Caribbean rum in modern glasses with a bottle of rum and a cigar in the background
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The Best Rums Under $35 to Spice Up Your Home Bar

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Caribbean rum in modern glasses with a bottle of rum and a cigar in the background
MarianVejcik/istockphoto

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 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

Plantation 3 Stars Rum
Total Wine
Banks 5 Island Rum
Flaviar
Caña Brava Rum
Total Wine

Caña Brava

$20 from Total Wine
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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 Rum
Total Wine

Appleton Estate Signature

$26 from Total Wine
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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

$26 from Total Wine
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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
Total Wine

Cruzan Single Barrel

$35 from Total Wine
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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
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Plantation Original Dark

$20 from Total Wine

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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
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Bacardi 8

$23 from Total Wine
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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

Ron Abuelo 7 Años
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Ron Abuelo 7 Años

$34 from Total Wine

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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 Rum
Drizly

Botran 12 Year

$20 and up from Drizly
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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
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South Bay Small Batch No. 18

$28 from Total Wine

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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
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Zaya Gran Reserva

$26 from Total Wine

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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
Flaviar

Barcelo Imperial

$33 from Flaviar

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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
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Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum

$28 from Total Wine

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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
Drizly

Lemon Hart Original 1804

$27 and up from Drizly

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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
Total Wine