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Rum Old Fashioned Recipe

If you’d like to try out this classic rum-based drink, check out our recipe below.

What Is The Difference Between A Rum Old Fashioned And A Regular Old Fashioned?

A rum old fashioned is made with the same basic ingredients as its non-rum counterpart but in addition it contains an extra ingredient called Angostura bitters.

The reason why these two drinks are so similar is because they both use the same brand of sugar syrup (sugar and water).

This allows them to be combined together easily without altering their flavor profile too much.

The main difference between the two cocktails is that the rum old fashioned uses more sugar than the regular old fashioned.

This is because the base of the rum old fashioned is a sweetened lime juice while the base of the regular old fashioned is straight up lime juice which does not contain any added sugars.

As such, the rum old fashioned has slightly less sourness compared to the regular old fashioned.

Ingredients for a Rum Old Fashioned or Regular Old Fashioned

Preparation Instructions for a Rum Old Fashioned or Regular Old Fashioned

  • Combine all ingredients except the bitters into a shaker filled with ice and shake well until chilled.
  • Strain mixture into a glass, add bitters and serve immediately.
Rum Old Fashioned Recipe

How Do You Make A Rum Old Fashioned?

The rum old fashioned is made with two ounces (50ml) of dark rum, one ounce (30ml) of sugar syrup or honey syrup, and one ounce (25ml) of water.

The rum old fashioned is also sometimes called an “old fashioned without bitters” because it doesn’t call for Angostura bitters in its recipe.

To make the rum old fashioned at home, all that you need are some basic kitchen tools such as a glass measuring cup, mixing bowl, strainer, spoon, and whisk.

  • Measure out 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water into your glass measuring cup.
  • Add 1/8 teaspoon of salt to the water and stir well.
  • Pour the water mixture back into your measuring cup and set aside.
  • Stir together 1 tablespoon (15g) of white granulated sugar or brown sugar into a small saucepan over medium heat until dissolved.
  • Turn down the heat slightly and add 2 tablespoons (30ml) of water to dissolve the sugar completely.
  • Once the sugar has been fully dissolved, turn up the heat again, bring the liquid to a boil, and let simmer for five minutes before adding another 3 tablespoons (45ml) of water.
  • Continue stirring the liquids in the pan on low heat until they have reduced by half and become thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bottle or container.
  • You should end up with about 1/3 cup (80ml).
  • Mix 1/4 cup (60ml) of the hot liquid with 1 oz (30ml) of dark rum.
  • Strain the remaining portion of the hot liquid into a second glass measure.
  • Slowly mix the first portion of hot liquid into the cold portion of the hot liquid using a metal bar tool or other similar object.
  • Store any leftover rum old fashioned in the refrigerator for up to four days.

What Is The History Of The Rum Old Fashioned?

The rum old fashioned was first described by Harry MacElhone in his book “New Mixing Cocktails” as early as 1891, but it wasn’t until 1928 that it became popularized when it appeared on the menu at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

It has since been featured in many cocktails books including David Wondrich’s “Imbibe! The Art & Passion Of Spirits” (2006), which notes that it’s one of the most famous drinks of all time.

In honor of its long history, we thought we would take some time to explore what exactly the rum old fashioned is and where it came from in the first place.

Keep reading to find out more about this classic rum-based drink.


What Type Of Rum Should Be Used In A Rum Old Fashioned?

The most common types of rums used in this drink are white or clear rum (sometimes referred to as “light”) and dark brown rum.

If you can only get your hands on one brand of rum, use it! The flavor will likely blend well with other flavors in the drink.

Rum old fashions tend to feature sweet fruits such as strawberries, cherries, pineapple, peaches, mangoes, etc.

These fruit juices add sweetness and tanginess to the drink while also balancing its sourness from the lemon juice.

Citrusy rums are also popular choices, especially if they have notes of lime or orange peel.

Rum old fashioners prefer using aged rums that are more complex and flavorful than younger ones.

