cocktails made with tropical fruit juice. This powerful Trinidadian rum earns 10 out of 10 from Spirits Review for its flavor and value.

Bacardi 8
Thewhiskyworld.com

Bacardi 8

Starting at $24
It turns out that the most popular rum brand in the world knows a thing or two about producing good rum. This special reserve is much more complex and flavorful than most people would probably expect from Bacardi, yet the price is in the same ballpark. With layers of flavor including baking spices and chocolate, it's easy to see why this rum consistently scores high marks with consumers and professionals.

Related: 19 Tasty Spiked Seltzers to Try This Summer

Coruba Original
Jimscellars.com.au

Coruba Original

Starting at $22
This Jamaican dark rum packs a lot of flavor into a low-priced bottle. The deep molasses flavor, with notes of banana and chocolate, makes a delicious foundation for a traditional cocktail such as a dark and stormy or a fruity rum punch. Although this rum is not aggressively marketed or widely reviewed, it came away with a score of 93 out of 100 in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, a particularly excellent performance given the price point.

Ron Abuelo 7 Años
Bodegasalianza.com

Ron Abuelo 7 Años

Starting at $33
The flavors in this rum seem to develop with each sip, as candied nuts, molasses, baking spices, and hints of earthiness peek through. Delicious on its own, this Panamanian spirit also adds a lot to classic tiki drinks. Spirits Review calls it "well made, complex, and a great bargain."

Related: 21 Summer Beers to Cool You Off On a Hot Day

Botran 12 Year
Thewhiskyexchange.com

Botran 12 Year

Starting at $23
This Guatemalan rum is made in a rich style with plenty of sweetness and caramel flavors. Especially well suited for cocktails because of the layers of coconut and brown sugar, this is an inexpensive bottle that will still show through alongside mixers and in tropical drinks.

South Bay Small Batch No. 18
Shopsouthbayrum.com

South Bay Small Batch No. 18

Starting at $30
This classic Dominican rum, made from molasses, caters to those who crave bold flavor. It's smooth and sweet, with notes of spice and caramelized tobacco leaf and a long and luscious finish. The blogger behind The Pour Fool marvels at the quality-to-price ratio.

Zaya Gran Reserva
Willowpark.net

Zaya Gran Reserva

Starting at $26
This aged rum from Trinidad & Tobago consistently rates highly from both consumers and members of the trade. With 12 years of aging, it packs a lot of warm spice flavor layered with tropical fruits and over delivers for the modest price point.

Barcelo Imperial
Spiritedgifts.com

Barcelo Imperial

Starting at $23
This aged Dominican rum combined rums aged between 4 and 10 years in any given batch, producing clean flavors that are lightly sweet and layered with fruit and spice. Rated highly across a variety of spirits sites, it offers a higher quality product than many other rums at the same price.

Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum
Donq.com

Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum

Starting at $30
A notable standout among spiced rums, this Puerto Rican rum from Don Q scored 94 out of 100 in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in 2017 and has earned high marks from online reviewers both for taste and value. Featuring a blend of rums that have been aged for at least three years in American white oak barrels, it's naturally flavored with vanilla, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon, and offers plenty of well-balanced warmth. Bottled at 45% ABV, this one might be a touch too hot for most palates if served neat, so on the rocks or in a cocktail are likely the best bets.

Related: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Puerto Rican Food Culture

Lemon Hart Original 1804
Lemon Hart Rum

Lemon Hart Original 1804

Starting at $24
This high-alcohol rum from Guyana is made in an old-school style, featuring a full body and velvety texture. Flavors skew dark and deep with cocoa, coffee, dark brown sugar, and vanilla. While not as well known as some of the bigger brands, it's one of the best values on the market.

Plantation Xamayca
Uptownspirits.com