Sipping Rums

Sipping Rums
Cruzan Single Barrel Est. $28 | Zaya Gran Res. $28 | Pyrat XO Res. $40 | Gosling’s – $85

By: Drinks Correspondent Ben Madeska


Cruzan: Fragrant

“It’s not very far from Sulphur to Sugarcane” – Elvis Costello

For most of my life, rum has not been something one sipped. It was something one mixed with Coke or, in a pinch, chugged from a bottle.  Thankfully, those days are mostly behind me and there’s a whole wide world of fine aged rums showing up my liquor store shelves. These are rums meant to be enjoyed and savored on their own terms, like cognac and scotch. Or what the hell, throw them in a mojito. This is rum, let’s not take it too seriously even though you may be drinking it from a snifter while wearing a tux.

Some of my standards:

Cruzan Single Barrel Estate – $27.99

Pyrat: Sweet & Tropical

The driest rum I’ve yet tried, but not harsh at all. It’s actually nice and creamy, even buttery. Very fragrant too, showing flavors of hazelnuts, coffee and vanilla, with a finish of pepper and ginger.

Zaya Gran Reserva -$27.99

(pictured above) More than any of these other rums Zaya tastes like it was made from sugarcane, full of caramel, honey and spice. Especially delicious on the rocks and not so expensive that I’d mind if a guest grabs it to mix.

Pyrat XO Reserve – $39.99
Gosling's: pricey & worth it

Gosling's: pricey & well worth it

This is by far the sweetest and fruitiest rum of the bunch. It’s bursting with orange, pineapple and vanilla. A very approachable, distinctive and very tropical rum.

Gosling’s Old Rum – $85.95

Smooth, rich and mellow. The flavors are nutty and raisiny with a touch of coco and cinnamon spice. This tastes very similar to some cognacs and armagnacs. A bit expensive, but worth it.  Spend some time with this one.

( does not endorse underage drinking, even if it is consumption of the good stuff.  So if you’re not 21, wait until you’re of age.  Besides, if you start too young you’ll probably just end up drinking Bacardi with Diet Mountain Dew, Jim Beam, and Cuervo.  Not that we’d know anything about that.)