Beyond the Daiquiri: 5 rum drinks you should know


By Sam Bygrave
Photography by Steve Brown

It can be easy to get caught in a cycle of just a few recipes when it comes to some ingredients — with rum, the first port of call is obviously a Daiquiri.

There’s nothing wrong with that. The Daiquiri is pretty much perfect as it is. But even the most ardent Daiquiri drinker will want to escape from its charms once in a while.

There’s other options, of course. You may, from time to time, stretch out to a Mai Tai, perhaps an El Presidente if you’re feeling adventurous. But here’s another few recipes that make for delicious drinking.



Brown Derby

60ml Inner Circle Red Rum
30ml lime juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup

Shake all ingredients and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a lime twist.

This is a riff on a Daiquiri — except it’s a Daiquiri writ dark. Rich maple syrup complements dark rum, the mood only lightened by lime juice. There’s another recipe for a drink called a Brown Derby out there, and it utilises bourbon as the spirit and honey as the sweetener. This one is from a 1939 issue of Esquire, according to Dave Wondrich.


Jungle Bird

45ml Pyrat XO
22.5ml Campari
15ml fresh lime juice
15ml simple syrup
45ml pineapple juice

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes and strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple wedge.

This drink was created not in the Caribbean, not down south in Louisiana — not even in a tiki shack on the west coast of the USA. Nope, this drink isn’t from a cocktail mecca. Instead, it’s from a place closer to home: Kuala Lumpur.

It was created at the Aviary Bar, at the Hilton Hotel in Kuala Lumpur in 1978, and is one of the few tiki style drinks to feature a bitter like Campari. We’re glad it does.



60ml Angostura 1919
15ml orange curaçao
15ml raspberry syrup
30ml lime juice

Add all to a goblet. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with a slice of orange, a slice of pineapple, and fresh raspberries.

Recipe adapted from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.

We’ve written about this drink some five years ago, and thought it was due for a reappraisal. We wrote: The Knickerbocker’s life starts in Boston appearing in drinks lists and newspapers around the 1850s. During the 1850s and 60s the Knickerbocker was quite the popular summer drink and this little beauty was included in several drinks manuals of note including  Jerry Thomas’s How to Mix Drinks in 1862, William Terrington’s Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks in  1869, and Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual in 1882. Unfortunately 1882 is last year that this cocktail appears in print for a significant period of time with the final word belonging to a writer for the New York World who admonishes: “in the resume of what is good to drink in the summer-time the Knickerbocker should not be forgotten.”

Strong, balanced between sweet and sour and a lively colour this fun little classic is a summer tipple that we really have been missing out on. We can look at the Knickerbocker as a sort of punch, a great-granddaddy to the tiki drinks of the mid-19th century – Dave Wondrich in Imbibe suggests that you “think of it as an 1850’s Mai Tai – similar drink, different island.”



45ml Beenleigh Dark Rum
45ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled coupette.

Adapted from a recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book, 1930.

A rum-based riff on the whole spirit-plus-vermouth-plus-bitters thing that has given us cocktails you may remember by the name of the Martini, Manhattan, and countless others. We’ve got reliable information that this drink is forgettable at best when constructed with dry vermouth; better you opt for a good sweet vermouth, matching the intensity of the vermouth to that of the rum.


Airmail Cocktail

30ml Mount Gay Black Barrel
15ml fresh lime juice
15ml honey syrup (2 part honey mixed with 1 part hot water)
30ml brut champagne to top.

Add all ingredients (except champagne) into an iced shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled champagne saucer or coupe glass. Top with champagne and garnish with a lime twist.

This is one of our favourite rum drinks. Light and refreshing, thanks to the champagne — it is that perfect little glass of something if you don’t know which little something it is you’re looking for.

It makes its first appearance in print in the 1941 book, Here’s How, by W. C Whitfiled.

And here’s five great rums for mixing…

Angostura 1919: Delicate nose of cocoa, sweet molasses, toffee, vanilla, coconut cream and caramel. This leads to an off-dry medium-bodied palate with caramel, vanilla, dark roasted nuts, peppery spice and smoky flavours. island2island

Inner Circle Red: Inner Circle Red Dot is a smooth, well rounded and flavoursome rum, with characters of raisins, toasted almonds and brown sugar. The finish is long and velvety, thanks to its time in oak. Vok Beverages

Pyrat XO: Pyrat Rum XO Reserve is big on the palate, with vanilla, cinnamon and honey characters leading to a spiced bitter orange back-palate and a long finish. SouthTrade

Mount Gay Black Barrel: Mount Gay Black Barrel has plenty of toasty oak character, with vanilla, sweet caramel and peppery notes. Suntory

Beenleigh Dark Rum: Made from high quality Queensland molasses, distilled using pot stills and aged for five years in small ex-brandy vats. It gives this rum its unique flavour and mouthfeel. Vok Beverages

Notes courtesy of suppliers


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