If rum were a friend of yours, it would be the fun one.

Unlike cognac, bourbon, scotch, and tequila, there are no universal regulations for the distillation or production of rum. This is awesome news for the adventurous drinker, who can enjoy the infinite creativity allowed by rum producers around the world. But it also means that being a savvy rum drinker requires a little more research, since there’s no one ensuring that what’s in the bottle is of the highest, uniform quality standard.

While rum has a reputation for being a summertime favorite, it’s deserving of a place on your bar in the winter, too. With versatile flavor profiles ranging from fruity and grassy to caramel and cinnamon, rum can be both refreshing and warming, whether drunk neat or in cocktails.

Karen HoskinSummer 2016