You may find some recipes calling for sugar syrup, which is simply equal parts sugar and water boiled until dissolved into liquid form.

A small amount of this syrup goes very far when making a large batch of drinks, but it doesn’t affect the taste at all.

Some recipes call for honey instead of sugar syrup, but we don’t recommend this option because it tends to give off an artificial aftertaste.

What Is The Origin Of The Rum Old Fashioned?

The rum old fashioned originated from the Caribbean region where it was first developed as a way to use up excess sugar cane juice that would otherwise go to waste.

This particular cocktail uses dark rums such as aged or overproof (over 90% abv) rums which have been distilled twice before being bottled at higher than usual alcohol levels.

The high abv makes these types of rums more potent than their light counterparts.

The rum old fashioned has its roots in an age when people drank heavily and were not very concerned with what they put into their bodies.

Rum itself contains many harmful additives that are now banned by law but back then, there wasn’t much regulation on how spirits could be made.

As a result, early distillers often added things like molasses and other substances to increase the potency of their products.

Ingredients for the rum old fashioned

  • 1 1/4 oz Dark rum
  • 0.5 oz Simple syrup
  • 0.25 oz Lime juice
  • Lemon peel for garnish

Instructions for making the rum old fashioned

  • Combine all ingredients except lemon peel in shaker with ice cubes and shake vigorously until chilled.
  • Strain into rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  • Garnish with lemon peel.

How Did The Rum Old Fashioned Become Popular?

Rum old fashions have been around since at least 1806 when it was first mentioned in print by Thomas DeQuincey.

The name itself comes from two words – “old fashion” meaning “fashionable” and “and” being used as an adverb to describe how something has been done or performed before.

In other words, it means that this particular drink originated long ago but remains fashionable today.

The Rum Old Fashioned Recipe

1 oz.

light brown sugar syrup (we use Gosling’s)

4 1/2 oz.

fresh lime juice

1/2 oz.

Angostura Bitters

6 oz.

dark rum

Lime wedge

Maraschino cherry

Directly over ice cubes in a mixing glass.

Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with maraschino cherry.

This recipe will serve 2 people.

Rum Old Fashioned Recipe

What Are Some Variations Of The Rum Old Fashioned?

The rum old fashioned can be made with different spirits.

For example, it can use bourbon instead of rye whiskey or even tequila.

But as far as the base spirit goes, there really aren’t many options besides dark rum.

The only other option would be white rum but that doesn’t have much flavor so we don’t recommend using it in place of the dark rum.

There are also several additions you could add to your rum old fashioned such as orange juice, lime juice, grenadine, and/or pineapple syrup (which is basically juice from fresh pineapples).

You might not want to include all four though because they will change the consistency of the drink too much.

You could also substitute honey for sugar if you prefer something sweeter than regular sugar.

But again, we advise against adding too much sweetness to any alcoholic beverage.

That said, you should always measure accurately when making drinks including cocktails.

What Are Some Tips For Making A Perfect Rum Old Fashioned?

The best way to enjoy a good rum old fashioned is with an ice cold glass in hand.

The cool temperature will allow the flavors of the drink to come through more clearly.

It also helps if you have fresh lime juice on hand as well since that sweet citrus flavor really enhances the complexity of the drink.

You can find fresh limes at your local grocery store or farmers market during summer months.

And lastly, it’s always nice to have fresh mint leaves around to add another layer of refreshing flavor.

Mint is one herb that pairs exceptionally well with rum so don’t forget about it!

To create the perfect rum old fashioned, we recommend using dark rums such as Myers’ Dark Rum and Appleton Estate White Overproof Rum.

These rums are aged longer than most other types of rums which gives them their rich taste and distinct character.

Once you’ve got all of those ingredients ready, here’s how to mix up a delicious rum old fashioned:

  • 1 ounce Myers’ Dark Rum (or any type of dark rum)
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce light brown sugar syrup (add 1 tablespoon water to 1 cup granulated sugar to form a smooth paste)
  • Lime wedge for garnish

For a proper presentation when serving the rum old fashioned, place the rim of the glass under running hot tap water before pouring in the contents.

