The key etiquette rules on how to serve and drink Rum. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.


What Rum etiquette is

Rum etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Rum. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Rum etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect Rum etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.

What you should know about Rum

Rum is a distilled spirit. It is made from sugarcane. It is a typical product of the Caribbean and the Americas.

Many varieties of Rum exist. They can be clear to golden or dark brown in color. The aroma can vary from dry to very sweet. The alcohol content is high, between 35% and 65%.

How To Serve And drink Rum

Etiquette tips to serve and drink Rum

1) How to store Rum

Store Rum in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be constant. 

Keep the bottle away from sources of heat. The bottle should not be exposed to direct light, natural or artificial. 

Avoid storing high-quality Rum in the fridge or in the freezer. The cold temperature hides its aroma.

After opening it, you can keep a bottle of Rum for several months. 

2) How to prepare Rum

Rum does not need preparation. Do not chill it before serving.

Dark Rum can be used as an ingredient for desserts or fruit salads.

3) How to serve & present Rum

Serve Rum at room temperature. The ideal temperature is about 18°C (65°F). Colder temperatures can prevent the product from releasing its aroma. Thus, when Rum is served cold it is often a low-quality product.

Present Rum in its bottle. On informal occasions, it is acceptable to present a bottle that has already been opened. On formal occasions, it is best to serve a new bottle and to open it at the table. 

Serve Rum in snifter or tulip glasses. Alternatively, you can use small and low tumbler glasses too.

It is uncommon to serve Rum in shot glasses. It can be acceptable to drink shots of clear and light Rum. While it is not elegant to drink shots of aged or premium Rum.

Do not chill glasses in the fridge before presenting them. The condensation risks watering down the Rum.

Clear and light Rum is ideal for cocktails. It is not elegant to serve clear Rum neat or on the rocks. 

It is best to drink dark, aged, and premium Rum neat. However, it is acceptable to add one or two ice cubes. However, it is best to avoid ice with premium Rum. 

4) When to serve & drink Rum

Rum is a strong and aromatic drink. Thus, neat Rum is mostly appropriate for after-meal drinks. 

Cocktails based on dry and clear Rum can be served as an aperitivo or pre-meal drinks. However, they are often too aromatic or sweet for a pre-meal drink.

You can serve dark Rum to accompany desserts or fruit courses during a meal. 

Clear Rum is most appropriate for informal occasions. While high-quality Rum is appropriate on formal occasions too.

5) Food & aromas to pair Rum with

Rum pairs well with fruits and desserts. It can add an aroma to a fish or seafood recipe. While it is uncommon to pair Rum with meat.

Rum goes especially well with fruit. Tropical fruits are the best match. Coconut. Pineapple. Banana. It can combine well with apple, pear, nectarine, and plum too. 

6) How to drink Rum

Drink aged, dark, and premium Rum neat. Drink it in a snifter glass or a tulip glass. Low tumblers are acceptable too. If you prefer, you can add one or two ice cubes. 

It is not elegant to drink shots of dark Rum. Sip it like a long drink. A glass should last between 15 and 30 minutes.

Drink light and clear Rum only mixed in a cocktail. 

Rum etiquette worst mistakes

Rum serving & drinking etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

When serving or drinking Rum, avoid the worst etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Getting drunk. 
  • 7/10. Serving dark premium Rum cold.
  • 6/10. Serving an already opened bottle on a formal occasion.
  • 5/10. Drinking clear Rum neat.
  • 3/10. Adding ice to dark premium Rum.

Additional information for properly serving Rum

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

The calories in Rum depend on the variety and alcohol content. On average, Rum contains about 230 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). An individual serving is a snifter glass of 60 ml (2.0 oz). It contains 138 calories.

How to buy the best Rum

A crucial factor in Rum etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Choose the best

Buy clear and light Rum only to mix it in cocktails.

The quality of dark Rum varies based on the brand, region, and aging. The varieties of premium Rum can be very different in taste and aroma. Do your research to find the brand or variety that best suits your taste.

Alternatives to Rum

Replace clear Rum with another clear distilled spirit. Gin. Vodka. Unaged Tequila. Cachaca.

Alternatives to aged Rum can be Brandy, Cognac, or Armagnac.