There are few cocktails more synonymous with kicking back and relaxing in the sun than the piña colada. (Heck, it even has an unofficial anthem.) The drink combines rum, pineapple juice and cream of coconut, all blended into a frozen concoction perfect for sipping poolside, beachside or wherever chill vibes reign supreme. But without the right rum, you might find your piña colada a tad lackluster—which we think is a crime.
“Rums work for piña coladas due to the tropical nature of the drink,” notes Craig Chamberlain, Wine Enthusiast’s senior tasting coordinator, referencing that both the spirit and cocktail have roots in the Caribbean. “The old adage of ‘what grows together, goes together’ comes to mind.”
That’s why, when piña coladas are on the menu, Chamberlain favors silver rum, a light rum filtered several times to remove impurities. It offers a more straightforward rum flavor and lets the drink’s tropical character shine through. He also likes flavored rums, which often lean into coconut or pineapple notes, both of which feature prominently in a piña colada.
To ensure you never find yourself with a sub-par frozen drink, we pulled together the best rums for piña coladas.
The Best Rums for Piña Coladas
95 Points Wine Enthusiast
The aroma suggests banana bread drizzled with honey and just a whiff of pineapple. The palate magnifies that tropical note, exploding with juicy grilled pineapple and landing lightly with vanilla, coconut and cinnamon tones. Mix into pineapple Daiquiris and Piña Coladas. Distilled and aged two to three years in Fiji, then another year in the cooler climate of France in ex-Ferrand Cognac casks. Top 100 Spirits 2020 —Kara Newman$28 Total Wine & More
89 Points Wine Enthusiast
Made with a blend of rums aged from six months to one year, look for a coconut scent that’s echoed on the fleetingly sweet and slightly bitter palate, finishing brisk and marked by vanilla. Mix into piña coladas and other tropical drinks. The brand is backed by TV host Zane Lamprey. —K.N.$26 Total Wine & More
88 Points Wine Enthusiast
Made with rum sourced from the West Indies and Barbados, then blended and bottled in California, this super-sweet coconut-flavored rum is almost a liqueur. Clear in the glass and loaded with a coconut aroma and flavor that may put some in mind of suntan lotion, it’s sweet but not cloying, making it a match for piña colada variations and other tropical libations. —K.N.$19 Total Wine & More
90 Points Wine Enthusiast
This rum blended with coconut extract makes one tasty piña colada shortcut. It’s clear, quite sweet and palate-coating like a liqueur, with bold coconut flavor. —K.N.$25 Total Wine & More
90 Points Wine Enthusiast
Mix up piña coladas and other tropical drinks with this light-bodied white rum. The palate boasts a mild coconut character and cinnamony finish. —K.N.$ Varies Wine-Searcher
87 Points Wine Enthusiast
This sweet, coconuty white rum is surely Piña Colada-bound. There’s a smooth feel and nice coconut fade on the finish. —K.N.$23 Total Wine & More
What Is Rum Made From?
Short answer: Sugarcane.
“Rum is made when fresh-pressed sugarcane juice, cane sugar or cane sugar byproducts (most commonly molasses) are fermented and distilled,” Kara Newman previously wrote for Wine Enthusiast.
Is Rum Gluten Free?
Yes, more likely than not rum is going to be gluten free. However, if it is flavored after distillation, those additives can sometimes contain gluten. To be extra sure, check the producer’s website.
What Are Other Rum Cocktails?
Rum is an expansive category of spirits produced all over the world. It’s often used in the popular Piña Colada or variations like the Puerto Rican Piña Colada. But it’s incredibly versatile, lending it to a whole host of cocktails. For starters, we can’t overlook the classic Hemingway Daiquiri.
If you are trying to keep with the tropical feeling of piña coladas, reach for a Rum Runner. This cocktail combines dark rum with a whole host of other spirits and fresh fruit juices. There’s also the Hurricane, which was created back in 1933. It calls for both light and dark rum along with passion fruit, orange and pineapple juices—in other words, it’s the perfect cocktail for a hot summer day.
There’s also this playful take on the Daiquiri. It adds Rhum Agricole Blanc along with a few extra ingredients. The best part? It’s a batch cocktail so it’s party ready.
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All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.
Last Updated: July 12, 2023