Dark Rum vs. Light Rum: Know the Difference

Choosing the rum that's right for you and your taste buds is important. When it comes to dark rum vs. light rum, know these differences.

Rum is an amazingly versatile spirit that suits a whole range of tastes. Rum is so much more than just your standard rum and coke. Rum is the primary spirit in classic cocktails like the Painkiller, the Pina Colada, as well as the mojito, the daiquiri, and plenty of other tropical Caribbean classics. 

When you head to the store you will find the shelves filled with many different types and flavors of rums. Most importantly you will notice both dark rum and light rum. Here is our quick guide to the difference between light and dark rum. 

What Is Rum?

Rum is a spirit made from sugarcane and its by-products. This sugar is distilled into liquid alcohol. Rum is generally distilled into at least 80 proof (or 40% alcohol) with some variations being stronger. When it is first distilled, rum is a clear liquid. So where does dark rum come from?

The Difference Between Light and Dark Rum

Light, white, or silver rum is aged less than other varieties. Immediately after rum is distilled it is clear. To prepare the rum for sale, producers filter the liquor until it is free from impurities. Light rums have a sweeter but more subtle flavor and have the same alcohol volume as darker rums. 

To produce dark, golden, or black rum, producers age the rum before filtering and bottling. The rum's darker color and bolder flavor come from the wooden or charred oak barrels used in the aging process. During this aging process, producers also add ingredients to add flavors and colors. Commonly, molasses, burnt sugar, caramel, and spices, are added to naturally enhance the flavor of dark rum. The longer the rum is aged, the darker it becomes and the bolder the flavor.

What Rum Should I Choose?

What rum you should choose depends entirely on what you are looking for.

Darker rums are popular for drinking straight because of their more distinctive flavors. Our favorite dark rum for sipping is Pusser's Gunpowder Proof, which is flavored with molasses, treacle, toffee, honey, vanilla, oak, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Many of your favorite cocktails will use light rum. Whilst light rum is more commonly used in mixed drinks such as mojitos, many prefer dark rum when enjoying mixed drinks due to its smooth, bold flavor. For cocktails, we recommend Pusser's Blue Label, with notes of Classic Demerara sugar, molasses, dried fruits, island spices, and caramel.

If you love cocktails it is important to know which rum is the right rum for your drink of choice. Light rum is used in many classic cocktails such as the Mojito, the Daiquiri, and the Pina Colada. Some drinks such as the Mai Tai can be made with either. And some drinks use only dark rum, such as the Painkiller and the Old Fashioned. 

If you're looking for the perfect aged dark rum, we recommend Pusser's 15 Years Aged. It is flavored with Classic Demerara sugar, molasses, dried fruits, island spices, and caramel, while also aged for 15 years. This blend is long, smooth, and memorable, making it ideal for sipping neat.

At the end of the day, it is all about your personal preference. Light rums have more subtle flavors and this has made them a favorite for many cocktail drinkers. However, many mixologists and rum enthusiasts have experimented with dark rums to get an extra kick of flavor.

Light and Dark Rum

The differences between light and dark rum are subtle but important. Dark rum is aged for longer, giving it stronger flavors and colors. If you prefer more subtle flavors, then light rum is your best bet. If you want a great sipping rum, then try a dark rum like Pusser's.

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