Then shake off the excess water from the rim before adding the rest of the ingredients into the glass.

Now fill the glass with crushed ice and stir until combined.

Add the rum followed by the brown sugar syrup and then squeeze in the lime wedge over top.

Serve immediately.

How Should A Rum Old Fashioned Be Served?

The best way to serve your rum old fashioned is on the rocks with a twist of lemon or lime juice.

The citrus will help balance out the sweetness from the rum that can sometimes overpower other flavors in the drink.

You might also consider adding a slice of orange for extra flavor!

You could also add an ounce of sugar syrup if you want to sweeten it up more.

Sugar syrup is made by mixing equal parts white sugar and water together and heating until all of the water has evaporated.

Once cooled, the mixture becomes thick and syrupy.

Another option would be to mix half and half with fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice instead of using straight water.

Half and half is basically two parts milk (in this case, 1 part cream) mixed with one part heavy whipping cream (1/3 cup).

When you’re ready to enjoy your rum old fashioned, pour over ice cubes into a glass filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with a splash of club soda as well as a wedge of lime or lemon peel if desired.


What Are Some Popular Garnishes For A Rum Old Fashioned?

There are many variations of the rum old fashioned but one thing remains constant – it features rum as its base spirit.

This means that while there are many different types of rums to choose from, they all have their own flavors and aromas so you can use them interchangeably in your recipes.

So if you would prefer to go with something other than dark or spiced rum then no problem! You could opt for light rum instead (which tends to carry more fruity notes), white rum, or even aged rum (if you want something stronger).

The most common way to serve an old fashioned is on the rocks which makes sense because the ice helps dilute any alcohol content.

However, you may also find people serving theirs over crushed ice or straight up in a glass without any extra additions.

The key here is to enjoy the experience as much as possible by making sure the ingredients complement each other well.

If you’re having trouble deciding what kind of rum (or spirits) to use, we recommend checking out our guide on how to pick the right type of rum for your favorite cocktails.

Here’s a look at some of the best ways to serve a rum old fashioned.

  • On the Rocks – Old fashioneds are typically served on the rocks where they will dissolve into a smooth texture thanks to the presence of ice cubes.
  • This allows you to enjoy the flavor of the rum and not worry about adding too much sugar or sweetening agents that might otherwise mask the taste.
  • Over Ice – Another option when choosing between serving options is simply to pour it over crushed ice.
  • While this method doesn’t allow for the same level of control as using the rocks, it’s still a great way to ensure that you get every last drop of deliciousness from the liquor.
  • Straight Up – Some people don’t care about fancy presentation and just want to sip their drinks quickly.
  • In these cases, pouring straight up in a glass works perfectly fine.
  • Just be sure to keep the glass chilled before drinking since warm liquids won’t mix properly.

Rum Old Fashioned

Old Fashioneds should be stirred rather than shaken.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Rum Old Fashioned
Servings: 1
Calories: 47kcal


  • rocks glass


  • 2 parts Bacardi Dark rum
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 splash water
  • 2 tsp sugar /a sugar cube
  • ice cubed


  • In a rocks glass with a single ice cube, combine the sugar cube/granulated sugar and Angostura Bitters.
  • Stir the mixture until the ice cube has melted enough to dissolve the sugar – if using a sugar cube, crush it first.
  • Stir in 3 to 4 more ice cubes and half of the Bacardi Dark rum for about 60 seconds.
  • Add more ice to the glass and the remaining Bacardi Dark rum, then stir for another 60 seconds.
  • Cut an orange peel into a piece the size of your thumb (be careful not to bend it yet). Bend the orange peel over the glass to release some of the oil into the drink.
  • Add the orange peel to the drink, stir a few times more, and serve. The wait is well worth it.



Calories: 47kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 0.2mg | Potassium: 0.2mg | Sugar: 10g | Calcium: 0.1mg
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