Put down your bourbon for a minute and consider another American booze tradition: rum. It may have the legacy as the dregs of the brown spirits world. For decades, even the least skilled and experienced drinkers knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that brown rum meant spiced garbage that would turn your soda alcoholic and your mornings to regrets. A lot of that has to do with coloring: many rums don’t get darker from time in barrels — a process that generally evens out a spirits temperament and makes it pretty damn tasty. Rather that color was added or chemically evened out, to make the white stuff more appealing visually.
But today is different. Today you can find dozens of well-cared-for bottles of craftsmen's masterpieces. And during a brutal summer where even bourbon begins to feel a little heavy, a good rum has that tropical flavor profile without the neon blue additives. These barrel-aged bottles won’t replace your favorite single malt; they won’t make you pour out your Pappy. But they will sit side by side with both and earn your respect. (Plus, they're gluten free.)