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Cocktail Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Rum

Ran out of rum for your signature cocktail? No sweat.

We’ve got you covered with the top 5 swaps that’ll keep the party rolling.

You might think rum is irreplaceable, and you’re almost right.

But we’ve tested and tasted to ensure these substitutes will do more than just pass muster.

From the home bar enthusiast to the professional mixologist,

these alternatives are game-changers.

Prepare to impress with flavors that bring a fresh twist to your favorite drinks.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Rum In Cocktails & Cooking

If you’re looking for an alternative to rum, there are plenty of options.

Whether you’re trying to cook or mix a cocktail without alcohol or simply want to switch things up and try something different, here are some great substitutions:

1 – Brandy

Brandy is a delicious alcoholic beverage that offers sweet and complex flavors.

It has a distinct aroma of fresh oak and natural fruits, with notes of wheat, dark cherry, and almond.

When enjoyed neat or on the rocks, the taste may be dry or fruity depending on its spirit classification.

To add tart notes to cocktails, brandy is an excellent alternative to rum—try it in a margarita for a smooth, vibrant sip.

In cooking, brandy can be used to enrich savory sauces and desserts for an extra depth of flavor.

Its heat-limited burn makes it ideal for creating gentle heat.

Next time you are looking for an ingredient capable of elevating your dishes, try reaching for the bottle of brandy.

2 – Bourbon

Bourbon is a type of whiskey made from corn that takes its name from Bourbon County, Kentucky.

Its distinct flavor and aroma make it a favorite for many people proficient in the art of mixology at bars worldwide.

It has notes of oak, vanilla, and caramel, with a smooth and smoky finish.

While sometimes mistaken for rum due to its sweet taste, there are ways to use bourbon as a substitution during cocktail making and even cooking.

Many cocktails, such as Old Fashioned or Manhattan, use bourbon instead of rum due to its unique taste profile.

And with some creativity and experimentation, you can find ways to substitute bourbon for rum in dishes such as Jamaican Jerk Chicken or holiday fruitcake.

3 – Cognac

Cognac is a type of brandy distilled in the Cognac region of France.

It has an exquisite taste, described as complex and warm, with a hint of sweetness and a slight nuttiness.

A great way to use cognac is as a substitute for rum in cocktails, such as an Old Fashioned or even a Daiquiri, lending them unexpected coolness yet deep flavor.

What’s more, homemade dishes like pork roast from the oven can also benefit from being cooked with cognac; the subtle aroma added to it will give your dinner guests something really special to savor.

4 – Marsala

Marsala is an Italian fortified wine made from grapes grown in the Marsala area of Sicily.

It is full-bodied, with a slightly sweet taste of dried fruits that makes it ideal for cooking and even some cocktails.

Compared to rum, its slightly sweet nectar offers more complexity and depth to mix drinks like the classic Rum Old Fashioned or Manhattan.

In cooking, Marsala can be used to replace rum in many dishes, especially desserts like sticky toffee pudding and tiramisu – both of which will be enhanced when cooked with this tawny jewel from Sicily.

5 – Tequila

Tequila is the quintessence of Mexican culture and spirit.

With its spicy, earthy aroma and strong flavor, tequila is an alcohol that embodies the warmth and liveliness of Mexican culture.

Its flavor profile has notes of citrus and herbs, with a mineral-like aftertaste that follows each sip.

Tequila can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks but can also be used to substitute rum in cocktails, as well as a flavoring agent in cooking recipes.

When adding tequila to cocktails or meals, careful measurements are necessary because too much could overpower the drink or dish entirely.

However, when utilized correctly, its unique smoky taste will bring out the flavors of other ingredients for a truly delectable experience.

Cocktail Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Rum

When you're out of rum but still want to enjoy a delicious cocktail, these five substitutes will come to the rescue, offering similar depth and complexity to your mixed drinks.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Brandy
  • Bourbon
  • Cognac
  • Marsala
  • Tequila


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Rum In Cocktails & Cooking
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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