By Carl Hanson
May 18, 2016

Rum comes in many styles, colors, and flavors -- no wonder it's the most cocktail friendly of all the liquors in the cabinet.

Photo by Matthew Wencl

Rum is usually derived from molasses, a byproduct of the industrial process that converts cane into sugar. Rum makers ferment the molasses, and then distill the boozy liquid into rum, which is typically aged in old whiskey barrels, giving the rum color and flavor.

There are light rums and dark rums, spiced rums and purely sipping rums. Each of the rum-producing islands in the Caribbean has a well-established style. In Puerto Rico, for example, the style is light and crystal clear. Jamaica, on the other hand, produces dark, rich rums.

Styles of Rum

Light Rum: These are clear rums without much flavor of their own. Light rums are typically filtered after aging to remove color. Also called silver or white rum, they provide a good base for building other flavors in cocktails. Puerto Rico is a big producer of light rums.

Classic Daiquiri | Photo by Allrecipes

Amber Rum: Wood barrels give amber rums their golden color and rich flavor. They are also called gold rum.

Beachside Daiquiri | Photo by Matt Alan

Dark Rum: Aged in charred whiskey barrels, dark rums take on a dark color and deep flavor. Jamaica is known for producing dark rums.

Island Affogato | Photo by Matt Alan

Related: Put yourself on island time with Classic Rum Cocktails.

Spiced Rum: These rums are flavored with spices, such as cinnamon and cloves. In color, they are darker than light rum; sometimes caramel is used to deepen their hue.

Photo by lutzflcat

Make your own spiced rum! Here's a recipe for Homemade Roasted Pineapple Spiced Rum.

Flavored Rum: These rums are infused with fruit flavors (coconut or mango, for example).

Bahama Mama | Photo by Allrecipes

Mix 'em Up: Rum is a terrific base for creating exotic, colorful cocktails, involving fruit juices and several styles of rum. Here are a few 5-star favorites:

Storm of the Century Hurricane | Photo by Allrecipes

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