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Rum Old Fashioned

The Rum Old Fashioned is like a classic Old Fashioned with one exception – it’s crafted with rum instead of whiskey. After you follow our easy recipe and craft this drink at home, you’ll wonder where this stiff rum cocktail has been all of your life.

Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail with White Background
Image: ©2foodtrippers

While sipping a Rum Old Fashioned at a bar, we had one of those aha moments. Why does the primary ingredient in an Old Fashioned have to be whiskey?

The answer – it doesn’t.

We were so inspired by this revelation that we crafted Rum Old Fashioned cocktails at home a few days later. We even bought the same Riedel rocks glasses designed by Zane Harris to replicate the bar experience. Yes, we’re that obsessed.

Replacing whiskey with rum seems so simple. And, yet, a Rum Old Fashioned is its own special cocktail. Since it’s super easy to craft and dangerously delightful to sip, it’s now become part of our home cocktail rotation.

What Is A Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail?

Rum Bottle and Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail
The Rum Old Fashioned is a special whether you craft it with Havana Club or another quality rum. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Rum Old Fashion is a modern twist on one of the world’s most classic cocktails. And, no, we’re not talking about the orange twist that often garnishes both versions.

While replacing bourbon with rum is the obvious twist, we go one step further in our Rum Old Fashioned recipe by replacing Angostura bitters with orange bitters. The resulting cocktail has a tropical flavor that screams summer but tastes great all year long.

History Of The Old Fashioned Cocktail

Old Fashioned Cocktail with Black Background Centered
The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail. A rum old fashioned is another classic. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

While we don’t know when or where the Rum Old Fashioned was invented, we do know that the original Old Fashioned pre-dates Prohibition. It was possibly invented in Louisville during the Civil War but its origin may go back further. It’s so iconic that people drink Old Fashioned cocktails in old fashioned glasses.

Discover more Pre-Prohibition cocktails.

Ingredients

Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail Ingredients
This Rum Old Fashioned recipe has six ingredients – aged rum, orange bitters, a sugar cube, water, orange peel and a jumbo ice cube (not pictured). | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You need the following ingredients to craft this Rum Old Fashioned recipe:

  • Aged Rum
  • Orange Bitters
  • Sugar Cube
  • Water
  • Jumbo Ice Cube
  • Orange Peel (garnish)

You may have all of these ingredients in your pantry and liquor cabinet. If not, they should be easy to find at your local market and/or liquor store.

Rum and Orange Bitters Bottles
Aged rum and orange bitters are the primary ingredients in this Rum Old Fashioned recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Use your favorite aged or dark rum in this recipe. We like to use Havana Club Ańejo Especial Cuban Rum We bought our first bottle of this aged rum to craft Cuba Libre cocktails. Double aged in oak barrels and with flavors that include cinnamon, orange and vanilla, the golden Cuban rum is now our go-to aged rum for crafting rum cocktails. It has a 40% ABV.

Discover our favorite rum cocktails.

We bought a bottle of Angostura orange bitters specifically to craft Bijou cocktails and we’re still using that same bottle. With an aromatic blend of orange extracts and spices, these orange bitters smell delightful. They also add provide a pleasant kick thanks to a 28% ABV.

How To Craft A Rum Old Fashioned

Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail Mise en Place
The Rum Old Fashioned is easy to craft at home once you gather the ingredients and a couple basic bar tools. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The first step in this recipe is to drop a sugar cube into an old fashioned glass.

Adding a Sugar Cube to a Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail
Dropping a sugar cube into the glass is the first step in this Rum Old Fashioned recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Add a few dashes of orange bitters and a splash of water to the glass.

Muddle the sugar cube, bitters and water with a muddler. Ideally, you can use the bottom, muddling end of your bar spoon to do the muddling.

Muddling a Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail
We multi-purposed the bottom of our bar spoon to muddle the sugar, orange bitters and water. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Drop a jumbo ice cube tray into the glass. The bigger the better! Not only do jumbo ice cubes look pro, but they also melt more slowly due to their size.

Dropping a Jumbo Ice Cube into a Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail
When it comes to ice cubes for Rum Old Fashioned cocktails, bigger is indeed better. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Measure the aged rum with a jigger and pour it directly into the glass. We always use a Japanese jigger when we measure liquor to achieve accurate measures and clean pours.

Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Pouring Rum into a Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail
We measured this rum with a Japanese jigger and poured it directly into the glass. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Give the cocktail a good stir using a bar spoon or other stirring implement.

Stirring a Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail
Stirring the Rum Old Fashioned is when the cocktail comes to life. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Express an orange peel around the glass’s rim. This step releases pleasing orange scents and coats the rim with a light layer of orange oil.

Espressing a Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail
Expressing orange peel enhances the Rum Old Fashioned imbibing experience. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Drop the orange peel into the glass.

Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail with White Background Centered
No fancy garnishes are necessary when you craft a Rum Old Fashioned. We simply added orange peel to this cocktail. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Feel free to add a maraschino cherry or two as additional garnish. We recommend using Luxardo cherries if you go this route since they’re simply the best.

Alternatives

Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail from Above
We kept this Rum Old Fashioned simple but you may want to go a different direction with yours. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Since the Rum Old Fashioned isn’t a classic cocktail, you can and should craft it any way that makes you happy. Here are some ideas:

  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry or two.
  • Add banana liqueur to create a more tropical Rum Old Fashioned.
  • Replace the sugar cube with simple syrup, demerara syrup or maple syrup.
  • Replace the aged rum with white rum, dark rum or spiced rum.
  • Skip the rum and use another liquor like bourbon or tequila instead.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Rum Old Fashioned?

A Rum Old Fashioned is an Old Fashioned crafted with rum instead of whiskey.

What are the ingredients in a Rum Old Fashioned cocktail?

The key Rum Old Fashioned ingredients are rum, bitters and sugar. Typical garnishes include orange peel and maraschino cherries.

Is the Rum Old Fashioned cocktail or stirred?

The Rum Old Fashioned cocktail is stirred, not shaken

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail with White Background
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Rum Old Fashioned Recipe

This twist on the traditional Old Fashioned replaces whiskey with rum to create a cocktails that's simultaneously smooth, stiff and sweet.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 161kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Drop sugar cube into an old fashioned glass.
  • Add orange bitters and water. Muddle until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Place jumbo ice cube in the glass.
  • Pour rum into the glass.
  • Gently stir.
  • Express the glass with orange peel before using it as garnish.

Notes

  • You can replaced the aged rum with a different type of rum.
  • You can replace the sugar cube with simple syrup.
  • You can replace the orange bitters with other bitters.
  • You can additionally garnish the drink with one or more maraschino cherries.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 0.5mg | Iron: 0.02mg
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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: July 28, 2023

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