The best rum for piña coladas depends on the style of piña colada you want to make. White rum is used as the foundation spirit to build a piña colada, but many recipes also include gold or dark rum to enhance and deepen the flavor of the cocktail.
What’s in a Piña Colada?
Piña coladas are a frozen drink made by combining pineapple juice, rum, cream of coconut, frozen pineapple chunks, lime juice, and ice. These cocktails can be made with a wide variety of different rum types, but white rum and gold rum are the most popular varieties.
Types of Rum for Piña Colada
- White rum: White rum is the type of rum that is used as the backbone for a traditional Puerto Rican piña colada. Since white rum is an unaged rum created from molasses or sugarcane juice that is filtered, it is able to give the liquor a clear coloring.
- Gold rum: Gold rum is also known as amber rum and has a rich, buttery, sweet taste compared to white rum. This type of rum can be added to piña coladas to give them more flavor than using white rum alone.
- Dark rum: Dark rum is a barrel-aged rum with a dark brown color. Not only is dark rum bolder, but it also has a more pronounced flavor than white or gold rum.
- Flavored rum: Flavored rum can have additional flavors added to them to aid the rum in its function as a cocktail spirit. Popular flavored rums used in piña coladas include coconut and pineapple flavored rums. An example would be Malibu Coconut Rum.
15 Best Brands of Rum for Piña Coladas
1. Meyer’s Dark Rum (ABV: 40% Price: $19.99)
Meyer’s Dark Rum is a Jamaican rum with deep notes of fig, raisin, and chocolate. This rum also has flavors of pineapple, over-ripened mango, and banana. It’s also spiced with nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon.
2. Malibu Coconut Rum (ABV: 42% Price: $14.99-$19.99)
Malibu Coconut Rum is one of the most popular white rums used for making piña coladas. The coconut flavoring in the rum is a complement to the cream of coconut in the piña colada, and the unaged nature of the rum makes it smooth and mellow.
3. Rum Fire (ABV: 63% Price: $31)
If you want your piña coladas to pack a little bit of a punch, the overproof rum in Rum Fire will do the trick. With a higher ABV than most rum, any cocktail made with Rum Fire is bound to be a strong one.
4. Plantation 3 Star Rum (ABV: 41.2% Price: $19.99-$24.99)
Plantation 3 Star Rum is a silver Caribbean rum that pairs well with piña coladas and flavored daiquiris. Despite its light coloring, this rum has rich flavors of dark chocolate, egg cream, root beer, and baking spices.
5. Stroh 160 Rum (ABV: 80% Price: $28.99)
Stroh 160 Rum is an overproof rum that is better used as a flavoring agent for piña coladas rather than the primary spirit. This Austrian rum has a strong flavor of baking spices and can be used as a secondary rum to create complex, rich piña coladas.
6. Barbancourt Estate Rum (ABV: 43% Price: $53.99)
A 15-year-aged rum from Haiti with an oaky barrel-aged aroma complemented by citrus and spice is Barbancourt Estate. Barbancourt Estate is known for its long, port-like finish and its smooth flavor.
7. Bati Fijian White Rum (ABV: 40% Price: $21.99)
While many barrel-aged rums are darker in color, Bati white rum is aged for two years before being filtered over coconut shell fiber to create a clear liquor. Bati has a smooth buttery flavor with a strong vanilla character.
8. Cruzan Estate Diamond Dark Rum (ABV: 40% Price: $20.99)
If you’re wanting a dark rum with oak and vanilla flavors that will complicate any piña colada recipe deliciously, then you’ll want to try Cruzan Estate. Cruzan Estate dark rum is as popular as a sipping rum as it is in mixed drinks.
9. Mount Gay Eclipse Gold Rum (ABV: 40% Price: $23.09)
Mount Gay Eclipse is a gold rum from Barbados that has a crisp, aromatic flavor. Tasting notes include notes of caramel, bananas, and vanilla. Mount Gay Eclipse has a sharp bite compared to lighter rums, making it a good secondary rum to use in piña coladas.
