The 7 Best Rums for A Piña Colada Cocktail (Must Try!)

Image of diy distilling banner 4

If you’re a fan of tropical cocktails, then the piña colada is likely at the top of your list. But with so many rums to choose from, it can be hard to find one that’ll provide the desired effect. 

The best rums are:

  • Don Q Gold
  • Cruzan Aged Light 
  • Zacapa 23
  • Plantation 3 Stars
  • Myers Original
  • STROH 60
  • Black Tot Finest 

Join us as we explore the best rums for a piña colada and tips to perfect your cocktail. 

Why Listen To Us? Our team of writers have more than 16 years of distilling experience between them. We've written These Books, designed the perfect Hobby Still, and have helped over 100+ amature distillers through our Ask The Expert portal. 

What’s The Best Rum For Making Piña Colada

The best rum for making piña colada is white rum. Because it’s lighter, it highlights the fruity and coconut flavors of the cocktail. But there are multiple variations to this classic drink. If you’re looking for a robust and exotic yet balanced drink, you can opt for dark or spiced rum. 

What Characteristics We Look For In A Rum

Choosing white vs. dark rum

White rum is lighter and more subtle in flavor, making it a popular choice for cocktails. And it allows the other ingredients to come alive. But if you love intense and rich piña coladas, we’ve featured dark versions with notes of molasses, spices, and caramel that mingle well with the rest of the ingredients.

Coconut rum or not?

Coconut rum can add an extra layer of tropical essence to the cocktail, but we found that too much coconut flavor can mask the sweet tang of the pineapple. If you want to downplay the fruity pineapple flavor, we included a Caribbean rum with a creamy coconut flavor, allowing you to adjust to your personal preference. 

Region/country of origin

Different countries have distinct rum-making traditions and use unique aging techniques or ingredients, resulting in variations in taste. For example, Caribbean rums have tropical and fruity notes, while Latin American versions are spicier. We included a mix of these to provide your tastebuds with delicious sensations. 

Price Point

Higher-priced rums often boast a more complex flavor profile. But, there are also excellent mid-range and budget-friendly versions that offer great value without compromising on taste. And we’ve included them in this post!  

ABV/proof

Higher-proof rums tend to pack a punch and can contribute to a bolder piña colada. Conversely, lower-proof rums offer a smoother and milder experience. 

The 7 Best Rums For Making A Piña Colada Cocktail

Let’s dive into the crème de la crème of rums for crafting the perfect piña colada. 

Best overall rum: Don Q Gold

Don Q is a quintessential piña colada rum. It comprises a blend of rums aged 1 1⁄2 to 5 years, providing a smooth and velvety texture. Don Q will add notes of rich vanilla to your drink. 

Best “cheap” rum: Cruzan Aged Light Rum

Cruzan’s light and smooth flavor make it a go-to choice for piña coladas. It has subtle notes of oak and a slightly sweet profile with hints of Chardonnay.   

Best top-shelf rum: Zacapa 23

Zacapa 23 is an exceptional rum, aged at an astonishing 7,545 feet above sea level. The spirit is a blend of aged rums ranging from 6 to 23 years old, crafted through the traditional “Sistema Solera” aging process. It offers a smooth and balanced profile with notes of caramel, vanilla, cacao, butterscotch, toffee, and dried pineapple.

Best white rum: Plantation 3 Stars 

This white rum offers a balance of richness and finesse. It has delicate notes of brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and cloves. Despite being spice-forward, it does have a light-bodied character, which creates a well-rounded biscuit-like piña colada.

Best dark rum: Myers Original

Dark rums are known for their complexity, but Myers takes it a step further by adding a touch of sophistication to theirs. The rum comprises blackstrap molasses, coffee, celery, allspice, hazelnut, and toffee. On the first sip, you’ll pick up notes of butter,  followed by sweet sugar cane, caramel, tobacco, honey, dark chocolate, and fig. The finish offers a decadent dark chocolate character with brown sugar, smokiness, and underlying oak notes. 

Best spiced rum: STROH 60

This Austrian rum is a fantastic way to add some flare, kick, and bite to your cocktail. Aged in oak barrels for three years and then diluted to 80% ABV (160 proof), the spirit imparts rich butterscotch and vanilla aromas to the piña colada. 

