The warm weather calls for tropical cocktails.

Mai Tai, Daiquiri, and Mojitos are all examples of classic cocktails that should be drunk in the summer. And when it comes to summer cocktails, rum is always a great option. There is something about a rum cocktail that instantly transports you to a tropical island with white beaches. Just a few sips of a Piña Colada, and you’re magically at the ocean. There are so many variations of rum that it can be difficult to choose which one to add to your cocktail.

Most spirits have their region of production, like Cognac can only be produced in the Cognac region of France. And while many spirits have this restriction, rum is one of the very few that doesn’t. Produced in more than 80 countries, rum production uses different methods, various fermentation, blending processes, and more. Each one has its own unique flavor profile. Some make for great cocktails, and others make for sipping.

Whatever the case is, we are breaking down the rum world, so you know which one belongs in your favorite tropical cocktail.

White Rum / Clear Rum / Light Rum

The clear or white rum has a mild flavor compared to others. It’s one of the most often used for cocktail creations that don’t need a strong rum flavor. Because not aged as long as others, they are usually the cheaper of rums to purchase. It’s briefly aged and then filtered to remove the color. In the U.S., white rum is bottled at 80 proof or 40% ABV.

Here is one of our favorite cocktails using white rum.

Watermelon Rum Punch

Watermelon Rum Punch

Watermelon Rum Punch

Gold Rum / Pale Rum

This bright gold or amber-colored rum is used in cocktails when a potent flavor is needed. While it still can be enjoyed in cocktails, it also makes a good sipping rum. Often aged in oak barrels for several years, gold rum has a more complex flavor than white rum. The notes can vary from rum to rum, but more often than not,

they will have notes of vanilla, caramel, coconut, or citrus. It all depends on the barrels used in the aging process.

Here is one of our favorite cocktails using gold rum.

Piña Colada

Piña Colada

Piña Colada

Dark Rum / Black Rum

Matured for a longer period, dark rum is rich and deep in flavor. This type of rum makes for a great sipping rum as some can be aged for up to 20+ years. However, some classic cocktails have the addition of dark rum because of their rich sweetness. The dark amber color stands apart from others on the shelf. The term dark or black refers to the color and is used to distinguish the rums.

Here is one of our favorite cocktails using dark rum.

Rum Swizzle

Bermuda Rum Swizzle

Spiced Rum

Spiced rum is a great choice when making tropical cocktails because it develops flavor from spices contracted during the barrel-aging process. It offers a unique flavor often used in baking cakes. These spices can come from seeds, dried fruit, roots, and leaf or bark of edible flowers. It brings a zest and sweetness to cocktails.

Here is one of our favorite cocktails using spiced rum.

Pirate Paradise

Pirate Paradise

Pirate Paradise

Next time you head to your bar and are in the mood for a tropical sip, remember which rum to use.