10. Don Q Gran Reserva Anejo XO (ABV: 40% Price: $44.49)
Don Q Gran Reserva Anejo XO is an aged rum with a peppery, spicy flavor profile compared to unaged rum. Compared to other piña coladas rums, this rum can be hard to find.
11. Smith and Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum (ABV: 57% Price: $34.49)
Smith and Cross is an amber-colored Jamaican rum made from molasses and cane juice that has been around since the late 1780s. The complex spices in this rum can make your piña coladas taste like a professional bartender made them.
12. Plantation Stiggins Fancy Pineapple Rum (ABV: 40% Price:$34.49)
If you prefer a piña colada with a strong pineapple backbone, a pineapple-flavored rum like Plantation Stiggins is a delicious choice for your recipe. Plantation Stiggins also has notes of smoke and cloves for a deep, complex flavor profile.
13. Don Q Coco Rum (ABV: 21% Price: $21.99)
Don Q Coco is one of the lighter rums you can use in your piña coladas with an ABV of only 21%. The rum’s low ABV makes it a practical option for mixing with darker, more flavorful types of rum in cocktails.
14. Denizen 3-Year Rum (ABV: 40% Price: $25.99)
An aged white rum with a funky Jamaican aroma and a smooth, mellow flavor is the Denizen 3-Year Rum. Denizen is a blended white rum that is created from three different varieties of handcrafted small-batch Jamaican rum that are mixed and then filtered over charcoal for a clear appearance and a smooth finish.
15. Doctor Bird Jamaican Rum (ABV: 50% Price: $28.50)
Doctor Bird is a fruity Jamaican rum that features prominent flavors of banana, mango, passionfruit, and pineapple. Because of its strong, funky flavor, Doctor Bird is best used as a secondary rum in piña coladas.
5 Piña Colada Recipes to Try
1. Miami Vice
Miami Vice is a piña colada drink that is made by mixing equal parts frozen piña colada mix with a frozen strawberry daiquiri. This sweet two-toned drink is a popular service cocktail at tiki bars and on cruise liners.
2. Blue Hawaiian
A Blue Hawaiian is similar to a traditional piña colada with the addition of blue curacao. Blue curacao gives the Blue Hawaiian its distinctive blue color and a sweet citrusy flavor from the orange peels used to make it.
3. Piña Colada on the Rocks
Even though many people associate piña coladas with frozen drinks, this cocktail can also be served over ice after blending rum, fresh pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and shaking vigorously.
4. Coffee Colada
A coffee colada is a version of the piña colada that features coffee liqueur in addition to the classic pineapple, rum, and cream of coconut combination.
5. Coconut-Banana Colada
Bananas and pineapple are a classic flavor combination in tropical drinks and desserts, and this banana-flavored piña colada is no exception. The creaminess of the fresh banana is a mellow contrast for using stronger-flavored rums like aged or spiced rum.
Best Rum for Piña Coladas FAQ
Why Is My Piña Colada Watery?
A piña colada can become too watery if it’s blended for too long. Using cream of coconut or coconut milk in your piña coladas can also help keep them creamy and smooth.
How Do You Stop Piña Coladas from Separating?
Piña coladas separate from the acidity in the pineapples and the fat in the cream of coconut. If you use all fresh real ingredients in your piña colada and it’s allowed to stand, it will eventually separate.
An easy way to prevent piña coladas from separating is to add a dash of xantham gum or soy lecithin to the piña colada mix before blending. This will keep the mixture stabilized.
What Kind of Glass is a Piña Colada Served in?
Piña coladas are traditionally served in a glass known as a poco grande. This glass is a highball glass with a large rounded bowl that is used for several types of classic tiki drinks, including piña coladas.
Is Piña Colada Healthy?
Piña coladas are not considered healthy drinks because they are full of fat, sugar, calories, and alcohol. For this reason, piña coladas are often consumed as an occasional specialty or holiday drink rather than a regular afternoon cocktail.
Piña Coladas Are a Classic Cocktail Icon that Needs the Best Rum
The best rum for piña coladas depends completely on your personal taste. Whether you like the deep funk of Jamaican spiced rum or you just want a light white rum that will disappear into your drink, piña coladas are one of the most delicious frozen cocktails you can mix up.