The Best 10 Rum Substitute For Cooking and Cocktails

Rum substitute for cooking and cocktails.

Rum is a popular liquor used in cooking,  cocktails, and many sweet and savory dishes.

This is because it has an amazing flavor profile.

What exactly is Rum and how is it made?


Rum is derived from sugar, either pure cane sugar, syrup, or molasses.

Most rums are produced in the Caribbean and North and South American countries but also in other sugar-producing countries such as the Philippines and Taiwan.


How is Rum made?


Rum is made by fermenting and distilling sugarcane molasses or sugar cane juice.

The use of sugar cane is what distinguishes it from all other liquors.

The distillate, a clear liquid, is usually aged in oak barrels.


Here’s the procedure;

Sugar cane is harvested and used to make sugar cane juice and molasses.

A rum\’s quality is dependent on the quality and variety of sugar cane that was used to create it.


  • Yeast and water are added to the base ingredient to start the fermentation process.

Note:- Rum producers most times allow wild yeast to perform the fermentation process.

While some others use specific strains of yeast to help provide a consistent taste and predictable fermentation time.

Nevertheless, the yeast employed will determine the final taste and aroma profile of the Rum that is being produced.


  • 2-ethyl-3-methyl butyric acid. Esters like ethyl butyrate and ethyl hexanoate are fermentation products that bring about the sweetness and fruitiness of rum.

Pot still contains more congeners (which contain chemicals such as methanol, acetone, acetaldehyde, esters, aldehydes, etc.).

It\’s responsible for most of the taste and aroma of distilled alcoholic beverages that give the rum a better tastetaste.

  • Aging and Blending follows; the time for aging differs in the sense that some countries require rum to be aged for at least one year.

The procedure is carried out in wooden casks or stainless steel tanks.

The aging process also determines the color of the Rum.

White rum is usually clear. It has a milder flavor and lighter body than gold or dark rums.

These light types of rum are most often used to create cocktails that do not need bold rum flavor.

As rum mellows in barrels over time, it takes on amber or golden hues.

These golden types of rum usually present a more flavorful profile than the white or clear rums.

Gold rums are used to make cocktails in which a stronger flavor is desired.

Dark types of rum are often aged in oak barrels for extended periods.

When used in cocktail recipes, the robust rums offer a contrast of more flavorful profiles compared to white rums, overproof rums, and flavored and spiced rums.

The darkest, richest bodied rums are often referred to as black rums, offering bold tropical essence to libation and recipes.

Black types of rum are popular ingredients used to balance the flavors of drinks against gold, white, and spiced rums.

After aging, rum is normally blended to ensure a consistent flavor.

During blending, the light rums may be filtered to remove any color gained during aging while caramel may be added to dark rums to enhance colors.

Now that we know how rum is produced, let’s look at what Rum is used for.


Uses of rum

  • Rum is mixed into drinks with light rums preferred for cocktails like daiquiri while dark rums are preferred for tall drinks such as rum Collins.
  • Rum is frequently used as a flavoring in dessert sauces and other dishes.
  • It is also added to pastries or fillings mixed into ice cream often as raisins.
  • Rum is used as a flavoring agent in cooked food such as rum balls or rum cakes.


Best 10 rum substitute for cooking and cocktails.


Most people who know about rum understand how special the flavor is and why it remains one of the most popularly consumed liquors in the world today.

If for some reason, rum isn’t available or you would prefer something with a similar flavor that could play the same role as rum, consider the best 10 rum substitutes for cooking and cocktails below.

1. Bourbon.


Bourbon makes a great substitute for cocktails.

You can use it when making a dark and stormy or a classic daiquiri.

The only shortcoming you could have using bourbon is that it lacks sweetness like rum which is made with sugarcane and molasses.

This can easily be solved by adding sweeteners like simple syrups or honey to establish more sweetness, that is if they are part of the recipe.



2. Brandy.


Brandy has a subtle sweetness and fruity undertone but this is dependent on its age, brand, and the fruits that are added during production.

Brandy is a good alternative for rum when making sweet desserts like fruit cake, chocolate mousse, and truffles.


3. Cognac.


Cognac is a type of brandy that is a little sweeter and spicier providing more depth of flavor to dishes like beef, stews, and sauces.

It can also be used in raisin ice cream and bananas foster.

Cognac is also suitable for dark and stormy cocktails.



4. Tequila.


Tequila is suitable but not for every type of cocktail.

Tequila can replace rum in cooking, it adds flavor to seafood like shrimp, oysters, and a lot of Mexican recipes.

White rum can also be replaced with white tequila in a recipe, dark rum with gold tequila.


5. Marsala.


Marsala also makes a good substitute for rum in deserts.

Marsala wine has hints of vanilla bean and brown sugar that work deliciously in decadent desserts.


6. Gin.


Gin is a spirit that derives its flavor from Juniper berries which provides a unique taste that can make it a handy alternative in the absence of rum.

Gin can add an extra flavor to poultry, pasta, and fish recipes.

It also makes a good preservative in baking.

Gin has an overpowering flavor so you must cut down on the quantity you use in your dish.


7. Cachaca.


Cachaca is a lot more expensive than rum but it sure does make a perfect substitute.

It is also referred to as Brazilian rum because it is made from fermented and distilled sugar cane, while rum is often made from molasses, a byproduct of boiled sugarcane.

Use Cachaca in cocktails like Caipirinha as it pairs well with orange blossom and lime.

You can also use it as a substitute for rum in meals.





8. Rum Extract.

Rum extract makes a perfect low-alcoholic alternative.

Rum extract contains ingredients like water, low alcohol content, rum, and natural flavor.

The taste is highly concentrated so you are required to use just a small amount for your recipe.

Rum extract can be used for cupcakes, pies, and marinades.

It is also suitable for Daiquiri or Pineapple Caipirinha Mocktails.

9. Molasses.


Molasses is a non-alcoholic option for replacing dark rum.

To round out the flavor, stir in a few drops of almond extract and a splash of pineapple, orange, or apple juice.


10. Fruit juice.


Apple juice, orange and white grape juice all belong to the category of fruit juice.

They are a non-alcoholic substitute for rum.

They have a sweet and acidic flavor that makes them very suitable for adding to dressings, marinades, and other sweet and savory dishes.

Use ½ cup of white grape juice for every tablespoon of rum.

Now let’s answer some possible questions that you may have in mind after reading this article.

What is a good substitute for rum in cooking?


Dark and aged rum have been said to be the best substitute for rum in cooking because it has a strong flavor and will bring out the taste of your meal especially stews and pudding.


Is rum extract alcoholic?

Popular brands of rum extract like McCormicks contain rum in small quantities but you can further reduce the content by cooking the extract.



 Rum has so many wonderful substitutes for cooking and cocktails, that could to a large extent provide similar flavors and even more additional flavors you may end up appreciating more.

If you do not have or wish to use rum, there are many substitutes, as evident in this article. 

We can see there are each alcoholic and non-alcoholic selections, that you\’ll choose as per your needs or convenience.

On this note, finding a rum substitute for cooking and cocktails shouldn’t be a problem for you anymore.

I told you to trust me on this. I will love you to try all mentioned above and write me back about your observations. 

If you have any other rum substitute you think it\’s missing or needs to be added here don\’t fail to let me know in the comment section. 

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