The best pairings for rum and rum-based cocktails

The key to pairing rum with food is to think about the cocktails that are made from it rather than the base spirit . With the exception of dark sipping rums (which are delicious with chocolate) that’s generally the way they’re served.

It also pays to remember that the drinks that are made from rum, like rum punch and pina colada, are sweet and can handle a fair bit of spice – the sort of food that’s eaten in countries where rum is made – so think Caribbean!

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Food for white or silver rums, daiquiris and mojitos

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Sharply flavoured rum cocktails made with lime such as classic daiquiris and mojitos are perfect pairings for seafood. Think shrimp/prawns, fish tacos and raw fish preparations such as ceviche. Sweeter pina coladas – rum, coconut and pineapple – are great with chicken, especially fried chicken or chicken satay. Coconut plays well with peanut sauce.

Food for golden rums and rum punches

The kind you’d use for a rum punch – which again is sweet. (The classic formula is one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong (rum, of course) and four of weak). These will go with a range of Caribbean dishes, especially jerk chicken and, as I discovered from a trip to Barbados earlier this year, the ubiquitous flying fish cutter (deep-fried fish in a bun). The sweetness of a punch also works with the smoky glaze of barbecued ribs and blackened fish or chicken. Or simply nibble some plantain or breadfruit crisps with it.

Beach bar food and rum punch

Food for dark rum

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If it’s made up into a cocktail ranging from a simple serve such as rum and coke to an Old Fashioned think beef. One of my best pairings this year was steak with a Don Papa Old Fashioned. Rum and coke is classic with a burger or, again, American-style barbecue. Dark rum loves brisket.

High quality sipping rums are a great pairing for dark chocolate bars and brownies but think of them too with desserts or cakes with dried fruits such as raisins (an extra shot with some rum and raisin ice cream would be delicious or try rum instead of sherry with the Christmas cake). Banana is also a classic pairing for rum, as is pineapple. Try it with bananas foster or banana tarte tatin and with pineapple upside down cake. And it was wonderful with a coconut bread crumble with rum sauce I had in Barbados!

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