If a lavish, week-long trip to the tropics isn't quite in your vacation forecast, how about a vacation in cocktail form? Thankfully, for those in search of beach bliss, dark rum is the key ingredient in a number of tropical cocktails. With its notes of spices and molasses, dark rum is great at balancing out fresh fruit and other flavors on the sweet/tart spectrum.
So, grab your swimsuit and dive into one of the island-inspired, dark rum cocktails ahead.
Turks And Caicos Rum Punch
The Recipe: Turks & Caicos Rum Punch
The Hero Ingredient: While this cocktail does call for dark rum, the addition of coconut rum will swiftly transport you to the white sand beaches of Turks & Caicos.
Pro Tip: Sugar & Charm's Eden Passante provides a simple hack for keeping your punch cool while also adding a pop of color. "To keep the punch cold, freeze pineapple into ice cubes. Or you can even use frozen pineapple chunks for extra freshness," she says.
Why We Love It: You can never go wrong with a fruit-fueled rum punch, and with pineapple juice, orange juice and lime, this Turks & Caicos Rum Punch will leave you in boozy bliss.
Hurricane Punch Bowl
The Recipe: Hurricane Punch Bowl
The Hero Ingredient: The addition of passion fruit syrup to this boozy punch helps mellow out both the dark and white rums, creating an ideal balance of flavors.
Pro Tip: Windy City Dinner Fairy's Nicole Triebe suggests using a bundt pan to create a unique chunk of ice for your punch. "If you want to be really fancy, create an ice mold with the citrus slices on top. Let the water and citrus freeze solid in a bundt pan and place it in your hurricane punch bowl," she reveals.
Why We Love It: Big batch cocktails are always a win given that they're typically easy to make, look great and are a delicious way to entertain.
Dark & Stormy Cocktail
The Recipe: Dark & Stormy Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: While your standard Dark & Stormy relies solely on lime and ginger beer, this take on a classic sip quite literally sweetens things up with the addition of blackberries.
Pro Tip: If you plan on making several Dark & Stormy cocktails at one time, Colleen Jeffers of Sugar & Cloth offers an easy formula for multiplying the number of drinks. "This one is super easy to scale up or scale down according to your number of guests," she explains. "I go with two ounces of rum, two sage leaves, 1/4 of a lime and six blackberries per drink."
Why We Love It: While the Dark & Story is ominous in name and appearance, this cocktail brightens things up with blackberries, sage and edible flowers.
Jungle Bird Cocktail
The Recipe: Jungle Bird Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: With its bitter flavor, Campari is a tricky liqueur to work with, but it can be amazing in the right cocktail.
Pro Tip: Eden Passante of Sugar & Charm stresses the importance of giving this cocktail a good shake before serving. "Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. This is a crucial step when making the cocktail," she says. "The water from the ice needs to melt while shaking so dilute the cocktail so the ingredients blend together."
Why We Love It: As a tiki cocktail, the Jungle Bird consists of all the right elements for a dreamy, tropics-inspired sip.
Mai Tai Cocktail
The Recipe: Mai Tai Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: A non-traditional take on the Mai Tai, this cocktail opts for amaretto instead of orgeat syrup. The result is a uniquely delicious take on a celebrated sip.
Pro Tip: Julie Blanner offers a few, useful tips on when and how to serve this Mai Tai Cocktail. "It’s best not to pour this cocktail ahead of time as the crushed ice will dilute the drink too much," she reveals. "You can, however, mix the juices, amaretto and rum together in a pitcher an hour or two ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to serve."
Why We Love It: There's a reason why the Mai Tai is served at plush resorts across Hawaii. It's nutty, fruity and tart, a winning trio of flavors.
Orange Hibiscus Mai Tai
The Recipe: Orange Hibiscus Mai Tai
The Hero Ingredient: Dried hibiscus flowers add a delightful pop of both sweet and tart flavors to this take on the Mai Tai.
Pro Tip: At a loss on garnish ideas? Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest has you covered. "Also, for garnishes, you can do a few things. I had some really pretty fresh thyme on hand, so I used a couple of sprigs to add a nice pop of green, spring-like color," she explains. "You could also use a pineapple wedge, citrus zest, or go for the classic maraschino cherry, which comes with pretty much every Mai Tai."
Why We Love It: With ingredients like honey and hibiscus, the Orange Hibiscus Mai Tai is brimming with flavor with every sip.