Best Caribbean rum: Black Tot Finest

Black Tot is crafted from the finest rums from Barbados, Guyana, and Jamaica. It offers tropical, coffee, and chocolate notes, true to the origins of a good rum. Because it’s aged entirely in the tropics, it achieves bolder flavors, making it perfect for both sipping and mixing.

5 Tips To Make The Perfect Piña Colada

Tip 1: Fresh Pineapple

Fresh pineapple adds a sweetness and natural acidity that canned or processed pineapple juice may lack. Cut and blend fresh pineapple chunks, and strain into your glass! 

Tip 2: Use coconut cream instead of coconut milk

Cream of coconut is thick, rich, and sweet. Use it in place of coconut cream or milk for a lustrous mouthfeel. 

Tip 3: The secret’s in the rum!

While you can play around with any rum of your choosing, we suggest you opt for a light or gold rum with a smooth and mellow flavor profile. It creates a beautiful interplay of flavors and will not overpower the other ingredients. 

Tip 4: Add acid to balance out the sweetness

A piña colada is naturally sweet. But if you find it intensely sweet, add a splash of fresh lemon juice to balance it out.

Tip 5: Garnish and presentation and drink with your eyes!

For a bar-worthy drink, garnish your cocktail with a pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry, or a dusting of grated coconut. Serve it in a hurricane glass and place a cocktail umbrella to complete the presentation!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing the best rum for a piña colada, white rum is the go-to option. Its light and subtle flavor profile highlights the fruity and creamy flavors of the cocktail. But, there are variations to consider. Dark rum can add richness and complexity, while spiced rum can bring a touch of warmth.

The rums featured in this blog–Don Q Gold, Plantation 3 Stars, and many others–offer a range of flavors and characteristics suitable for crafting YOUR perfect cocktail. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What kind of rum is best for piña colada?

The best rum for a Piña Colada is a white, light, or gold rum. They are mild and complement the tropical flavors of the cocktail.

Q. Is white or dark rum better for piña Colada?

White rum is ideal for a Piña Colada. It has a lighter and more subtle flavor profile, making it a better choice to showcase the flavors of the cocktail. 

Q. Do you use dark rum or spiced rum for Piña Colada?

Traditional piña colada is made with white rum. But if you’re looking to add a modern twist to your cocktail, you can use dark for a richer flavor or spiced for an aromatic version.  

Q. Is Captain Morgan white rum good for piña colada? 

Captain Morgan white rum can be used for a Piña Colada, but it has a different flavor profile–floral, pepper, citrus notes–compared to other white rums.

Q. What is the most common rum in piña colada?

The most common rum in a piña colada is a white or gold rum. Common choices include Bacardi, Don Q, and Cruzan.

Q. Does piña colada have Bacardi? 

Not all piña coladas have Bacardi. The rum is often used because it’s mild, which is preferred for traditional piña colada recipes. 

Q. Is Malibu a white rum? 

Malibu is not a white rum. It’s a coconut-flavored liqueur made with white rum, coconut extract, water, and sugar. Sure you can make a pina colada using Mailbu but it’s not the authentic way of making the drink.

Q. What can I use instead of a dark rum for a piña colada?

You can use a light, gold, or spiced rum in place of a dark rum. In fact, white run is generally preffered for Pina Coladas as its milder and won’t taint the color of the drink. If you don’t have rum at all, your best substitute would be plain vodka.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Best Thermometer For Distilling (In 2024)

One aspect that allows us to create high-quality spirits hinges on having a reliable and{...}

How To Cut Heads and Tails When Making Gin

One question we get asked a lot in the Facebook group and our Ask an{...}

A Distillers’ Guide To Excise Duty (Excise Tax Considerations)

From the Author: This article has been written as a necessity given the variety of{...}

Old Tom Gin Recipe (Sweetened Gin!)

Old Tom gin is a style of gin that was popular in the 18th and{...}

The Best Whiskey Stones In 2024 (3 Types To Choose From)

The key attraction of whiskey stones is they can provide the same cooling effect of{...}

Grandma’s Floral Gin Recipe

This recipe is inspired by the perfumy, floral gin flavors popular in the 1940s and{...}