Once considered the pariah of the rum circle, spiced rum has been regaining popularity in the past few years, so we’re pretty sure it hasn’t slipped by you unnoticed. It’s adding various spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and allspice to your regular rum. The taste is dreamily spiced, thanks to the cinnamon, and with strong hints of caramel-like sweetness.
There’s a staggering number of spiced rum brands out there and you won’t have a hard time finding one in your favorite bar or local liquor store. But today, we’re going to teach you how to make spiced rum at home to give you that warm, fuzzy holiday feeling. The procedure is absurdly easy and we bet the ingredients are probably already inside your kitchen cupboard.
How to make spiced rum
The key to making good spiced rum is to start slow. Adding more ingredients as you would like into the mix is not a problem per se — for instance if you think the clove flavor needs to be more pronounced, then by all means add more. But remember, once you’ve reached the point where it’s too much, it's extremely difficult to get that flavor back out.
- 1 (750-mL) bottle of your favorite rum
- 1 Vanilla bean
- 1 (3-inch) slice orange peel, white pith removed
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 2 Allspice berries
- 4 Cloves
- 6 Black peppercorns
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 quarter-size pieces fresh ginger
- 1 lidded 1-quart jar
The beauty of making your own spiced rum is that it allows you to tweak the flavor profile and play up the flavors you like by adding more of them and dial back on those you don’t. Keep in mind how commercial products tend to go big on the vanilla. It’s only natural that you cut back on that to let the other flavors emerge nicely.
- Combine all the ingredients in the jar except the vanilla bean.
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the rum mixture. Then, add the bean.
- Cover the jar tightly and shake for one minute.
- Place the jar in a dark place.
- Wait 24 hours, shake it again, then leave it back.
- Shake gently once a week.
- After 44 days, remove the orange and other large pieces. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean bottle. Throw away the spices.
- Pour the strained rum back into its original bottle, or look for a new one.
- Your spiced rum will keep indefinitely. Be sure to store again in a dark, dry place.
Why is homemade spiced rum better?
As mentioned, spiced rum is super quick and easy to make; you don’t need advanced mixology skills to pull off a decent homemade spiced rum. All the required spices are typical grocery-store finds. And since you only need a dash of this and a pinch of that, the only real cost is the rum, and you don’t need to spend a lot on that, either.
A bottle of commercial spiced rum isn't that expensive, so that’s not the reason why you should know how to make spiced rum. The real reason is that many brands amplify the use of spices to hide the flaws of inferior rum, or in most cases, they just make it way too sweet. Whereas making drinks at home, you have more control in creating a more balanced spiced rum and sweeten it according to your specific liking.
Spiced rum cocktails you can try
Spiced rum is quite an amazing drink served just on its own, but as a flavorful concoction added to many popular cocktails, it does pretty well, too. It’s also equally delicious served hot on a cool day! We’ve rounded up a few great cocktail recipes for your spiced rum.
Spiced Rum Runner
- 1 1/2 oz. spiced rum
- 1/2 oz. blackberry liqueur
- 1/2 oz. crème de banana
- 2 oz. orange juice
- 1/2 oz. grenadine
- 10 oz. crushed ice
- Fill the blender with crushed ice and pour the rum and blackberry liqueur.
- Add the orange juice and grenadine and blend until the cocktail is smooth.
- Strain and pour into a chilled highball or hurricane glass.
- Garnish your glass with an assortment of fruits like orange slices and serve!
Mulled Apple Rum
- 1 1/2 ounces spiced rum
- 1/2 ounce apple pucker
- 1/4 ounce apple brandy
- 4 ounces apple cider
- Honey to taste
- Warm the apple cider and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Once hot, pour the cider into a heat-resistant mug and add the shots of rum, apple pucker, and brandy.
- Garnish your mug with whipped cream and cinnamon sticks.
Coffee Nut Rum
- 1 ounce of spiced coffee rum
- 1/2 ounce hazelnut liqueur
- 1/2 ounce chocolate liqueur
- Strong hot coffee
- Brew the strong hot coffee using French, dark, or compatible flavored roast.
- Pour the coffee into heat resistant mugs and add spiced rum and liqueurs.
- Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
What goes well with spiced rum?
Generally, rum is a year-round drink but it’s most effective during the cold seasons. People usually pair them with high-calorie meals, fruits, and desserts. Below is a list of ideas for a spiced rum companion.
Chocolate and other sweets
Sipping spiced rum is a great pairing for dark chocolate bars and brownies but think of them too with desserts or cakes with dried fruits such as raisins.
Banana and pineapple
Banana and pineapple are also a classic pairing for rum. One of the popular combos is rum with banana foster or banana tarte tatin and with pineapple upside-down cake.
The spiced rum’s flavor is perfect for pairing with your favorite prime rib, pot roast, or beef tenderloin. You can even go for a herb-crusted rack of lamb or a pork crown roast to pair with your spiced rum.
Jerk chicken is a go-to rum partner, but you can always do better than that. Remember that sticky spicy Korean fried chicken you ate last time? With its umami flavors, all the tanginess will enhance your spiced rum experience.
Aged Gouda and rum is a well-known pairing and even with spiced rum, it’s a logical mix. Just a simple grilled cheese sandwich will do wonders but if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, opt for the loaded fries. Imagine this: sloppy potato chips mixed with pulled pork, sliced jalapenos, all covered with melted cheese. Then a sip of spiced rum.
Ever heard of Ceviche? It’s a Latin American dish made with fresh raw fish that is cured in citrus juice with fresh tomatoes, onions, and spices. And yes, it pairs so well with spiced rum. You can also go for flying fish, cod, tilapia, or salmon.
What is the difference between rum and spiced rum?
There are different types of rum, but spiced rum is technically not one of them. Spiced rum is more of a blend recipe; it’s commonly made from gold rum but cheaper varieties typically use white rum and just add caramel coloring later. Different brands use different spices (most of them keep it a secret) and different procedures to make their formula unique.
It’s easy to understand why spiced rum was frowned upon by OG rum enthusiasts in the past. To them, the strong, spice-enhanced, and sweet flavors of spiced rum overpower the natural characteristics that we love about good ole rum. Fortunately, because of continued experimentation in bars and at home, the fondness for spiced rum has grown significantly since.
You’d rather buy spiced rum instead, huh?
We’ve already laid down the procedure on how to make spiced rum at home and the reasons why it’s better but if you’re not up for it, that’s perfectly alright. A lot of people want to make the most out of commercial bottles before they can decide to come up with their own. If you’re planning to buy good brands of spiced rums and see if it’s your kind of drink, we’ve got you covered on that front, too.
How much does a bottle of spiced rum cost?
Buying Spiced Rum at the store, it can range anywhere from $10 to $100 for the good stuff. Anything below $10, you might want to think twice, especially if you’re new in the spiced rum neighborhood.
Where to buy spiced rum
Due to its resurgence in popularity, you can find spiced rum in your favorite bar or liquor store. They can typically be found right next to the different types of rum. There are also a lot of online liquor stores that deliver spiced rum to your doorstep. The most trusted ones are Drizly and Uptown Spirits, but there are also regional and local liquor sources that you can try so you won’t have to wait longer.
What’s so special about spiced rum compared to other drinks?
Spiced rum is a very versatile spirit. One can enjoy spiced rum on its own or with a wide range of cocktails, both hot and cold. Brands incorporate spiced rum into their expressions, often using botanicals and flavors that capture the flavor of where it’s made.
The appeal of spiced rum — and in some cases, the hate towards it — comes from its ability to mask the essence of rum. A lot of people enjoy rum with strong vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon flavors, even to a point where rum can no longer be discernible. But for others, that’s an abomination. The good thing is that there are now some higher quality spiced rums you can get hold of where the spice isn't there to completely mask the alcohol.
Spiced rum continues to redeem itself in the alcohol world with more people creating their signature iteration of the drink. Knowing how to make spiced rum is the best idea if you want to create the ultimate version, as the procedure is a walk in the park and the ingredients are easily accessible.
Whether you want to be an expert home bartender or you just want to enjoy any alcohol, making spiced rum at home is a good, easy-peasy place to start. If you have your unique recipe for spiced rum, let us know by sharing in the comments.